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" Honister's Via Ferrata Extreme "

Date & start time:      16th April 2022.  1.30 pm start.

Location of Start :     By the red phone box, Loweswater, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 143 211).

Places visited :          Honister Mine, bus to the entrance, climb to Black Star and walk down.

Walk details :              Approx 2.5 miles, 500 ft of ascent, 950 ft descent, 3hours 20 mins.

Highest point :           Black Star, 1988 ft - 612m.

Walked with :              Sam, Cathy, Abi, Mark, myself and our Honister Guide by the name of Gary.

Weather :                     Fine and dry with a cooling breeze at times.


© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.


My granddaughter Abi's other request for a walk this holiday (apart from Scafell Pike) was to 'do' the Via Ferrata at Honister.

Not everyone fancied the trip so we split the party and five of us piled in the car for a trip to the top of the valley.

The sun was shining but it wasn't as warm as it could be, but rain jackets were certainly not needed today.

The Buttermere Pines . . . can't pass a good view and not take a photo !

Our task today was to climb the crags at Honister.

Not straight up of course but more of a gradual ascent from the mine road, following the old trackway across the face of the crags.

The only thing was, that we'd chosen the Via Ferrata Extreme, as that would give us more of a challenge than the basic route.

Sam, Cathy, Abi and Mark . . . plus myself of course.

We arrive at the mine at the appointed time and sign in for the challenge.

[ Cathy would pass on the via ferrata in favour of a local fell walk, so we would see her later in the day.]

"Your guide will meet you over by the slate sculptures" of which there are many.

Full marks to the artist in residence, whoever he or she is.

There was a good crowd getting prepared for a trip to the mine.

Surprisingly we were on only ones taking the 'extreme' route . . . did they know something we didn't ?

We were provided with a bus to take us up to the mine entrance.

To all intents and purposes the bus looks like a town vehicle more at home in suburbia . . .

It challenges the mountain daily as it plies its passengers up the un-made mine road to the crags.

The basic Via Ferrata follows the old mine railway track . . .
. . . however the 'extreme' starts by sending you over the edge !
Our guide takes everyone's pictures as we make a start . .
. . . smile for the camera.
Our excellent guide Gary, having his picture taken for a change.
Time to get serious as we leave the ladder and start scrambling.
Mark and Abi get to grips with the safety technique . . un-clip and re-clip
We are protected by the safety wire for the whole length of the route.

In the area below Hopper Quarry we're cast over the edge again, crossing the overhanging cliff, on staples of iron set into the rock.

This would have been the way the miners of old would often gain access to the cliffs, but they wouldn't have had the safety rope.

Abi ahead of me as she steps out over the steep drop.
Mark behind, enjoying the exposure

Photography by participants is allowed but not encouraged.  Many of these photos are by our guide,

but some are taken by me on my phone or camera once I was settled at a suitable location.

Whist we were climbing the cliff face . . .
. . . another group were trying the "adrenaline package"

Honister have installed a free-fall jump from the rope bridge into the chasm,

with an arrest cable to slow your descent when you get closer to the ground below.

Slightly difficult to see but our next challenge was the "Burma Bridge".
Sam gets final instructions before 'walking the walk'.
Three cables provide a foothold and two handholds, to cross the gorge.
Don't turn round and smile or you might wobble the ropes !
Safely over, but we then have to climb back up again.
Many parts of the route also involve natural scrambles.
Making our way up to the 'sky ladder' .
This replaces the old commando crawl up the now discontinued sky net.

Have you noticed that this set of pictures all seem to be verticals, it made it easier to look down nearly 1000 feet to the valley below !

The sky ladder is a good place for a photo . . .
. . . though you still have to concentrate.

The triangular cones split the climb (and any potential slide) into short sections.

The safety cables have to be un-clipped and re-clipped in sequence as you pass of course.

Mark with a look of concentration . . . no posing for the camera.
Myself likewise, either that or Gary didn't say "smile" loud enough.
The final extreme section . . .
. . . just before we regain the old trackway.

- - - o o o - - -


Life became a little easier then

as we left the immediate crag face for a walk

up through the Ash Crag mine tunnel.


My photo from today was rubbish

so here's one I made earlier.


- - - o o o - - -


The top entrance as we look back on the tunnel.

It was built to replace the difficult Ash Crags trackway around the outside of the fell.

'Twas just a short climb to the summit of Black Star, the high ground at the Honister end of Fleetwith Pike.

The four successful climbers pause for a group photo on the top.

Click here or on the photo above for our 360 degree annotated panorama

It just remains to make our way down after our interesting climb.

The route is straight forward . . . if not actually straight.

Time to relax and meet up with Cathy after her walk . . . well at least the dogs would have had a good outing too.

- - - o o o - - -

During the weekend we also managed local walks and also booked a meal at our local pub.

They turn out to be quite respectable after a wash and brush up.

Before we decide what to order, Sam tries the Kirkstile option of a "sampler-pint",

four small glasses to taste each of the four Loweswater Beers on tap today.

A picture of Matt, off shortly to a holiday job in the Greek Islands

and Jenna who also has a busy summer planned, but in such a different way.

Evenings often involved a card game of 'mad-patients', often needing two tables when everyone joined in.

One more chance of a day on the fells again tomorrow . . . where does everyone want to go ?

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with small Panasonic, my iPhone and Honister's compact camera (in no particular order).

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a double lanyard and a harness.

Go to Home Page . . . © RmH . . . Email me here

Previous walk - 15th April 2022 - Rannerdale from Home

A previous time up here - 11th August 2007 The Original Honister Via Ferrata

Next walk - 17th April 2022 - Three Walks Nine Summits