Our last day in the lakes was to be spent doing something neither of us had done before. We had previously tried and failed whilst in Canada so knew it was time. I am of course talking about the Honister Mine Via Ferrata.
A via ferrata translates as iron road and originate from the alps. Simply put it is a steel cable which runs along a mountain route to allow climbers to clip on to reduce the danger of falling. There can be steel cables, pegs and ladders which can make it exciting yet easier for non-climbers to traverse peaks.
It was about an hours drive from our cottage but took us through some lovely countryside and Honister Pass itself was gorgeous.
We arrived early so had time to partake in a bacon roll before we kitted up. The previous tour had come back late which meant we did spend a bit of time standing around which I could have done without as I’m not the most patient person. The other thing which annoyed me was that you had to sign to the fact you wouldn’t take your own camera, therefore would have to buy their photo package. Which is fine if you get a lot of high quality pictures, there weren’t amazing but do show how cool it was.
Either way we were soon harnessed up, with helmets in toe we took to the bus for the short drive up to the start. I knew it was going to be hard work but it was perhaps one of the most physically demanding activities I’ve ever done, probably because I’m not the fittest person to be honest. They do advise that you only undertake the experience if you have a relative level of fitness, this is definitely true.
We started off with the worst bit, a climb down the side of the mountain along a ladder which left you leaning backwards, along the side and back up. No-one else volunteered to go first so it was left to the very nervous but very brave Loxton’s to take the lead. In hindsight I am very pleased we did as after the backwards ladder climb the lady behind me totally freaked out and couldn’t go any further. If I had been behind her I know I would have found it harder.
As a result we spent 10 minutes balancing on a small section of rock on the side of a cliff face with only a small piece of iron to hold onto. Great place for a chat.
Eventually we carried on and made our way up the mountain, scrambling up rocks, through tunnels are along miners route we finally made it to the top. I was pretty exhausted by this point as we had been on the go for 2 and a half hours, mostly uphill. We had time at the top for some pictures before taking the 30 minute walk back down to the cafe.
What was funny was that the route we walked down you can also also walk up, a couple of youngsters in hoodies had made their way to the top. This was made more amusing by the fact we were all kitted out in harnesses and helmets!
After some lunch and a hot chocolate we drove on to a Galleny Force. This is a small waterfall located in some wonderful countryside. It required a short walk from the village through some fields and through a very picturesque campsite to the falls. I’ve definitely added that campsite to my list, right by a small river a short walk from some spectacular countryside.
I rested for a while with a flask of coffee whilst Stuart took some pictures with the multiple lenses we carry around. I could have set there for hours listening to the birds and watching the world go by but there was one more spot we wanted to visit before calling it a day.
Castlerigg Stone Circle is perhaps one if not earliest stone circle in the UK. English Heritage date it to approximately 3000 BC and was one of the first monuments in the country to be given protection. It is a very atmospheric location and I can see why they may have been assembled there, on a hill surrounded by other mountains. It was quite busy and we were tired so we didn’t spend a huge amount of time wandering before making our way back to Coniston. I also noticed that there wasn’t a lot of information about the site there so I was glad to have read up on it beforehand.
Our last evening was spent with dinner in the pub and a chill out with board games and a fire in the cottage.
The Lake District is world renowned as a destination for nature lovers and Beatrix Potter lovers – it certainly lives up to it’s reputation. A long weekend isn’t really long enough to really understand and experience this area of Cumbria but it does give you a taste.
The mountains and lakes and wildlife make it a truly unique place. As with most places we end up, I would love to go back!!!
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