Honister Slate Mine

Honister

Honister

Honister Slate Mine

Let me ask you firstly if you have ever visited a slate mine before, if the answer is yes, then what makes Honister Slate Mine special I here you asking.

Did you Know ?

Honister slate formed from 450 million year old metamorphosed volcanic ash, is the hardest slate in the world. Honister is the ONLY working slate mine in England.

Should you have watched the recent royal wedding, did you notice the Honister Roofing Slate at Buckingham Palace, whilst you will also find Honister roofing slate at St Pauls Cathedral, Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

It is believed that the first slate was probably mined from the Honister area in the Roman era, although it is quite possible that it began even earlier. Slate roofing was a feature of many thirteenth century monastic buildings and it has been used as a building material in the region for many centuries.

Honister Slate Mine

Honister Slate Mine

Honister Slate Mine

The first confirmed records of slate mining in Honister do not appear until the early 1700’s, whilst quarrying on a significant scale was taking place in the 1750’s and from 1833, under the managerial eye of entrepreneur Sam Wright, the business expanded with the creation of underground mines as well as open quarries.

It is hard to imagine in this day and age, as the slate workers lived at Honister (often inside the mines) during the week, returning home at the weekends. In the twentieth century, some stayed in barracks at The Hause and the company built some houses for the workers in Borrowdale.

The slate was originally extracted in large blocks or ‘clogs’ which were first ‘docked’ or reduced in size with a chisel and mallet, whilst cutting across the grain. After 1856, this process was replaced by sawing. The docked or sawn block was then ‘rived’, or split down the grain, with the resulting thin slates dressed to shape on a ‘slate anvil’ using a slate knife or ‘whittle’.

This process was also mechanised in the 1890’s, whilst slates where finished in stone built huts on the mountain side near the quarries, or in the mines, until the construction of a factory at The Hause in the 1920’s.

Honister Slate Mine

Honister slate was used extensively in local buildings, but the best quality roofing slate was exported far afield.

Honister Pass

Honister Pass

Honister Slate Mine is situated near the summit of Honister pass which starts at Gatesgarth Farm, at the southern end of Buttermere. The pass connects the Buttermere valley with the eastern end of Borrowdale valley. Rising some 1167 feet in height at the summit, whilst being one of Cumbria’s highest passes, with a gradient of 1 in 4.

There are several great walks from the summit of Honister pass, where the slate mine is situated, as the start of walks  footpaths lead up to Great Gable, Dale Head (2473 ft) to the north, Fleetwith Pike to the west, Grey Knotts to the south.

There is also the Lake District Hostels of the Hause.

If you would like to explore this area by car the Honister pass forms part of a beautiful circular scenic drive from Keswick that includes Newlands Pass, Buttermere and Crummock Water, areas that are not as dominated by visitors compared with other parts of the Lake District such as Bowness on Windermere.

For more information on visiting Honister Slate Mine and tours please visit www.honister-slate-mine.co.uk and enjoy a day out at Honister.

Outdoor Survival – Bushcraft

Outdoor Survival - Bushcraft

Outdoor Survival - Bushcraft

Outdoor Survival

The Lake District National Park and Cumbria is the country’s biggest adventure and outdoor survival playground offering breath taking scenery, England’s tallest mountains with the deepest and largest lakes.

You can explore outdoor survival and discover some of England’s most beautiful scenery, although it does not matter if you are a seasoned adventurer or simply wishing to learn the ropes from a qualified guide, there are outdoor activities to suit everyone.

Whatever floats your boat and gets your pulse racing, outdoor activities from pedal power to paddle, hiking or climbing, get outdoors and enjoy.

Would you like to experience Outdoor Survival making fire to building a shelter, foraging for fungi to navigating by the stars, wilderness survival is a diverse and fascinating subject. Hands on outdoor survival courses are the perfect choice for those wanting to learn or perfect the art of bushcraft.

Outdoor Survival In The Lake District

Outdoor survival or bushcraft, are generally techniques a person may use in a dangerous situation to save themselves or others, providing the basic necessities for human life, water, food, shelter and habitat. In any dangerous situation it is a must that you think straight, signal for help, to navigate safely, to avoid unpleasant interactions with animals and plants and for first aid.

Outdoor survival skills are often basic ideas and abilities our ancient ancestors would have had to use for thousands of years, these skills are partially a re-enactment of our past. Learning outdoor survival and bushcraft skills is a great way to enjoy extended periods of time in remote places, or alternatively to thrive in nature.

Outdoor Survival and bushcraft has many areas of expertise, although mental competence and physical fitness being the main requirements. Mental competency includes the ability to admit the existence of a crisis, overcome panic and think clearly, whilst physical fitness includes the ability to carry loads over long distances on rough terrain.

The Lake District has a fascinating, beautiful landscape which is ideal for outdoor camping and indulging any ideas you might have to coexist with nature, at a fundamental basic level as our ancestors did.

Outdoor Survival

Within the Lake District there are many outdoor adventure companies offering everything you would imagine, from Walking and Hiking days out, Canoeing on the lakes, Climbing, Ghyll Scrambling, and then there are the Family Bushcraft courses and Outdoor Survival courses.

Any type of outdoor survival or simple group activity in the Lake District can be an awe inspiring day for all, helping to build and develop great team spirit, whilst not forgetting the fun which can be enjoyed for both stag and hen parties.  Team building whilst outdoors will help promote logic, creativity, leadership qualities, whilst supporting each other in different situations.

The following list of outdoor survival and bushcraft schools is for information only. Please check that any school meets your particular requirements before booking any courses.

Reach Beyond Adventure, Penruddock, Penrith www.reachbeyondadventure.co.uk

Woodsmoke, Cockermouth, Cumbria www.woodsmoke.uk.com

GlaraMara, Near Keswick, www.glaramara.co.uk

Remember on any outdoor Survival walking or camping holiday to use common sense and be careful, which in turn will result in a great time for all involved, family group, friends, stag or hen party.

The Lake District

The Lake District Jan 2010

The Lake District Jan 2010

The Lake District

For those who have never visited ‘The Lake District’ of England, and no matter where you live in the world I will in this article try to give you my insight into the beauty and splendour which makes the Lake District so popular with visitors from around the world, with a liberal sprinkling of facts.

The Lake District National Park is the largest of England’s National Parks and includes Scafell Pike, which is the highest mountain in England, with Wastwater being the deepest lake, whilst Windermere is England’s largest lake. The Lake District is also known as The Lakes or Lakeland and is situated in the North West of England. The Lakes are a popular holiday destination, for short breaks, outdoor activity holidays and walking holidays.

The Lake District is famous for its lakes, mountains and fells, and its association with the 19th century poetry and writings of William Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter and the Lake Poets.

The Lake District Winter 08

The Lake District Winter 08

The Lake District was designated as a National Park in 1951, whilst also being the largest of thirteen National Parks in England and Wales, and the second largest in the UK after the Cairngorms of Scotland.

All the land in England higher than three thousand feet above sea level lies within the Lake District National Park, including such peaks as Scarfell Pike (3,209), Scarfell (3,163) and Helvellyn (3,117).

The Lake District is one of the most highly populated National Parks. Its total area being 885 square miles, and is considered one of the most scenic regions and England’s premier destination for hiking, climbing, outdoor activities and walking.

The Lake District

The northern gate way to the Lake District is Penrith, with Bowness on Windermere at the middle.

The Lake District Mountains and hills are known locally as Fells. The Lakeland Fells are England’s only true mountain range and though not high by world standards they nevertheless offer a huge number and array of challenging and rewarding hill walks. All can be walked without ropes and the like, and due to the long tradition of recreational walking in the Lakes there is a great network of paths and routes you may embark upon. Additionally worth a mention is the free access to virtually all areas above the “intake wall” (ie the last wall as you climb out of the valley).

According to the most respected authority (guidebook author Alfred Wainright) there are 214 fells, which will suitably test all levels of walker, most of which offer a number of routes, plus many opportunities to ridge walk between the fells.

The Lake District April

The Lake District April

The highest fell as previously stated is Scarfell Pike, although this tag of “highest” designation leads to a lot of traffic, and visitors who want to experience a high Lake District fell may want to choose another. Some of the slightly smaller fells can be a lot more rewarding to walk, whilst offering better views such as, Great Gable and Helvellyn being popular choices. Less well known hills include Grisedale Pike, Bowfell and one of my favourites being Blencathra (sharp edge).

Getting around the Lake District is easy with and served by multiple bus routes, with many being operated by Stagecoach.

Budget travellers can book a day tour to get to see the best of the Lake District in a day, with Mountain Goat being one of the popular tour operators in the area. There is some great value Lake District Hostels throughout the area providing simple no frills accommodation.

The Lake District

The National Trust is one of the largest land owners within the Lake District protecting a quarter of the National Park and approximately 90,000 acres, whilst offering some unique National Trust cottages for holiday lets.  If you are looking for holiday accommodation there is a large selection of self-catering idyllic country cottages available for your holiday although book in advance as the popular one’s go quickly.

The Lake District Spring 09

The Lake District Spring 09

Bed and breakfast is one of the more popular types of accommodation in the area, and a great way to meet local people, on farms, villages and in the towns depending on your requirements.

Eating and drinking in the Lake District seems to go hand in hand with traditional Lakeland pubs being more prevalent than restaurants in the region, whilst most of them serve traditional English food. With so much sheep farming in the area of the Lake District, roast lamb is a favourite local dish. Cumberland sausage is a speciality throughout Cumbria, and locally caught Borrowdale trout is a popular. Not for getting the great opportunity to sample many local types of real ale in a traditional English pub after a long day walking in the fells of the Lake District.

The mountains and fells of the Lake District are by no means the most extreme mountains in world, although as with any outdoor adventure can still present a serious threat to your safety whilst walking, and underestimating them can be fatal, be safe and as my grandmother said use your common sense and enjoy.

There is an abundance of holiday accommodation within Cumbria, the Lake District National Park and the Eden Valley, with Campsites, Guest Houses and local pubs. For a pet friendly home search our Lake District Cottages for a local cottage close to your desired Lakeland destination. Making your visit to the Lake District something special.

Lake District Hostels

Black Sail Lake District Hostels

Black Sail Lake District Hostels

Lake District hostels

The awesome landscape of the mountains, fells and lakes of the Lake District offers outdoor activities for all, which will keep active people occupied for days. You can experience extreme sports such as ghyll scrambling or simply explore on foot or bike. If you should wish to take it easy there are lots of charming villages and towns such as Keswick, which you can spend days exploring, or shopping, enjoying the local tea rooms and a snack.

With the alternative way to holiday using Lake District Hostels and Barns can make for an ideal holiday for visitors and groups willing to make the most of the great outdoors, although do not fancy the idea of staying outdoors and braving the elements. Whether travelling in a group, as a family or as a couple, staying in Lake District hostels will be a great experience you will not forget. This can also help to save on your accommodation costs, whilst at the same time allowing you more spending power to enjoy the atmosphere of the countryside.

If you are wondering what a camping barn is, I will explain, as these are generally old stone barns or farm buildings, sometimes referred to as ‘stone tents’. There are over a dozen in the Lake District sleeping from 8 – 18 people. You have a choice of buying a bed from £6 per night or hire the whole barn, which can be great especially for groups. Facilities differ greatly between barns, although all have cold running water, flushing toilets, sleeping area, somewhere to cook. Some of the barns in Cumbria and the Lake District have log fires, hot water, showers, whilst sleeping areas are communal with some barns providing mattresses, although you will need a sleeping bag. These are a great alternative to the traditional concept of Lake District hostels.

It does not matter if you are looking for a town centre Lake District hostels such as the Keswick hostel, something a little more rural, or searching for the tranquillity of a picturesque lakeside retreat, there is a hostel to meet your requirements.

Lake District Hostels

Lake District hostels are a very popular destination for groups of intrepid visitors and walkers, ready to tackle some of the most challenging of the Lakeland walks. Hostels offer great value for money and are the perfect base after a hard days hiking on the fells, offering a homely and relaxing atmosphere to unwind after a day outdoors, whilst allowing for clothes and boots to dry if the weather turns wet as often does in the Lake District.

Buttermere Lake District Hostels

Buttermere Lake District Hostels

A number of Lake District Hostels offer great homemade cooked food, which is great after a full on outdoor activity day, being great value and at a good price. Lake District Hostels are also well furnished with fantastic communal areas ideal for groups and families and with an ever growing list of amenities to enjoy whilst you regale the day’s events and enjoyed activities before heading of the bed for an early start the following day.

Collectively Lake District Hostels have everything you may need, offering great value for money, excellent facilities and services, individually they capture the variety and beauty that is typically Lakeland.

Lake District Hostels, Black Sail Hostel.

Black Sail is an isolated Lake District Hostels once a Shepard’s bothy situated at the head of Ennerdale, on the ‘Coast to Coast Walk’, whilst being something of a Youth Hostel legend. The Hostel is only accessible by foot enabling walkers to take advantage of the Lake District beauty without the crowds and cars. Meals are available, whilst there is a self-catering kitchen. This location provides great access to the surrounding fells, Great Gable, Pillar, Red Pike and Steeple to name but a few.

Buttermere Hostel.

Set in a quiet and tranquil part of the Lake District with walks right from the front door which is great for families and walkers alike. Walks for all levels of experience start from the doorstep, Haystacks is just one of the famous fells easily reached from Buttermere. Afterwards it is possible to unwind in the lounge with views of Red Pike and High Stile then enjoy a fantastic meal in the restaurant along with local ales and wines. For something special Red Squirrels and Woodpeckers can be seen in within the grounds of this Lake District Hostels.

Lake District hostels are a great way of enjoying the beauty and splendour of the lakes on and saving money.

National Trust Cottages

National Trust Cottages

National Trust Cottages

National Trust Cottages

The National Trust is one of the largest landlords within the Lake District and if you are out walking or hiking there is a good possibility you will be on National Trust land, as around one quarter of the Lake District National Park, which includes 90,000 acres, is in the care of the trust.

Therefore it goes without saying that along with the fantastic Lake District scenery that there will be some varied and interesting National Trust Cottages within the trusts care.

National Trust Cottages

The National Trust has a unique and substantial collection of over 370 holiday cottages situated in outstanding locations in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, for short breaks, weekends away and holiday lets, with advanced National Trust Cottages search to find the perfect romantic holiday. Within the Lake District there are approximately only 20 National Trust cottages for holiday rent.

National Trust Cottages

National Trust Cottages

Some of the National Trust Cottages have been acquired as part of a larger rural estate, or historic building. Small houses can be of great historic interest, especially if part of an estate village, once used for the estate workers and can be of great architectural interest in their own right. This can make for a great holiday base for any family, group or individuals.

You will find that the National Trust Cottages as a general rule will be buildings or dwellings that would be less satisfactory as a family home on a day to day basis, although make great and interesting places to stay and visit for a short period of time.

Lake District National Trust cottages, access to the country’s highest mountains, most stunning scenery and lovely countryside. You can walk hike and climb on the mountains and fells, sail and fish on the lakes. Whilst within the National Trust protection you also have the central fell area, the major valley heads, and six of the main lakes and much of their shoreline.

National Trust Cottages

National Trust Cottages

National Trust Cottages

With all that the Lake District has to offer any National Trust cottages make for a great alternative holiday let.

Dogs are permitted in some National Trust cottages, although please check when you enquire or make any bookings.

It is also worth pointing out that whilst visiting and staying in any rural community that farming and other local ways of life may begin early in the morning and continue late into the evening.

The National Trust also offers camping facilities within the Lake District and a great outdoor alternative to holiday lets.

There is an abundance of holiday accommodation within Cumbria and the Lake District National Park, with Campsites, Guest Houses and local pubs. For a pet friendly home search our Lake District Cottages for a local cottage close to your desired Lakeland location.

Or for more information on National Trust Cottages and to check availability visit National Trust Cottages