Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Honister Via ferreta

I have just recently been up to Honister in England's beautiful Lake District and completed the Via Ferreta at http://www.honister-slate-mine.co.uk . It was a fantastic weekend as I took 9 workmates with me most of whom had not done anything quite like it before. We spent two nights at the Tan Hill Inn which in itself was good fun but the day at the mine was excellent. The day started with a tour of the mine which is still actually working and producing the best slate in the world it was also interesting to hear how difficult it was during the Victorian era with lads as young as 8 working in these mines. We are so fortunate these days aren't we? The highlight of the day however was doing the Via Ferreta up Fleetwith Pike to a height of around 2300 ft . What is a VF? A via ferrata (Italian for "iron road") is a mountain route which is equipped with fixed cables, stemples, ladders, and bridges. The use of these allows otherwise isolated routes to be joined to create longer routes which are accessible to people with a wide range of climbing abilities.
The VF at Honister at the moment is the only one so far in England and Great Britain and it is a beauty, it also has a spiffing zip wire which takes you 80 metres across the crag to a quite vertical section of VF on the other side. I will not go on to much about the VF as you can see the photos by clicking this link and then clicking 'view slideshow' as well as check out the site.