Today was a 2.8 mile circular walk up to Fleetwith Pike. This is a Wainwright fell, and stands at 2126 feet or 648 metres. Thing is, you can cheat a bit by parking at the top of the Honister Pass, meaning the climb is “only” 936 feet or 285 metres.
This is still a difficult climb, and is suited to older children, more capable of walking up the hills. Plus there are a number of steep drop offs, and potentially dangerous old mines, which children need to be kept away from.
The weather today was stunning, making the dangers and difficulties that go with this walk worthwhile for us! Please make your own risk assessment before venturing out.
You can park the car in the Honister Slate Mine car park at a charge of £5 per day. The grid reference is 225135 on OS map OL4. You can try postcode CA12 5XN in your satnav, but that might only take you to the bottom of the Honister Pass. You need to be at the top! Obtain a ticket to display from inside the building to display in your car.
When standing in the car park, look up the hill. The route takes you up the main mine road. Ignore the footpath sign that points left, this is the return route.
The first half a mile is easy to navigate, but difficult as it’s solidly uphill. As it gets steeper, the road bends to the right and left until you reach a fork. The right fork takes you to the entrance of the mine tour. This is prohibited, unless you’re on the tour of course!
The left fork continues for another 10-20 metres or so. At this point, leave the road and head north westwards, uphill and onto the grassy fell. The path is not clear at all, but so long as you continue to head uphill and you don’t go near to the edge of the steep drop offs on the right, you’ll be fine.
Keep steadily picking your way upwards, and eventually you’ll find a well trodden path that leads you along the flat top to the summit cairn of Fleetwith Pike.
Enjoy the amazing views out over Buttermere, Crummock Water, Haystacks, Great Gable and many more beautiful fells.
For the return, head south eastwards downhill, on a fairly well trodden path which eventually leads to a lovely old dismantled tramway track. Follow this eastwards, all the way back to the slate mine car park. Here is the full route map:
Honister Slate Mine itself has several family activities, including inside and outside via ferrata, infinity bridge and mine tours. Please note that children have to be 10 or older and 1.3 metres or taller to undertaken the via ferrata or infinity bridge. Mine tours open to all ages. Additionally there’s a nice cafe to fill up in after the walk, and toilet facilities.