Today was our 100th family walk in the Lake District. And it was an epic! We parked up at Honister Slate Mine (£5 parking charge all day) grid reference 225135 on OS map OL4. There are toilet facilities available inside.
Following the main mine road up the hill, take the first footpath on your left, after only 20 metres or so. It’s signed Great Gable and Haystacks. Initially the footpath is a bit steep and windy, but soon levels out to a steady and gradual incline.
At the top of the hill, you follow the old dismantled tramway until you get to a slate building. Today we had a lot of snow to play in, which made it extra fun!
Drop down to the river on your left and cross on the stepping stones. Follow the path up and around until you get to Blackbeck Tarn. From here continue up to Innominate Tarn and then the final push up to Hay Stacks. Please take a map with you.
Slate mine along the dismantled tramway:
And then onwards to Hay Stacks:
It is 2.2 miles there. We did an out and back so 4.4 miles in total. Probably more if you include all the to’ing and fro’ing throwing snowballs! This is a long walk for little legs. Our 6 year old managed it with encouragement and chocolate. Our 4 year old did have to be carried for over half the way. But as it was a significant walk for us (being our hundredth), we wanted to bag a big peak.
Views from the top are amazing, stretching out over Buttermere and Crummock Water. Huge mountains surround you and it feels very remote and very special.
Hay Stacks stands 597 metres (1958 feet) in height. But starting at Honister gives you an advantage as that is 332 metres (1089 feet). This also makes it a Wainwright fell, to tick off the list! We set off at 10.30am and got back to the car at 4.30pm… so this really was a long day. Amazingly, spirits were high almost the entire way. With excitement over rocks, snow, ice, stepping stones, rivers, big mountains, icicles and the fact that we have now done 100 walks!
Upon returning to the slate mine, we were disappointed that the cafe had essentially stopped serving food at 4.30pm, even though we’d checked and they were supposed to be open until 5pm. But they wouldn’t even make us a sandwich 😦 All the better for the Royal Oak pub in Keswick, which is one of our favourite pubs. All the meals are delicious, clearly home made and very good quality. Take a look at the photo of the kids platter below! Yum!