Adventures at Honister Slate Mine in the Lake District: Via Feratta Xtreme
Driving through the Lake District is tough. Not because the roads are narrow and windy but because I wanted to stop approximately every 100 metres to admire the view and take photos.
How can you drive past a lake like this where the low clouds are reflected in the smooth, glassy surface and look so soft and fluffy and close that you could reach out and touch them?
You drive a little higher and there are rolling mountains or jagged cliffs that plummet below you and each scene is just begging you to get out of the car and admire it. It’s pretty much saying, ‘Please photograph me, I am incredibly beautiful and you will want to remember this moment for the rest of your life!’
So here’s a Travel Hack Tip: when you’re driving through the Lake District, give yourself an extra hour to get anywhere to account for all those stops you’re going to make at gorgeously scenic spots you simply can’t drive past.
I eventually made it to Honister Slate Mine and rushed into the café in time to join my group for the Via Feratta Xtreme Experience.
We met our brilliant guide who took us to get kitted up with helmets and harnesses and all jumped on the bus to take us up the mountain.
But at this point I still wasn’t 100% sure what I was letting myself in for. I knew we were following the original miners route to the top of The Lake District Mountain, which is 9x higher than The Big One in Blackpool and I knew this was the ‘Xtreme’ version so it was going to be a little scary. I knew I needed to be reasonably fit for this experience and I knew it was going to be gorgeously scenic. But I didn’t actually know what I’d be doing….
It turns out that it was a bit like Go Ape for adults but between cliffs rather than trees. There was a lot of rock climbing, cargo nets, climbing up and down terrifying ledges and trying to avert your eyes from the epic drop below. And then there was that wire.
Yes THAT wire.
The wire that was even bigger and scarier than it looks, honest!
I stepped onto the wire with the confidence of someone who had obviously never crossed a wire like this before. I thought everyone else was making it wobble and shake so dramatically due to their nerves. I thought I had nerves of steel and would glide across it with the grace of a ballerina and my toes delicately skimmed from one end to the other.
This was not what happened.
I wobbled, shook and I cursed as I stared with determination at the other end of the wire. That other end that didn’t seem to be getting any closer no matter how many tiny, shaky steps I took! I didn’t allow myself to look down until….oh my god I’m looking down…stop looking down…look up….DON’T LOOK DOWN….you’re still looking down.
But eventually I managed to tear my eyes away from that enormous gaping hole in the world below me and made it to the end of the wire and I’ve never been so happy to feel those slippy rocks below my feet.
After the wire it was a short hike up the mountain to the top where blue skies and epic views greeted us. It made every wobbly step worth it!
Find out more about Via Ferrata on the Honister.com website.
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