Buttermere Trip - 14-15th May 2009
I am privileged to be invited to the Grant Thornton (“GT”) activity trip to Buttermere in the Lake District over the two days – 14th and 15th May 2009. Our hosts are entertaining clients in the Bridge Hotel and Sir Chris Bonington, CBE is to address the audience on his climbing experiences before dinner on Thursday 14th and then is to join us on the Via Ferrata up to the top of Honister Crag (2,126ft) on Friday morning.
We have three great guides in Paul, Adam and Chris who will accompany participants on the various hard/easy optional walks on Thursday and Friday. The hard walk on Thursday left the hotel at 10am on a dry but windy morning and we were all immediately into a steep climb up to High Snockrigg (526m) and then on to Robinson (737m). In the col at Littledale Edge (in a sheltered hollow) we enjoyed a brief lunch stop and then it was up to Hindscarth (727m). We traversed along the ridge to Dale Head (753m) and enjoyed the great views all around. It was then down to Honister Slate Mine where Rob kindly arranged teas at the cafe. Here there were options for all, get the bus back, do a lower walk by Warnscale Bottom and Buttermere Lake or ascend Hay Stacks (597m) on the way back to the hotel. This later route was a total of 20kms. All had to be back for 6pm at the latest and this was achieved as the presentation by Sir Chris Bonington CBE was to commence at 6.30pm. This was a wonderful occasion to have such an icon of world mountaineering and expeditions in our midst and sharing with us his experiences on Mt Everest and many of the other great climbs and expeditions he lead. Conversation flowed over a magic dinner and afterwards in the lounge where all continued to enjoy themselves and reminisce on a wonderful day.
Friday was the Via Ferrata, up the precipitous face of Honister Crag (facing north) to its summit at 2,126 feet at Honister Slate Mine, Borrowdale. Breakfast was at 8am and it was a start at the back of 9am after harnessing up, sling over shoulder for the ZIP WIRE and helmet for the great “unknown” that lay ahead! The party was expertly briefed on safety and procedures as how to clip on/clip of the cable that follows the routes to the top.
There is the option of two routes and there are escape routes should you wish to opt out. The time duration to get from the bottom to the top is around three hours.
This is a working slate mine and although frightening to look down the location is very special and is the only such Via Ferrata facility in the UK. It is a very popular venue and another three parties were to use the facilities today in addition to ourselves. The face of Honister Crag was conquered by Sir Chris Bonington CBE (his first visit here and he loved it) and the GT party and we were at the top at around 12 noon. Views from the top are awesome to say the least!
After refreshments at the café guests said their goodbyes and expressed their thanks to our marvelous hosts. The two days were organized by Caryll Rowland and all arrangements were spot on. What a wonderful way to spend two days. Thank you GT ever so much.
The slide show is photographs taken by Adam, Michael and Fraser. On the zip wire it is a blur due to the speed of individuals as they made their decent!