Castle Crag, Borrowdale.

Castle Crag, Borrowdale

A beautiful  day saw us heading to Borrowdale for a relaxed wander up Castle Crag through the pretty, deciduous woodland with spring flowers and lots of birds busy in the warmth.  Rather than approach from Rosthwaite, we went for the adventurous option and took our shoes and socks off to wade across the river near the Bowderstone.  Castle Crag is the only fell on the list of Lakeland mountains under 1000ft, though what it lacks in altitude it more than makes up for in stature as its dominant, craggy presence in the ‘Jaws of Borrowdale’ makes it a visible sentinel from far to the North.

Significant slate quarrying and mining took place on Castle Crag and it bears the slate tips and excavation scars associated with that.  Most notably, it has the slate ‘cave’ on its North Eastern flank which was inhabited by Millican Dalton (1867-1947) for over 50 years.  Dalton, the so-called ‘Professor of Adventure’, gave up his job as an insurance clerk in London to live rough in the Lakes during summers; he survived by offering guiding to visitors and built rafts to paddle and sail down Derwentwater.

The photo shows the view North from the summit with the memorial plaque to the local war dead on the left.

If you’d enjoy Steve’s support for a day in the hills, or a half day like this one, please get in touch to discuss your needs: 07796 213817 & steve@stevebanksoutdoors.co.uk

By |April 20th, 2022|Environment & nature, Mountain walking|Comments Off on Castle Crag, Borrowdale.

Hodge Close Quarry

Hodge Close Quarry

Hodge Close Quarry at Tilberthwaite by Coniston is an excellent reminder of the Lake District’s industrial past.  Mass tourism and the associated services which now support that burgeoning sector, are a relatively recent phenomenon.  Prior to the current situation the area was exploited for its mineral riches and stone: haematite and coal mines in the West fed steel works and ship building; graphite mines in Borrowdale led to the pencil factory in Keswick, wolframite mining on Carrock Fell produced tungsten, there were galena mines aplenty (lead and silver) and, of course, the copper mines at Coniston to name but a few.

Quarries are also prominent in Cumbria with granite extracted at Shap and Threlkeld, limestone also at Shap and, more commonly, slate at many sites such as Kirkby in Furness, Honister and Hodge Close.  Hodge Close was used for building and roofing slate from the 1800s up until the 1960s.  It is a large, steep-sided, flooded pit with many of the original tunnels and workings now submerged.  It has become a popular place for divers, wild swimmers and rock climbers to visit, though, as in our case, it is also an interesting place to just descend into and look at – especially with autumn sunlight and colours enhancing the spectacle.  If you would like to visit there is a path down to the big tunnels (image), though great care should be taken around the quarry edges and be mindful that the water is very deep and very cold.

By |October 27th, 2021|Environment & nature|Comments Off on Hodge Close Quarry
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