Honister Slate Mine in Via Ferrata
Published: Friday 8th Jul 2011
Written by: Natalie Barker
Honister Slate Mine is a real tourism success story. After hundreds of years of Mining/Quarrying the mine needed a new outlet to continue to bring in revenue (whilst remaining a working slate mine). The last 10 years has seen expansion from Mine Tours to using the surrounding hills to bring in the visitors.
Via Ferrata is Italian for “Iron Way” and the system has been used in the Alps for more than a century. During World War One, they were used to ferry troups and equipment over mountainous terrain. At Honister, the Victorian Miners used an early and risky version to get home quickly after a day in the dark.
Honister’s Via Ferrata is an adventure climbing system that uses a permanently fixed cable for safety and protection up the rock face of the old miners’ route. You are attached to this system by a harness provided by Honister. While different from traditional rock climbing, the sport of Via Ferrata can give the participant the sensation of being exposed on a rock face and the sense of freedom from ascending into spaces where only eagles fly. Unlike traditional rock climbing, a Via Ferrata participant is not attached to a belay but climbs independently using the installed system of iron rungs and supports.
In recent years the mine has had planning permission granted to run a ‘Zip Line’ from the fell top to the mine adding a whole new adrenaline rush to the experience.
So successful & well run has this project been, that it has received recognition from Cumbria Tourism as ‘Tourism Experience of the year‘.