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“Just the right dose of adventure..!”

Honister Slate Mine
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Borrowdale, Buttermere and Beyond: Spectacular Ten Lakes Day Trip from...
Ranked #4 of 64 things to do in Keswick
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Honister Slate Mine is a unique award winning experience, England's last remaining working slate mine and England's very first Via Ferrata!!
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
101 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“Just the right dose of adventure..!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 22, 2012

My boyfriend; Mark had planned the mine tour, the Via Ferrata adventure and a stay at the Paradigm House (more about this later) as a surpise for my birthday. Just to confirm that the adventure part was alright with me, Mark showed me the web site for the Honister Slate Mine that includes some photos of the Via Ferrata as well. I was quite excited by the pictures and immediately signed up for it..! (Hint: if the photos of the Via Ferrata excite you and challenge you, the chances are very high that you will be able to finish it without problems). I consider myself physically fit except for a slightly weak knee. Since we had a choice of 3 days, we made sure that we DIDN'T go for a strenuous hike BEFORE I went for the Via Ferrata, to "save" my knee for the adventure. We also chose the least rainy and windy day possible (we prefer dry days for such adventure..!) . Upon our arrival, we were asked to sign a release form and given instructions along with safety harness and helmets, then taken up to the beginning point of the adventure. There were 5 of us in the group to begin with. A trained instructor/ guide leads the adventure, although in reality, he generally "follows" behind taking photos (since we were not allowed to take photos while climbing, for safety reasons.!) But, the point is he is there to help at a moment's notice. One of the women in the group decided it was too much for her and left the group. In case, you had over-estimated your nerves or your muscle strength, you get to know pretty quickly what your limits are and there is the option to leave (it's pretty early on in the adventure. so, don't count on being able to leave "anytime"). Besides, if you stay after the first hill, you are likely going to be fine. It seemed a little tricky at first, as I tried to understand what it involves. But after the first 20 minutes, I felt very much in the swing of things. And really started enjoying myself. For me the key was : Don't look down, Concentrate on the task at hand, and as the instructor says ALWAYS make sure that you are tied to the rope by atleast one of the two carabiners. And when it comes to the Burma Bridge, just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other with your hands extended away from your body. The view from the top is gorgeous, we could see all the way to Scotland (it was smart to choose the least rainy day, wasnt it?).!
I got quite a few bumps and scratches on my knees and hands but it was a small price to pay for such a wonderful experience. One of the best things about such experiences is how simplified it makes life. Your entire attention gets devoted to the task at hand. It's liberating.! And as Uncle John; a rock-climbing instructor himself says, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained"..!!

We have heard about a possible addition of a zip line that will bring the adventurists back to the base, after they have reached the peak at a speed of 60 mph! We know what we are going to do again on our next trip to the Lake District..!

The mine tour afterwards was good as well. It gives the history of mining around the area in the past & the present and our guide had a witty sense of humor. Home made soups and sandwiches served in the cafe were a welcome treat..!

Side Note: The same group that owns Honister Slate Mine also, owns & manages a few cottages around the area. We stayed in one called the "Barn". It was an elegantly decorated cottage, one of those rare places which are warm & homey, yet, the furnishings look like pieces of art. The very wonderful Jan; our hostess, provided us with a refrigerator full of goodies. There was enough to serve us breakfast for 4 mornings and dinner for one evening. Check out "Discover Paradigm" for more info. Jan, you need to set up a separate listing for your fabulous cottages..!

Visited September 2012
2 Thank SwatiMark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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948 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Barrow-in-Furness, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Well worth a visit”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 19, 2012

The guide was excellent and made the hour and a half visit worth every minute. He was very interesting and entertaining. We had a panini each in the cafe and these were lovely. Good value day out.

Visited October 2012
Thank Linda12062710
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
135 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
“Great experience but let down by poor administration”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 13, 2012

I really like vie ferrate/klettersteig and have undertaken them in Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, Sardinia and the Dolomites. Therefore I was uxpecting to be a little underwhelmed by Honister but I was actually impressed. The member of staff that led the group that I went with was well-informed and friendly.

Unfortunately the experience was let down by the administrative staff (Leah?) in particular who failed to return emails, messages and even messed up the billing. The via ferrata is also very expensive for what it is, but I knew this before going so can't grumble.

Visited July 2012
2 Thank 904TravellingChef
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“A lasting impression”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 10, 2012

A fascinating place and the stories from the early days to the current path really make you think. The mine tour was very interesting and I spent most of the time with my mouth wide open. The Via Ferrata looked brilliant but not enough time to do it on this occasion. I'll be coming back specifically to do it.

Visited October 2012
Thank Mortozola
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bedfordshire England
Level Contributor
306 reviews
91 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 126 helpful votes
“Very interesting”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 27, 2012

It was chucking it down when we arrived and still going when we left so we gave the Via Ferrata miss but the weather doesn't matter too much underground and the story of how the slate mine was brought back to life was inspiring. Such a shame Mark didn't live to see it succeeding so well.

Visited September 2012
1 Thank IPA_Man
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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