Society Of Lancaster University Graduate Speleologists

7th / 8th May: Camping in Borrowdale, and Force Crag Mine

After testing our new tent in strong side-on winds in N Wales the weekend before, it needed thorough testing in hot sunny weather in Borrowdale; and the weekend did not disappoint. The Owens / Davies contingent (Meg, Pete, Eleanor & Adam) stopped off on the way to Borrowdale on Saturday to scramble up Sharp Edge on Blencathra in hot weather. The views were vast, if a bit hazy.

The evening at the campsite was quiet, relaxing and sunny with usual super scenery. On Sunday we awoke and breakfasted to the sight of 2000 ( well, we didnít actually count them all) cyclists passing the campsite to tackle Honister Pass, on a gruelling 112 mile ride taking in 6 passes. On reaching Braithwaite we encountered yet more cyclists in the race streaming past to tackle Whinlatter Pass!

We parked up and left the chaos of Braithwaite behind as we strolled 2 miles up the Coledale valley to Force Crag Mine, where we were joined by the Browning family (Anne, Chris, David & Emily). Everyone had a wonderful tour around the mine workings by NT volunteers: An amazing and varied mix of mine history and geology, around the mine openings and a processing mill that would have looked at home on Scrapheap Challenge, complete with a bus engine which drove the drum full of cannon balls to crush the rocks. Since the closure of the mine, a passive water treatment system, involving a couple of open-air ponds, has been constructed to remove minerals from the mine water. A tour that is well worth doing, if you find yourself in the vicinity, on one of their open days. After lunch sitting in the sun among the mine buildings, we continued up Eel Crag and along the ridge back with fantastic clear views. In the early evening Braithwaite had resumed to itís usual sleepy nature.

A cracking weekend in sunny Lakes.

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