On November 8 the application from Honister Slate Mine for the installation of a zip-wire to run from Honister Crag to Honister Hause was approved by the Lake District National Park Authority’s development control committee, assuming minor conditions relating to the application were agreed.

From the correspondence received since the approval many felt that this was an extremely good decision for the slate mine but a number of respondents were concerned, considering that this development would turn the site from a traditional slate mining and manufacturing operation into a ‘theme park’, with the emphasis changing from that of a traditional Lake District industry to a tourist facility.

In recent years several writers, independent of the Honister Company, have reviewed the future prospects for the mine in articles and books.

It became quite clear to them that the operation up at Honister, made up jointly of a traditional Lakeland slate production unit and a modern adventure facility, fitted extremely well together.

Visitors coming to the site to partake in a day of adventure were always intrigued by the sound of real work; the noise of Honister’s stone saws, the growl of large machines and the impressive stacks of slate from the Kimberley Mine waiting to be dealt with by the saws. This makes their impression of the site far more authentic.

The actual slate mining and manufacturing operation at Honister will be with us for many decades. Demand for the beautiful polished ‘Kimberley’ slate for flooring and wall tiles, inscribed slate-plaques and other decorative products will grow steadily.

But fortunately, despite this demand, there are huge reserves still available within the mine to satisfy requirements for many years.

Honister’s current operating consent is not due to expire for 25 years, at which point younger members of the two local families currently working the site will have taken over and, with a new consent, will progress operations onwards towards the next century with enhanced vigour, maintaining a vital and fundamental aspect of the working heritage of our region.

Alastair Cameron