The slate mine
Frankly, I wasn't even aware of the name Honister Pass and, as I drove past it the first morning you couldn't even see it, just a stone wall appeared in my headlights before the road swung right. What it is though, as I discovered the next day, is the location for a slate mine for tourists. The mine offers free parking for cars and mininbuses, but no coaches please, so there's a plus for the independent tourist.
The present owners offer the visitor a guided tour of the mine which is available several times a day. The tour includes many a unique underground feature that are still in situ and the knowledgeable guides, with a background in the industry, provide an interesting history of the mine. Both modern and traditional methods are used to extract the slate but, for me, I wouldn't want to work there. The dust in your lungs would be horrific.
Whether or not it will get your adrenaline up I don't know but, hey, there's a free cuppa in the Bait Cabin after the tour where, in colder times, you can warm yourself by the fire. For those not wishing to go underground, there is free entry into the Visitor Centre, just like any tourist place you've ever been to. In the gift shop, natural green slate is the predominant gift. You can have your house name engraved on it while you wait, or buy a house sign by mail order, or fill up your car boot for 10.00 pounds! Not so daft as it sounds as the slate is ideal for rockeries, paving and walling. Yep, just like you see all around Keswick and the Lake District in general.
Unlike slate taken from quarries, the Westmoreland Green Slate is wholly extracted underground and is entirely environmentally friendly. Its beauty graces both the roofs of humble cottages and magnificent buildings, such as those in Regent Street, London, the Ritz Hotel, St James Palace, RAF Cranwell and the Deutsche Bundesbank.
The mine itself is not photogenic, take my word, but the road leading down to Buttermere is sublime. I'll leave you with it.