Friday, 8 July 2016

Tilberthwaite and Hodge Close Quarries.

Tilberthwaite was once a thriving centre for slate quarrying. The quarries have been idle for decades and nature has pretty much reclaimed them; blanketing them in deciduous woodland. These days the actual quarries are of most interest to rock climbers and divers as Hodge Close Quarry will testify.

I just dropped by whilst on my way to Coniston to meet up with Sal and her parents who had their motor home by the lake. The morning had started off beautifully but dark clouds were rapidly approaching by the time I got there. I was only there about half an hour but was lucky enough to catch a few breaks in the clouds. You have to be there to really appreciate the degree in which the quarries and spoil heaps have changed this landscape. Some people might say it had been ruined but with the right light on the trees, it can look quite interesting to the eye. I was going to write beautiful but I think that would be exaggerating things somewhat. I always like to begin walks in to Little Langdale from here as it gives them an interesting start. Both Cathedral Cave (which is also a disused quarry) and the famous Three Shires Inn are also in the vicinity.

The main quarry next to Hodge Close was being worked the last time I was here but I couldn't see any evidence of it today. In fact the whole area seemed to have become the home to Kankku off-roading company who must have been holding some sort of rally as they had even set up their own catering tents with chefs!

Another thing I noticed was that the whole of the Hodge Quarry area had been fenced off although it was quite easy to get through it to take a few photos. I suppose there are pluses and minuses about keeping people away from the quarry edge as there is about a three hundred foot sheer drop from the top (a half of this fall is under water as well). The only casualties I have read about over the years though have been diving casualties which I can't see a rope fence stopping.

And so, having taken my photos, I returned to the main road and carried on to Coniston.

A journey of two halves.

It was one of those all too frequent occasions when the weather forecast had a big wad of thick cloud and rain hanging over Cumbria whilst ...