Grey Knotts and Brandreth circular from Honister

Grey Knotts stands above Honister Mine at the top of the pass between Borrowdale and Buttermere. As the name suggests its top is a collection of rocky knolls, grey in colour from the weathered Borrowdale Volcanic rock with a scattering of small tarns. Brandreth lies just 3/4km away south-west, and is easily gained by following a fence line almost to its summit. In days gone by the fence went to the top, now a few old posts and a cairn mark the spot.

Rather than taking the direct line up from the mine to the summit of Grey Knotts this relaxed walk climbs first to the ruins of the old drum house(1) foundations in the middle of a tramway, and then using a short section of the path to Great Gable before finding an easy grassy rake to the summit area. Consequently there are no difficulties and no need to handle rock if you don't wish. You will need a little confidence in your navigation though, and not just to Grey Knotts, as some of the other paths are faint or intermittent too. So this walk is not recommended in poor visibility.

Around Honister there is much evidence of the centuries of mining and quarrying activity, from remains of the incline on Yew Crag, to the mine and quarries on the south side of the pass still worked today. In Dubs quarry is an old quarryman's bothy, Dubs Hut(2), which is open to all who seek refuge, either from the weather or just a place to eat lunch. Built of slate it is well camouflaged from the spoil that surrounds it.

There are a number of car parking options available. The mines "Wainwrights and Walkers" car park, the National Trust car park just behind the Youth Hostel, or you could pay the visitors car park fee. The Honister Rambler bus (77/77A) from Keswick stops at the mine but is a seasonal service.