Today, we decided to take Horatio someplace different for a walk. We were going to hike around an old mine: Greenside Mine to be precise. I had been watching a documentary on BBC, where I’d found out about this place, and thus began researching its location in the Helvellyn range of fells near Ullswater.
We parked at Glenridding, and began walking past some houses before following the rising slope towards a closed inn. Before this point, we had already seen a brown wooden sign pointing to Greenside. Thankfully, my husband has a better sense of direction than I have, so instead of following the Greenside sign, we turned back on ourselves and walked the aforementioned route. A quarter along the way, we met a group of people coming downhill towards us. When I queried directions to the mine, we were well pleased to learn that we were on the correct road, and that the mine was only a mile or so uphill.
The walk to Greenside Mine included both tarmac and stone tracks. The opening vista when we reached the gate opening onto the area where the mine is was phenomenal. High fells ranged around us, and we hear water running in the background.
We followed the route, passing close to brownish green fell side and taking in the vista that cocooned us even, it seemed, from above. Sun-struck grey-blue clouds lit our path, and the weather remained calm. Below us was the river looking dry in parts, with large rocks and some even larger boulders presenting proud against this mountainous backdrop.
I thought of the people who used to work here, particularly of the miners who’d toiled in all weathers, their wives and children awaiting their safe return. Whilst sunshine alighted upon the high fell sides and fell tops that surrounded us, shadows filled their lower levels below. Within my heart, I felt a sense of poignancy that all these mining folk would have lived lives that were every day touched by danger and perhaps sorrow.
Would we go back there to walk some more? Absolutely! There is space for peaceful contemplation despite its past. As we left the site, I mused upon how Greenside’s mining history seemed to have contributed in some indelible way to the beauty of the place, as if the poignancy of its history had bestowed upon it a living soul.
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