‘I crossed the terrifying 1,000ft infinity bridge above a Lake District valley - and the thought of a pub lunch got me to the other end’

Liv Clarke enjoys a day out with Mountain Goat in the Lake District, which includes a go on the Infinity Bridge at Honister Slate Mine
-Credit: (Image: MEN Staff)

You can experience the beauty of the Lake District in lots of ways - drive through its winding mountain passes, hike up its fells or cycle around its lakes. Or you can view it from a wire bridge suspended 1,000ft up in the air.

This is the position I found myself in on a blustery June day; looking down upon the magnificent, if not intimidating, landscape of Honister Pass. As I carefully placed one foot in front of the other, making my way across the longest high wire bridge in Europe, I questioned my life choices, battered by freezing rain and gripping the wire so hard my hands turned numb.

I was walking - no, shuffling is the better word - across the Infinity Bridge, which stretches above the valley below for 190m. It gets its name for when the end of the bridge disappears from view on cloudy days, although given my eyes were firmly glued to my feet for the entire time, visibility wouldn’t have mattered in the slightest. Yet, despite my quaking legs, the extreme weather conditions (Honister certainly has its own climate), I had a big grin on my face the entire time.

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There was the incredible view for one thing (I’ll admit it was terrifying but I did take some comfort from my harness, its many clips and the zip wire guiding me from above), and the sense of achievement for crossing Europe's longest high wire bridge. Oh, and the thought of a hearty pub lunch afterwards certainly helped motivate me.

A mining trolley provides the perfect photo opportunity
A mining trolley provides the perfect photo opportunity -Credit:MEN Staff

I may have ended up suspended in the sky in the heart of the Lake District, but my day couldn’t have begun more differently. Only hours earlier I was picked up from the concrete jungle that is Manchester Piccadilly by the Mountain Goat Tour bus, which whisked me and a small group up the M6 to the Lake District.

Mountain Goat offer day tours directly from Manchester city centre, which takes the stress out of travelling - and, as we navigated the Lake District’s narrow winding roads, I was extremely grateful I wasn’t behind the wheel. Setting off at 9am and with a brief stop at a service station along the way, we arrived at Honister at around midday.

As well as transport, the tour includes crossing the award-winning Infinity Bridge at Honister Slate Mine, which is still a working mine, but has also been transformed into an adventure destination with mine tours, the Via Ferrata and much more. So, with the help of the experienced guides we were soon saddled up with harnesses and safety helmets.

A view of Honister Pass
A view of Honister Pass -Credit:MEN Staff

A bus then takes you up towards the start of the Infinity Bridge, where you’re given a tutorial on using your carbineers. The first part is actually the scariest as you have to climb up wire steps drilled into the rockface, clipping and unclipping your harness to the railing beside you along the way, with a sheer drop on the other. And then it was time for the bridge itself.

It was truly an experience like no other, and after shuffling across to the other side the sense of achievement was incredible. Throughout the guides were there to reassure you and cheer you on at the sign of any hesitation - despite the scary drop below I never once felt unsafe.

Securely on the other side, we were led back through one of the mine tunnels and descended back to the mine’s reception area to remove our safety equipment. From here Mountain Goat collected us once again and took us to the Yew Tree Pub at Seatoller - after all the adrenaline I was ravenous and couldn’t wait to tuck in. Dating back to 1628, the pub embraces the history of the mines with photographs and memorabilia decorating the walls.

The burger and chips at the Yew Tree Pub
The burger and chips at the Yew Tree Pub -Credit:MEN Staff

I wolfed down a delicious beef burger, served with perhaps the best chips I’ve ever tasted - mouthwateringly crisp and cut in a unique curved shape. Although it was raining during our visit, the pub has a gorgeous beer garden at the back with tables overlooking the river which flows at the rear of the property, it would definitely be a lovely spot on a sunny day.

Feeling full and still riding the high of crossing the bridge, Mountain Goat drove us to the final stop of the day: the picturesque village of Grasmere. Home of the famous gingerbread, we stopped by the shop to pick up its iconic treat and had some free time to explore the village.

Inside the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop
Inside the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop -Credit:MEN Staff

Then it was time to head back down the M6, once again grateful I could relax back and enjoy the views of the drive. Arriving back in Manchester that evening it was surreal to think about everything we’d packed in and hard to believe only hours earlier I’d been up in the mountains.

We’re lucky to have such a beautiful national park on our doorstep but it can be tricky to access parts of the Lake District; the drives can be challenging and if you don’t have your own car, public transport doesn’t always go to plan. Mountain Goat help to make the Lake District more accessible, and their tour means you don’t have to worry about transport, booking tickets or planning an Itinerary. Although I will say one thing if you are a city dweller: you can never have too many layers with you on a day out in the Lakes.

Liv was a guest of Mountain Goat on their Infinity Adventure tour. Prices for the tour are £70 per person, lunch not included. For more details visit the Mountain Goat website.

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