Freesteel Blog » Nenthead interlope

Nenthead interlope

Monday, October 20th, 2008 at 9:58 am Written by:

In her efforts to delay the democratic revolution, Becka hauled me off for a weekend of crawling through the lead mines in Nenthead with the North Wales Caving Club (someone has got to add some details to that wikipedia article) — when I had a whole lot of better things to do. “But you had all that fun messing around down in London and Cambridge this week,” she said. The revolution has to be put on hold.

We visited the upper levels of the mine on Saturday and eventually found the calcited ladderways down to the lower levels where there are several kilometres of wading neck deep water just below the dry stone arched ceiling before you come out of another entrance. We did this trip about five years ago with the Red Rose Pothole Club, but Becka had completely forgotten it. Mines are sumped. Who knew? They are not natural drainage formations, like caves are, so they trap the water and fill up when the pumps are stopped.

On Sunday we did the Rampgill sections where a lot of shoring up and redigging by Norpex had occurred, which meant that the old maps photocopied from the mine exploring book were out of date. None of it was drawn. Ordinarily, over the years, the accessible mine area diminishes as the roof collapses. But here a lot of scaffolding had been taken in by enthusiasts to hold back the collapses in places so you could crawl underneath the metal-work. There were dozens of such sections. In some places the roof collapse was not severe enough to block the passage and you could crawl up the spoil heap [pictured] and into the void above, making sure not to touch the loose crumbly shale of the ceiling.

The roof, in most parts, was a spectacular drystone wall arch. The tramlines were mostly taken out. Every ten metres there was a blocked wooden hopper gate connecting a shaft from the upper mining levels down which spoil and ore could be poured into the mine carts. The entry levels of the Rampgill mine near the visitor centre are worth visiting (if you don’t mind getting your feet wet) where the calcite flowstone on the walls appear luminous.

Next weekend is supposed to be more caving. Digging in Ireby and doing Juniper Gulf. I gotta get some work done now. I’m 400 emails behind reading, and I’m trying to get on with some machining work.

2 Comments

  • 1. Caving » They call &hellip replies at 22nd October 2008, 7:16 am :

    […] Nenthead interlopeIn her efforts to delay the democratic revolution, Becka hauled me off for a weekend of crawling through the lead mines in Nenthead with the North Wales Caving Club (someone has got to add some details to that wikipedia article) — when … […]

  • 2. Caving » Former Hur&hellip replies at 23rd October 2008, 7:14 am :

    […] Nenthead interlopeIn her efforts to delay the democratic revolution, Becka hauled me off for a weekend of crawling through the lead mines in Nenthead with the North Wales Caving Club (someone has got to add some details to that wikipedia article) — when … […]

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <strong>