Sunday 27 January 2013

27th January - Carrock Fell Mine

So, what do you on on a weekend where heavy snow is forecast on Friday with a serious thaw on Saturday night, Sunday?  You reverse the weekend's activities and do a headtorch ascent of Galeforth Gill on Friday night (think but in the dark!) then go underground when it is raining on Sunday.  So, excited by some research online, memories of exploration 30 years ago and having seen those brave selfless members of CATMHS excavating the entrance to Carrock Fell Mine we decided that it was the target of our next trip.

First there was the little matter of finding the correct key to get in.  Farmers  Supplies had one for £1.52

Carrock Fell Tungsten Mine
The history of this mine spans a long time, finally shutting in 1982 when the price of Tungsten fell.  It was just after it shut that I went down it the first time when all the mining equipment, including the train was still in place!   See the history of Carrock Mine here

The vein of quartz that the adits followed were where the Tungsten was found

Al looks at some minerals forming on the wall

The purple mineral is Fluorspar

And this is a lead oxide waterfall

Exploring a ladder heading off up the stope

and on up it went for at least 30m

The quartz vein becomes huge in places.

Looking down from the stope into the passage below

.  Al missing Yorkshire caving ...  actually ... the lengths Al goes to to get a good photo
The amazing quartz vein

Ore chutes.  there were over 40 in the whole mine

So where was the main one we asked?

More ladders to ascend to the higher levels of ore extraction.
Up in the quartz vein

Ore hoppers in a row down the passage, a train truck apart.

Waterfall showing that we can't be too far from the surface! 
Back at the entrance
The superb entrance rebuilt by CATMHS.

Monday 14 January 2013

What do you do with an English/French caver who won't get his wellies wet? - January 12th 2013

New Year has passed and the 2012/13 caving season has yet to get going properly due to illness and prior commitments of the dwindling members of TNC.  The visit from France of guest susperstar caver and TNC member Paul Mackrill  promised to liven things up but due to the fact that his left hand has been badly damaged big caves were not on the agenda.  What to do ... a visit to Coniston Copper Mine!

Once in the Hospital Level of the mine we arrived at the first intersection.  The draft blew strongly to the left so we decided to go down the right adit first.  Not long after we had set off Paul announced that the water was getting deep and was threatening to go over his wellies (this is the man who in 2012 completed the first descent of the Culiembro - Xitu traverse, the world's deepest diving traverse and third deepest through trip in the world .)   A few minutes later his whinning that the water was getting critically near the top of his wellies forced a turnaround and retreat back to the left adit, which luckily was dry.  With the danger of wet feet avoided an exploration of the mine followed ; -

The rat gnawed rope is not getting any better. 

Where does this shaft go to?  No water so it must drain.  Where are the bolts to fix the rope?

There must be copper down here somewhere.

Unusually it was still light outside and Paul's feet are still dry!