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Author Pike Law boulder lines Sept 2017 (photo)
Jim MacPherson

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Pike Law boulder lines Sept 2017 (photo)
Posted: 16/07/2019 18:30:36
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I have a query which is, probably but not certainly, linked to areas where hushing has occurred. The photo below shows one of a number of lines of boulders on the eastern slope of Pike Law near Middleton in Teesdale. The concensus is that they are mining related.

Photograph:



(click image to open full size image in new window)

This raises a few questions;

a) Has anyone noticed anything similar in the areas where hushing was a prevalent mining process, mainly North and Mid- Pennines?. I haven't got that carried away yet but haven't seen anything similar on the few I've been to or seen photos of.

b) Has anyone noticed any similar features in areas of past glacial and peri-glacial activities, there appear to be some similarities with zones in the Arctic currently undergoing ice retreat.

c) In mining areas that that have evidence of shallow open cutting/casting has anyone seem similar patterns of spoil debris.

I would also comment that a, much-respected geologist, who has worked on the site for a number of years and a noted mining historian who has written about the site didn't specifically mention these features.

It's always possible Pike Law has a unique feature but....

As ever it would be good to have contributors opinions, especially those from outside the UK as hushing seems to have been a, relatively, niche sport.

Thanks

Jim
IP: 86.166.74.63 Edited: 16/07/2019 18:31:27 by Jim MacPherson
John Lawson

Joined: 09/12/2010
Location: Castle Douglas Dumfries & Galloway

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Pike Law boulder lines Sept 2017 (photo)
Posted: 16/07/2019 19:50:40
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Hi Jim,
I know this area pretty well and I think you are looking at conned down rejects from the hushing process,
As you are aware, hushing took place during a a set time period in the Eighteenth century. After that it was banned since fine particles of heavy metals were getting into the rivers and burns and killing most of the fish in them.
As far as I am aware this row of hand conned dead’s is unique to the Pike Law ares.
Keep up the good work,
John
IP: 176.24.249.161
sparlad

Joined: 17/06/2008
Location: West Cumbria but ex North Yorkshire

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Pike Law boulder lines Sept 2017 (photo)
Posted: 16/07/2019 20:01:34
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Here's a report on the geology of Pike Law where these outwash fans and boulder lines are discussed. I know this area intimately and these things have always puzzled me. The most obvious answer is that they are debris from hushing but their uniformity raises questions.

http://www.northpennines.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2018/11/Pike-Law-geology-report-by-Colin-Fowler.pdf
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Jim MacPherson

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Pike Law boulder lines Sept 2017 (photo)
Posted: 16/07/2019 20:29:37
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sparlad wrote:

Here's a report on the geology of Pike Law where these outwash fans and boulder lines are discussed. I know this area intimately and these things have always puzzled me. The most obvious answer is that they are debris from hushing but their uniformity raises questions.

http://www.northpennines.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2018/11/Pike-Law-geology-report-by-Colin-Fowler.pdf


Thanks sparlad, I've worked with Colin on the site, it's the curiosity that remains the problem. The opinion seem to favour mining activity but do they only occur here and therefore why? As I mention above the existence of the lines only seems to have been specifically noticed quite recently (during the Oresome project) even though the site is well-known and has been researched in some detail in the past few decades. Other photos of the lines do seem to show drystone walling but in other places the boulders show some evidence of water erosion and one exposure by Flushiemere Beck does show a graded core, again suggesting a water borne process, possibly linked to hushing but probably not an opencut activity.

Brian Young suggests Coldberry Gutter may be mainly the result of glacial (meltwater?) activity, if so there may be other features in the area that have a similar cause. It remains interesting to see if such features exist elsewhere , for whatever reason, hence the thread. Janet Simkin and others had a look at lichen dating on the whole site and the lines but that was inconclusive.

Perhaps the North Pennines Mines Research Group may come up with some local information but a wider review of the UK and in other places may help as well.

This is not the only curiosity on the site, although perhaps the biggest.

Jim

IP: 86.166.74.63
Jim MacPherson

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Pike Law boulder lines Sept 2017 (photo)
Posted: 16/07/2019 20:49:04
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John Lawson wrote:

Hi Jim,
I know this area pretty well and I think you are looking at conned down rejects from the hushing process,
As you are aware, hushing took place during a a set time period in the Eighteenth century. After that it was banned since fine particles of heavy metals were getting into the rivers and burns and killing most of the fish in them.
As far as I am aware this row of hand conned dead’s is unique to the Pike Law ares.
Keep up the good work,
John


Thanks John,

If I didn't say the boulder line in the photo is one of five roughly parallel running E-W spread out over perhaps 500/750 metres.

As I've mentioned elsewhere I think there is rather good evidence, cartographic, documentary and physical, that there was hushing (or at least controlled water flow) undertaken in West End Hush in the 1860's - 80's. Much less confidently there may be some evidence in Leonard's Hush as well, but as you have said before it could just be washing/reworking of existing mining debris and would explain the possibly settling tanks.

As regards the boulder lines there is no evidence of a similar feature on the western side of Pike Law which again raises the question why as the same groups of sub-contractors worked both sides in the late 18th/early 19th C. Possibly worth noting that LLC and their sub-contractors would have been aware of possibly vein routes on the western side but with no evidence of boulder lines.


As time allows I will continue with these adventure.

Jim
IP: 86.166.74.63
John Lawson

Joined: 09/12/2010
Location: Castle Douglas Dumfries & Galloway

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Pike Law boulder lines Sept 2017 (photo)
Posted: 16/07/2019 21:22:29
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Hi Jim,
I note that a mistake crept into my posting, it should have read hand cobbed!
Also I am wondering if these hushes were reworked for ironstone?
There is an awful lot of it around, and in view if the falling production of lead ore, just wondering if this mineral was produced from this area?
Not looked i Lord Barnard’s records for this mineral being produced but given that it was mined at East Boltsburn and the Groverake hushes I think it is another distinct probability.
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colin567

Joined: 06/06/2008
Location: Ouston

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Pike Law boulder lines Sept 2017 (photo)
Posted: 16/07/2019 21:41:20
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John Lawson wrote:

Hi Jim,
I note that a mistake crept into my posting, it should have read hand cobbed!
Also I am wondering if these hushes were reworked for ironstone?
There is an awful lot of it around, and in view if the falling production of lead ore, just wondering if this mineral was produced from this area?
Not looked i Lord Barnard’s records for this mineral being produced but given that it was mined at East Boltsburn and the Groverake hushes I think it is another distinct probability.


I think ironstone is very unlikely, transport would have been a major issue, its a long way from any rail head, unlike Rookhope.
Colin
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Jim MacPherson

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Pike Law boulder lines Sept 2017 (photo)
Posted: 16/07/2019 21:48:43
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John Lawson wrote:

Hi Jim,
I note that a mistake crept into my posting, it should have read hand cobbed!
Also I am wondering if these hushes were reworked for ironstone?
There is an awful lot of it around, and in view if the falling production of lead ore, just wondering if this mineral was produced from this area?
Not looked i Lord Barnard’s records for this mineral being produced but given that it was mined at East Boltsburn and the Groverake hushes I think it is another distinct probability.


Hi John,

Not sure about iron deposits around Pike Law, although I do think there were some iron minerals in the sandstone though nothing of the quantities around Rookhope Burn. I didn't look at the Mineral Stats book for iron and will check presently.

The lump/boulders are quite large and probably even hardened miner types a century or two ago would have not enjoyed spending their shift lobbing them about, no indication of tramming, although the Pike Law line does have some terracing but the surfaces are rough, large rocks. Another point is the lack of grading of the lumps would suggest open cut/quarrying and not hushing but the cross section in one of the lines seems to suggest water movement.

All adds to the uncertainty.

Jim
IP: 86.166.74.63 Edited: 16/07/2019 21:53:34 by Jim MacPherson
TheBogieman

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Joined: 12/02/2013
Location: Mold, NE Wales

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Pike Law boulder lines Sept 2017 (photo)
Posted: 17/07/2019 13:21:59
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Gents
I believe hushing has also been identified in Wales dating back many centuries - at Dolaucothi during the Roman period for certain and elsewhere as identified by Simon Hughes. Not sure whether there are any lines of displaced rocks down the hillsides as per this example...

--

Explorans ad inferos
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Jim MacPherson

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Pike Law boulder lines Sept 2017 (photo)
Posted: 17/07/2019 13:57:23
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Thanks TheBogieman,

If anything emerges re. boulder lines that would be good to know, especially if linked to possible hushing.

Should you be talking to your various contacts it would also be of interest if anybody has noticed any similar features which may be linked to glacial events such as meltwater channels, peri-glacial stuff or even perhaps frost creep?

I'm still wondering about how best to measure large holes in the ground such as the Pike Law hushes so if you do find any calculations for the Great Opencast that would remain of interest, not being an engineer I'm never to sure about how accurate my calcs really are! Confused

Jim
IP: 86.166.74.63 Edited: 17/07/2019 13:58:39 by Jim MacPherson
r1xlx

Joined: 25/11/2019

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Pike Law boulder lines Sept 2017 (photo)
Posted: 25/11/2019 19:58:50
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As these boulder fans flow along fault lines where the Earth's crust was and still is shattered and as the Ice Age 4,100 years ago receded and dropped the stones it had picked up in its advance it seems likely that these fans are just the same as the boulder fans visible on some of the hillsides of the Yorkshire Wolds just north of Driffield, East Yorks which show up clearly as grey streaks on the hillsides.
Also some of the fans may have been tidied to make safe tracks up to the dams and quarries higher up the hills.Flowers
Driffield itself is set on a huge alluvial fan.
The Pike Law fans seem young because the climate up there is unconducive to grass and lichen colonisation of bare stone. All over the Pennines are outcrops of bedrock bare of any vegetation after thousands of years.
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Jim MacPherson

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Pike Law boulder lines Sept 2017 (photo)
Posted: 25/11/2019 20:59:23
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There is still some uncertainty about these objects, the lines related to Pike Law Hush may well follow a fault, less certain about the other three. On the basis they are all to the east of the site (and none to the west) they could be related to ice sheet retreat (more like 12,000 than 4,100 years ago). We roped in a number of geologists and a geomorphologist and a number of other types and nobody is sure whether the origin is natural or man-made - note the apparent bit of wall coursing on the northern-most line, the lichen expert did suggest that dating evidence was compromised by greedy rabbits.

We have a surface deposit map which suggests a chronology but no specific dating points.

Three of the lines are not closely associated with access routes so that also isn't a given.

Coldberry, to the east may well be glacial in origin (see Brian Young and co's paper on the subject) but that isn't confirmed, as far as I know.

It is good to get more contributions as it remains an enigma, to the best of my knowledge there are no comparable structures in the north Pennines so it's intriguing that there are similar features in the Yorkshire Wolds, do you know if anything of the like occur in the Lincolnshire Wolds?

Jim
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r1xlx

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Pike Law boulder lines Sept 2017 (photo)
Posted: 26/11/2019 10:57:16
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The Romans were hushing back in 1-2 century as they were knowledgable about lead and silver deposits and needed lots of lead for their water pipes in towns and villas.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_mining
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