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Author Project Incline
Pete K

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Joined: 08/02/2009
Location: The Peak District or Snowdonia

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Project Incline
Posted: 19/01/2018 21:28:39
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Rhiwbach Slate Mine – Project Incline
In early December 2017 myself and Towim, went up to Rhiwbach mine to ascertain the current state of the incline-adit connection. This tunnel was once the main drain for the mine but some old falls from the roof at the outflow end had created a rock dam. This dam restricted the flow speed of the water, so all the debris moved down the incline by the action of water, ended up trapped in this 30m section of the drainage adit. The state of play on our arrival was that the rubble and silt sat about 6 inches from the passage roof. After 2 hours of fairly soggy digging, a route through was made, averaging about 12 inches high. You got rather wet as at times that 12 inches was 4-6 inches of water. We resolved to look into removing the rock blockage on the downstream end when the opportunity arose.
Why are we doing this? The link between the bottom of the mine and the upper workings is dependent on a level on floor 2. This level passes through a timber and rail supported section. Should the base of the incline ever seal off completely, the water will back-up into floor 2 and the subsequent flow and erosion may well undermine the supported section. If that support section collapses, the mine will be split in 2, possibly forever. Speaking to a few people, the base of the incline has already been witnessed as sumping off in times of very wet weather. As a secondary motivation, this route through the low, wet crawl was once passable and served as an emergency exit route for professional users. If re-opened it could be used for this purpose again. It also offers explorers another option for a challenge in an otherwise fairly easy mine. As a tertiary motivation, I ate too much food over Christmas and needed a little workout regime and I don't do running.
What follows may well be a boring report of nothing much but having read lots of club journals recently and the Adventures Underground book, I realised how important a written record of little (or big) projects is and so I'm sticking it here on AditNow for posterity. More to come as we're already a few trips in...

Link to a Flickr album here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/peakinstruction/albums/72157691682811964


--

Spending far too much time at meetings for my liking.
IP: 95.144.10.137 Edited: 20/01/2018 09:59:05 by Pete K
Willy Eckerslyke

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Joined: 03/11/2011
Location: Anglesey

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Project Incline
Posted: 19/01/2018 21:33:47
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Good work! IP: 87.115.196.86
towim

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Joined: 19/10/2008
Location: North Wales

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Project Incline
Posted: 19/01/2018 21:40:38
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I would say we have learnt so much about that area of the mine since we started talking about it in December!

--

Ironing 2 miles deep into a system? you obviously dont understand.
IP: 86.188.39.241
Pete K

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Location: The Peak District or Snowdonia

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Project Incline
Posted: 19/01/2018 21:55:12
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21/12/17
Pete K, Beth, MatthewJC & Steve (penyolewen)
Also Towim and Mike briefly joined us in passing.

The day started off at the small chamber with the deep pool, to the left of the adit level, by the main body of the rubble blockage. We had the intention of investigating the roofing shaft heading up from this chamber and, if possible, digging it through to join floor 2 at what we anticipated was the ‘borehole’ chamber. This may have negated the need for the incline to be opened up again if it provided a safe route to floor 2 past the timbered section. The floor was made up of slate waste, clearly an old tipping shaft. It had an arched roof of large, fractured slabs and sharp blocks. With great care, 3 of us began to dig the floor down to create more headroom whilst Beth ran around for a look at the floor 2 end. A vocal connection was established very quickly once she arrived but there was a bit of confusion as to where we were in relation to her. With some position changes and a bit of discussion, we appeared to be in the floor 2 level, directly behind the shored-up section. Mike and Towim passed Beth at that point and, with a few more voices, we managed to figure out where we were. As the penny dropped the nice rubble floor did not seem as safe as it felt a few moments before…. We were on top of the rubble being held up by the old timbers in floor 2!
Beth was almost directly under us. Clearly, this was not going to meet the borehole chamber. Mike and Towim popped up to floor 3 to have a look for our lights and sure enough, at the top of a scree slope, in the far chamber of floor 3, we could see them through the rocks blocking the end of the tunnel. We did not make the connection as this area was really dangerous and any digging may have brought down the roof in floor 3 and may have caused issues in floor 2 below. This roof shaft may have been used to dispose of waste from floor 3 to floor 1 in the past. I suspect the floor 2 level was driven under it at a later date and then collapsed in, requiring the old man’s timbering that is there now.

We moved from the roofing shaft back down into the floor 1 chamber and walked around to floor 2. The next plan was to dig down at the borehole to see if, as suspected by a number of us, there was a roofing shaft coming up into this area. My thoughts were already leaning towards “no chance” as there was no obvious other location in the blocked section of the adit level that a roofing shaft or manway could originate from. About 10 minutes of rock and, what can only be described as 'liquid poo' moving, soon revealed that the overhang, which resembled the top of a tunnel, was just a void created by rocks that had been dumped here in the past. Another lead now dismissed, we washed up the digging tools and returned to the blockage on floor 1.
We had a very short look into another roof shaft located in a chamber with a nice pack wall, a little way back from the blockage. Before ascertaining if it ‘went’, I managed to dislodge a rather large chuck of rock with my foot which promptly headed directly towards Steve. We soon realised that this area was just a fractured death trap and backed off. MatthewJC could see into the end of the shaft from another viewpoint and declared it a dead end.

We spent almost an hour and a half at the outflow end of the incline blockage, clearing rocks and silt, in order to speed up the flow of water. We moved some fairly massive ones between us but 3 monoliths defeated us. These will be reduced in size and moved at a later date. The result of our effort today was to lower the floor by about 8 inches at the ‘dig face’ and significantly speed up the flow and power of the water. We hope that Mother Nature will now start to get to work and wash some of the mortar-like silt away, allowing the rocks to be removed more easily on the next session. At about 1:30pm, we called it a day and headed out, soggy but happy with our work.

The next stage of the project will require the 3 large boulders to be reduced in size to allow them to be moved. Once this is done, we will be able to start cutting a deeper channel of about 2m width into the rubble blockage. The aim here is to eventually create a non-crawling route all the way through to the base of the incline. The other task will be to get hold of a drag tray or maybe a wheel barrow. The chamber just before the passage lowers at the blockage (where I threw a boulder at Steve) is big enough to dispose of a lot of rock and as the roof is a little nasty at the top end, we have no problem with stacking here. 1 or ideally 2 diggers can fill the tray with loose material from the trench, a 3rd can then drag it back and dump it in the chamber or a have a dragger and a dumper if manpower allows. Repeat until bored!

--

Spending far too much time at meetings for my liking.
IP: 90.195.45.76 Edited: 16/02/2018 19:37:04 by Pete K
pwhole

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Project Incline
Posted: 19/01/2018 23:05:20
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Nice work Pete - look forward to further updates on this one. IP: 81.174.241.13
Pete K

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Project Incline
Posted: 20/01/2018 10:05:02
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Shortly after beginning to clear the blockage:

[url=https://flic.kr/p/22fXP8B]

Looking upstream into the blocked tunnel:

[url=https://flic.kr/p/DYnNft]

Project Incline Team 21st December 2017:

[url=https://flic.kr/p/DYnNaD]

--

Spending far too much time at meetings for my liking.
IP: 95.144.10.137
Pete K

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Project Incline
Posted: 20/01/2018 10:07:36
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05/01/2018
RAMPAGE

The boulders blocking the outflow of the incline base were reduced to manageable sizes and are awaiting clearance. Some barring is required on the roof of this area to scale back to good rock.

[url=https://flic.kr/p/23CoGXT]

--

Spending far too much time at meetings for my liking.
IP: 95.144.10.137
Pete K

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Project Incline
Posted: 20/01/2018 10:13:21
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18/01/2018
Pete K, Steve & Towim (briefly)

This date was set for me to come digging for a while now and I was looking forward to clearing the main blockage to start the process of opening the tunnel up. As it turned out, this date was also chosen by the mine users’ group as the second steel carrying day. Knowing I was going to be there and not wanting to ignore the call for help, I resigned myself to a day of hard labour on that project instead of mine. Steve gave up a day off to join me but was also happy to move steel instead. Towim was sent along to help with the steel by GoBelow so I hoped to pinch him for a bit later. After far too many walks along the adit and back with an awful lot of steel and a trip to the car park and back for more, I had feared that the dig would not get attended today. The main bulk of the steel was however delayed for a day so by 2pm, the job was done and myself and Steve were free to move some rocks. Towim was waiting in the mine for a meeting with Chris from GB so came to help for half an hour.

The 3 of us sat and made a plan before starting. The potential long-term nature of this project meant we had to think hard about spoil disposal before getting too far into it, not wanting to leave ourselves with a large carry distance in future.

Towim began to scale the roof with my crowbar while Steve and myself moved a lot of the spoil from the last work day into the chamber. This chamber has a large pool of water so is going on the plan as Pool Chamber. Towim managed not to drop any roof on our heads somehow and miraculously did not injure himself and popped off for his meeting at 2:30pm. Myself and Steve continued to create more stacking space until we could start moving the former boulders. Some of the lumps were really big but Steve smashed them to bits with his lump hammer like some kind of rock breaking machine. Soon enough, we had a level floor from almost wall to wall and set about clearing a trench for the water. We diverted the flow from the left channel (looking towards the incline) into the right and steadily widened and deepened the stream. When we called it a day at 4pm, we left a good solid flow running on the right-hand metre of passage, dropping about half a metre from the point it exited the constriction at Pool chamber to the entry of the other chamber. This other chamber contains a large pack wall of miners’ deads, so it is called Wall Chamber on the plan. The water could flow unimpeded now and was already cutting its own channel and moving silt out from the bigger rocks.

The plan on the next visit will be to clear the downstream end of the tunnel, allowing the water to run away as fast as possible and slowly work back towards the main blockage, creating a drop in the floor of ever increasing size. The 2 chambers are having the spoil dumped as far inside as possible, leaving ample stacking space for the future.

--

Spending far too much time at meetings for my liking.
IP: 95.144.10.137
Pete K

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Project Incline
Posted: 20/01/2018 10:19:21
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Ex-Boulders:

[url=https://flic.kr/p/22xFgzL]

Looking unpstream:

[url=https://flic.kr/p/22xFgGE]

--

Spending far too much time at meetings for my liking.
IP: 95.144.10.137
Pete K

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Project Incline
Posted: 20/01/2018 10:22:23
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Area plan as of the 18th January 2018

[url=https://flic.kr/p/23zCG2L]

--

Spending far too much time at meetings for my liking.
IP: 95.144.10.137 Edited: 20/01/2018 10:24:01 by Pete K
Pete K

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Project Incline
Posted: 20/01/2018 10:25:45
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19/01/2018
Pete K, Beth

Another day and more steel to move up the hill. Mercifully one load was all that had been delivered so we only needed a single walk up to the mine. I left Beth at the gate clearing a drainage ditch while I deposited my steel on floor 2. Being satisfied that we were not required, we both then made our way to the dig. For an hour we both worked at lowering the floor by the Wall chamber which got the water flowing at more of a gradient out of the dig. Beth then spent 20 minutes up in the blockage diverting the flow from the left channel into the right one. Combining the flows should give more power to the water. Beth left just after 12:45pm and I continued solo, mainly cutting a canyon into the floor. About 2pm the guys on steel job popped by to say they were leaving and from that point I had the mine to myself. I widened the stream channel against the right wall and dug as much out as my back could take. In the end I shifted about 20 barrows of waste into Wall chamber. When I began walking out at 3pm, he water had an unimpeded flow down the right wall right out from the blockage to the full height adit tunnel. Now what we need is a super storm to blast the blockage out.

Although any manual effort put into the clearance of the rubble will help speed things up, I suspect there may be a break now to allow the winter rains to start cutting the floor down in the blockage. The more rubble removed at the front end the better though. A drag tray would still be very useful.


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Spending far too much time at meetings for my liking.
IP: 95.144.10.137
Pete K

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Project Incline
Posted: 20/01/2018 10:28:50
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State of things at 19/01/2018:

Downstream:
[url=https://flic.kr/p/FuyFYm]

Upstream:
[url=https://flic.kr/p/FuyFHG]

The now-clear path of the water. (Note rail section is located in same place throughout recent photos):
[url=https://flic.kr/p/23CpbFD]

The Crux:
[url=https://flic.kr/p/23CpbvZ]

--

Spending far too much time at meetings for my liking.
IP: 95.144.10.137 Edited: 20/01/2018 10:29:20 by Pete K
RAMPAGE

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Project Incline
Posted: 20/01/2018 13:21:04
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Good work Pete and co, that's a good worthwhile project that was waiting for someone brave to pick up the gauntlet on.

If you plan any other days let me know, I might be able to make it. I've been a bit lame this week on grunt work. If you need a barrow I can donate one.

I can't believe you gave Towim a crow bar. What were you thinking?



--

Don`t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
IP: 87.224.72.55 Edited: 20/01/2018 13:27:39 by RAMPAGE
Pete K

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Project Incline
Posted: 25/01/2018 14:28:59
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No further work carried out yet but I did get the chance to run up for a quick look on a really wet day earlier this week.
In the past the collapse has caused water to pool in the 1st chamber (Pool Chamber), with foam marks up to 12 inches from the floor.
With the collapse cleared and a clear path for the water, there was not even any water flowing into that chamber, let along pooling up. The water levels at the adit gate were covering the stones used to kneel on to usually keep out of the water.
There was a visible channel becoming cut into the debris floor by the flow. This was being deposited near the packwall in Wall Chamber as the flow speed reduced. I think my next task will be to dig out and barrow the fine rock from this point, removing the constriction to the flow.

--

Spending far too much time at meetings for my liking.
IP: 95.144.10.137
stevem

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Project Incline
Posted: 30/01/2018 11:15:19
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Loving following your progress Pete....Great stuff.

Our scout group has a cottage in Cwm so it is effectively my local mine. Certainly the first one I ever went in many years back (Thanks to RAMPAGE) and it all went from there....

Back in the day (according to the older scout members) prior to gating they could walk right thru top to bottom in a straight (ish) line with the adit level being waist deep water as everything must have swept down to the end of the adit.

Keep up the great work....



--

May the fleas of a thousand camels infest the crotch of the person who screws up your day and may their arms be too short to scratch.
IP: 192.171.196.182
Pete K

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Project Incline
Posted: 31/01/2018 21:19:15
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Thanks Steve. It'll be great one day to be able to walk through from one end to the other again but I suspect interest in this project will have disappeared once it becomes a dry crawl!

--

Spending far too much time at meetings for my liking.
IP: 95.144.10.137
Pete K

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Project Incline
Posted: 04/02/2018 23:09:03
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04/02/2018
Pete K & MatthewJC

After a week of pretty heavy work and no volunteers to come up to the dig after work this evening, I was looking forward to bailing off doing anything and having an early night. Unfortunately MatthewJC is far fitter and more energetic than me and offered to come out after work as we had shared a lift. ******! Fuelled up by the nice lady at Dolwyddelan Spar, we made our way from Cwmorthin to Rhiwbach. We arrived up at the gate for 6pm and were digging away by 6:15pm. We mainly dug the tail and barrowed the gravel into Wall Chamber. Scooping the loose stuff up a few inches at a time and steadily extending the proper floor level back towards the blockage. We managed 25 barrow loads which does not sound huge but we did have to break the channel up using a small pick first, which was quite hard work. We filled the barrow well and estimate we shifted well over a tonne tonight. At one point we went back downstream and cleared a little dam of silt which was starting make a good sized pool in the level. A good gush of water shot through and the tide mark showed we'd just gained 2 more inches of dry mine.
We both had seriously underestimated how tired we were, with MatthewJC even uttering the phrase never heard from him before, "I need a break". I'm not sure which of us was more knackered to be honest, him or me with my ruined kneecap, but after our 3rd break in about half an hour, we thought we'd knock off and head down. We got back at the van just under 3 hours after we departed with no unintentional mud slides down the hill. Just.

At the start of the session:
[url=https://flic.kr/p/K8kpfc]">[web link]

At the end of the session:
[url=https://flic.kr/p/K8knpi]">[web link]

Looking back towards the adit mouth:
[url=https://flic.kr/p/242sXQy]">[web link]

Rainfall helping make little bit of progress at the blockage:
[url=https://flic.kr/p/EqaEnH]">[web link]

MatthewJC looking to the gods for an energy boost:
[url=https://flic.kr/p/EqaFPR]">[web link]

Cheers for the company MattThumb Up


--

Spending far too much time at meetings for my liking.
IP: 90.195.45.76
RAMPAGE

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Project Incline
Posted: 04/02/2018 23:16:26
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Legends!

I see MC is already practicing his pose for when they carve a statue of him.

Yes, he is irritatingly fit. Nothing a terribly unfortunate minor accident wouldn't sort out.

--

LVRV VOPO VIR CAN VTRI
IP: 87.224.72.55
sinker

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Project Incline
Posted: 05/02/2018 08:35:49
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RAMPAGE wrote:



......practicing his pose for when they carve a statue of him.



Perhaps with the initials "JC" he is looking skyward for some heavenly intervention and inspiration....? Innocent

Nice work guys. Thumb Up

--

Ah, well, now, you see.... IP: 82.132.220.125
Pete K

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Project Incline
Posted: 08/02/2018 17:40:13
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Hoping to do some work up there tomorrow afternoon.

--

Spending far too much time at meetings for my liking.
IP: 90.195.45.76
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