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Author Trip report - Derbyshire, 11-15 August 2009
Peter Burgess

Joined: 01/07/2008
Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

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Trip report - Derbyshire, 11-15 August 2009
Posted: 20/08/2009 11:17:31
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With a little less than a week free in which to take my two boys away, there was a choice of Mendip, South Wales or Derbyshire. The popular vote was to return to Magpie Mine and have a short break exploring Derbyshire again.

AS only PDMHS members can book use of the cottage, and not having renewed our membership from September last year, a hasty late membership renewal (is 11 months late a new record?) was on the cards. With the cheque sent off, I rang Mave the PDMHS bookings person, and got ourselves booked in, explaining that the 'cheque was in the post'.

A good run up on Tuesday, and we were settled into the old Agent's Cottage by early evening. Planning the week was quite easy - the lads knew the places they wanted to visit again, and I had a few sites in mind too, to get underground.



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The Peak District Mining Museum was Wednesday's first trip. In two hours you can go round the museum, Temple Mine, and lurk in the tut shop, and just get back to the car before the parking ticket expires.

The whole set up is run by PDMHS. Our trip was timed to start at 12 noon, and 17 of us assembled at the museum reception to meet our guides. These seemed to be a couple of students with summer jobs, but were excellent nonetheless, despite the lad actually running his first public tour, under the supervision of the girl guide.

It was explained that we would walk for five minutes, across the main street, and up a footpath and road to the mine entrance. We all assembled at the mine entrance, and were handed helmets to wear, and given the obligatory Health and Safety notices. We had a competently led tour around this 20th century fluorspar mine, being shown minerals, flowstone, ore chute, miners' tools and so on. The uses of fluorspar were related to us - toothpaste, PTFE, CFC's, electronics and so on, but none of these uses were current when the mine was being worked as far as I know, and I silently added "flux for steel making" in my mind this being probably the real reason why the mine was worked!

The invitation from the guide to touch the "slimey flowstone" rather grated in my mind, and I was pleased to see my lads didn't take up the offer - it seems my telling them that touching formations is a no-no may have paid off. After the mine, we were all invited to pan for fool's gold in the wooden tubs near the entrance, and this was eagerly done by the boys, each getting a nice little bag of small pyrite for their efforts.

The weather had bucked up a bit after the tut shop browsing session, so we drove off to do a bit of wild mine-exploring. Mouldridge Mine seemed a safe bet, and more or less in keeping with what we had been looking at in Temple Mine. I am using any underground trip at the moment as an excuse to get my camera and flash-guns out, and so it was this time. The mine itself is quite tame, but has some good opportunities for easy photographs.
Finding and identifying a number of minerals in the walls is also quite straight-forward and kept the boys occupied. When we got back to surface, the sun was fully out, and an amazing sky just had to be photographed. 5 minutes later, the rippled clouds had disappeared.



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I was hoping that the engine house at Middleton Top on the Cromford and High Peak Railway might be open, but had no way to find out. So on Thursday morning we drove down on the off chance, to find it firmly closed up. The visitor centre was open, however, and we watched a short promo for a DVD on the railway, which had some nice shots of the inclines being worked. A picnic lunch in the nearby garden set us up for the afternoon trip to Jug Holes. Another photo opportunity, and a good cave to explore when you are finding your feet and starting to use your own judgement when exploring, rather than just following dad's instructions. This is a pretty muddy place, and we came out quite soggy; Beni had somehow managed to completely smother his spectacles with mud. I'm not sure he saw an awful lot of the cave after a while!



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That was it, really, for underground activities. On Friday, we walked in the upper end of Lathkilldale, following the river to the resurgence caves at the head, and exploring Lathkill Head Cave in tee-shirts with a hand torch, within sight of the entrance. We walked downstream to the remains of Mandale Mine. This is a really unspoilt valley and always a delight to explore.

On Saturday we went back to Middleton to visit the National Stone Centre which had hardly any visitors. A number of small to medium abandoned quarries have been set up as geology and nature trails, which were reasonably interesting, with old coral reefs, limestone beds, and ancient cenotes (sea caves) in evidence. Some impressive crinoids are on display on one exposed slab. A small visitor centre explains the various use for stone through the ages - it is very Palaeozoic-centric, with only a brief mention of the stones of the south-eastern half of the country, but an interesting place even so, and free to boot.

Five minutes' walk away down the High Peak Trail is the Steeple Grange Light Railway, a short narrow gauge line laid on the route of a standard gauge branch of the former Cromford and High Peak Railway to the Middleton limestone quarry. One of the two battery locomotives they were running was of underground interest, being designed to run through small bore sewers, and the second was used in a steel works. The passengers are carried in stock rescued from old mines where they used to take miners to the face. Another point of mine-related interest was the quarry at Middleton that the line used to serve. When the overburden in the quarry became too inconvenient to remove, the stone was worked underground until not so long ago. The Middleton Limestone Mine ran right through the hill, and was worked on the pillar and stall method, using large diesel trucks to move the stone around.

The short holiday finished with a look around the water mill at Rowsley, between Darley Dale and Cromford. This is the only surviving working watermill using roller milling (rather than the older traditional stone-grinding). The whole building is full of working machines and drive belts, and a delight to look round. All the machinery is powered by two turbines in the mill race. All the mill's electricity is generated from the turbines as well.

I don't think we wasted a single minute of the time we had, and we wished we had another four days holiday, but this will have to wait for another year.



--

Hey, who turned out the lights!
IP: 81.144.191.248 Edited: 20/08/2009 13:28:35 by Peter Burgess
ditzy

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Trip report - Derbyshire, 11-15 August 2009
Posted: 20/08/2009 17:38:55
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sounds like you had a fun time
if i had known we could havew met up for a trip somewhere

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im the ditzyest ditzy in ditzy land
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derrickman

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Trip report - Derbyshire, 11-15 August 2009
Posted: 20/08/2009 23:13:42
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not just me still using ammo cans then Laugh IP: 90.242.117.91
Brakeman

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Trip report - Derbyshire, 11-15 August 2009
Posted: 21/08/2009 09:11:01
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derrickman wrote:

not just me still using ammo cans then Laugh


I have to admit I used one a few weeks back in one of our drainage soughs, in up to neck deep water, sadly it leaked water in past the lid seal, fortunately my camera was in a plastic water tight container inside, only my torches got a bit wet.
I only realised after a short while that it seemed to be getting rather heavy, last time I used it was in 1987 it was fine then, have resorted to Darren drums now.

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you'll need a magic wand to fix that
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Peter Burgess

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Trip report - Derbyshire, 11-15 August 2009
Posted: 21/08/2009 09:15:00
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Regardless of whether there are better things for carrying cameras and flashguns, the fact that I still use an ammo-box I bought 30 years ago speaks volumes for their indestructible nature. At least I now have someone else to carry it for me.... Big Grin

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Hey, who turned out the lights!
IP: 81.144.191.248
AR

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Location: Knot far from Knotlow in the middle of the Peak District

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Trip report - Derbyshire, 11-15 August 2009
Posted: 21/08/2009 11:35:54
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If I'd known you were staying at Magpie, I could have waved at you on the way to/from work..... Wink

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I think I'll have the sheep first, then I'll have the abbot
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ttxela

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Trip report - Derbyshire, 11-15 August 2009
Posted: 21/08/2009 12:58:49
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Did you come out of the top of Jug Holes? Is the wobbly rock still there? IP: 91.143.75.2
Peter Burgess

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Trip report - Derbyshire, 11-15 August 2009
Posted: 21/08/2009 13:23:30
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We left the top entrance of the lower series well alone.

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Hey, who turned out the lights!
IP: 81.144.191.248
Peter Burgess

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Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

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Trip report - Derbyshire, 11-15 August 2009
Posted: 01/09/2009 12:08:26
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I asked the boys yesterday what they enjoyed most about the school holidays this year - immediate reply was "Magpie Mine" - so a resounding 10/10 for the trip, and confirmation, if I needed it, that PDMHS membership is worth having.



--

Hey, who turned out the lights!
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ttxela

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Trip report - Derbyshire, 11-15 August 2009
Posted: 01/09/2009 16:45:21
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My daughter loves staying at Magpie too, it's a fantastic place.

Mrs T on the other hand refuses to go near the place, says it feels like someone has died there. Well, er.... yes, almost certainly I'd have thought Roll Eyes
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derrickman

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Trip report - Derbyshire, 11-15 August 2009
Posted: 01/09/2009 18:12:08
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my cans leak too, I'm afraid. However since I bought them in the early 1970s, and they have done a tremendous amount of work, I can't really complain.

I will have to get one of ttxela's rather spiffy plastic drums next time we go anywhere
IP: 82.32.67.44
ttxela

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Trip report - Derbyshire, 11-15 August 2009
Posted: 01/09/2009 22:24:22
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There's plenty left, I took another 12 out of the lab the other day. IP: 92.8.196.183
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Trip report - Derbyshire, 11-15 August 2009
Posted: 01/09/2009 22:39:27
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save me a couple then IP: 82.32.67.44
Safety LED Miners Caplamps Moore Books: Specialist Books I.A. Recordings: Mining and Industrial History DVDs Starless River - Caving Store Explore a Disused Welsh Slate Mine
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