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Author Croesor - A Floor West
Vanoord

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Croesor - A Floor West
Posted: 08/11/2009 21:48:21
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A few pics from the trial workings at the end of A Floor West in Croesor: I'm sure SimonRL will add to these at some point in the near future.

This builds on a couple of queries raised by GrahamI's map of this area, which is partially based on guesswork as the area was not accessible until the chambers flooded sufficiently to give access along A Floor, albeit by dinghy.

The first batch of pics are of the trial beyond A3W. The map is broadly correct, but with a couple of exceptions.

In short, the level turns left quite soon, to a nearly southerly direction, before curving slightly to the west, where it forks into two. However, it's not so much a fork as a T-junction, with the access from the chamber being the 'leg' of the T.

Junction, looking from 'leg' of T.


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

The right hand fork heads off mostly westwards, as if it was looking for the foot of the vein, in order to be the start of roofing shafts, although there is no evidence of any concerted effort to start these.

Shortly along this right hand tunnel, there is a wall of 'deads':



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

This is followed by some rock that seems of poor quality:


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

Relatively soon, after a small fall, the end of this branch is found:


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

There is evidence of rails (see above) but these have generally been removed.

A couple of artifacts were found and one of these dates the workings quite nicely, a page from the Sunday Express of November 25, 1928 - which suggests the use of mustard baths as a cure for rheumatism:


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

There are also two tins, one of which seems to have contained Choice?? Salmon Steak:


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

Nearby are a couple of what appear to be clay balls:


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

Going back to the T-junction, the left hand fork continues to a dead end some 90 yards beyond the junction. The tunnel is 6'6" high by 6' wide, with evidence of (flat bar) rails.


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

There is a small dead-end off to one side of this tunnel, as suggested by Graham's draft plan.

The tunnel has a couple of bends to the left, bringing it - I would guess - pretty much in parallel with the wall of chamber A3W. It then curves slightly east towards its end, where it finishes in a dead end.

The supposition must be that the tunnel was being driven to meet either the working platform on Floor A or to pass behind and under the vein to link up with the passages potentially driven under the incline.

Given that there do not appear to be any remains of a bridge over A3W (pics to follow), that would suggest to me that the intention would have been to gain access to any new workings in the west via a tunnel under the vein rather than across chambers A1W, A2W and A3W - even though this would presumably be an easier route.

The problem with that - presumably - would be that the level to/from A1W emerges right at the top of the down incline and immediately below the up incline, so any material being brought out that way would cause all sorts of traffic problems.

Although it would have required a lot more work, bringing material out via A1E may have been considered easier as that would not have interfered with the inclines, that connection being is outbye of the incline junctions.

The evidence for this seems to me to be the angle at which the tunnel from A3W intersects the junction: it's as if it's designed to give the main flow of traffic from the 'left hand' tunnel (ie the one that heads south, towards the underside of the vein) and along to the new trial workings.

A bit of clarification is needed at this juncture: Richards states Croesor as having closed in 1930, but I can't find a source to confirm the year that A1E collapsed - 1932?

Given the newspaper dated November 1928, it would seem that this area may have been seen as a hope for the future development of the quarry, albeit that work ceased in the few months before the quarry closed.


(I'll move back through the chambers and once I've processed the remainder of the photos.)

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grahami

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Croesor - A Floor West
Posted: 09/11/2009 09:01:34
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There is more info regarding the collapse in the "Croesor File" - I'll have a look later. I'll have a think about this as well, but need to change mental gears from Oakeley/Cwmorthin workings and development to Croesor - not the same! Glad tyo know you've got into this unexplored region. If you can send me an appropriate sketch, I'll update the coloured plan.

Cheers

Grahami

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Vanoord

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Croesor - A Floor West
Posted: 09/11/2009 09:13:15
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I'll sort out a plan later today!

In the meantime, a couple more pics, from A3W.

Tunnel leading west from A3W, viewed from the wall between A2W & A3W:


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

Tunnel between A2W & A3W, viewed from the tunnel heading west from A3W (ie the tunnel in the above pic). Note the solid bar bridge (?) hangers:


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

The odd thing here is that there doesn't appear to be evidence of a bridge, albeit there is a chunk of ceiling missing around about where the central hanger would be located.

All the same, there is no evidence of poles to support handrails or anything similar.

That - of course - makes for an interesting question of how the tunnels beyond A3W were driven - in that there would be no (easy) way of getting the wagons etc in there and no alternative for spoil removal other than to dump it to the chamber floor below.

The alternative, I guess, would be that a rock bridge had been left but that it either failed; or that it was quarried away in 1929 as the mine was financially failing.


Looking further along the same wall in A3W:


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

And similarly, looking at the far end of the same wall, with the head of the chamber in the distance:


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

Looking at the bridge supports along the A3W wall from thh A2W/A3W wall:


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

*****

View of A2W from the A2W/A3W wall, showing bridge supports:


(click image to open full size image in new window)
(MerddinEmrys in dinghy for scale Wink )

View of the metal bridge across A2W from the A2W/A3W wall:


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



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IP: 81.134.101.175 Edited: 09/11/2009 09:26:30 by Vanoord
Vanoord

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Croesor - A Floor West
Posted: 09/11/2009 09:25:13
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Aha, yes, 1936 the collapse happened! I spent a while looking for it last night in all sorts of places other than the extremely obvious place! Big Grin

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grahami

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Croesor - A Floor West
Posted: 09/11/2009 09:45:31
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In haste, I would suggest that the A floor west tunnels were NOT driven after the floor was worked away from below and therefore you would not see any bridge remains across A3W. They were accessible (sort of) afterwards by a wire rope ladder up from B3W, which is probably when the newspaper etc. was deposited - the tunnels probably date in the most part from the 1880s.

Cheers

Grahami

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Speedycaver

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Croesor - A Floor West
Posted: 09/11/2009 14:54:03
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Well done Vanoord, great pics. Thumbs Up

I'm following with fascination.
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derrickman

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Croesor - A Floor West
Posted: 09/11/2009 15:22:02
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given the time that the mine has been abandoned, I'm a little puzzled as to why the water levels now seem to be rising visibly - or am I missing something? IP: 149.254.58.4
Vanoord

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Croesor - A Floor West
Posted: 09/11/2009 15:30:31
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I sincerely hope the water levels aren't rising!

The mine is draining (I presume) via the adit, which is visible in the very back of this pic:


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

That's the 'down' incline and the water has been at that level since it first reached it, sometime in the 1980s.

All the chambers are connected by levels beneath the water, so the water is at the same height in all chambers, giving a useful data point to work off.

It would, of course, be better if they'd got around to completing the drainage level at the bottom of the mine, as that would make the place much more explorable...

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derrickman

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Croesor - A Floor West
Posted: 09/11/2009 16:00:34
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"This builds on a couple of queries raised by GrahamI's map of this area, which is partially based on guesswork as the area was not accessible until the chambers flooded sufficiently to give access along A Floor, albeit by dinghy."

ok, I'd understood the above quote to mean the levels are rising. This is a misunderstanding? and the mine has in fact, flooded between closure and sometime not later than the 1980s, before stabilising at its present level via the adit?

I went on a trip from CSM in the mid-1970s which involved boating along a flooded stope at Gunnislake, shades of that tag-line about the 'stopes soaring beyond range of our cap-lamps'.. has anyone been in there in recent years?

IP: 149.254.49.16
Vanoord

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Croesor - A Floor West
Posted: 09/11/2009 16:11:51
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derrickman wrote:

"This builds on a couple of queries raised by GrahamI's map of this area, which is partially based on guesswork as the area was not accessible until the chambers flooded sufficiently to give access along A Floor, albeit by dinghy."

ok, I'd understood the above quote to mean the levels are rising. This is a misunderstanding? and the mine has in fact, flooded between closure and sometime not later than the 1980s, before stabilising at its present level via the adit?


Aha, yes, sorry!

Graham's surveying was carried out when there was not much water there, now it's up to Floor A!

The bit at the end of Floor A West was originally stranded about 100' up, at the top of a rusty wire ladder which wasn't trusted!

It can now be reached by boating across three chambers, a much easier journey as long as the boat doesn't develop a leak... Shocked

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grahami

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Croesor - A Floor West
Posted: 09/11/2009 16:23:56
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Vanoord beat me to it, but only because I was typing when someone walked in the door....

To clarify, I visited the quarry in 1978 when only the bottommost floor, D, was flooded. The map being referred to is one I have heavily modified based on what information is available. The tunnels on floor A west of chamber A3W were inaccessible at the time I visited because they were high up out of reach and the rusting wire rope ladder up from B3W was not something anyone wanted to trust their lives to, so the veracity of the layout of the tunnels could not be confirmed until this most recent visit, achieved by floating across the flooded depths of chambers A1W, A2W and A3W at A floor level.

The pumps were shut off shortly after my visit and the mine then gradually filled up to adit level.

Most people go through Croesor eastwards on the through trip to Rhosydd, and since this is a serious undertaking, most do not have time to wander about with the intenton of verifying or otherwise the map. AGain, in 1978, much of what is now part of the Crosor-Rhosydd trip was inaccessible, being either far above the parts we could reach, or beyond broken bridges etc. which we at the time did not have the resources, or inclination(!) to get across.

There is much on the plan that still requires checking, and I would be grateful for any information which can be added to it.

Graham

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IP: 212.219.117.106 Edited: 09/11/2009 16:24:57 by grahami
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Croesor - A Floor West
Posted: 09/11/2009 16:28:06
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ok, so, the mine water level has risen by around 30m between first exploration attempts and the early 1980s and is now stable at adit level? IP: 149.254.49.16
grahami

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Croesor - A Floor West
Posted: 09/11/2009 16:33:58
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Yes - the water flows out through the A floor adit. Note The 1978 survey was with the permission of the then owners, who had considered re-opening the mine and working the pillars, but were eventually frustrated by the access to the site and potential National Park restrictions etc., at which point the remaining gear was stripped out and the mine allowed to flood.

This was chamber B3W in 1978 - you can see the wire rope ladder in question.



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

Cheers

Grahami

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The map is the territory - especially in chain scale.
IP: 212.219.117.106 Edited: 09/11/2009 16:39:22 by grahami
derrickman

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Croesor - A Floor West
Posted: 09/11/2009 18:16:09
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I take it by 'working the pillars' you mean untopping?

so.. there is an incomplete drainage level lower down which would have drained the mine to that level if completed?
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Croesor - A Floor West
Posted: 09/11/2009 20:41:52
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Yes, a drainage adit was started, the incline to the left of the main Creosor one (viewed from Rhosydd incline) with no obvious reason i.e. neither end goes anywhere, was for a counterweight for extracting the drill, I think the contractor was 'American Diamond Boring Co.' or similar with a single head core drilling machine. This is from memory, I'll have to dig out the book again. The top of the incline and where the entrance is located is unfortunatly covered in waste though I haven't had a close look, you might get lucky and find it.

Owain

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Croesor - A Floor West
Posted: 09/11/2009 20:46:43
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I went on a trip from CSM in the mid-1970s which involved boating along a flooded stope at Gunnislake, shades of that tag-line about the 'stopes soaring beyond range of our cap-lamps'.. has anyone been in there in recent years?



Sounds like Drakewalls - now seriously innacessable - Duchy IP: 86.165.216.163 Edited: 09/11/2009 20:47:32 by Tamarmole
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Croesor - A Floor West
Posted: 09/11/2009 21:15:09
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that would fit, Ron Hooper arranged it, which usually meant he had some consultancy interest under one or other of his 'County' hats. IP: 82.32.67.44
grahami

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Croesor - A Floor West
Posted: 10/11/2009 09:15:22
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derrickman wrote:

I take it by 'working the pillars' you mean untopping?

so.. there is an incomplete drainage level lower down which would have drained the mine to that level if completed?


No to your first point, the intention was to work the underground walls away from the furthest point which could be reached and work back towards the adit. The vein lies too far beneath the surface and parallel to the slope of the hill for untopping to work. Each wall would be "thinned," or converted into a pillar by working through it and the good slate extracted. Consideration was being given to using wire saws, which were employed to good effect later on in the Ffestiniog Slate Co.'s quarry (Ex-Oakeley Lower Quarry). However, as I said, nothing was ever done.

With regard to the lower business, this was an inclined shaft, at the end of which was intended to be a horizontal tunnel to the vein. The shaft is, understandably, flooded.

Grahami

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derrickman

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Croesor - A Floor West
Posted: 10/11/2009 10:18:06
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so.....

1) the lower level connection referred to, was never completed as a drainage adit, because that was not its original purpose. It was in fact, an aborted development for a section of the mine which was never brought into production

2) the proposed 1970s reworking would have amounted to a systematic exercise in 'pillar-robbing' on a grand scale. Could it then be the case, that it was in fact abandoned as technically unfeasible, or simply too dangerous?

3) as a possible conclusion from (2), the lower level was never developed into a drainage level because it was not required?

4) that if the whole mine stood open, the collapsed state might be considerably worse and in fact, the weight of water within the lower workings is contributing materially to the ongoing survival of the remaining accessible upper levels?
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grahami

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Croesor - A Floor West
Posted: 10/11/2009 10:57:06
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derrickman wrote:

so.....

1) the lower level connection referred to, was never completed as a drainage adit, because that was not its original purpose. It was in fact, an aborted development for a section of the mine which was never brought into production

2) the proposed 1970s reworking would have amounted to a systematic exercise in 'pillar-robbing' on a grand scale. Could it then be the case, that it was in fact abandoned as technically unfeasible, or simply too dangerous?

3) as a possible conclusion from (2), the lower level was never developed into a drainage level because it was not required?

4) that if the whole mine stood open, the collapsed state might be considerably worse and in fact, the weight of water within the lower workings is contributing materially to the ongoing survival of the remaining accessible upper levels?


Point 1 is more complicated, and I was writing from meory - I need to look at the relevant bits of the "Croesor File" before I go on further.

Point 2 - no the project foundered on access for vehicles and potential tipping etc. of working waste. "Pillar robbing" was going on in Maenofferen in the 1980's in exactly the way described, although using conventional techniques rather than wire saw. Walls were first of all partially unroofed along one side, i.e. the section of the wall under the roof was removed, and then the thickness of rock exposed worked away conventionallly. Again it was begun furthest away from the access point - the B31 incline - and then worked closer. The men doing it originally were long time miners and the sections chosen to be removed were carefully done. However, it was said (by the same men) the subsequently and following the long strike at Ffestiniog SLate CO. some men came in who were not familiar with the rock and conditions at Maenofferen and were, shall we say, less cautious in their approach which led to some problems.

Point 3 - the drainage we are talking about was a mid-19th century project

I strongly doubt your point 4.

Grahami

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