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Mine Exploration Forum

Author Wondering into holes, and always getting wet - by Linden
fjällvandring

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Joined: 05/03/2012
Location: Carlisle, Cumbria

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Wondering into holes, and always getting wet - by Linden
Posted: 03/12/2012 22:30:54
Well

I thought I should make one of these. So those people can keep up with the things I do beneath the ground, which usually include taking photos and admiring large open spaces, and looking for cracks in the roof which might yield pain!

I've been exploring mines since I was 13 actually. Quite young. I've always been fascinated by slate mines/quarries. Even though I'm not from Wales, I spent a lot of my time there as a wee lad. Coming up from Kent, to Wales, is a big difference.
As a wee lad I would gaze at the mountains. It is my firm belief that some places, objects of people can allow our mind to become more aware and more 'whole' than what it normally is. Mountains do this to me, the sight of mists flowing over splintered rocks awakens part of me, brings me closer to a feeling of mystery and general connectedness with the universe. Mines also do this, the sight of a deep crater in the ground, brings up unconscious messages of mystery and depth in the world, who can resist but explore them? If you think I'm talking ***te, then fair enough.

There's something about seeing a beautiful mountain with a dark entrance, surrounded by worn away buildings. Seeing a slate tip must be telling me, on some level that slate tips are an indication of depth into the world, into the past, into things beyond normal human perception and things which thus fuel the imagination, and help the mind feel part of something great.

Either way, I had one massive go at slate mines after visiting Rhosydd when I was 13, with a candle.. and a friend. Got some distance down the no.9 adit then turned back. From ages 14,15 I visited most of the slate mines across Cumbria, several in Wales. I went to some 'scary' places.
Now that I have more free time, it's my second round:

So, lately I've done a wee bit of exploring. In the future, mid Wales, Blaenau, Borrowdale and Falun in Sweden are great possibilities.
But in the meantime I'm concentrating on the Old Man of Coniston. The Old Man has many slate mines. The Welsh slate mines are impressive but our Cumbrian ones are equally interesting. Many of them have artifacts, the slate tends to be marvelous greens or blues and we also have rather 'ancient' slate mines here, some underground quarries have been working since the 1600s or possibly earlier.

When I was 13/14/15 I managed to see a fair few of these workings. One of them is a tempting place to visit, an ancient forgotten place which just gives off an unpleasant vibe. However I don't want to take the risks I did back then, not that I was ever reckless.

There are many more around here which need to be discovered in one way or another. I'm giving myself until April to do this.

Recently I have been exploring the Thrang Crag slate mine in Great Langdale. This is an odd place, and a careful study of the site would be needed to actually determine what the fec* is going on!

Basically, in Cumbria, slate was mined 'inwards'. For Welsh slate mine people this is a very different concept indeed. In 18th century Cumbria, adits were not driven to obtain slate, neither were big open pits or galleries used. Instead the slate was taken where outcropping, the outcrop was followed into the mountain some distance to create a cutting, which, before becoming too deep was followed further into the mountain to create a 'cave' working. These are not like Welsh slate chambers but basically open quarries followed underground, which appear as large bigass holes in the sides of mountains.
Unfortunately, being so close to the surface meant lack of force to keep the roof in place, most of them collapsed or became open quarries.

here is a list of some which died and survived, and some which I'm not sure about:

.Stainton Ground, near Broughton Mills, maybe?
.Walna Scar, Dunnerdale
.Goldscope, nr Dow Crag
.Lower Cove, Coniston Old Man
.Scald Kop, Coniston Old Man
.Light Hole, Coniston Old Man
.Fisher Bank, Coniston Old Man
.Blue, Coppermines valley, maybe?
.Thrang Crag, Great Langdale
.Loughrigg Fell/Rydal Caves
.White Moss, Rydal Water
.Castle Crag 'caves'
.Cauldron Quarry, Kentmere


So anyone, most of these have fallen in, leaving me confused. In essence I'm currently researching and looking at Cave Workings, whilst trying to explore other, previously unexplored holes.

Some cave workings


Cauldron Cave, Kentmere


Showing scale of Cauldron Quarry


Early sledging track from Cauldron Quarry


Fisher Bank Cave in the snow, Coniston Old Man. This was expanded in the 1800s, and the modern mine floor of Smithy Bank broke into the side of it. I think it may connect through to Light Hole too, but this whole area is destroyed by a huge collapse from the 1940s.


Scald Kop, Coniston Old Man. This isolated hell-hole of broken rubble once was a large cave working. It extended into the mountain beyond here but very nasty place!



(click image to open full size image in new window)
This is the so called way in, to Scald Kop. It involves sliding beneath several huge slabs which are just waiting to fall, more nasties inside.


Inside Scald Kop, this wonderful group of rocks are slowly moving

This demonstrates how narrow the tunnels at Scald Kop are. This is more of a walkway between backfilled areas, again, very different to Wales.


This narrow and low arched tunnel is believed to be connected to the Fisher Bank cave working on the Coniston Old Man and predates any adits on the mountain.


This is another Cave Working at Cove slate mine on the other side of the mountain. High Cove was rumoured to connect to Scald Kop, but never unlikely, it would mean going through the mountain but how cool would that be if it were true (which it isn;t). This chamber is at the top of a large quarry which seems to have been an underground chamber/closehead once upon a time.


It's probable that the Cave on Cove was extended deeper using adit driving in the 1800s.


Loughrigg Fell or Rydal Cave quarry is perhaps the best example of a cave working in Cumbria. Again, very close to the surface so one day it will fall down. Several other caves in the area too.



(click image to open full size image in new window)
Goldscope is a large cave working opposite Cove near Dow Crag. This photo is taken looking in. The area immediately in front of the camera and below it are the ancient areas, the inner parts of the cave are actually a 'closehead' and a later form of slate quarrying.



(click image to open full size image in new window)
The tramway here is in the back of the Cave Working and would have been installed at a much later date to the original workings nearer the entrance.

More will come soon folks.

bye, ha det bra Smile


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jeg elsker Norge, landets dialekter, folk, landskap og naturen!
IP: 95.148.9.38
fjällvandring

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Wondering into holes, and always getting wet - by Linden
Posted: 09/12/2012 21:23:21
Hello again

Well a few days ago I was intending to go to Blaenau Ffestiniog to check out some holes in the ground (Oakeley, Moelwyn) but couldn't get there for various reasons.
Instead I head off to Smallcleugh and Rampgill nr Nenthead. I hadn't been to Nenthead since I was 15, and I fancied looking at it again, it's a marvelous place, and the mines have that unique Pennine feature of Stone Arched tunnels which are actually pretty rare around the world.

I bought a sandwich thing in Alston and noticed how friendly the people were, people in Cumbria are as a rule friendly but spesh so here, thought I.

I had a few daydreams about drawing a treasure map and then reached Nenthead, which was covered in much snow. I had never been into Rampgill before so I wondered in, taking about half an hour to photograph ice formations near the entrance. Further in, I found gypsum crystals and other things to photograph.

Then a quick trip to Smallcleugh in snowy weather, attempted to find the incline flats which I had seen years ago, got lost in some other small flat temporarily, and then went out again. It was worth it, hadn't been there in ages.

Soon I intend to visit Hónigstadhur slate mine and maybe a coal mine in Lancashire.

thanks for reading Smile

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jeg elsker Norge, landets dialekter, folk, landskap og naturen!
IP: 95.148.10.3
fjällvandring

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Wondering into holes, and always getting wet - by Linden
Posted: 20/03/2014 19:46:13
I have not added to this in a lang while

basically at the moment I spend much time on a lot of different things. In terms of mines I go underground frequently, am gradually exploring more of the copper mines, improving my photos of places I have already visited, and searching for possible new places over the next few months before probably moving to Wales in the last third of this year.

I am also writing a general description of all slate mines in Cumbria, this won't be hugely accurate for I don't know the exact histories of a lot of the sites, I simply haven't been able to find anything, so it's more the documentation of the structural elements of these mines and in some cases, a lot of historical detail.

I am writing a book about Welsh mythology, you could say, with a lot of 'fictional' mines within the stories which will feature in some artwork hopefully.

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jeg elsker Norge, landets dialekter, folk, landskap og naturen!
IP: 2.26.141.170
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