We've had a quiet winter. I've been sidelined with an injury, and have only lately been able to take some easy walks. As most of our favourite slate mines are generally at the top of ferocious climbs or at the end of long and winding trails, the winter has been rather low on adventure. So, it was with a great deal of excitement that we rolled out for a local mine today.
I wrote a post about Catherine and Jane here almost a year ago, and you can find the history of the place there. It's in a beautiful area of woodland with public rights of way running through it and is a fairly well-known site. Ruins are dotted here and there throughout the woods, as are many trials, shafts and adits. There are three old waterwheel pits, a processing area and several ruined structures, including the pathetic remains of the cornish engine house, standing atop a filled-in shaft.
|The ruined engine house|
|Inside one of the parallel adits|
|If you go down to the woods today...|
|Inside the lower adit. Plenty of iron and sulphur in evidence|
|one of the tunnels, stacked with deads|
The tunnel went on, forking. Both forks were full, almost to the roof, with deads. So that's why there was little spoil outside! The left hand fork was navigable by crawling for a little way; my torch showed that the tunnel carried on a good while, but it was extremely claustrophobic and neither of us fancied the expedition. No matter, we had shed light on another of the adits at Catherine and Jane...of course, these aren't the only entries into the mine, but all the others require SRT and are very hazardous.
We sat outside, ate our sandwiches and listened to the birdsong. I began to think about our next expedition, a little farther afield, perhaps, next time...
|an old trolley near the mine|