Thursday, 15 March 2012

An Underground Adventure

Kibble and light
The remains of a Kibble, a wooden bucket for raising ore or rubbish.

A Lead mine this time, in a rather sensitive location. The entrance was extremely problematic, being flooded and with a depth of mud that sometimes reached to over the knees. I managed to become stuck for a good five minutes before slowly extricating myself…I was concerned not to lose my boots and wetsocks; the mud seemed to grip my leg like a vice. Luckily I had a walking stick with me and used it to lever myself out. Had I been alone, the whole incident might not have been so amusing, as we were in a location where people rarely venture..
The way in (1280x960)The way in…
iron leaching in tunnel (1047x1280)
Keeping to the sides of the adit, we carefully made our way in. The mud gave way to knee-deep water once inside, and we used the stick for probing the floor for any evidence of timber or a shaft ahead. The initial drive was a long one, through varying types of rock…coarse, rustic slate, then sandstone until harder quartz-bearing rock became more prevalent. As we walked carefully along, the water clapped at the rock sides of the adit, setting up a curious percussive booming. Eventually the water gave way to dry floor, a lot more pleasant. Even with the precious wetsocks, our feet were freezing!
The Junction
There was much evidence of sulphur in the walls and a small vein of manganese had been chased out in a side passage. We came to a junction, one way leading off to the right was soon terminated in a blind drive. The left tunnel carried on, twisting this way and that.
Up to Stoping (1280x960)
Finally, we came to a stoped out area. Petra climbed up to find an area at the base of a deep shaft, open to daylight. This, the business end of the mine, was a fascinating place, with sulphurous calcite rim formations on the walls giving way to quartzy galena bearing rock. Another passage ended after a while in a collapse, where flaky rustic slate had filled the tunnel. After half an hour taking photos, we headed back, both dreading the muddy nightmare of the entrance. We managed to extricate ouselves by clinging to the cutting walls- the gloop did grab me again, but in a friendly hug this time. We emerged covered in mud, me with torn trousers where I had split the knees pulling out of my own personal pothole…but we were elated- it was a great explore.
Blind Passage (1280x960)
Sulphur rim formations (1280x960)
Back to Portal (1280x960)
The way out…

4 comments:

geotopoi said...

Fascinating photos, Iain, with interesting mineral colours. That kibble looks like a nice find. Glad to hear you managed to extricate yourself! (I was once almost up to my knees in peat bog and was impressed (but not in a good way) at the incredible suction)

Iain Robinson said...

Thanks very much, Graham. Yes, the suction is amazing. I think the impression I made on that bog will last for a while!

weston said...

OOOOOOOOOOO that look interesting,I will be in touch!That aside,cant help chuckling to my self at the thought of you being stuck in the mud

Iain Robinson said...

Thanks, Wez! Yes, Petra found it highly amusing, too..,.I don't know why...lol

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