Thursday, 14 November 2013

Deeper and Down

I make no apologies for featuring Cwt-y-Bugail again...we've been studying this mine for a little over six years and despite exploring it scores of times, it never fails to yield more secrets; sometimes major discoveries, other times just something small, but always very satisfying.

The first time we ventured into the South Twll, six years ago,  we gazed down at the abyss in seemed that the pit was an act of great mischief.. how this could have happened? Now, we have a fairly good idea.

The pit, looking down from Level B. The small shelter seen in the first photo can just be made out in the centre here.
The pit actually goes down to level D, lost in the gloom. Some time during the mine's existence, probably around 1910, an incline was built which ran from level B downwards and was powered by a steam winder from above.  There's very little trace of an actual incline now, in fact, the route down is highly dangerous and should not be attempted without ropes. The slope is very steep and slate gives way underfoot at the slightest provocation.  From studying old plans and reading, however, I became convinced that the incline was the key to the Back Vein, exploited by all the South Twll workings. The pit itself is actually a series of chambers, opened out to bank, comprising B1, C1 and D1.

Looking up at the roof of C2, where it breaks into B2 above.
Level C was new ground for us. On our first time underground here, we had gazed down into the black depths of level C from the bridge on B2. Now, we were looking up at it, and it was quite a sobering sight. Most of the development work on level C took place in the 1870's after which the eight chambers were bisected by miners roofing up from level D, finally breaking out to bank in the series of chasms evident on the moor today.

The roofing shaft from D. The impressions of rails and sleepers seem to carry completely over the shaft, so they must pre-date it. The C passage carries on at the other side.
There's a roofing shaft comes up from D in chamber C3, after which the passage breaks out, marooned, on the side of D4. From here you can look down to the sinc which was the unfinished start of level E. It's pretty far down; just how deep can be gauged by looking back on the surface from the Rhiwbach tramway and noting where the choked outflow of D adit emerges, below the tips.

More delving into the black depths of the mine soon.

A warm glow from conventional, non-LED lamps lights up chamber C3
Yours Truly looks up at level B

Level D


Anonymous said...

Very nicely illustrated, Iain. I especially like #4 with its air of mystery and its lovely grey tonality.

Iain Robinson said...

Thanks, Graham! Glad you liked the shots.

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