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Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Underground, not up Skiddaw
















Today was the first anniversary of Brian's visit to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle during which he was fitted with a couple of stents in his cardiac tubes.
By way of celebration, and to provide a photo for the consultant who fitted the stens that Brian was still alive and kicking, we arranged to go to the top of Skiddaw. Unfortunately, a warm, wet Atlantic blow brought hill fog down to about 400 metres or so and it was drizzling and windy in a typical pennine windy and drizzly sort of way. A pic of Skiddaw summit would have been hardly woirth the effort.
So, instead, he fed his neighbours, the gooses (see pic) and we kitted up in yellow romper suits and wellies and forced our way into Nenthead's Scaleburn leadmine. the purpose was twofold
1) To see if we couldnt get some nice fossils from a seam of nice fossils - for which we carried a spade and a lump hammer and a chisel.
2) To visit a horse gang, which, until recently had been blocked off by a roof fall which had recently been excavated.
and ...er ... threefold
3) To take some pics for the consultant (see above )
4) To have a laff....
Objective number one was started, but we abandoned the attempt to prize out some fossils pro tem. I was a bit worried when some big rocks suddenly squashed the rucksack with the tools in it. It would seem that roof falls happen suddenly and with no creaking or rumbling at all - the damn things just go bang - or splash, if they land in water. This was a bit scary, but Brian seemed unfazed.
And so we paddled through to the excavation for the horse gin - a short crawl under scaffolding. No creaking....
The horse gin is a circular cast iron ...er... circle whoch was rotated by a horse, who's job it was to simply walk around in circles. The gin pulled a cable and so, things were pulled up a deep shaft - which was just luking dangerously quite nearby. We lunched and took pictures and went back to the fossils.
We got a few nice ones, loaded everything up and left for a coffee at brian's.
A lass with a camera and her partner, who were interested in leadmines and had been mooching around purposefully outside, helped me get my wellies off. Once they get water in, I can't get the buggers off..
All good clean, wet and slightly muddy, fun.
I used the new Petzl and two backup lights, one of which is a wind-up. A real wind-up.

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