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Saturday, 27 June 2009

Slit Vein Holes Looked Into

Another ad-hoc old-blokes games trip. Brian rang last night, at a loose-end today and dying to tell us all about his trips to the Commons to talk about cybermoor.
We met at Charlie’s house and whilst Charles couldn’t be persuaded to abandon whatever it was he’d planned for the day, he did give us a cuppa and let us change into wet-stuff gear in his office. Wet-stuff gear, on this occasion, being shorts and t-shirt and cheapo boots.
And so, armed with helmets and lights and waterproof boxes for the cameras and car keys and whatever – we marched manfully off up through Slit Wood at Westgate, investigating bits of industrial archaeology and a geocache box on the way.
Eventually, we came to the first of our targets for the day – an old lead level with a removable wooden gate. Brian entered first and came out again shortly afterwards whilst I treated the local midgies to some blood. The I went in, covered the 100 metres or so of wet passageway and came out again. I made a video of both mine and Brian’s exits from the hole.
Then on to hole number two. There was a walker having a break here – and , it turned out that he’d worked with one of Brian’s neighbours. There’s no six degrees of separation in Co Durham – its usually no more that two….
We couldn’t get in the hole as it was barred and padlocked.
So, on to target three – a couple of culverts carrying the main beck, just next to the junction with the slit vein – an obvious spot when you know what to look for as its been deeply excavated. We entered the culvert and climbed down a small waterfall into water too deep to paddle and passed through the tunnel – returning shortly afterwards to investigate an undercutting of the revetments which headed towards a fenced-off shaft. This didn’t go very far and contained lots of loose rubble.
Having got wet, we descended by the wettest route possible – in the beck, climbing or sliding down small waterfalls and generally slipping around dangerously.
At three-ish, we decided that a pint of beer might be more fun, so we abandoned the beck for the footpath and , after changing behind Charlie’s bins, repaired to the Hare and Hounds for a bit of libating. We'll have to finish off walking down the beck later - there's some enormous pools lower down, and, maybe we could get under the main road and into the River Wear...(!)
A few pics and a video show the trip – have patience with the video.
Last of the Summer Wine stuff, this…



Alan Sloman said...


Completely barmy!

You'll never get me up in one of those!

mike knipe said...

Its fine, Alan, providing you put your butties in a waterproof box. Otherwise, its a bit miserable, really.

beatingthebounds said...

Yep - completely barmy, and great fun by the looks of it.
Last of the Summer Wine often springs to mind when I read about your madcap adventures, but after my Father Christmas gaff, I kept that thought to myself. Until now. Whoops!

mike knipe said...

...just trying to work out how to put wheels on a tin bath. The road between weardale and Teesdale rises to 2300 feet. That would make an interesting ride....

Martin Rye said...

I said that once Alan. Told the cave guide "I don't do crawling, or getting wet". I did crawl and got wet!! Good fun but I would only cave with a guide. Good way to cool off Mike on a hot day. But like Alan I would rather have a pint :)

John J said...

Fascinating - I wonder what the lone walker eating his butties thought when you both appeared out of a hole in the ground!

There's some interesting stuff here:


mike knipe said...

Each to their own, Martin, eh? Personally I never touch that beer stuff (ahem, koff....)
Interesting link there John J, I've not come across that forum before. Seems there are lots of barmy folks about.
Culverts in Bacup....? hmmmm....

Andy Howell said...

Fine stuff Mike, fine stuff.

Ignore that Sloman — he just doesn't have enough og a sense of the absurd :-)

mike knipe said...

Dunno about that Andy - TGO chally cheese and wine parties in outrageously remote places - without the cheese?
seems a tad "creative" to me.....

Alan Sloman said...

There's nothing worse than soggy sarnies Mike. But I do hate it when the wine lable slips off the soaking bottle - it somehow feels dirty, nay; unclean!

Mr Howell - I'll see you after class. (Oooh! Did someone mention 'class'?)

Some of Lord E and my best cheese and wines had no cheese - some had no wine! But the electric brown water was always tasty.

And I know I have only one ear at the moment, but I heard that!

mike knipe said...

Hoho (father christmas mode again) worra jolly jape. I must try to get to one of these C&W soirees..
I always seem to be somewhat far away from them, though.
I don't mind the odd drop of the vino collapso... It'd have to have a label, though. I mean, y'know..standards...

John J said...

Culverts in Bacup? 'Nutters all of them!

mike knipe said...

Aye, get thissen a bet on JohnJ. There's something comfortingly Northern and industrial about a nice, damp and spidery Lancashire culvert.
There's nowt namby-pamby about a culvert.
You know where you are with a rat infested culvert.
You're underneath the road, in fact.
With some rats.