A little underground adventuring took place today beneath the beautiful Cumbrian Fells where its very dark.
I picked Brian up from Nenthead and transported him to a CMRU training event in the mines at Newlands. As I’m not a member of CMRU, a small hole was excavated for me in some scree and I was pointed into a dustbin for a solo exploration of a bit of mine which linked into the bit of mine that CMRU were doing their training in.
Their entry was via an evil slit at the foot of a crag which you really wouldn’t go anywhere near if you knew where it lead.
Where it lead was a shaft, inclined at a steep angle which descends a very long way indeed. Its unlikely that if you slipped down here that you’d be all in one piece when you stopped, and, it would appear that there is indeed nothing to stop you from a quick descent should you decide to have a bit of a poke around at the bottom of this particular crag.
But my way in was much easier. I plopped through the dustbin which had been inserted into the scree and found myself in a “coffin level”. This is a passage chipped by hand which is wider at the shoulders than at the feet. Coffin-shaped, y’see…hence…
Anyway, this lead through a bit of mud and some paddling, past a pit and into a tilted passage which lead to a spot some way down the inclined shaft mentioned above.
Voices came from above. I waited for a photo opportunity , then got fed up and went back to the surface for a butty, then back in again. People appeared and we made our way out again. I ate my banana, had some coffee and then explored the Elizabethan water leat which brought water from a dam high up the Dale to my dustbin (it wasn’t a dustbin at the time) Later, I revisited the coffin level one more time before the team emerged for their lunch. I explored up the dale once more, finding two more short levels to explore.
Afterwards, me and Brian walked around the hillside and explored the levels on the other side of the hill, which connect to this mine. This was a walk-in level which eventually came to a large chamber with much old timber staging in the roof and a pit which was apparently for a water wheel (same water from the leat – see above – try to pay attention)
And then we all went home. Don’t bother trying to find the dustbin by the way. Its impossible to find unless you know exactly where to look and there is a lot of scree. Anyway, its quite dangerous to go in old mines, so don’t do it.