Stat Counter

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Holes are for looking into

Anybody who read this blog’s post about the footpath stuff I do for County Durham may well have noticed , in one of the pictures, a footbridge with a tunnel next to it. Or maybe not, eh?

I’ve walked over and passed this tunnel many times and wondered where it went. I thought it might be just a culvert.

Today, me and two other peri-geriatrics (Brian and Charlie) put on our wellies, found our torches and went for a look.

It turns out to be a stone-lined and arched tunnel carrying just a small trickle of water which goes towards some lead mine spoil heaps for , maybe just over 100 metres.
Inside, there’s a few little side passages, more like drains, really, and one which appears to have a door at the end, but which was too tight and wet to get very far into. Beyond the door, obviously, is a secret world where everybody wears green clothes and the King sits on a throne of robins, holding the Book of Moons in his right hand and a Bill Bryson book about Australia in the other - and is surrounded by maidens in floaty white frocks singing songs about the elf king’s daughter and wondering where Thomas the Rhymer has got to….. Or it could just be another wet and muddy passage.

After we’d come out, much muddier than when we went in, we paddled up the beck and found an old dam with some reconstruction going on and a leat, a wheel pit, some clinker, another culvert some bits of a Victorian teapot and a stalactite from deep underground.

Then we went for a cup of tea.

Its grand to poke around, looking into holes.

Its at Boltshope Burn near Blanchland – a very productive mine, bits of which were producing fluorspar in to the 1980’s. Which is quite remarkable.


Martin Rye said...

If you find any tresure its mine - honest. Caveing is nuts. I have tried it, to be honest it was fun.

mike knipe said...

Our main fun in these holes is pontificating on what they were for. We never did properly resolve the reason why so much effort would have been put into digging the tunnel and lining it with specially cut stones - other than that it seemed to be part of a large water-management system for driving water wheels and washing ore... fascinating stuff, though (Wot I fort anyway...)