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Monday, 28 February 2011

Slitt Vein and a new sub-Hewitt

weardale from sedling rake
This blog post is entirely about having a walk up  Slitt Wood in Weardale to have a look at the Slitt Vein (nothing suicidal, its a mineral vein wot you can ackcherly see cos all the ground around it has been quarried away ) – and the bagging of Black Fell a 604 metre top designated as a sub-Hewitt in, and which I’ve only just noticed…. pause for breath….and nothing at all to do with the launch of, in which there’s a small article about hillbagging from yours truly. In fact I won’t mention ever again.
Appropriate, though, I suppose.
slitt wood
So, being completely unaware of the launch of, me and superdawg parked neatly by the phone box in Westgate and wandered up through the ever lovely Slitt Wood, just as far as the mines.
bargain steads smithy
drill test holes wheelpit
Now these mineworkings have just had a lorra lorra money being excavated and restored, to some extent. For interest, there’s the bargain steads – big containers for each mining team’s production, the excavated smithy with it’s  rock drill holes in the floor – presumably to prove they worked – a deep, deep shaft, fenced off, a wheel pit with a water supply from a dam up the hill and the footings for an Armstrong hydraulic engine, which replaced the wheel in the wheelpit – used for pumping water out of the mine. Plus some interesting and wet culverts.
slitt vein
if you walk up the hill on the newly created permissive path (like wot me and the dog did), you follow the edge of Slitt Vein and, at the top of the hill, there is the vein, stripped bare of it’s surround of ironstone, and with it’s galena mined out from the middle – but big and proud and strong, a damn great lump of quartzy rock. So that’s what a vein looks like…
flourspar stone insciption
After this, we wandered up the road (the beck being too lively to cross today) – and lunched in some forest in a warm and bright spell. The forest has lots of old pits and heaps in it – still being on the line of a lead vein, but this stuff is full of purple flourspar. I borrowed a couple of pieces. I’ll put them back if requested… 
And then we wandered over the moor alongside a wall that’s shown on the map as derelict, but which, according to an inscribed stone at Black Hill summit, was restored by the Golden family in 2001/2. They seem to have done a cracking job.
riverside path having a bark
salmon pool, river wear
As the sun came out, we retreated to the Dale and followed the river downstream to the start. Bruno had a paddle and a bark in a deep salmon pool. We had no idea about, obviously and I’m not going to mention it.
10 miles and 1500 feet and one sub-Hewitt bagged.


Charlie Allen for Colin Stubbs and Alison Wilson said...

Hi Mike you should have knocked on my door for a cuppa.

Mike Knipe said...

I went around by Weeds, picking up the emanations from the back end of superdawg..But I dare say I'll be up there again, Charlie - there's a DVCRS route I need to work out, so I'll be haunting Westgate quite a bit.

The Odyssee said...

Hi Mike,
Funny how the wheel turns. Not long ago these places would have been talked of as a blot on the landscape and now they are being "dun up" at great expense. I for one am pleased cos i like industrial archeology and if you find a bit of something nice. Great.
I had a look at that website, you know the one!

Meanqueen said...

These permissive paths confuse me because a lot of them are not on the map. I get completely flumoxed if there are too many paths to choose from, I just want to follow the proper public footpaths and not get lost. Spose I ought to learn how to use a compass properly.

Mike Knipe said...

The leadmining companies made a real mess of many places in the Pennines. Not pretty at all - but interesting... Slitt Wood is quite beatiful, though - heaving with wild flowers...
Llona - There's also some landowners who say "you're welcome to walk here" and supply stiles etc.. but there's nothing on maps. You just have to know about them. Some permissive paths appear on very new maps but many don't and if you come across one, you often have no idea where it goes.
Its a bugger...!

Al said...

Sorry Mike, I've read your post and I think I must be missing something, I was trying to see if there was a website link, uphill...., nah completely misssed it! Good walk though, I'll put it on my "to do list". Looks like the've spent some money and time on the Slitt works since I was there.

Mike Knipe said...

Al - If there were any links, somebody will have slipped them in without me noticing.... Slitt Wood - very nice.... and the Hare and Hounds are making their own brews as well just now....