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Engine Vein Mine, Alderley Edge Copper Mines (12/03/16)

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After the trip on New Year's Eve is was time for another venture for Hannah into the underground. Sal had mentioned Alderley Edge a few times to me and the fact that it would be a good place to take Hannah to. I arranged a trip with Glasses and James (his son) who know the mines inside out. We met at the National Trust carpark, then got kitted up and walked over to the Engine Vein mine entrance. Unlocking the door, we entered the mine. On the walls we noticed lots of white bits, which turned out to be dead insects with a mouldy growth on them. From the entrance passage we headed down a slope which took us to the main passage of Engine Vein. We went to see the Roman Shaft and then headed to a large chamber where we could see the concrete roof that was put in, in the early 80's to stop the public from falling into the mine. We then went to the iron bridge and staircase to see the First Upper Chamber and saw our first big dose of blue copper staining. Hannah was amazed by it. She has seen my photos of Paddy End at Coniston Copper mines and had always wanted to see these blue colours… Taking her to Adlerley seemed a safer bet.

We then headed over to the top of the Blue Shaft and put Hannah on a safety rope. James went first followed by me, Hannah and Glasses. At first Hannah was a bit hesitant to go down from the staging, but she was alright after I told her I would be right underneath her. She took to it with no problem and soon was making her way down the laddered shaft at a right good pace. We stopped on the way down to admire the fantastic blue copper staining and had to keep her little mits from touching it. Finally reaching the bottom we arrived on the Hough Level. I was impressed that she negotiated the shaft without being that phased. From the bottom we headed towards the impressively rebuilt ore chute at the bottom of Bear Pit. Passing under this brought us to a junction with tubs on rails, in fact the whole level was railed and Glasses told me that these had been put in when the level had been dug out!

From the junction we headed towards Brynlow Mine going along an excavated sandstone passage full of different reddish colours and the occasional outcrop of oxidised galena. Eventually we reached the dock where the remains of the old wooden boat from the 1930's could be seen. Glasses proposed that we go for a little trip on the modern canoe that has been brought in to see the green copper stained rise further along that was known as the Green Waterfall. Hannah at this point stated that she did not want to go. No way was I missing out, so I told that it was OK to stay, but we were all going and she would have to stay on her own. My rouse worked and she quickly stated that she was going to come after all. After reaching the colourfully decorated rise we turned back and headed for dry passage. When we got back to the tub junction it was high time for lunch; beans and chorizo with bread and bakewell tart on the menu today. Once filled up we headed back towards the bottom of Blue Shaft. Carrying on past it we reached the bottom of Square Shaft and had a look at the coffin levels here. I pretended to get stuck and Hannah tried to push and pull me free, ah the silly fun you can have. Going further along the level we tried to see if we could reach the entrance of Hough Level, but near the end it was sumped a bit and all I saw was a reflection of daylight from round the corner.

Turning back and heading up the level, we could feel the incline on it. At the bottom of Blue Shaft we made our way up to the top with no issues, Hannah was a right little shaft rat. Finally emerging out of the entrance we went to have a look at the Engine Vein open cut. Then it was back to the carpark to get changed and some delicious hot chocolate at the Wizard Tearoom.