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Brownley Hill Mine, Brownley Hill North Middle Vein / Guddamgill Burn Cross Vein Intersection, Brownley Hill Vein and Tatlers String (29/01/11).

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We returned to the Brownley Hill North Middle Vein again to finish of the loose ends from the last trip. At the junction with Guddamgill Burn Cross Vein Karli and Alistair roped up the shaft and descended down it, and confirmed that it connected with the horse level below. Myself and Ian wondered south to the the forehead of the level. Near the end of the forehead on the right hand side was a stack of deads which, looked like a walled up or backfilled passage. Could this correspond to the link shown on the VM abandonment plan with the far end of the the flats on the Brownley Hill Middle Vein? When we got back, Ian then went over to the parallel level right at the top of the great limestone to see if he could link in with the level 3m above the shaft - he did. Alistair climbed up to join him, myself and Karli derigged and went round to meet them. We now were in the level right on top of the great limestone and from here (by the rise up to the high level) we had a more comprehensive explore than last time.

I went with Karli east on the continuation of the Brownley Hill North Middle Vein, we found the rise shown on plans, which connected to the high level. The bottom of the rise was choked with fallen rocks (and a carpet), but it was possible to get into it and beyond. The narrow opening highlighted a strong draft passing through from the high level. On the other side it was possible to carry on along the level to the forehead / fall at the end. We returned and with no sign of Ian and Alistair we headed south down a slope and entered a sublevel below us. This connected up with a number of holes above and ended with a sump going down to the horse level that had been seen before. In the sublevel there is an interesting inclined chute to the top level. According to plans it looks the level should carry on heading south all the way to where it intersects the Wellgill Cross Vein, but not here as it looks like there has been a fall. Meanwhile Alistair and Ian had had a good look at the north end of this level, which whilst following a number of junctions ultimately did not go anywhere and much of it ended up in falls or foreheads. The level north was mostly a hands and knees job, with the floor being covered by a very fine shale - almost like sand. Back together again, we had lunch before climbing up to the high level.

Once in the high level we just wanted to have a quick look around before returning. So we headed south passing a few sumps, including the climbing sump all presumably going back down the level we had come from. Some of the sumps had graffiti near them. We also passed a barrow wheel and that was about it for objects of interest. We carried on until we hit the junction with the Brownley Hill Sun Vein, here Alistair and Ian and a look up the Sun Vein, whilst Karli and I headed towards the level mouth to see how far it went before the fall. We entered waist deep water, passed a few rises and eventually came to the offending fall. We returned and waited for the others at the junction. They had nothing much to report apart from the fact that is was blowing a gale along the level and that they had probably gone as far as the end of the Sun Vein. We returned to main horse level and headed for the Brownley Hill Vein.

Taking the left to get onto the Brownley Hill Vein we carried along it, pausing to look at the well know blue pool and then on again. Approaching the Guddamgill Cross Vein, near here we climbed up a rise into the stopes above. Then climbing back over ourselves we explored more of the workings and came across a number of artifacts. There were barrow boards, a barrow and a selection of tools. Some of the deads here also had very vivid yellow staining, which was very colouful. Back down in the horse level Alistair wanted to take us to Tatlers String. We reached the junction with Guddamgill Cross Vein and here we had a pause to try and see if the actual level and what we where seeing aligned with the 3 different copies of plans we had - no. Well, no is being unfair, you get the jist, but to actually get it to work out like on the plans that is a no. It is just crying out for a survey. I think that a big part of the problem is that the levels on the more comprehensive plans are shown as being either above or below the great limestone, and where they change is not clear. Also I suppose that on a vein junction there could well be strata shifts, so what is a lower level suddenly becomes a higher level, even though you have not changed horizon.

Heading further east we took a left junction and reached a rise, past the rise the forehead could be seen, looking back I wish I had gone over to check it, as there could have well been a rise at the end which would have confirmed a position on the plan - hindsight and all that. One by one we climbed up and we entered into the great limestone. This was Tatlers String. Karli and Alistair had been here before, from their early days of exploration, but for me and Ian it was their first time. The area is fantastic in geological features and some of the stone work is the best and most intact that I have seen. It was the end of the day and there was not much time left, so rather than taking photographs, we just dumped the gear and had a good look around. From what we could see there seems to be a two parallel sections to the string. A large stope on the south side and more of a level on the north. The plan does not really correspond - unless we are having a special moment?

We climbed back down, thinking about coming back again to spend more time here, with a view to photographing and surveying.