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Brownley Hill Mine, Brownley Hill West High Cross Vein (20/08/11)

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After our last visit to the West High Cross Vein, we wanted to go again to have a look at a few more things that we ran out of time for previously. Also we had 3 others with us that had not been there before so it gave them a chance to have a look around as well. We were entering the adit at about 10.20 and now we had the hour or so slog ahead of us to get to the junction of interest. Shale falls, waist deep water, crawls, squeezes, fresh falls, panting, sweating and before you know it we were at the junction with the West High Cross Vein. Then some more crawling and finally we reached the rise to the Great Limestone and the stopes above.

Once everyone was up, we started to take some photographs of the stopes and then made our way to the cross vein showing the others various things of interest. This time we had a good wonder around the stopes and found out that they all connected in loops around the cross vein. We headed north along the West High Cross Vein, until we reached the Brownley Hill Vein. Here we climbed up a short rise of maybe 4m or so and had a look around in this working right at the top of the Great Limestone. Here we found various remains of candles, pipes and clogs. By the way, it also made a great spot for lunch. One of the clogs that was found had a hole at the back on the heel. This was rather odd and we wondered whether it had been done for comfort, but if so what about protection for the wearer? Climbing back down from the working we made our way to the main junction in the stopes. The group split up here for a while and myself and Karli had a play around with taking photographs and lighting effects.

Wondering where everyone had got to, Colin appeared and told us that all were at the south end of the cross vein, so we headed that way to meet up with them. They had found pretty much all things we had last time. However, I was interested in a ore chute that we had found last time which, had an anchor in it. On further inspection the bolt and anchor were in good condition, and Pete also spotted a second bolt, but no plate. Luckily Pete had some hangers, but they were with his bag left at the junction in the stopes. Kindly enough he volunteered to get them, Ian joined him to also get his bag. Whilst they were gone Colin had a coffee break and I took some more photographs of the shattered stopes further south on the cross vein. On Ian's and Pete's return we started to rig the ore chute.

Pete abseiled down first, and shouted up that the ore chute intersected a level which, he recognised as being the one that ran under the ore chute with the rails that we had to cross. The ore chute continuted down past the level and ended in a shale passage below the Great Limestone. Karli came down next followed by myself. The level northwards was at a forehead and southwards after 30m or so a fall had occurred. It must have been used for tramming ore as there were rails in the floor. Karli climbed back up and myself and Pete swung into the level on the way up and exited that way, whilst the others derigged. The ore chute judging by the length of rope used must have been around 23-35m deep - depth of the Great Limestone, considering we came from a bit above it and then to below it. The section of level that we had entered does not seem to be connected to the horse level as there is no connection to that area on any plan we have seen. If anything we felt that it was probablly a bit higher up as it was pretty much right under the Great Limestone.