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Carr's Mine - Horse Level, Low and Middle Flats (24/05/05)

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Every so often the Nenthead Mines Heritage Centre organises a trip to go beyond the Carr's Show mine as this part is no longer accessible to the general public. A group of 12 NPHT members along with staff was taken on this trip.

After the introductory talk given by Peter Wilkinson at the Heritage Centre, the party proceeded to the mine entrance. The horse level was followed through the show mine until we reached the gate leading into the old workings. The horse level here follows the Rampgill Hangingshaw Branch level below and the Smallcleugh Cross Vein above. Shortly we reached a point where there was a rise into workings in the Great Limestone. The rise itself was more or less directly under the middle of Smallcleugh Reservoir, and was surprising dry considering the possibility of water seepage. Carrying on the horse level we passed 2 sumps which drained water into the Rampgill Level. Carr's Mine was driven on a slight incline going down, so for drainage the water has to spill into Rampgill as it cannot exit via the adit.

A little further on, a left branch was taken and we climbed into the Low Flats in the Great Limestone. The flats had spectacular calcite flows and iron stained mud pools. Wooden planking could be seem on the floor which was used as 'roadways' for wheel barrows. In the low flats we also came to a large wooden lined shaft which rose to the top of the great Limestone, by the shaft a pool had formed which was framed by more calcite flows. After exiting the Low Flats we returned along the side passage and climbed up a laddered rise some 8m into the Middle Flats.

The area that we visited in the Middle Flats was much larger than in the Low Flats and subsequently more impressive. Near the top of the rise there was an area that was covered in brilliant white calcite flows including large patches of calcified boot lace fungus with miniature 'Santa's Grottos' all over the rock face. From here we moved further into the flats and eventually stopped for lunch, whilst having lunch we took turns to enter via a small passage into was could be described as a fissure with large amounts of calcified boot lace fungus on the walls - a sight to rival any formations found in caves. After lunch we moved further into the flats and explored more workings, including the by pass of a collapse. Through out the whole flat there where many passages, rises and ore hoppers to explore, but due to the party size and less experienced members these where unsuitable to attempt. Finally we exited by retracing our entrance route.

The trip was excellent and showed in parts the condition of the mine as it would have been in its heyday - tidy stacked walls, little debris on the floor and many intact artifacts such as buckets, dynamite, and brushes. It was possible to see all this as the mine does not see much traffic these days and so items of interest are not destroyed. It is easy for current explorers to dismiss Carr's Mine as not being particular big or interesting, but this could not be further from the truth. The flat workings are highly impressive and the Horse Level does in fact extend all the way to the Longcleugh Vein. If you also take into consideration the West side of the mine which is not longer accessible due to flooding and collapses then altogether the mine is quite on a large scale considering its age.