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Greenlaws Firestone Level Dig - The First Working (12/01/14)

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It has been over a year since I last visited and finally after 4¼ years of hard work and digging down and down the first glimpse of workings has occurred a month or so ago. The shaft now is approximately 75m deep and quite wide, which has required a great deal of work and materials to keep it stable. You can really feel the depth when you climb down on the ladders into the abyss. The working itself is not particularly big, at an estimate I would say around 50m at maximum and can be considered to be a straight passage with a lob sided tee junction, both left and right ends go to foreheads. Entrance is gained from the side of the foot wall. Strata wise it is located in the sand stone above the Great Limestone, and filled with lots of clay giving rise to everything covered in a very sticky mud. After this visit I was covered in it. It sticks to everything and gets everywhere.

Inside the working a number of artefacts have been found: a collapsed wooden box, a wooden scraper that would have been used for cleaning clay from shovels, the cutting end of a broken chisel, candle stubs (both in clay and burnt out) and a piece of tobacco pipe stem. On the floor it is possible to clearly see the prints from the old miner's clogs and the roof and walls are covered in pick marks. On the harder rock you can see the scrape marks left behind and in the softer clay parts you can actually see the indentations left from the pick end. In the bands of clay it is possible to see the miners finger tip marks in it.

From a mineralogical view point some galena can be seen in places, but this has mostly been mined out by the old man. However, conveniently they left behind lots of fluorspar. The fluorspar is crystalline and so far has been seen in sizes from approximately 5 to 60mm cubes. There is a wide colour variation throughout the working: clear, pale yellow, dark purple, light purple, black and some in a striking blue hue. Greenlaws mine is producing again, albeit for a different market.

It is not going to be long before the workings in the Great Limestone proper are going to be reached, and that is when the real fun is going to start!