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Gudhamgill - Level First Explore (29/09/06)

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With a hankering to do one of the less visited mines, we had a look at the Gudhamgill Level. Before setting of we had a quick chat with Karli asking what to expect, he told us that it was a bit of a messy mine, mentioning that there is orche on the walls, on the roof, great for getting 'tangoed', then he added 'it's not that bad.

Reaching the adit we removed the slabs barring the entrance due to the lack of a gate. Sliding down the small slope brought us straight into rather cold water. The level was lined and in good condition, apart from near the entrance where part of the roof had failed, allowing light to enter. Past this we carried on for some while entering lined and unlined parts of the level. Eventually a collapse and part of an old dig was reached, squeezing past this we immediately sank into deep and very cold water reaching the mid rift, Karli seemed to have forgotten to tell us about this surprise, if we had known - wet suits would have been put on! Not particularly pleasant but we carried on, after a few minutes stinging sensations started to manifest themselves on all submerged body parts, then more stinging, then bad burning and finally pins and needles. After about 10 minutes of this, the water thankfully got a bit shallower. The language, often referring to Karli was as colourful as the orche we where going to encounter later on.

We reached a junction with a large diameter air pipe coming out of a choked rise. It was possible to get past it into a passage, but the cold deterred us at that point and according to the plan, it was a blind. The air pipe lead east along the main level, we followed it and shortly came to a raised area out of the water with a rectangular shaft on the right. Carrying on, following the meandering air pipe, we passed a few ore shoots and a stope. Shortly traces of orange ochre starting appearing and then we came to a choke damming back ochrus mud. Climbing over the choke and avoiding getting the foul slops into our wellies we entered into a chamber with fantastic formations. Quickly we saw that this was as far as we where going to go on this trip, 3m on, a pool had formed with about 15cm of airspace in the continuing level.

I dropped back into the level we had come from and took photographs whilst Peter tried to dig some of the choke, standing around really brought on the cold as there was a really strong draft, so we retraced our route to the stope and climbed into it. A bite to eat and then a look around the stope. South, the stope ended and north it carried on for a while where we found a manway heading up. Under the manway there was a small hole. Peter tried to get down it, but from the sound of the rocks that he disturbed the hole seemed to be at the top of a scree slope. The rumblings carried on for a long while and since we had no rope, I ended up pulling him out, leaving this one for another time. We went back to the air pipe rise and braced ourselves for the cold exit.