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Gudhamgill Mine - Horse Level and Stopes Survey (14/03/09)

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Last month we got chatting about Gudhamgill mine and started to wonder how far the first stopes on the horse level actually go. After almost 3 years since we last visited, one of the comments then was that we needed to do a survey - no time like the present. Heading for the Brownley Hill portal, we made our way along the drive until the Gudhamgill Moss Cross Vein was reached, here the bearing took us south east until we intersected the Gudhamgill (Moss) Vein, the start of the Gudhamgill Horse Level, heading north east. Survey time.

First thing was to survey along the horse level to see the distance to the fall, which turned out to be 75m from the junction. At 57m the rise giving access to the stopes was 12m high. Once in the stope there was a depression (an ore chute), some 15m from the main rise in, which we thought coincided with the fall, measurements confirmed this to within 3m. Near the entrance to the stope is a ore chute and manway with a stone dividing wall, to get across this you need to walk along a ledge and then across a ladder - the traverse chute. There are two sound anchors here, but the blue 6mm poly prop is something else. Whilst myself and Pete carried on along the stope surveying we had Dog Pete straying behind us looking in every nook and cranny, and also giving interesting geology commentary (Dog Pete is a geologist), never noticed this the first time we came here, but there are some very large examples of slickenslides on the stope walls.

Finally we made our way to the end of the stope, or rather as far as we could go. Climbing up a rubble slope it was possible to get above the stope roof, here large slabs had come down and some were already hanging down, a wedge keeping them in place. Via the slope top it was possible to make your way round to a little flat shelf with a window down into the stope. Pete found a calcified midgie here, making us think about whether there was a air flow here? Or was it just a very lucky midgie to have navigated this far? With some nice rock shelves in the little flat it proved to be a very comfortable place to have, you guessed it - lunch. After looking around a bit more, we finally climbed back down the rubble slope and proceeded to look in more detail around the stope as we retraced our route. Throughout the whole length of the stope there is a sublevel that you could get access to via hoppers or via brakes in it. Roughly towards the middle point of the stope the level gave access to a heavily calcified shaft that intersects the stope roof and floor. We had wondered if this was the Borehole Sump.

Returning back to the horse level, we made our way back to the Gudhamgill Moss Cross Vein, at the junction we had a look around and then proceeded to leave. Just a bit past the junction Dog Pete disappeared down a little cross cut. Whilst waiting from him I spotted a rather nice looking fungus, he finally came out with some old glass, and pointed out a piece of timer with a peg in it, then we noticed some tins. Taking out my camera I discovered the tripod missing, panic, curses, only one place - the stopes. Pete went back with me and yes it had to be across the traverse chute! Returning back, snaps got taken and then we climbed up a rise we had seen on the way in. It gave access to some minor stopping, nothing much of interest apart from some geological features that Dog Pete pointed out. Also there a surprising amount of old litter in these stopes and battered cavities.

Having finally drawn up the survey these details were revealed: 1) we had no where near got along the stopes as far as we had thought, only some 260m from the main junction, 2) the calcified intersecting shaft in the stopes was not the Borehole Sump, the shaft from our surveying is the first one shown on the cross section of a VM abandonment plan dated 1922, it also coincides with a trio of surface shafts around NY:78274465. There are still some loose ends that need addressing in the stopes and also a good explore of the Gudhamgill Moss Cross Vein needs to be carried out as there are numerous little cross cuts and open rises.