MinesMine PlansLinksContactLinksHome

Hangingshaw Branch Level, Flats and Stopes, (26/03/10)

Back to Rampgill Mine Trip Index

It is easy to over look the Hangingshaw Branch of Rampgill, as usually when you are passing through it, it is as part of a through trip, and hence you are steaming on to other parts or just wanting to get out to daylight. The level itself extends all the way past the Ballroom in Smallcleugh, and there are multiple links to Carr's and Smallcleugh Mines. Having explored what could be termed the middle section of it (between Proud's Flat workings and the bottom of the Hydraulic Shaft) a number of years ago we thought it was time to see the first section of it - the only way to do this is to climb up.

We entered via the Rampgill portal and at Whiskey Bottle junction took the Hangingshaw Branch. Simply coming at the level from this way allowed us to notice more details, such as the rises and the various junctions, that you miss when flying outby. The first rise we climbed up looked promising, as after reaching a crosscut part way up it, you had two branches to explore, the first one went to another rise, but this could be seen to be blind and the other side went to a fall. The most interesting thing we saw up this one was some iron stained mine pearls. Back down and then we attempted another rise next to a junction. Whilst I had a look up the junction, Karli and Pete climbed up the rise. The junction led to what seemed to be a big shaft going up, with a large amount of water coming down it. The bottom had many deads and so my first thoughts were that this must be a major link to Carr's. Climbing up the deads and past the water curtain, revealed daunting jammed deads above me - more of a stope than shaft. I returned to the junction and joined the others up the rise. About 10m or so up, there was a level that intersected the rise, we took the north side first and this gave access to a thin long flat, which had a ledge running along its length. We found a few artifacts, a spade, a few candle stubs on the walls, as well as some nice formations. We then climbed across the rise to the south side of the level, revealing a ventilation door frame, complete with hinges, but no door. Further along, some more formations were seen, another rise going upwards that had fallen in, and past this around a corner another fall, which was actually drafting. Water could be heard on the other side and judging by the position, we guessed it was the main level below. Here we also spotted some of Mole's tell tail mahogany picket fence boards that he uses in digs. On second thoughts it may have not been the main level, but the branch I had been down, with the jammed deads? Returning back to the formations we stopped for lunch.

Back down in the level we carried on and then climbed up a 3rd rise, which opened up into a large chamber that was fed by another large hopper and manway. Climbing back over what we had just come up we entered a crosscut which then opened up in to some large flats. In these we came a cross a explosives box, tins and a very large timber floored area dedicated to sorting out the ore. The whole area here did not seem to get much traffic and it was nice to see intact vertical pack walls. Coming back out of the flats we crossed the rise into another section that gave way to a warren of levels and small flats over a few horizons. Here we also found a number of hoppers both going up and down. Yet again we climbed back down and carried on, to climb another rise. Whilst climbing up this one I noticed a piece of flat rock with red insulation tape on it, cogs turned, this was a marker thrown down from Carr's level over 4 years ago. It must have had a right pin ball ride down to reach the hopper! Climbing up further, a number of hoppers could be seen feeding this one - all very impressive, and yet again there was a level heading off, however it did not reveal anything. Pete decided to try and climb one of the feed hoppers and surprisingly ended up in the warren of levels and flats accessed from the 3rd rise. Dropping back down we carried on for a while longer until we reached the deep water section. Here we had a look in the calcified crosscut and then moved a little further up to the Proud's Working Hopper.

We had wanted to do more, but yet again time had run out, making us call it a day.