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Rampgill Mine - Hangingshaw Branch via Proud's Sump (24/03/06)

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On our last trip to Smallcleugh we ended up getting to the bottom of the Hydraulic Shaft and exploring as far as the Drawing Sump junction. We had wanted to do a through trip this time round, but since we were not going to be going down Smallcleugh the next day, and hence having the opportunity to retrieve the ropes it was decided to get to the Hydraulic Shaft bottom again via the Hangingshaw Branch.

We entered Smallcleugh and rigged up Proud's Sump. I brought a surveyors tape with me and finally put to rest the depth of Proud's Sump - any takers? - it was 17m from top to the bottom mound, so much for 25m or so we had in our minds. We measured the depth to Carr's Level here as well, that was 7m. Karli rigged up the shaft into Proud's flat and we had a good explore of the south east end. Part of it is under the Whimsey Sump and there is another sump from the flat to Rampgill that we did not know about. The whole area is rich in artifacts and has some very good examples of deads walling. Near the laddered ore shoot that drops you to Rampgill we came across a rock face with six candles stuck to it.

After we finished in the flat, we dropped into Rampgill and headed towards the Hydraulic Shaft. At the first collapse Karli started to have a water management session and we ended up dropping the water level by about 15cm, there is something good about getting the water to speed up, washing away debris - or is this a sure sign of spending too much time underground? Anyway, enough play, it was time to head further up the level. As we carried on there where a few more collapses, but nothing too major - the water level at its deepest reached our stomachs. Eventually the water gave way to running in between the rails and we reached the Drawing Sump / Charlie's Sump junction. Lunch was had here, and then we did some surveying.

On the VM abandonment and PDMHS plans of this part of the mine there is some confusion, as to what horizon the junctions in this area are. The VM plan shows everything as Rampgill, the PDMHS shows it all as Carr's. The calcified ladder area is shown to have a junction, but this is not the case, from our measurements and from looking at the LLC plans it looks like there is a level above the calcified ladder which links in with the Drawing Sump and the sub level which runs under the Smallcleugh Cross Vein, whether this level is Carr's we still do not know, but at least it makes more sense now. It would be good to be able to get into this level somehow. After measuring this out we headed back to Charlie's Sump junction and started to dig some of the collapse out, this caused the water to drop by a good half metre, enabling better access into the passage. We headed north east along the passage which followed the First Sun Vein, after some 80m we hit a collapse which was mostly fine slippy loose shale - not the best material - a shame as we had hoped to be able to follow the passage to the forehead. It may be possible to get to the other side of the collapse by going down one of the shafts along the First Sun Vein from Smallcleugh - yet more things to do...