MinesMine PlansLinksContactLinksHome

Rampgill Mine, Hopper 29 (30/11/13)

Back to Rampgill Mine Trip Index

After our survey trip of the east end of Rampgill Vein in April 2013 we looked at some of the open rises in detail. One of the rises had a survey number next to it, 'Hopper 29'. The rise itself went straight up through the Great Limestone, had what looked to be a level part way up it and its top seemed open. The ore chute and manway were rather large and this seemed to indicate a major rise. So after discussing it a few times we finally got round to trying to get up it.

Equipped with a five section maypole (providing 9.5m of height), bolting kit and SDS drill the four of us made our way to the east end of Rampgill Vein, feeling a bit like pack horses with all the gear. Finally we arrived and dumped the scaffold sections. Climbing into the hopper we looked up the chute and confirmed that we had not been dreaming about it being open and sound. First job was to erect the pole; once this was up we had a go at footing it in different positions to get the best stability. Karli prusikked up first, reaching the 'level' we could see part way up the rise revealed it to be choked up with deads. A bit disappointing, but the top still looked good to go. When he reached the maximum height, the pole was starting to feel a bit wobbly and there was no chance of getting off, as there was around another 3-4m to climb up. Karli came back down and we changed the footing of the pole and changed our bracing technique. Back up he went, whilst Sal and I braced the pole. Pete prepped the bolting gear and SDS drill. This was all hauled up and Karli proceeded to bolt upwards. Getting of the pole made him feel a lot better! After 30 minutes or so, there was a shout that we could start going up.

It turned out that at the top of the rise, you could go west and east. Karli had put in a traverse to get us on to the east side first. We were at the top of the Great Limestone and it was a mess. Large chunks of shale had come down in places and there was a great deal of what looked like a mix of fractured sandstone and limestone. We could also see a depression which corresponded with the blocked level part way up the rise. Heading east we passed through a fall that brought us to a more open chamber. This we decided would be a good place to have lunch. Looking around we found some detonator tins and a pile of pure galena - ore left behind that never saw the light of day. There was a way on, which we took, but the going was not pleasant. The roof was a bit of a horror show - 30cm flakes that had separated from the strata above, and then split vertically making a sort of natural stone arch with large gaps. Continuing on for maybe around 40m, we then turned back as it progressively got worse. In the workings we found more detonator tins and some fuse. There was also a rock on the floor with a survey mark. If we had gone on, we would have for sure connected with the workings found during the survey last time. We had been hoping to try and find a connection to the flats south of Rampgill Vein that intersect Moor's String, but no joy at this horizon.

Returning back to the rise, Karli started to rig a traverse to the west side of it. Here the level looked really promising. Sal went across first after the rigging had been finished and then went off up the level. By the time I had got across, she was back reporting that it ended in a fall that looked to be a fallen in rise from above. She also came across two chutes going down to the horse level. Not the greatest of news. Whilst she and Pete abseiled back down Karli and I had went to have a look and to take some photographs. We noted some more survey marks in chalk along with coils of wire which must have been the remains of air piping.

For a large and major seeming hopper, it was a bit disappointing to not have it go further. However, it looked like it had not seen any modern traffic and we felt we could well have been the first ones up it - small conciliation.