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Rampgill Mine, Boundary Cross Vein, Northern Flats and the North String, (30/01/10)

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After our last trip into Rampgill exploring the south parts of the Boundary Cross Vein flats, we looked forward to having a good look around the north end. Heading in, we made our way to just before the boundary gate and climbed up into first sublevel, proceeding then higher via another climb up some rail track. Here we were in the high flat, and the first impression was that it was all rather low.

In the first section we doubled back over and above ourselves, the flats here were rather desolate and low roofed. We found a couple of hoppers back down to the first level we had climbed up from and in one section there was a large amount of witherite that had been dumped in the passage. Where had this come from, as there was no sign of a vein as far as we could see. Inspection of the witherite revealed that it had green fluorite mixed in with it. Interestingly, at the point were the witherite was located I happened to look up into the roof and there looking at me was a shot hole, but not any old hole, in the bottom you could see the star shape of the drill tip. Carrying on along the flats, we came across a intact tallow candle, and a few remains of miners clogs, but apart from these so far there was nothing but deads. Finally we reached the North String tee junction. Taking the right first, we moved along the passage, encountering the remains of some NORPEX materials that were used for a few digs in the area. Along the passage heading east we saw some more clog remains and the metal braces of what may have been kibbles at some time. At one section we went into a little chamber, were a number of pick marks were seen on the walls, as well as a well defined split rib filled with galena. A little further along we then dropped into a sublevel. Here there was a lot of mineralisation and it was obvious that it was a collecting ground, modern tins, buckets and newspapers all over the place. A little further on we reached a large shale fall. To the left there was a little flat that we had lunch in and straight on there was the a dig. From the floor it was obvious that this had been well travelled, but not recently, as looking into the dig revealed a fresh fall of loose material. It was very tight in there and would need a fair bit of clearing out to get through.

We returned back to the tee junction and it occurred to us that the trip so far was basically a prolonged escapade inside George Hetherington's Cross Cut! At the junction I had a quick look up the north passage and after 50m or so came back with my knees aching even more - nothing to see, except a low roof and deads. Time to head west. Again, nothing very much of interest, narrow long flats and stacked deads. We were glad to know that our route was not going to have to be retraced as the west part of the North String connects with the far side of Rampgill Shaft. Finally we reached the wire laddered shaft down back to the horse level, having a little breather the rest of the area was a explored. Southwards there was a long low flat passage, which went of for some considerable distance, but in the end it did not reveal much. To the far west pretty much the same story.

We climbed / abseiled down the laddered shaft and oh how nice it was to be able to stand up straight again. Imagine rooting around in George Hetheringston's for 5 hours - that's what this trip was like!