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Rampgill Mine, Southern Boundary Flats and Rises, (28/11/09)

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It has been almost 18 months since we have had a foray into Rampgill, so for a change of scenery it was high time for a visit. Our aim was to have a look at the Boundary Flats, but as always we ended up doing something else along the way and not quite managing to explore all the Boundary Flats as planned. We headed in and at around 200m or so from Rampgill Shaft we ended up climbing up a 10m rise into the stopes above, exploring first to the east and then to the western side. On the eastern side we passed a number of manways and ore chutes along the way. In one short blind passage there were tins, wooden boards, and gaskets. The stope eventually ended in a fall. Reversing our route to the rise we scrambled up a short slope and entered a section of stope which was quite wide, but low in height, it was more like a flat. Here the vein seemed to have split up into little parallel ones and it was possible to gain entry into other levels, however they were in poor conditions and ended in falls. Carrying on along the main passage, we came to a corner and then a very low passage with stacked deads on either side. The roof was supported with very rotted wooden pillars and in some sections the deads had started to run into the passage. Coming out of this brought us to an ore chute in the floor. We carefully edged around this to find a little alcove which Pete described as a nest of explosive boxes, whilst in the passage there were more boxes containing various parts. The stope continued on for a short distance, ending in another fall.

Climbing back down to the horse level we carried on past Rampgill Shaft and climbed the 12m ish rise that gives access to the Southern part of the Boundary Stopes. Once out of the rise and on terra firma, we had a quick look around. First thing that we noticed was the amount of rubbish here - cans, pop bottles and newspapers and lots of cast of mineral samples... The passage that we entered continued north across the other side of the rise and south to a forehead. The way on was to climb up a slope via a cavity into another passage higher up. North took us to a junction, one end was a blind and the other dropped down to the passage on the other side of the rise we had climbed up. South took us along a low level that opened up into a chamber, which looked like a good spot for lunch! Afterwards we carried on, along the level and entered into a large flat with lots of mineralisation, from the look of things here, a very popular mineral collecting spot. Moving past this we shortly entered a very large and spacious section of the flats. The remains of a set of tub wheels could be seen, and the unusual thing about them was that they were a very wide gauge, guessing around the 80cm mark. Following the rails that they were on brought us to a junction with a pile of shaley material that looked like it had dropped down from a rise. To the left was a blind and to the right a shaft. This we estimated to be around 160m from the main horse level. We got a bit excited about this, wondering were it went to so far of the main level. After rigging it up, it turned out to be a blocked at around 18m, not that it was much consolation - Karli did point out that is was a nice little pitch. Looking at the plan, I think that going down this could have been a link to the Sun Vein via W. Havelock's Rise, and upwards would have gone up to the Firestone Level, which could make sense judging by the rock that has come down the shaft at the junction. Would be interesting to hear if anyone had managed to get up this rise?

De-rigging, we went back through the flats and found a explosives booklet, newspaper and some detonator tins. Abseiling back down to the horse level, we made our way out, stopping at Rampgill Shaft for a quick look, wondering what the choke was resting on. It's amazing how time flies, two rises, some detailed exploring and 9 hours had gone by.