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Rampgill Sun Vein, Part 2 (03/02/13)

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Continuing on from our last trip we wanted to push the southern side of the Rampgill Cross Vein and then the eastern part of Rampgill Sun Vein Level. After reaching the junction of the two veins we started down the southern branch of the Rampgill Cross Vein. We quickly reached the point we got to last month and then carried on past it. The level was mostly in shale with short sections of stone arching with lots of falls from the roof and the walls. An airpipe kept us company all the way on the left hand side. Around half way along the level we came to a stack of airpipes. We passed a few minor hoppers and two large rises which looked to give access to a very high stope - something to be looked at next time. Eventually we came to a fall at a rise and we were able to continue past it. Here the level became very wide with stone arching, but was filled in about 2/3 with loose fine shale. A very short distance into this there was another fall. It was possible to enter a chamber above it and move on along the top of the level, but it was very tight. A short dig in the chamber would probably allow access back into the level - something for another time. Looking at London Lead Company (LLC) plans, it looked like we were close to the forehead here anyway. Turning back we stopped at the only junction along this level and took it to see what would be found. It headed east and then shortly dog legged north. The level was in poor condition and we mostly walked on the fallen roof - a bit like the shale section in Caplecleugh on the way in. We came to a wet rise that seemed to go quite high and shortly past this we hit the forehead. Again, looking at LLC plans it turned out that this little crosscut via the rise gave access to Morrah's Vein. Returning back to the junction with Rampgill Sun Vein Level we had a quick lunch and headed north east along that.

The eastern part of the Rampgill Sun Vein Level gives access to the actual Sun Vein via three crosscuts and also connects back to the main Rampgill Horse Level. The first section was in reasonable condition but as we went further along it the shale got worse, and ultimately we reached a complete run in about 15m after the third crosscut. At this point we estimated that we were only some 70m away from the main Rampgill Horse Level. In terms of the crosscuts, out of the three only one was open. The third one was very short and the rise up to the vein was complete choked. The second one went for a short distance and then ran in with no sign of a rise. However, the first one was open and the rise into the vein was clear. To progress further we need to come back with some climbing aids and see where the open rises lead to. Another Sunday potter.