We have been spending our Saturdays doing rather long 10-12 hour
trips which leave us in a deflated state for Sundays, and so instead of wasting
the day gassing over the table and drinking lots of tea - new year - new start.
Sunday trips back on. One area that we have not really looked at in any detail
is the Rampgill Sun Vein, last visited on the Firestone Level through trip.
This area seemed ideal for a potter and to take some photographs along with
testing a new Fenix torch, the PD32 Ultimate Edition with 740lm output - all
from a 24mm diameter and 138mm long package. Just after 11:00 saw us inside the
adit, for once feeling very light with not much tackle. Heading for the sun
vein we had a few goes with using the torch and it quickly proved to be very
good, both for distance and closer up photographs.
Arriving at the
junction with the crosscut to the Rampgill Sun Vein, we made our way along it
looking at the smaller veins the crosscut passed through, namely Emerson Cain's
and Morrah's. Once on the Rampgill Sun Vein we headed west, and after a short
distance came to a hopper that could be easily climbed. This took us up into a
stope working that was filled in with lots of deads. It went over the level we
had come in, but ultimately ended in a fall. There was nothing significant in
the way or artifacts, however the hopper into it was very nicely timbered. Back
down from the stope, we carried on along the level until we reached the
junction with the Patterdale Vein. The stone work in the arching here was quite
impressive, but other than that, nothing major to see. I headed north down the
vein, to come to a fall, which if not present would have allowed me to get back
onto the main Rampgill Horse Level. On the way back from the fall I could smell
a lot of hydrogen sulphide, which I suspected might be the case on the way in
due to the submerged rails, orche and little footfall. Back at the junction I
went south to a fall, however I did not miss much as the forehead would have
just been past it. Returning to the main crosscut junction we headed south
along it and entered a very nice level in solid rock. Maybe 60m in and we hit
the forehead, which was reached in November 1820.
From here we carried
on east on the Rampgill Sun Vein looking into all the junctions. The first main
junction we came to was a split to the right, which picked up Morrah's Vein.
Here we found some heavy calcification and ended up having lunch. Afterwards we
carried on and came to a further junction, one side led to a forehead and the
other to an interesting rise leading up to workings on the Rampgill Cross Vein
(we think). An easy climb up the rise revealed both ways blocked. We climbed
down and headed back to the Sun Vein. Moving east again we shortly came to the
intersection with Rampgill Cross Vein. Now the connection with the cross vein
at this point is above the level and it is possible to abseil down to our
position from the cross vein, which is entered just before the first door of
the NORPEX dig. From here we encountered air piping along the level and a
flooded sump. Past the sump we climbed over a fall consisting of deads and soon
the level turned to shale. Eventually we came to a junction and the air here
was starting to get a bit sticky. Time wise we needed to be getting out and
this made a convenient place to turn back.
Concerning the Fenix torch,
that really proved to be a great piece of kit, especially its size verses light
output. The other bonus was that it uses a neutral white LED and a single cell
18650 Li-Ion battery. Couldn't recommend one enough, providing you can get your
hand on one as they seem to have sold out rather quickly.