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Rampgill Mine, Rampgill Sun Vein Stope (06/04/13)

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After finishing exploring the horse levels around the Sun Vein on a previous trip, we wanted to try and get up into the stopes and workings above. It was time for a may pole outing. Today was a bit of slow start and it was late morning before we got underground. Heading for the Rampgill Cross and Sun Vein intersection, we then took the first cross cut north (Medcalf's Cross Cut) on the Sun Vein Level, which from previous visits we knew to be the only open rise into the stope above.

Assembling the may pole we only needed 3 sections, just under 6m. We all got up into the stope and it looked to be open to the east. Across the rise, the west side was stacked with deads and it would have been dangerous to try and get up it. However, westwards the stope only looked to go on for a short distance according to LLC plans, so it was of no great loss not being able to get into it. The stope was not that wide, around 1.2m and looked to be the full height of the Great Limestone. On the stope walls we noticed lots of candle stubs dotted all over the place. Moving further along it we had to climb a number of slopes and drops to carry on. We reached a section of understoping, that we had to chimney across. Then the way on was either a short climb or a very tight squeeze through some deads. The boys all climbed up, however during my turn my foot slipped out of a foot hold and I slammed on the wall behind me and slid down to land on my arse. Painful, but no damage thankfully. Rather than climbing up, Sal tried squeezing through the deads underneath and just about managed it, but it took a while working through! The climb and squeeze brought us to a boulder chock between the stope walls. Just past the chock, in the roof of the stope we noticed a circular hole, this could have been a connection to the Firestone Level as that is shown to go to the Sun Vein via a cross cut at pretty much that point.

Pete took it upon himself to clearing some rocks underneath the chock, so he could get down quickly under it. Once down he reported that the stope went on and that he had reached a sump going down. This must have been the second access rise and crosscut into the stope - M Cousin's. He got across the sump and then had to climb a steep section of deads. At this point we could see him across the large boulder chock and he was rather high up. The way on was open. He started to do some gardening up there to clear the loose deads, however he also pointed out that it would be hard going due to having to do lots of climbing. Not something we relished today. He climbed back down and we exited the stope, derigged and had lunch in the cross cut. Over 3 hours had passed, where does it all go?