MinesMine PlansLinksContactLinksHome

Rampgill Survey: Rampgill Shaft to Final Falls on Rampgill and Hardshins Veins (05/04/13)

Back to Rampgill Mine Trip Index

I have been meaning to have another look at the east end of the Rampgill Vein, with the aim to survey it, to try and pin point the final fall and to see how the level compares with the abandonment plan. Armed with a laser range finder we headed for Rampgill Shaft and started our survey from that point.

After a few readings we got into a rhythm, Karli took the distance on the range finder and I took the bearing and recorded details via a dictaphone. Compared to using a tape measure it was really fast progress. When we reached the junction with Hardshins Vein, we took the opportunity to also survey this branch to the final fall. Returning back to the Rampgill Vein we motored on to the final fall and the survey of the level from Rampgill Shaft was done in no time. Moving through the level at a slower that usual rate we were also able to look at things in more detail and ended up exploring some rises that we had not been up before.

A lot of the hoppers and rises along this part of the mine are either blocked of, or blocked via deads, but a few are open. Not far back from the final fall on the Rampgill Vein we climbed up a short rise some 3m high. Once up we saw a crushed barrow. Moving past this, we entered a stope. Heading eastwards we carried on for a while until the workings started to close in. Nothing of major interest was seen apart from a few wooden platforms. Westwards was more promising, after a false start in a cavity that yielded a stash of newspapers and litter dated 2002 (leftovers from some mineral collecting trip) we climbed higher up the stope and ended up reaching the top of the Great Limestone and a network of workings. There were two sets of parallel workings along the vein, one which is offset south from the horse level and one that is north of it. The south one had lots of falls of large slabby shale - the tumbler beds and the north one has lots of falls of large sandstoney type rocks. On top of that, sections of the roof were peeling away ready to fall at some point. These were around 4m long... There was a lot of quartz mineralisation in pockets, and we found detonator and explosive boxes, as well as another barrow - collapsed. We came across more litter dated from 2002 and arabic newspapers again like in Nentsberry Haggs Mine.

Moving westwards in the workings we came to more connections between the north and south sections and eventually a sump back down to the horse level, which happened to be the only other one that was open. Retracing our route we climbed back down into the horse level and when we reached the last junction before the falls we had lunch. The level past the junction had a number of artifacts in it, namely a intact and collapsed barrel as well as some drills and badly deteriorated newspaper. Past these there was a nicely dressed sump that looked to go down to a working. I rigged this up, even though it was not that deep and abseiled down to a shelf some 3m down. From here, I saw a level going under the horse level above and I could see that the working was in fact a rubble slope angling downwards, which ended in a large shale chamber. This had the feeling of a chocked up shaft. Climbing back out from the chamber and onto the shelf I entered the level and this was a crosscut some 20m long, that intersected a collapsed hopper and manway from workings above. It was possible to go past the hopper, but the roof looked a mess and it seemed to be closed in. We left it. Back up, we carried on along the horse level looking at features in detail, discovering a few things we had missed over the years and taking photographs.

After drawing up the survey some interesting things were noted when it was super imposed on the VM abandonment plan. At the last junction near the final falls, the right hand branch level fall must be the end of the road (there are arch formers in place at this fall, which backs that up) and the same goes for the left hand one, with just a few tens of metres to the forehead. The dressed sump, looks like it might be a connection to the Barneycraig Horse Level, as that passes right under that area. And finally, what everyone always knew anyway - you need a lot of artistic license to read the VM plan.

One last note on using the laser distance range finder. I have had it for around two years now, and this was its first outing underground. It really speeds things up when compared to using a tape measure. Using it has motivated me to finally get round to modifying it with the digital compass and inclinometer kit I purchased from http://paperless.bheeb.ch/index.html a while back. This will turn it into a point and click instrument that gives you all the readings with hardly any work. Coupled with software running on a PDA along side it, I will be able to plot the survey as data comes in. Judging by how long the survey section took to do on this trip, I estimate that the whole of Rampgill Horse Level could be done in a day!

Most of the photos by Karli.