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Rampgill - Scaleburn Vein and Top Sill's (26/02/05)

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A trip to have another look at the Horse Whimsey and also to try and find the link in the Top Sill's to Brownley Hill. We headed for the Scaleburn Vein and climbed up the stone steps that lead up into the Top Sill's, dropping back down via Reeds Sump (which has been dug out) to emerge on Scaleburn Vein bypassing a collapse. After the sump we came to the Rampgill Cross Cut which headed south to join up with the Rampgill Vein, we did not go into it but it would be useful to know if it does connect with the Rampgill Vein or whether it is blocked.

After around 100m past the cross cut we came to a branch, and took the left to enter the Horse Whimsey Chamber. This in fact is the Low Bore Hole Sump and was used for drawing water for hydraulic operations. In the chamber there is a flooded shaft which we believe may lead into the Brownley Hill Level as the level does parallel the Scaleburn Vein. Lunch was had here, and afterwards just past the branch we abseiled down a sump on your right. This was some 8m, which opened up into a stope and some small flats. Whilst abseiling you realise that the passage above is a false floor with wooden stemples and beams supporting it. We had to pendule into the flat and about 2m below the flat there was what looked like a flooded passage. In the flats Karli with assistance from Charlie climbed up into a rise, which lead to a collapsed passage but yielded some interesting artifacts, a rotten box of intact candles and a shot hole scraper. We think that the flat may be Jon Vickers Flat.

Meanwhile Mark had stayed up top and noticed that he could hear us from the Bore Hole Sump, so I dropped down into the flooded passage and indeed it connected with the bore hole. It also headed south, but this was flooded and only had about 100mm of air space, from maps this looks like it well could have been blind. Further along the Scaleburn Vein we came to a collapse and after this a set of oil drums, Karli had been through them before, but we did not proceed further as the area was unstable.

We returned to the Top Sill's to try and find the link to Brownley Hill. A passage heading northwest lay past Reed's Sump and we took this until we came to a sump which barred our way, the sump was anchored and about 10m in depth. Karli and I abseiled down it into another level and then located a further sump which had anchors and was around the 30m mark, the Brownley Hill link had been found. The sump that we went down from the Top Sill's we think was Teasdale Sump as it corresponds with a rise from Brownley Hill. The level here below the Top Sill's warrants some further exploration as it does go on, also the other end of the Top Sill's needs more exploration as there are many rises and sumps. It also looks like the Top Sill's may have had a level mouth somewhere. As always more cans of worms have been opened.

NOTE: The dug out sump (Reed's Sump) in the Top Sill's which is the bypass of the collapse on the horse level is only strong enough to keep the sump open. You should only descend and ascend the sump using a rope ladder and life line. DO NOT USE THE SUPPORTS AS A CLIMBING AID FOR FREE CLIMBING THE SUMP AS THEY ARE NOT STRONG ENOUGH AND MAY CAUSE A COLLAPSE.