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Smallcleugh Mine - Barons Sump Revisited (14/11/04)

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After our last trip to Baron's Sump I wanted to go back and try to climb up into the Low Flats between Smallcleugh and Middlecleugh along with some further exploration of the area.

We once again headed for the Middlecleugh Second Sun Vein, then turning into Carr's Cross Vein the collapses were passed - this time these seemed a lot tighter and everyone was rather shaken more than last time (on the way back we scooped some of the debris out and the exit was easier). The others had a potter in some of the workings on Carr's Cross Vein whilst I headed for a look down Longcleugh Vein heading towards the Ballroom. The vein proceeded in solid rock and I carried on as far as the beginning of stone lined passage, as the air did not have a healthy smell to it.

After the pottering we headed for Baron's Sump to look for the connecting ore shoot to the Low Flats and the climbing way to Middlecleugh. These where found, but from what I had read I had expected the ore shoot to be only around 10m, looking up it, it looked much higher and no one was wanting to climb up it with no pittons. We carried along the continuation of Longcleugh Vein, saw Atkinson's Sump which was wooden lined with ladders and deep., then further along we reached the intersection with Cowhill Cross Vein, we could have headed southwest along it but everyone was feeling rather tired and I was disillusioned about not going into the Low Flats. We had a brief breather at Baron's Sump, and then turned back, on the way we did a bit more exploring of the levels and workings above Carr's Cross / Longcleugh Veins and found a very large stope which was very much bigger than the Ballroom Flats.

When we got out of the Middlecleugh Second Sun Vein energy levels seemed to increase making us wonder whether the air around Baron's Sump was not that good this time - there had been some extreme weather changes over the last few days and it may have affected ventilation - food for thought. In all we did see and learn a fair few new things but the main objective of going into the Low and possibly the High Flats had not been reached.