MinesMine PlansLinksContactLinksHome

Smallcleugh Mine - Bogg Shaft and Middlecleugh Vein Stopes, (24/06/06)

Back to Smallcleugh Trip Index

To help finish of exploring the back end of the Smallcleugh complex I wanted to survey the stopes past Bogg Shaft and to finish of some bolting we has started last summer with the aim of finding out whether a link to Caplecleugh Horse Level was open or not. We headed for Bogg Shaft and past the Cowhill Cross Vein Alistair and Karli took the opportunity to have an explore of some of the rises along the Middlecleugh 2nd Sun Vein which where very interesting.

Finally after much complaining from Karli about the weight of the SDS drill (the young have no stamina these days) we arrived at the bottom of the ladder which leads to the shaft, only to be horrified by the sight that greeted us - there was a collapse out of Bogg Shaft. Rocks had piled up against the top of the ladder and it all looked unsafe. Alistair had a careful climb up for a look, from what he could see it was not possible to safely clear the rocks as the choke at the top of the ladder was holding back a potential nasty slide. He climbed down and we tried to move the ladder up and down to dislodge the rocks, this did not work too well. In the end the rope which tied the first ladder had to be cut and then we managed to pull the ladder away releasing the choke. After some more jiggling of the ladder by Alistair and Karli the biggest rocks came down. Karli at this point climbed onto the second ladder and managed to clear the finer rocks.

At this point is was discovered that some major things have changed inside the shaft, from what we could remember it looked like one of the pipes may have sheared and a rail track has come down as we could not remember this before, the most interesting thing was that polythene plastic sheeting and the horn from a sheep could be seen, our minds started racing... had someone been digging from the top side or had it all just fallen in? Whatever the case material from the surface has reached this part of the shaft. We pulled back to the near the rise from the horse level and had lunch, feeling naffed of about trekking all the way here and not being able to complete our goals.

After lunch I popped up to take some pictures, one thing that struck me was that the air did seem quite fresh at the edge of the shaft, confirmation of a 'open' link or wishful thinking? There are still many rocks that look ready to come down, and if the rail track that is there is new then that needs to be removed as you just don't know how secure it is and what it is holding up. We turned back feeling that a lot of time had been wasted, however on the positive side if the shaft was cleared and a link could be made to the surface you could get to this part of the mine by SRT, saving a lot of time. It would also be useful in the event of a deep rescue. On the way back I had the idea of having a look at the Middlecleugh Vein, as non of us had ever explored it. This was a big surprise for us.

We dropped into a little stope from the horse level which carried further down into a much larger one. Karli put in a bolt and we dropped down about 8m or so. On landing we realised that the stope was very big and that it went on for a considerable distance. Carrying on along it we came to a few ore shoots and then discovered an intact kibble and other artifacts including some clog prints. It was all very interesting but the lack of time was hanging over us, so we had to move quickley to see as much as possible. I took a few pictures whilst Alistair and Karli rigged up an ore shoot. A few minutes later shouts where coming out of the ore shoot for me to get down and bring the camera. Rapid packing of equipment and equally a rapid decent brought me into a sub level to join the others some 5m below the stope. The level seemed to follow the stope above, but the most inviting find was directly opposite the ore shoot exit, a laddered manway and shoot going down, to what can only be Caplecleugh. From a quick recon of it, it looks like it needs some gardening work doing and then it would be OK to go down. At this point we had to high tail it out of the mine as call out time was getting close.

The find on the Middlecleugh Vein made the trip much better to stomach after the discovery of Bogg Shaft being blocked and will deserve another more detailed examination. Also Bogg Shaft needs to have work done on it, if it is to be made safe for passing. A trip down the surface side would also be good to do, to see the state of the top end. As always more cans of worms.