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Smallcleugh Mine - Middlecleugh Second Sun and Longcleugh Sun Vein Stopes - Part 2, (20/01/07)

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After our last visit to this area the layout of the stopes, veins and cross cuts started to make sense especially from the London Lead Company (LLC) and Vieille Montagne Zinc Company plan point of view. This time round we wanted to carry out some more surveying and to try and find the rise with the air receiver box along with dropping down into a sublevel. With just two of us we were limited to what we could take on the trip and decided not to bother with maypoles or SRT, it was going to be a survey and free climb trip. Steaming into Smallcleugh we made good time and got to Pickering's Rise in 45 minutes. Once in the stope above the horse level we climbed the connecting hopper into the further sublevels and started to survey the east side. Following the LLC plans which made more sense now we found the route to the top of Pickering's Rise and connections to other cross cuts. A quick wonder to the Longcleugh Vein took us in a circular route back to the cross cut near Pickering's Rise, lunch was had here, whilst having a bite to to eat we noticed that we had sat down in the midst of old fusing and scraps of cloth.

After lunch we carried on along one of the stopes, passing the intersection with the second cross cut to the Longcleugh Vein. Eventually we had to climb up a slope which led to the end of the stope. Here we found an old bucket and noticed a fracture line in the stope floor and roof, which was interesting as it shows that the stope is splitting up. In the right hand corner of the stope there was a small rise which led to further stoping and a hopper which came in through the rood of another section of stope that is accessible from the Smallcleugh Horse Level.

Retracing our route we then went back to the Longcleugh Vein and climbed down the manway to a sublevel 10m below. Here another manway could be seen going further down, however this would need to be roped as the ladders looked in poor condition. In the opposite direction we saw some wooden roof supports that we had not seen before.

On the way back out we had a quick look into the large stopes just past Carrs Cross Vein, these are a little hidden gem. There is a flat in the limestone almost 90m long, and two large stopes. One of the stopes has all the wooden flooring still intact on multiple levels. Near the flats, back in the horse level Karli spotted an amazing little find - a piece of lead lined fuse with a detonator crimped onto the end - a fantastic find to end the day.