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West End of Middlecleugh Second Sun Vein - Part 1, Smallcleugh Mine (13/12/08)

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Having just come up from a trip in a section of Caplecleugh we had lunch on the Cowhill Cross Vein. After this we steamed down the incline heading for the western end of the Middlecleugh Second Sun Vein. Going past the Longcleugh Vein junction and the branch to Bog Shaft we entered the area where VM last worked. Time was against us, as we had spent too much time in Caplecleugh so only a little exploring could be done.

We had a look up a number of rises noting ones which where open and climbable. We reached a certain point and an opportunity presented itself to climb up. This gained us entry into a sizable stope above the level. Heading east, an ore chute blocked our way as there was no way across it (remember to bring some sort of bridging device next time), west proved much more fruitful. From the place that we had climbed up, we had to climb down a small slope and then climb our way up a rather steep slope which was around 12m high. The climb was worth it, pretty much at the top a wooden barrow came into view, no disappointment here, even though it was partially collapsed. Past this we made our way along the stope top. Everywhere was pock marked with large shot holes. After a few tens of metres we reached a deep ore chute with an airpipe going down it, and a sort of airpipe bridge. Shimming across this wobbly construction we shortly reached the forehead of the stope.

Returning back down to the horse level, we adopted a high speed march out heading for the Smallcleugh portal. The incline certainly gets the old cardio going!