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Smallcleugh Mine - Smallcleugh Cross Vein Sumps, (10/12/06)

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We have been meaning to look at more of the sumps on the Smallcleugh Cross Vein for some time now, to see which ones are open and connect to the sublevel which runs under the cross vein. With not too much time on our hands, a short trip like this was perfect to try and tie up a few loose ends.

The first sump on the cross vein, the Whimsey Shaft we know about, so our first target was Mitchell's Sump, the second one. Armed with alli scaffold poles we rigged this one up and Karli descended, 10m to the bottom and blocked. The third one was Spottiswood's Sump, again a quick rig up and I descended, 16m to the bottom and blocked, however there well could have been some arch stone work at the bottom - or it may have been wishful thinking? The fourth sump is Proud's - we all know about this one.

The fifth sump we came to was Barron's, but this was too difficult to access, as it was up a clay mound with a wide entrance. The sixth was the first one on the right, Blaylock's Sump, there was no need to go down this one as the shallow choke could easily be seen. After this sump we lost the plot as we could not follow the details on our copy of the PDMHS plan as sumps could be seen on the wrong side of the plan and not in the relative right place. The next sump was the one by the ore truck. We could not get a good look down it and we did not rig it up as more equipment would have been needed - also the large rocks ready to fall did not instill too much faith. A lot of gardening work would be needed, the big rocks would also probably block it up completely if it was open. We think this was Whitfield's Sump.

The next sump we came to was Longcleugh Shaft or the High Water Blast Shaft, this looked like a shaft going up to the surface as well as possibly down as there was a lot of material which had come in from the top. The next sump was came to, was Robson's. This was up a little mound with rail tracks over it. We rigged it and Karli when down to the floor level, only a handful of metres below. There was a passage that went off, but the walls looked as if they where ready to drop off - no way was he going in there. Not sure if we are right but, the depth was sort of right for the flats and sublevels of Old Fan flats, maybe this was a connection to them as it was sort of the middle of the flats extremes.

The last sump we had a look at was the Drawing one. This was deep and we did no have enough rope to get to the bottom. Karli managed to get around 10m from the bottom and we measured it at 27m. The walls of the sump were in a poor state and large bell chambers had formed were the shale had come away. At 27m this was deeper that all the rest and we wondered if it intersected Carr's Level or flats above Hangingshaw? However with all the missing material from the walls would it be open?

After the last sump we had a quick bite to eat and then left our gear for a quick ratch up to Luke Hall's Sump and a bit further on. Past LH's we had a good look at the state of the passage - we sometimes go this way into the deeper ends of the mine and it is always done very quickly with no consideration, however this time we had a good look at the state of the walls and ceiling - not pleasant - most of it looks ready to come down. Our advice - go via Wheel Flats and put up with George Hetherington's.

As always another little trip is needed to finish off what we wanted to accomplish. It would be good to attempt the ones we could not do, but at last we will never wonder if those first sumps are open.