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Smallcleugh Mine - Middlecleugh Second Sun Vein Shore Up - Part 1, (19-20/07/08)

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Saturday 19th July:

After much deliberation over choosing a date and time, which would suit everyone something was agreed on - this weekend. Arriving in Nent on the Saturday morning, I was greeted by Helen and Peter telling me that the fall had been cleared in the last few days by an unknown group, talk about urinating on your bonfire. Anyway, not one for giving up I and the others were still up for getting wood in as personally I felt the whole area to the fall needed shoring up.

Pete Jackson from the NPHT had left a pile of timber by the Smallcleugh adit and Helen, Pete and some others went in early with a batch. Myself, another Pete, Dean and Dave who had turned up out of the blue took the rest in an hour or so later. We met Roy in the car park, and he said that he would be passing by to have a look and give his view on what needed to be done.

Eventually we arrived at the start of the Middlecleugh 2nd Sun Vein and we met up with Helen and Pete. The fall had been cleared, but debris was still coming down - standing in the passage before it we wondered what to be do. After a while Roy caught up with us and gave his input and offered to come back on the Sunday to help - can't refuse an offer like that! With nothing else to do, we had a potter in Smallcleugh showing Dean some more of the sights as he was new to mine exploring. Dave said he would be able to make it on the Sunday as well and would bring some tools along.

Sunday 20th July:

With a plan for the day, myself and Pete collected some more wood from the NPHT yard (kind donations from them) and took them up to the adit. Along the way we bumped into Pete and mine dog Soot (too many Pete's this weekend), he offered to help again, great. We met up with Dave and Roy and the five of us made our way in with lots of timber.

At the target sight we started discussing how and what to do first, Roy and Soot Pete had a bit of a technique clash at first, whilst the rest of us grinned to each other. A mix of ideas was decided on - mine politicians. Roy gave us a crash course in how he does his timbering, 'its all in the angles, all in the angles' was his constant mantra. After some trial and errors the first brace for a bulging wall was put in. With the president set, the rest followed more easily and we ended up using both Roy's and Pete's ideas for the various bulges. Pete's dog Soot scarpered up and down the passage we where working in and showed us that she could even dig holes. Whilst the timber was going in Soot Pete, Pete and Dave did some more clearing of the fall and used the shale to build pack walling under the expert guidance from Soot Pete. Lots of mickey taking and joking went on throughout the day.

After finishing the bulge support work (all done bar one), we had a look at the actual fall, and Roy gave us his ideas on what he would do with it. Whilst the others had been in and out of it, they concluded that it was pinching in and some sort of roof over it was needed as shale was falling all the time.

I feel that another good weekend on it would have everything tied up. Some may ask why we bothered with it all, shoring up the bulges will hopefully stop a fall like this happening - a bit of preventative medicine. Far easier to put some timer in than having to dig and clear multiple falls.