MinesMine PlansLinksContactLinksHome

Wellgill Shaft - Part 2, Nenthead (29/10/10)

Back to Shaft Index

Finally the planets aligned and we could get together again to have a go at opening up the debris pile to look down stream and into the incline. Karli had made up some angle brackets and a square section of steel to use as a anchor point inside the shaft top chamber. We had a good supply of materials from the Haggs dig last year, therefore not much foraging was needed. Scaffold tubes, clamps and timber all in stock.

We started loading up the landy mid afternoon and then made our way down to Wellgill Shaft. Materials and gear were unloaded and thrown over the fence. Karli proceeded then to mark out and drill the angel brackets for mounting inside the shaft top chamber. Once this was done, we rigged up a haulage system. For the haulage line we used an old climbing rope and 20m of static as the climbing rope wasn't long enough. Bit of a pain having a join in the rope, but needs must. Karli arranged a system were the static line was controlled via a Italian hitch, which when reaching its end automatically transferred the load to the rig descender, with that being used to control the second rope. First down was a bag of short scaffold tubes and clamps, followed down by Karli. Then the abseil rope was brought up, and a second batch of scaffold poles was lowered down - however we had a slight hitch with that load - I got it into my head that the climbing rope was long enough, so with a metre or so left before it passed through the rig descender the poles where still no where near the bottom. Karli was shouting up asking what the hold up was, and Sal and I where wondering how to sort this out. It was too heavy to lift up even with two of us, in the end I attached a croll to the rope, which had the additional rope clipped in and Sal took up the slack. I undid the end knot and allowed the climbing rope to pass through the rig descender until the full weight passed to Sal (the rope was being run over the edge of the manhole cover so there was enough friction for her to belay it without too much effort). I quickly attached the two ropes together so that the rest of the lowering did not rely on a croll holding the ropes together.

Finally we lowered four large timbers down, all going smoothly until they reached the level further down, then they spread out and jammed. It was already getting late and this was the icing on the cake. We could not managed to ge this back up, it was either too heavy or had jammed. We tried to give them a bounce around, but no joy. Whilst trying a bit of rigging out so I could use my weight to haul a bit of it up, my shoulder twisted rather painfully - first thoughts into my head, expletives and then oh no, what if I can't abseil down tomorrow. Only one thing for it, Sal kitted up and abseiled down to release the timbers - it turned out that they had jammed between a stemple and the lip of the level further down. Once free I lowered them down to the bottom (thankfully the stabbing pain in my shoulder had settled down) whilst she hanged around to make sure no more hiccups occurred. I took up the haulage ropes, and Sal started prussiking back up. Pete arrived then (I had supposed to have met him at the bunk house at 7.00 for a bite to eat, it was now 7.45). Once Sal was up, Karli came back up, rather hungry and grumpy for being down there for longer than he bargained for. We packed up, sealed the shaft top and went home to get some much needed very late dinner. Then a meet up in the Miners Arms, and as we came to the bar - what a great sight greeted us - Hob Goblin ale on tap - many pints followed, interleaved with crisps.