Our second trip to investigate the level at the bottom of one of
the shafts on the Smallcleugh Cross Vein.
It has been over a month since
we carried out our first trip (see
Mine to Unknown Level - Part 1) down into the unknown level. We headed to
Proud's Sump to put to rest the big question about the wall, was it the other
side. We quickly rigged up Proud's with a 30m rope and abseiled down. Karli
went down first and I followed. At the bottom we dropped down the few metres
into Carr's Level and the wall could be seen, there were some stones missing at
the top - we had found a link into Carr's Level bypassing the wall. This was
good news, meaning we could get into Carr's Level beyond the show mine. The
other thought was, could the collapsed level half way down the main shaft
actually be the sublevel that parallels the cross vein, it is approximately
half way down which would make it the right depth.
We climbed back out
of Proud's Sump and headed over to rig the other shaft for further
investigation. Once at the bottom after traversing the sublevel and dog leg we
headed for the wall and put back the stones that we had removed last time. A
quick break was taken for lunch, and then we proceeded in the other direction
sure in the knowledge that we where on Carr's Level. We passed the shaft
heading down from where we emerged from Smallcleugh, this we now could safely
say went to Rampgill. Shortly past it we stopped dead in our tracks - a half
built wall made out of deads had appeared since our last visit. Karli looked at
me, I looked at him, expletives came forth from our mouths. Now we may be
wrong, but the only people who could really do this would be the NPHT - for
what reasons? had they found out that someone had been past their first wall?
(during our first venture we did encounter some other explorers, maybe they
relayed this to the NPHT), or did NPHT see our anchors before we had chance to
remove them a week or so later, or where they planning to build a wall anyway?
(I should calm down - this is starting to sound like a detective
We carried on along Carr's Level and found artifacts such as ore
truck wheels, grease cans and some very fine examples of stone work in sumps
and rises. I knew that at some point we should encounter a series of calcified
tight squeezes (I remembered this from the through trip 15 years ago), after a
while we did come to them, and after passing through we came to passage way
that I could identify from the guided trip via the show mine I did earlier in
the year. Welcome to Carr's. We had a look around the excellent preserved low
flats, a couple of cross cuts and of course we visited the gate which seals off
the show mine. This almost was a through trip.
We retraced our way back
to the shaft that would get us back into Smallcleugh, pondering the newly