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Smallcleugh Mine to Carr's Level. Well, almost... - Part 2, (20/11/05)

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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 Smallcleugh 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 novel).

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 appeared wall.