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Black Ashgill Flank / Wellhopeknot Mine First Explore (25/07/18)

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After a walk last November from Nenthead to Garrigill via Black Ashgill Cleugh I suggested that we should have a look around Black Ashgill Cleugh as on the walk I had seen 4 adits and some shafts. The first of these was Wellhopeknot mine, which is also know as Black Ashgill Flank mine. I had no idea if this level was open or not, having spoken to a few people about it one mentioned that they thought it was open as when they had been in, in the 1980's, it went for some way. This sounded promising, but a lot can change in 35 odd years. Looking at plans this mine has connections to Caplecleugh High Level on the south side of Black Ashgill Cross Vein and levels extending right up to Perrys Dam and the Woodmerwell Vein, so could be very interesting.

Arriving at the adit, we climbed in over the stone wall and passed around the gate as it was hanging off it's hinges. The first section was lined as expected and then the arching gave way to shale. Just where the stone arching finished we saw a spade and some metal artefacts. We also noticed a little plant growing horizontally stretching its stem and few small leaves out to the light. There was one fall, maybe a metre high or so and a few smaller ones. At around 70m we came to a left / right junction and all our hopes where instantly extinguished. Straight ahead was a fall on the main level, clay and rocks. To the right there was a fall as well and this could well have been the Water Blast Shaft. To the left the level went on (not on the map I had looked at), after a short crawl, we entered thigh deep water and after around 20m we came to the forehead - a blind crosscut. Disappointment all round. We turned around and exited to carry on down the valley to our next target.

Having done some more digging around I found a document by Peter Jackson, where he had catalogued mines on Alston Moor in 1969, with an entry for Black Ashgill Level "The entrance is drystone walled up: removal of some of the wall gives access to the level which is driven through plate for 40 yards to a bad block consisting of silt and pebbles. To the NE, immediately before the block, is a small low level which would need to be draining before exploration". I guess the explorer I spoke to was mistaken or having a laugh?