2000

February 5th     Elton Shaft (Cowclose Mine)

 

BH, NB, PF & CC

Fit a new lid! In reality, it wasn’t quite that simple. The existing concrete must had been mixed with kryptonite because it took four people (Bob, Nigel, Pete & Cheg), numerous cutting discs, several hundred drilled holes and plenty of blood, sweat and beers before the old manhole was finally extracted. The final dimensions required were only achieved thanks to Dave & Paul, who arrived late afternoon with fresh hands and hearts, ours being destroyed from the efforts of chiselling. (Had to wait a week before I was able to write this). Darkness caused us to pack up after eight hours graft, and the new lid still not in place. For safety, the open top was covered with several hundredweight of gritstone blocks and we retired to Magpie cottage for the evening. Well, most of the evening was spent in the Bulls Head at Monyash.

Cheg Chester


February 6th     Elton Shaft (Cowclose Mine)
 

NB, PF & CC
The weather was still fine, so Pete, Nigel and Cheg decided to try and finish the job. The new lid was placed in the hole and levelled to the existing concrete using pieces of brick in the corners. We had to use some sort of shuttering to prevent the concrete from running through and an old length of soggy hardboard that was lying around was just the job. Folding this around the inside edge of the manhole, and wedging it in place with a few bits of timber took just a few minutes. With Pete mixing and Cheg and Nigel pouring we soon had the job finished. Due to the shuttering, it was not possible for the lid to be fitted, so using blocks and timbers a temporary cover was constructed. The next evening (Monday) Simon Redfurn walked over (He does live in Elton) to remove the shuttering and lock the new lid in position.
Cheg Chester

February 19th     Elton Shaft (Cowclose Mine)

 

DG & CC

Dave and Cheg arrived on Saturday morning armed with an assortment of cutting discs to try and remove the excess piling sheets, which still restricted the size inside the new lid. Simon had been asked to leave the lifting handles and key outside his back door for us to collect if he was not going to be around, but this message somehow got screwed up leaving us with no way of opening the lid. Fortunately a phone call to Jud revealed that the super efficient Tomo had labelled his spare key and amazingly it was hanging on the key rack (Strange).


A few inches of concrete had to be drilled and chiselled away down one side to reveal the steel and then using an angle grinder the excess was cut out. This was finished off with a grinding disc to ensure that there were no sharp edges for Pete to get caught up on. The final job was to grind out the original name cast into the lid; this was to prevent a sudden increase in the vacancies for water meter readers. Thanks are due to Alan Carson, not only for turning his farmyard into a car park and permission to change the lid, but also for access to mains electricity at an extremely low rate (i.e. zilch). Also thanks to the new resident of the corner cottage for the donation of a bag of aggregate.

Cheg Chester

February 20th    Broadmeadow Mine


CC & DG
Visit to fit some scaffolding tubes diagonally inside the entrance, which is under the house. A horizontal tube fastened to the diagonal tubes lets the ladder hang freely down the shaft.

Broadmeadow Mine Alport

Dave Gough in the entrance to Broadmeadow which is beneath the cottage living room

Broadmeadow Mine Alport

Sketch of the entrance to Broadmeadow under the cottage and the position of the scaffolding to give a direct descent of the shaft

March 5th     Broadmeadow Mine


DG, CC & PF
The survey at the landowners cottage indicated that the shaft was 80' deep, Cheg thought it was deeper. Dave was volunteered to descend the ladder to see if it was long enough. At 82' a pile of dirt was met which when descended came to a 'T' junction under the garden. Cheg came next followed by Pete who struggled with the double lifeline.
Followed the left hand passage at the junction but this only went 100 yards before it was blocked by a collapse. Returned towards the junction and entered a lower level which took us past the collapsed area above. A descent to a further lower level looked grim and was not attempted. Just beyond this point the sound of running water could be heard but not seen, the passage here was very dry.


The passage continues, takes an oxbow and passes two further shafts before another blockage is met. There may be a bypass to the blockage by using a parallel passage which starts some 50 yards before the blockage but this was not checked.


Returning to the shaft the right hand branch was taken. The passage dropped down an incline and turns to the left before entering a limestone arched area. The arched area contains several right hand passages before reaching what was named 'can shaft'. Once a disposal point for the local with hundreds of cans, some bottles and other junk visible. This passage continues to an old dig of Cheg's and Laurence. Here they tried to bypass a shaft which had nearly entombed then when they had investigated it some years back.
Returned to the entrance shaft and exited about 2.30pm.
David Gough

March 25th     Broadmeadow Mine


DG, BH & CC
Bob's first visit and we were underground by 10.30. Initially we went to the blockage beyond the cottage and took the right hand passage to bypass the blockage. This passage continues as a narrow rift with the collapses getting steadily worse and they become too dangerous to explore any further.


Returned to blockage near entrance shaft and had a look at lower shaft and level. Need photographing.
Collect survey equipment from the main shaft and into Oldfield Pipe to continue yesterdays survey. heading towards the caravan site. Exit at 3pm.

Details of the early exploration  of Broadmeadow by Dave Epton and Laurence Hurt can be seen by   Clicking Here 

April 7th-9th     Diver Training, South Wales


PC, MB, BS, CS, DG, AS, AW and others
This was a late decision to join the weekend of diver training based at Westminster Cottage and Porth y Ogof.
Met in the RedLion at Penderyn, just off the Heads of the Valleys road, leaving at 1.00 am for the Westminster Speleological Group cottage near Rhinos. Tea, curry and a slide show took bedtime to 4.00am.
Saturday's classroom session was to start at 9.00am but this was delayed by a late lie in. Barry started the talks after breakfast with an explanation ogf gases and presures and all things to do with breathing. Martin followed after a tea break with a talk about kit. A lunch of sandwiches during which kit and car where sorted for a nearly on schedule departure for Porth y Ogof

Alan Steans
David Gough

 

Every one dressed in their best gear and met at the resurgence pool to train with the kit. After a short while of being the studge I found it too claustophobic so exited the pool. Having loaned my wetsuit to another member was rapidly being eaten by midges so left the pool and became the car park attendant to protect our vehicles.

Returning to the cottage Pat showed his Wakula slides whilst we tucked into another curry and then onto the RedLion for another late night. The other stayed up until 4.oo am again but being sensible spent the night in the van and left early for Riplet and the BCRC AGM.
Well done to the organising team.

22nd April     A Surface Walk around Mine Sites in the Alport & Stanton Area


Distance: - Approximately 3.5 miles.
Pete Forster, Simon Redfurn, Nigel Burns, Paul Thompson & Cheg Chester.
The walk began at Broadmeadow Farm and Mine, which was the original site of the 1819 hydraulic engine discovered by N.S.M.R.G. at Wills Founder Shaft, Winster. Heading Southeast, for a hundred yards along a track opposite the farm, is the site of Taylor's Shaft on Sutton Vein, now permanently capped. Returning to the farm, we turned left along Lawns Lane and headed for Millfield Farm to seek permission to cross their land. After a long chat with the farmer about the number of shaft he had filled in, and permission being granted, we walked over to the nearby site of Prospect Mine. Peering down between a gap in the concrete sleeper cap you can make out the shaft, which is approximately 8ft. in diameter and lined with dressed gritstone ginging.

​​​

Broadmeadow Mine Alport

Broadmeadow Farm and spoil heaps

Prospect Mine Alport

Inspecting the shaft at Prospect Mine

Following the mucky track from the farm we eventually arrived at a small wood. This is the site of Conquerer Mine and Guy Shaft, both shafts having run in. Guy shaft housed the huge 1841 hydraulic engine, which pumped water from below Hillcar Sough. The engine had a 50 inch diameter cylinder with an operating head of 50 tons pressure on the piston! Continuing our walk the track leaves the wood and in the field to the right is a small draughting shaft covered with a limestone slab. Returning to the track it soon reaches a four-way lane junction. Taking the right hand lane and immediately at the junction there are two stone cairns at either side of the road. The right hand one carries a small stream flowing into it in wet weather, and you can distinctly hear it falling down a shaft? A few hundred yards along the lane, a barn is reached on the left, where one of the roof supports is comprised of sections of old cast iron pumping pipes!

Mine shafts on Fisherman's Vein & Old Cross Vein

Cairns at either side of the track situated on Fisherman's Vein and Old Cross Vein. (for more detail on these shaft Click Here ).

The barn utilising two sections of cast iron pipe, almost certainly it was  previously used in pumping at a local mine

Barn 1.JPG

Following the lane we soon gained access to the lower end of Bradford Dale. Turning left here, and following the riverside path, a hillock between the river and the path was noticed. This is the now permanently capped Sidford Holm Shaft on Bacon Close Vein. The next stop was Youlgreave, where we refuelled with some liquid refreshment at the George Hotel. After refuelling ourselves, we walked along the road to Alport village, and noted the site where an aqueduct had conveyed part of the river Lathkill into a tunnel in the hillside (now collapsed) to supply water to the aforementioned hydraulic engines. A little way passed the run-in tunnel, and slightly higher up the bank, is a mossed over cairn, covering a shaft which reputedly connected with the tunnel.
 

Sidford Holme Shaft Bradford Dale

The permanently capped Sidford Holme Shaft

Walking along the side of the river Lathkill, downstream, and entering Private land belonging to Haddon Estates, (Permission Reqd.) we came across an old mill complete with waterwheel. The wheel is 15ft. diameter and in need of restoration and preservation. Continuing along the river we soon reached the extensive remains of the Alport Lead Smelting Works, complete with condensers, flues and chimney base. Largely overgrown this site is also in need of preservation. Again, following the river for approximately a ¼ mile we reached the site of Wheel Shaft on Wheels Rake. The shaft is contained in a large gritstone lined arched chamber, completely sunk into the ground. This housed a water wheel for pumping from below the river Lathkill. Nearby is the obstructed entrance to Shining Sough, which was driven to unwater mines in the area.

Gritstone lined shafts on Stanton Estates
Gritstone lined shafts on Stanton Estates
Gritstone lined shafts on Stanton Estates

The impressive dressed gritstone lined shafts on Stanton Estates

Carrying on along the path brought us to Hawleys Bridge at the junction of the B5056. At this place, near to the confluence of Ivy Bar Brook and the River Lathkill, is the run-in site of Stoney Lee Sough, Driven some 3200ft. in limestone to Stoney Lee Mine. Following the B5056 south for a ½ mile, we turned left into Stanton Mill and Quarry. Here, again on Private land (Stanton Estate), in a wooded area, lie numerous impressive gritstone lined shafts, as yet not identified. Permission is being sought to explore these mines as of the time of writing (Come on Tomo!). This concluded our walk and we headed back to Broadmeadow Farm from where we had started.

Photographs courtesy of Nigel Burns


Pete Forster

May 28th     Wheels Shaft nr Hawley's Bridge, Derbyshire

A full report on the exploration of Wheels Shaft can be seen by  Clicking Here 

 

PF, SRF, NB & CC
On entering the wheel-pit, a high powered spotlight was used to illuminate the shaft On this day the distance to the water was twenty five feet from the lip of the shaft, and even though the water was crystal clear, the surface was being disturbed by falling water. You could just make out several dark areas within the flooded shaft, which it was assumed were submerged timbers. On the South side a rough opening had been made in the ginging, but only the top few inches were above water. Using a lifeline it was possible to traverse round the north wall and gain access to the far side of the shaft where a larger opening, mostly above water level, could be seen in the North wall.


It was decided that the whole of the floor area of the pit should be cleaned of any debris as this would enhance the features and improve the appearance for a photographic session. At the open West End, there was quite a depth of soil, which had fallen in over the years, but the rest of the pit had only a thin layer of silt. A “tide-mark” of small debris round the walls, indicates that the shaft can fill completely and rise to a depth of several feet within the pit. Had this structure not had the good fortune to remain on private land, it is doubtful if it would be accessible today, surely being used as a convenient rubbish tip. On clearing part of the floor area, two slightly recessed areas which once held bearing blocks were found, the fixing bolts, (two per bearing) were still in situ and had been “leaded" in.


After the tidying, we decided to descend the shaft and inspect the openings in the ginging. Pete, Cheg and Nigel took turns to descend noticing that the North hole opened out into a flooded stope with an upward sloping passage leading off to the rear. To reach this passage would mean a traverse above the flooded stope, and having only dry grotts and wellies, (not ideal swimming attire if you peel off) it was decided not to attempt entry. It was possible to bridge yourself in the hole and look into the stope, to reveal that the ginging consists of dressed curved blocks, approximately six inches in thickness with a space left between them and the limestone bedrock. Due to the previous activities the water was now very dirty so nothing could be seen below. The holes in the ginging are not part of the original structure, nor are they caused by collapse. They may have been made at a latter date to give access to Wheels Rake, which passes through the shaft, but for what reason can only be guessed at.

Cheg Chester

June 18th     Wheels Shaft


CC, MBR, NB & PF
Two reasons for today’s visit. First, begin taking measurements of the wheel-pit in preparation for a scaled drawing, which we hope will assist in a better understanding of how the wheel was installed and connected to the pumps. Second, descend the shaft with wetsuit, mask and snorkel to determine the feasibility of diving in the shaft at a later date.


After donning wetsuits in the high eighties temperature, we were glad to enter the coolness of the pit. On looking down the shaft, it was obvious that the water was at a lower level than the previous visit. (Measured at thirty-three feet below the lip). Also, there was less disturbance on the surface, allowing a better view into the depths. The dark shapes previously thought to be timbers were in fact apertures in a submerged staging, the silt on the staging reflecting more light. Much to our amazement, the rising main appeared to be in situ just below the surface of the water, with a “clack” valve box fitted to the top. Because the later working of this shaft is said to have pumped water to the horizon of Hillcar Sough, it would be expected that all “pitwork” would have been removed, if not to be used elsewhere, then sold when the Alport Mining Company closed in 185?


A galvanised steel belay was fixed into the South wall, so alleviating the need to belay from the usual tree on the surface. Laddering down the shaft into the water, with only a small amount of dirt having been dislodged, the visibility was excellent when using the mask and snorkel. Peering down the shaft, it was obvious that there was a staging, maybe twenty feet below, covering approximately eighty percent of the shaft. From twenty feet (guess) above the staging there was not enough light present to see any detail below the staging, only a deepening green. An inspection of the rising main revealed that it was actually the top section of a pump. The pump rod, which is a round bar, has a joint just above the point where it enters a stuffing gland into the pipe below. What had appeared to be a clack valve box, is in fact the square sectioned side outlet between the internal piston and the top of the pump, which may have discharged into a cistern or been connected to the rising main. Judging distances underwater is very difficult and it is hoped that the water level will continue to drop so the true dimensions can be recorded.

Wheel shaft, entrance, Alport
Wheel shaft, Alport.

 

With the water level at a lower horizon, the hole in the North was now a short flooded stope, ending in a vertical stack of unstable looking deads, above which is the bottom of the inclined passage. The hole in the South side was now several feet high and gave access to an open stope, maybe twenty feet high in places, but with stacked deads, some on timber, some on nothing. It was possible to snorkel along this passage looking down into the lower working, all of which looked a bit of a mess. The passage continued but it required exiting the water by climbing over half submerged deads. This was left for another day. After changing it was decided to leave the survey work for another day.


Maybe we will have another local recruit in the form of Gareth, who lives at the lodge near Hawleys Bridge. He came down into the pit for a look and expressed an interest in a trip along Shinning Sough.

Cheg Chester

July 22nd     Wheels Shaft

CC & BH
Even though this trip was intended only for taking dimensions of the wheel pit and its features, the first thing we did was to check on the height of the water compared to the last visit. The water had now dropped below the top of the protruding pump rod but still remained above the top of the pump. There was very little disturbance on the water, and although this may be wishful thinking, there appeared to be another outlet on the same side, but lower down the pump. With less water to obscure our vision, the staging did not appear to be in a very good condition, but the gap round the pump is larger than was first thought. It would be very easy to lower a C.C.T.V camera through the gap to inspect below the staging. The hole in the South side of the ginging which had been entered by floating in, was now left completely dry, with the ginging below appearing to be intact as far as the staging. The shaft was not descended on this visit.


With the aid of a plumb-bob attached to a fibron tape, measurements were taken from the lip of the shaft, this being the lowest part of the pit floor, which is on the South side. They were: - To water, 38ft, to the top of the pump, 40ft., and to the staging, 49ft.


If you want to dream of the possibilities, try this. Hillcar sough is 80ft below shining Sough. Shining sough is at river level. The lip of the shaft is maybe 6ft. below river level, making the staging 55ft.below Shining Sough. Now, the underground Wheel is reputed to have been 18ft. diameter and must have been situated above, or at the level of Hillcar Sough (Thornehill Branch), making the top of the wheel only 7ft. below the staging. All of this is based on bits off scant information gathered from various articles, mainly in the P.D.M.H.S. bulletins and may be a complete load of rubbish, (My interpretation, not the articles) but I cant wait to see if the water continues to fall.


Having been in cloud cuckoo land for a while, I shall finish this entry by saying that the pit was surveyed, (to the nearest centimetre), so we can now produce drawings which hopefully will reveal some clues as to how the wheel functioned. In-fill below entrance needs clearing.

Cheg Chester

July 29th     Shining Sough & Wheels Shaft


CC, PF & MBR
Surveying along Shining Sough was the plan, but seeing as how the two site are only a few feet apart, we took the opportunity to check on the water level in the shaft. No measurements were taken, but there appeared to be only a few inches of water above the top of the pump. Rippling of the surface, caused by water entering from the hole on the North side, still prevented a clear picture of the lower part of the pump. Next trip! Back to the mask and snorkel. We did manage to survey over 1200ft. along shining Sough.

Cheg Chester

August 10th     Wheels Shaft


CC, DG & NB
It was decided that if we were to produce accurate drawings of the pit we would need to remove the in-fill, which had fallen in from the open end. A scaffold pole, complete with pulley and rope, was fixed across the top of the arching just inside the entrance. With one person digging, one pulling, and one stacking, good progress was achieved. At first, the in-fill consisted of dry soil, below which was a mixture of boulders/stones intermixed with clay/silt. The removed material was tipped to the rear of the entrance depression, using the boulders to construct a retaining wall. (Think I'll put in a bill for the rockery). The first thing to be revealed was a bedrock ledge, which protruded at an angle into the pit and formed the foundation for the entrance wall. Eventually, part of the masonry floor was uncovered, to reveal a further two recessed areas, which once held bearing blocks, matching the position of the ones at the far end of the pit. Between the end walls and these bearings, the floor is at a lower level, forming a shallow trough. At the far end, this trough had three large blocks of timber fitted between the back of the bearing base and the back wall. The spaces between these blocks are filled with hard packed debris (Crushed limestone?), but the trough under the entrance had only clean filling, no wood. Nothing of interest was found in the in-fill except a single piece of coal and some bones, which may have been Dog. It was decided to dig out the remaining floor where it slopes down to the lip of the shaft. This was thought to be solid and to reflect the shape of the underside of the wheel, but a quick probe revealed this may not be so. As time was running out, this was left for another day. Water level was still not below the top of he pump.

Cheg Chester

August 26th     Wheels Shaft

BS, PT, NB & CC
Multi purpose visit. Nigel used his telephoto lenses to try and get a close-up of the still submerged pump. Measurements were taken of the features that had been revealed during the previous visits digging session, and also filled in a few details missed in the initial survey. Several weeks before, Barry had been asked if he would consider diving the shaft. For him this was his first visit and he was so impressed he agreed to dive the following weekend; work permitting. Because the action of a diver kitting up in the shaft would result in loosing the good visibility, a scaffold will be erected within the pit, to allow a free descent. According to Barry this should be a first; a fully kitted cave diver, abseiling down a fifty foot shaft into 180 feet of water.

Cheg Chester

September 2nd     Wheels Shaft


BS, CC, PF, DG & SRF
After transferring all the gear into, and onto Pete's Land Rover, we drove down the side of the river to the shaft. Access into the pit was made a little easier by using an aluminium stepladder, instead of electron and halogen floodlights, connected to the generator lighted the area. First job was to construct a scaffold over the shaft, which would enable Barry to descend directly into the water. By positioning the base of two poles onto the lip of the shaft and attaching a horizontal pole across their tops, it was possible to lean them high up against the right hand wall of the pit. A second horizontal pole was placed across the two diagonals and by sliding this up or down, the descent rope could be positioned to hang anywhere in the shaft.

Nigel had previously provided a length of steel box section, which had been used as a belay at ground level. The rig was cross-braced to this to reduce flexing. A couple of dumbbell weights belonging to Dave's son weights were attached to the shot line and lowered into the water. At a depth of approximately 30ft the line went slack and even though the position of the line was changed, no greater depth could be obtained, so it was tied off leaving the rope taught. This weight was to enable the diver to pull himself downward on the line. The SRT rope was positioned for the descent, and an electron ladder was fixed to one side for the divers ascent. All we needed now was a diver who hopefully was somewhere between Pendle and Alport. (For details of the dive see Barry's separate report below)

Cheg Chester

Divers Report

Early Saturday morning and I found myself and Ceily travelling down to Derbyshire, full diving gear packed in readiness to undertake a dive in a flooded mine shaft that we had visited the week previously with Cheg, Paul and Nigel.  Whether you are into Mining, exploring, geology, or just sheer craftsmanship and long forgotten skills, make no mistake, this shaft and its entrance series will do it for you.

In conversation I had been informed that the total depth of this shaft could be in excess of 180 feet, and at some point should bell out to reveal hopefully a fully intact wheel some 18 feet in diameter at floor level, only the ravages of time, and it’s submersion in water taking it’s toll on the wheels condition. Having said that it was only for us to guess just what had been thrown down the shaft in the de-commissioning process and the ensuing 150 or so years to the present day! What ever lay in wait down there I felt privileged to be invited to dive it, not to mention more than just a little excited at being able to view for the first time in over one hundred years just what the old man had considered not worth the effort in salvaging.

On arrival my gear was quickly and efficiently transported to the entrance, and I duly landed back to earth with a bump on viewing all the scaffolding, belays, ropes, lights and ladders with the generator chugging away in the background providing the power. On inspection the lads had done a magnificent job of rigging the place to make my entry and exit to and from the water as problem free as possible. The plan was to abseil the shaft into the water fully kitted and ready to go, so as to lessen the time spent on surface destroying the visibility.

I was duly kitted up, ably assisted by my batman Dave, who fussed over me like your mother but was an invaluable help! Getting a sit harness over a dry suit is something of an experience, it was as close as I ever want to be to being gelded!

My abseil down the shaft to the water was uneventful, and I wasted no time in positioning my mask and submerging. A quick recce showed me that below the pump a cast iron pipe descended as far as I could see; the shot line lowered by the lads was adjacent to the pipe and followed it down. Below me was an almost intact timber staging with a square hole through it, but nothing else. I followed the pipe down and was able to pass below this staging to the next level. The next section of staging was exactly like the last, again there was a square hole through but this time it was on the opposite wall and a ladder came up through it, the distance between the stagings would at a guess be about 15 to 18 feet. It would have been great to have a swim round but my exhaust bubbles were dislodging lots of debris from the roof which was slowly raining down. I carried on my descent with mounting excitement and was again able to pass through this next section of staging following the pipe. Here all my dreams were shattered, ten or so feet below me the entire shaft was filled with timbers of all sizes, some lay horizontal but most were standing vertical, or at an angle, sections of ladder were also scattered about. The end of the shot line and the dumbbells rested on top. I clipped onto the line and with the little time available before the visibility blacked out I had a go at trying to dislodge the blockage in the hope that it would all cascade down the shaft leaving the way open for another day, but apart from one piece which broke off in my hand all the rest were solid and resisted any attempt at movement what so ever. The shaft itself was intact and in good condition with no change in shape or dimensions and continued downwards. The pipe was unbroken for its entire length, in reasonable condition and continued down the shaft. I returned to surface in worsening visibility and set about de-kitting to exit the shaft. Dive time was 20 minuets with a maximum depth of 40 feet.

The results of this dive posed more questions than were answered! If the shaft did bell out and there was indeed an 18ft wheel at its base, my maximum depth from the lip of the shaft was in the region of approx 80ft, so how could there be all this timber below some empty sections above, some of the beams about 12 inch square were all sticking up vertically or at angle. Speculation would suggest that the next section of the descending staging or possibly two sections had completely collapsed, or had they? If these collapsed sections were all resting on the next section down it may go some way to explaining what was happening, but the sheer volume of timber present was far in excess of what would have been required to construct a complete section of staging. Had two sections of staging collapsed then the distance from the last staging to the timbers should have been far greater than what it actually was, yet logically there appears to be no other explanation. Because of the nature and construction of the in-situ staging the timber could not have been dropped down the shaft from the surface.

Barry Sudell

September 17th     Wheels Shaft

 

BH & CC
Something new; underwater photography without getting wet. Bob had borrowed a 35mm camera, which was designed for snorkelling and waterproof down to five metres. With a built-in flash and a ten second delay, it was just what we needed to try and get some close-up photographs of the pump. Wearing only dry grotts, Bob abseiled down the shaft and locked off just above the water. Having first attached the camera to the end of a six foot pole, and set the timer to ten seconds, he was able to position the camera at various points around the pump and wait for the flash. Detailed measurements were also taken of areas of the pump that could be reached using a steel measuring tape. The resulting photographs were excellent, even showing the pump rod and what appears to be the top of the piston, visible through the pump side outlet. A few of the unanswered questions are, do the fixing bolt for the lid pass into the side outlet or are they studs? Is the stuffing gland fixed with studs or bolts? Is the gasket lead? Length of the lower pipe sections. Exact position of the piston? Etc.
We then proceeded up Shinning sough to continue work on the survey, adding a further 170 feet.
This doesn't seem a great distance, but we still bear the scars.

Cheg Chester

October 28th     Wheels Shaft


BH, PT & CC
We wanted to have another snorkelling trip to check on a few missing details of the pump, which had been highlighted whilst drawing up the plans. After all the rain of the previous weeks, we realised that the water level would have probably risen too far above the pump to allow this. On entering the pit the depth of the water came as a shock, it had risen to a higher level than we had first encountered back in May. We had no tape with us to do accurate measurements but it was approximately five to six feet above the top of the hole, in the ginging on the South side.

Cheg Chester

November 11th & 12th     Nottingham

NB, DG & CC

The second major rebuild of the winch trailer. How the wheels managed to stay on the old trailer is a mystery.