Mines #47 – End of an era

December 27, 2011 | Posted in Ironstone, mines, sealed | By

One of the local playgrounds has been sealed with several tonnes of rock in the last few days, quite unfortunate really as we had unfinished business there……oh well !!

I wonder of anyone was inside when it got sealed? If so its now their watery grave.

Camera phone shit pix:

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Mines #46 – Time We Left

December 5, 2011 | Posted in Ironstone, mine, mines, Thrunite, Tokina | By

There are some trips when you wonder why you are lugging round4kgs of camera gear and probably another4kg of lighting when you get home having taken only one photo, well this weekend was one of those trips.To be fair it was an exploration instead of a exploration/photo trip, were up in the extreme top north west corner of a location looking for a straight run though to the south but after 4 1/2 hours of trying 9 different roads, most with several feet of water in, and god knows how many headings we were defeated by roof collapses at every single occasion apart from one (this will be checked on a revisit). There was evidence of previous visitors 15 years earlier in some places, others hadn’t been touched for much longer.It seems a combination of a dip in Strata and a fault line are causing all the dead ends….how frustrating but a brilliant learning experience at the same time.

Mishap of the day had me as ‘victim’ (again) as I stepped into a deep sump while already in 2 feet of water….the result was over the chest waders before, in a split second, I levitated out in fear of a wet camera (note to self: Take the Ortleib next time!!

Clocked off and never came back?

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Mines #45 – Arch Rivals

September 13, 2011 | Posted in arches, cogs, flooded, Ironstone, mines, Underground, water | By

We’ve been hitting this place up for six months now and despite making great progress elsewhere in the mine these pesky arches have been just out of my reach for ages. First time I tried to reach them there was around eight feet of water and they just sat there in the distance teasing me (Picture 1 below), then a few months later the water level had dropped four feet and I was able to get quite close but had to abandon when water was lapping at the top of my tripod (Pic 2 below).

We’ve not been here for a while but on last weekends visit we were amazed to see the water level had dropped totally by the arches and we could walk right past them into virgin territory.

Now we could get down there we shocked as to their purpose…..the mine ceiling was supported on massive wooden cogs built on top of the arches and was at least 8-10 feet above the now buckling steelwork!

If you look at the third shot below you can make out the first two cogs above the steelwork.

Apologies for no more photo’s from this trip, the rest of the day was spent negotiating truly giant, unstable roof falls and getting stuck in three foot deep mud in a very low heading way out in the west. We did find several more Plant Rooms and some curious ‘dams’ that I need to find out more about…

May
June

September

 

 

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Too Orangey For Crows

August 19, 2011 | Posted in Crows, Ironstone, Kia-Ora, mines, Orange, Underground, vent shaft | By

This one has been on the To-Do list for ages, so long in fact that someone else beat us too it, c’est la vie!, you win some, lose some…

The truth is we were elsewhere frying bigger fish and were beaten by worthy opponents I know only thru the Interweb. Sloppy Seconds is never ideal but it had to be done as it was still a neat trip to make. The 4Gas had a spazz before we had broken a sweat and had to be shut down as it was blatantly lying about the 02 content and making a hell of a racket. This was far from ideal as there was a bunch of noxious primordial ooze right down there amongst that “Just for me and my dog” orange gloop and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was enough to get the h2s sensor squawking.

The trip involved walking through just over a mile of heavily flooded galleries and crosscuts, gingerly picking our way through a couple of truly unstable & massive roof collapses before we got to the payoff. Water was on average four feet deep with submerged roof collapses, random lumps of twisted, underwater, narrow gauge rail to negotiate and hidden sumps in the mine floor. Two of us had hilarious over wader moments, one resulting in blood loss and my waders sprang a leak within seconds of leaving the dry part of the mine. Other random weirdness was an anemic looking lizard 150ft from the surface amongst corn growing underground and being able to send SMS messages from the base of the shaft.

“Venimus, Vidimus, Vicimus”

Next…!!!

Usual rules apply…No names, no locations, just pictures of somewhere very orange. Please don’t ask for locations as refusal often offends 🙂

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Wakerley Quarries – Partington Steel & Iron Co Ltd

August 1, 2011 | Posted in Bucyrus, Ironstone, LNWR, Partington, Quarry, Ruston, Wakerley | By

A departure from the normal program of events but I do have a soft spot for Industrial Archaeology so I hope you enjoy….Bell Bros Ltd (1911-1915)
Wakerley Ironstone Co. Ltd (from 1915)
Partington Steel & Iron Co. Ltd (from 1918)
Discussions with Bell Broshad began in October 1907 with some trial holes but quarrying did not start until November 1911. A siding agreement withLNWR (London and North Western Railway) was dated July 1913. The quarries ran for a short while before the lease surrendered and was taken over byWakerley Ironstone Co. Ltd from 1915. Gravity was used to help the loaded tubs of Ironstone reach the tipping dock and two horses hauled the empty tubs back to the pits. For some reason the earlier tipping dock was abandoned and a new one built at the eastern end of theLNWR sidings, possibly because of an improved gradient to the railway.During the operation of the quarry a row of four Calcining Kilns were built by prisoners-of-war and next to them an engine room containing a horizontal boiler. It’s believed the kilns were never actually used and in fact only two of the four were ever completed.

From 1918 and now in the hands of Partington Steel & Iron Co. Ltd the quarry was extended the opposite side of the Harringworth Road and the tramway tunneled underneath. Around this time a second tipping dock was added to the newer eastern one and this is evident today as the original one is faced with stone and the new addition is red brick. The quarry became mechanised in later life making use of a Bucyrus Class 14 Steam Shovel and a Ruston Steam Transporter.

The quarry closed somewhere around 1921, the track was taken up and the bridge under the road filled in, everything else was left which is unusual as normal practice is to restore the ground at closure. Today both tipping docks are clearly visible, as is the deep cutting of the quarry. The railway sidings adjacent to the LNWR main line are also evident and there are some remains of the weighbridge at the top of the ‘new’ tipping dock.

Sadly the Engine Room has crumbled but all four calcining kilns dominate the landscape for miles around and are in remarkable condition.

Apologies for the gratuitous use of Sunstars but my Tokina glass has a 9 bladed diaphragm which makes 18 pointed Sunstars so I couldn’t resist it…

Calcining Kilns
‘New’ twin Tipping Dock – original in stone, later addition in red brick
The next shot shows the original Tipping Dock (running from left to right towards the kilns on the center horizon). The treeline to the right of the photo is the Main Railway line and the long raised area from the camera to the kilns is the LNWR sidings.

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Another town another place, Another girl, another face.

July 12, 2011 | Posted in Ironstone, mines, Underground | By

The Black Pig was not available for deep water duty so Plan B or Plan C was in order. After some discussion we opted for Plan C.

Not been here for a while but there were a few things that required checking such as Chav/Moron impact and I’m sad to say that the Writers have been quite a way in which is sad. Someone who didn’t get quite as far used a ball of string to find their way before running out of string, graffing the nearest wall and leaving. If you are that dumb to employ tactics like this while exploring a mine then death must truly be stalking you. If you are reading this and want your ‘navigation device’ back its in my wheelie bin at home until Thursday (along with an entire carrier bag of crisp packets, beer cans & sweet wrappers…).

I wanted to get some shots from the farthest southerly points so all of the below are from this quite unusual looking area. Whilst shooting some of these shots we could all smell rotten eggs but nobody owned up to farting and my H2S alarm stayed silent (it’s only just back from calibration)…..curious!!

Usual rules apply…No names, no locations, just pictures of somewhere. Please don’t ask for locations as refusal often offends 🙂

Photo’s are a bit rough I’m afraid, many taken hastily and should have been re-shot.

Final Destination

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Mines #42 – Mmmmmm rich 02

June 30, 2011 | Posted in 02, 4Gas, elsan, flooded, Ironstone, mines, Underground | By

Meteorological Perfection is not something you would normally associate with underground exploration but on our latest project a specific type of weather is the difference between rapid extraction, knackering 02 levels or a thoroughly enjoyable trip.

Weather Fronts were due to collide which meant a day of fantastic oxygen levels for us due to the high pressure and we enjoyed more than + 3% more 02 than had been experienced on many previous visits. Also in our favour were water levels so going chest deep got me to places I hadn’t previously been able to reach before without a boat.


Usual rules apply…No names, no locations, just pictures of somewhere. Please don’t ask for locations as refusal often offends 🙂

May have been a tub…
Reflections
Random Elsan Chemical Toilet
Water level drops of over 2ft allowed me to finally get some shots of these steel arches. I would have gone through them but wandering around in 4ft of stinking, murky water,stumbling over rocks and hidden debris with $$$ camera gear makes me twitchy…
Totally submerged tripod shot from a few weeks ago…
Same shot, same depth, this week..progress!!
Boats in here for the next stage…

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Mines #41

June 8, 2011 | Posted in 4Gas, cog, Ironstone, mines, o2, sump, texolex, Underground | By

More underground fun this week….apologies to Cold War fans (there will be something nice for you next week, watch this space….).

We avoided the water for a change and instead had to contend with knackering 02 levels, panting like a marathon runner for four hours gets a bit tedious and if that wasn’t annoying enough, false floors too!!

The false floor I would have in fact have fallen through had it not been for the discovery of something interesting just a few feet away which delayed my progress. They aren’t that rare in mines but they certainly are in this type of mine, this one was about 20ft long x 16ft wide by 10ft deep and half full of water so crashing through would have been ‘interesting’ to say the least. Other notable items included some of the most bodged ceiling supports I have seen for a long while, a case of ‘use whatever is laying around’, one of the strangest was a Cog made from what looked like snapped concrete fence posts!!

It was nice to get out to 02 rich air to be honest, but we’ll be back…

Usual rules apply…No names, no locations, just pictures of somewhere. Please don’t ask for locations as refusal often offends 🙂

In Your Arches
Poor Workmanship

False Floors and ‘floating’ brick Piers

Concrete Cogs
Texolex
Plant Room II
Don’t Touch

Sumps

Lights

Poor Workmanship Part 2

Rat Hole

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Mines #40

June 3, 2011 | Posted in flooded, Ironstone, mines, roof collapse, roof fall, Underground | By

More water filled fun this week which ended up in a near ‘over (chest) wader’ moment in which my tripod disappeared and I nearly played submarines with my Canon. From here its likely to be Inflatable Tenders all the way on another trip to this area to get any deeper though…

(Once the tripod was drained though it seemed happy enough so its passed the test in my book.)

When Roof Supports go wrong
Wonky Props
Don’t ask…
Giant Jenga
Prop Fest
 
Giant Jenga Remix
Jenga Blah…
Watersports
 

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Mines #39

May 24, 2011 | Posted in flooded, Ironstone, mines, roof collapse, roof fall, Underground, waders, water | By

This blog has gone a bit off-topic recently with a distinct lack of Cold War items, this hasn’t gone unnoticed but I’m having such a blast with the underground lark I’m afraid I’m still showing the love for the underground 🙂

I wish I could show the whole set of these shots as they would truly blow your mind but sadly it would also compromise things so for the top drawer stuff just use your imagination…

Water is a big deal here and boats make sense for much of it, there’s also plenty of Death From Above action going on to keep you on your toes.

Plant Room
Do Not Panic
Stops
Props
Wetlands
Death From Above
This is where it started to get a little damp, when I say damp this next shot was taken in thigh deep water and waders weren’t on the kit list for today.
Wet Legs
The intention was to hit this back wall which will happen next time in the boat. Today’s attempt saw me up to my waist in freezing water for this next shot before I realised I had nearly killed my phone & wallet and if I fell over there was ££££ of camera gear going to die too…..check the ceiling height compared to previous shots, It’s all roughly the same in here.
Stay tuned to this channel for more water filled antics…

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