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…