Just Rob and I (TAP) after a severe drop in numbers throughout the day. Whilst Team Average we’re fettling away down Baggers, TAP continued exploration in HDM.

Having mastered opening the lid (Luke and his kitten arm strength deemed surplus) we made quick progress down to the chain ladder with little faff other than me double checking id put me rack on reyt. Rob abseiled down a short way to place a bolt which led us straight into the Pipe Cavern which He and Dylan explored last week. Once both down and a short traverse line in place Rob gave me the guided tour whilst I pointed out obvious things which they’d both missed. Rob pointed me in the direction of the draughting ore chute. As I was already in place I agreed to go have a look.

Rob in the Pipe Cavern, JRP

As with many old mines in the Peak, ore chutes had to be pretty robust to serve their purpose (chucking lead/tailings from one level to a lower level) they’re quite small in diameter and not really meant for human travel and nowadays tend to be in various states of collapse. This ore chute was approx. 80cm x 60cm with only one solid wall, the remaining 3 being stacked ‘deads’. Rob had shot a splay up the shaft whilst surveying last week and thought it was about 8m high. Climbing was easy going but I took the ascent with care as one wrong foot placement could’ve brought the whole place crashing down around me, entombing me in the process. About halfway up I met an overhang and was greeted by much cleaner rock above, this made climbing easier but it also gave depth to the stacking as I could in between the gaps of each rock. By now I was over half way and could see the top, I poked my head above hoping to see a level disappearing off but unfortunately was greeted by a nasty looking collapse up a 50 degree slope. To my left (east) the level headed down at a similar steep slope to a short hand picked section. I had to make an awkward manoeuvre to get my legs out of the shaft and into this whilst trying not to touch anything as the roof was heavily fractured too, the whole place seemed rather suspect and I was now regretting having offered to check it out first. I lowered my legs down the slope which I pushed for 2 body lengths (now flat out!) At the base the hand picked section dropped vertical for 2m and ended in a collapse. Now I was surrounded by loose stuff and felt very uneasy in my surroundings, my thoughts being this could easily be someone’s worst nightmare!

With the lead now dead I made my way back to the top of the shaft and shouted the bad news to Rob. I hastily made my way back down as some rubble started to collapse in from above. Relieved to be out, Rob checked the next question mark a climb down into a lower level which ended at a forefield. Back in the Pipe Cavern the next lead was a tasty looking solid shaft approx. 6m high, about 1.2m diameter and lined with stemples. Rob made a bold back and foot up this carrying the end of the rope in his mouth and once safely at the top I clipped his harness and bolting gear to the bottom. He rigged a hang and I followed up on the rope. At the top a short crosscut containing a rabbit skeleton led through to a tall worked out rift, a stemple ladder-way led off in the roof to a small but enticing looking hole above. This would definitely need a bolt or two so it was here we turned around and took our time taking some snaps on the way out.

Rob in the Internal Shaft, JRP

Post beers in The Anchor catching up on some average antics.

Rob in the Pipe Cavern, JRP
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