Intake Dale Mine

Discussions following on from the Bradwell Catchment Symposium and after reading reports from the 80's of natural rift and chambers, EPC members have re-descended Intake Dale Mine and embarked on exploring it further.

 Intake Dale Main Chamber


Well after a full day of down pour we proceeded with our prearranged trip down Intake Dale Mine (IDM). It was Team 4some and a rumour that Townsend might be topping up, hopefully this'll spark his interest and he might be able to finish off his first trip report from the place! Anyhoo...

The lay-by was super shitty and we got changed shouting profanities at the weather gods. We practically ran across to the mine and I inserted myself fairly quickly through the entrance slot into the dryness below. The entrance pitch was fine, even with the big lengths of scaff. The second pitch was starting to get wet and a stream could be heard below. Below... (third pitch) was super wet with a stream flowing in from back towards the entrance and a stream emerging half down the opposite side which is the wall of stacked deads! - eek. This was a bit worrying as all the water was coming straight through the ginging.

We headed for the dig and got to use the stemples for the first time which were fantastic! The choke looked a lot more scary now with a large void right above the dig face with a huge bonnet sized boulder chocked against the fractured back wall only being held by a small football sized boulder. Rob made a start on scaffing the place, once Jeff and Luke had joined us Jeff and I headed down to the natural at the bottom to see if there was any noticable watercourse. We made our way down the ginged shaft and climbed past the RSJ into the natural where Brexit rift heads off. We could now hear water very clearly so followed it down to the cross rift. Water was flowing from the roof which is the obvious continuation of the second pitch where the water emerges from tailings at the bottom of the shaft. Further on the water was RUMBLING!

We followed the roar and headed under the waterfall and down the rift to the large chamber where a stream 5 times the amount of the waterfall was thundering out from boulders in the floor. This was crazy!! I was jumping about, shocked at how much water was down here. We could tell the place obviously flows at some point due to the sediment down there but this was unreal! We followed further down the rift to the obvious cross rift where SamT had previously climbed from and traversed the roof, it was here where we decided to turn around.

We had a quick look down Brexit rift, the bottom 4m or so being flooded back up to the same level in the big rift. We grabbed a couple of pieces of scaff and headed back to the Blackjack Choke. We caught SamT coming down the ginged shaft and told him to get the others to head down here to check it out not wanting to miss the pub. Jeff and I took the scaff right up to the choke and had a quick inspection. Just as Jeff poked his head in a fistful size stone dropped through the freshly placed chamber which made Jeff come straight back out. Hopefully the whole place will stabalize itself for the next trip as it was looking super necky!

We headed back out and it sounds like Rob and SamT had a tad more wet trip than us as Rob got fully submerged in the large rift (TWICE), traversing a foot above the water level and jumping/falling in. 

We retreated to the Stags for the monthly meet to find the whole Bar 3 inch under water! A memorable one for sure.

Sam and Rob battling along the (never seen before) streamway

Just Rob and I on tonight's adventures. We only had a few bits of timber and a bag of tricks so opted for the rather average start time of 7pm. On arrival at the climb to the choke Rob inserted a couple of stemples to aid access up to the Black Jack Joke as one member of TA (Luke) couldn't make the climb - this makes life much easy and we do love the easy life.

Once at the choke we had a quick look and started to make progress of digging out the floor under the scaff (to the right of the massive boulder). Stuff was coming out easy and it was soon time to swap around so Rob could have a fettle. Rob inserted some more scaff and then let me go in for a second fettle to remove a large boulder which I delivered on time. Rob then went in for a final look see and inserted one more piece of scaff before knocking down a key chock-stone which we'd been looking at for a while. 

The chock-stone was pushed out with ease into the void behind which we'd managed to roll down a few rocks in between shifts which seems to have dropped for some way. This one made a completely different sound. It boomed and thudded its way down the void for a long while. Rob jumped back just as something little fell behind him from the un-shored side of the choke. Just as I was about to say its time to get out the whole world started collapsing behind him closely missing him by a few inches! A large TV size boulder which surely would've made a Rob pancake.

The "Lets make Pancake's boulder"

Now it was definitely time to retreat as the pub was calling. We exited swiftly and headed to The Anchor for some refreshments. Hopefully the choke has settled itself ready for next week - hopefully!

With Lukey-boy out of action it was up to Team B-some to take in the slack and drag scaffolding down in to the depths of Intake Dale Mine to start a new project which had been found when Intake was re-explored a couple of years back by the Eldon. It got the name Black Jack Choke from Luke's choice of Vape for the evening being Black Jack flavoured which was worth its weight in Galena testing for draughts in the choke.

We had a usual pre-beer in the layby and hastily kitted up for the walk down to the mine. Jeff was feeling a bit woozy after just giving blood so was taking the trip steady. Rob and Dave were carrying the majority of the gear required leaving me the awkward bit of scaffolding with only one clip.

Intake Dale Mine (IDM) although very short takes a while to descend and ascend due to it being split into two pitches with lots of hanging death all around. Once the majority of the group were stationed just above the small climber which leads down to Brexit Rift and the big natural Black Jack Choke can be found by traversing at roof level over the hole down to the climber and thrutching into a small constriction which leads to a fairly pleasant natural chamber some 3x3 metres. The camber has a small back filled bedding on the left with the boulder choke being straight on. Although the draught in the choke was not present this evening we made a decision to make progress to the right had side of the choke where Rob had remembered the draught to get sucked in to and also a some sections which are calcified. A little poke followed by the placing of a couple pieces of scaff pinned to the "alright but not Bomber" walls.

Jeff in the passage approaching the choke

At this point we were already biting into pub time so Jeff and I started out whilst Rob and Dave removed a few more boulders. All safe on surface we retreated to The Star for a guaranteed pint to discuss pressing issues such as nugget porn and pegging and left just before the dawn of a new day. A big thanks to Mark Noble for supplying us with Scaffolding, Cheers!

Rob admiring his pile of scaff in front of the Black Jack Choke

During 2016 Intake Dale Mine was rigged, made safe(r), explored and surveyed. It is a fascinating old mine which follows an irregular vein to a depth of 55m via 3 pitches and some narrow rift climbs. Here the rifts turn natural and roughly 100m of high rifts and large natural cavities lead off to the East and North, seemingly untouched by T’owd man at all. 

Sam in Rift, by Rob Eavis

Sam led a number of bolt climbing trips near the bottom, including a roof traverse along the main rift and a climb up at the back of a large cross rift. Unfortunately none of these efforts revealed much passage. 

Meanwhile Rob and Luke started work on the upstream boulder choke. This vertical choke feature can be reached at four places in the system and all of them draught strongly at times, suggesting the existence of a continuation to the west heading up the dale. Plus the draught direction agrees it’s coming from a higher entrance. The lowest point was chosen as this was closest to the natural passages, and after four trips enough scaffold had been chucked in to yield a breakthrough into a new cross rift. This was on the evening of the referendum hence the name Brexit Rift, particularly apt with the team members voting different ways. This rift unfortunately was not the source of the draught and met a solid end after only 10m, so it seems a route further into the choke will need to be engineered. 

Sam in Brexit Rift

Two years on, I returned with Sam and Luke this Thursday for a pre-pub refresher to take advantage of the cold evenings to check the draught (but mostly because I wanted my crowbar back). This was a good excuse for Sam to quite literally dust the cobwebs off after nearly a year of avoiding caving. 

The entrance pitches were dry and strongly draughting inwards, and soon we were down at the choke again. I’d forgotten my disco smoke so Luke valiantly lent the team his vape thingy, this week fragrantly instilled with BlackJack flavour to reinforce his sexuality. The air cleared but the draught was not strong and if anything it was being driven more by our body heat than the cave. We surveyed through to Brexit Rift and familiarised ourselves with the options and challenges, whilst Sam became increasingly unhappy with all the hanging death (even though there’s loads more scaffold than when we originally went through!). 


Remembering my trusty crowbar we headed out, although it wasn’t long before a stronger draught was met and we spread out to try to follow it. The best route (my one) led through a tight rift into the second highest boulder choked passage and the draught was very strong, although making progress here would be a brave undertaking. 

Back on the pitches up Sam strengthened his rusty status by putting his foot jammer on the wrong side of the wrong foot, but made up for it by openly admitting to it allowing us to berate as necessary. 

So, fired up after the Bradwell Catchment Symposium about the potential hydrological connection between the back end of the Castleton catchment, Eldon Hill Dolines etc and Bradwell Dale (along the line of Hartledale)

I spoke to Tpot at the meeting about Intake Dale mine, and asked him to show me exactly where it is on a map.  Always seemed to me to be right in the middle of a vast area which must take some sort of catchment, yet with no known cave.

I'd heard about Intake Dale from several folks, JT, Tpot, etc.  

"You been down that mine in Intake Dale"


"Ben/Tony/Tpot went down it, draughting like mad, but really loose, quite a bit of natural down there apparently".

Well it was always enough to put me off... the fact that Tpot/Ben/Tony thought it was loose and hadn't really pushed in there meant it really must have been very very loose!. 

It took an email from Adam Russell, to act as the catalyst to launch me back into action.

Adam said he'd walked along Shuttle Rake and found what looked to be an open mine entrance...

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