A week had passed since Rob and I had found the huge open entrance to Jowle Grove mine and to say I was excited to drop this thing was an understatement! We had found out a bit of information on this mine but not much, we did however find that another group of local explorers had this place in their sights. They had been to the mine, faffed around taking the bolted lid off, but then only lowered a camera down there! Unlike them we don't faff around so we were armed with spanners, slings and some rope. The lid wasn't that easy to remove and we thought it was going to be over before it had even started but Jeff came to the rescue with his little spanner which manged to fit in the tight gap of the grate. Jeff proving once again that small tools can still have an impact, a motto of his life apparently.
I rigged a Y hang over the entrance which was a little fun to get on with the shaft being so large you have to lower yourself down with not much to hold onto or put your feet anywhere. Rob had run off to look at a possible cave that had just opened up on Eldon Hill somewhere, passed onto us by Mark Noble. See the Eldon Facebook group to see the outcome of that.
I went down the mine shaft first and just wow it really is impressive! The first 20m is a well built shaft, almost perfectly round with a nice wall. Some serious work had gone into this place. After 20m or so you come to some solid walls. Here it starts getting a bit strange. The miners had dug 2 levels going off but they soon shot off up, heading back to the surface. They then had built a drystone wall blocking of the shafts but left some solid rock in the middle. Looks awesome!
I carried on down and soon hit a blocked floor. We think this would have carried on down but it would be a hell of a project to dig this down any further now. I headed off out taking my time and having a good look around. Jeff was feeling a bit worse for wear after a night of being a naughty boy, I don't think he was that keen on heading down to just see a blocked floor but I talked him round and he headed down, you could hear him get excited as he slowly went down. Rob had re-joined us by this point and took some photos. Jeff headed back up and showed Rob how not to get off the rope. The pub was calling but I said to Rob he needed to go down, so he headed off down and I think he was glad he did. He took some awesome photos on his phone whilst he was down there which really do show just how cool this place is.
Once back on the surface we quickly re-fitted the lid and made a hasty retreat to the car before it started absolutely peeing it down. Headed to the Anchor for a well deserved pint and the monthly Eldon meet. Next week's plan is to drop another grated shaft a bit further down the hill called Watts Grove mine. If this is half as interesting Jowle Grove mine then it should be a good trip and would make an excellent evening sport trip, dropping both shafts. Fingers crossed!