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James Hall’s Over Engine Mine (J.H.) - 21/01/2001

Written by RobEavis.

Report by Jase Rider
Cavers: Mike Salt (EPC), Steve Fellows, Steve (Stik) Rider (EPC), Jase Rider (EPC)

JH had previously been rigged by the Masson who were doing the through trip and coming out of Peak. This was the trip we also had in mind, but were easily talked into doing the de-rigging trip by Wayne Sheldon of the TSG. The entrance pitch, cartgate level and Bitch Pitch were all as expected and posed no serious difficulty. At the bottom of Bitch Pitch, The Workshop is entered, where a remarkable array of miners tools remain untouched since the day they were last used (no way! - Ed) by the miners. A loose scramble follows which comes out at the top of a short pitch, which in turn brings you to the top of Leviathan which is awesome. Even those who have seen Moose's slide-show wouldn’t fail to be impressed by the 300 ft Leviathan shaft.

Leviathan had been rigged in two pitches using the ledge half way down. The second pitch is a superb free-hang to the floor (which is the choke above the boulder piles in Speedwell). Abseiling the second pitch, one could only marvel at the work put in by Dave Nixon in diverting the water down to Speedwell so that the connection to Far Sump Extensions could be established.

After a short break, the more difficult task of getting back out of JH began. Mike had been asked to pick up a bag containing climbing gear and take it back up to the ledge where Wayne had been carrying out some remedial work. Stik and Steve were already making their way out by this point. Jase de-rigged the lower half of Leviathan and then took the rope bag up to The Workshop where Stik and Steve were waiting. Mike took over the de-rigging from this point as Jase, Stik and Steve made their way out of the mine carrying tackle bags. Bitch Pitch lived up to it's name on the way out - and proved awkward in places (for me at least) and the cartgate level seemed a lot longer on the way out.

By the time we emerged at the bottom of the entrance shaft we were all we and truly knackered with only another 150ft of prussiking remaining ! A short(ish) time later I surfaced into the cold winter afternoon, the others had understandably gone back to the car - so I waited in the comparative warmth of the top of the shaft for Mike who was the last man out.