Video Report : Smallcleugh Abandoned Lead Mine Grand Tour.

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Smallcleugh is an abandoned lead mine near at Nenthead, Cumbria. It iwas started around 1770 but was soon abandoned. In 1787 the work was re-started by an agent of the London Lead Company across the Smallcleugh Cross Vein, which produced an immense amount of lead ore. Notably, the mines in this area tend to contain large 'flats, which are huge areas of lead ore that, instead of following a vein, are expansive flat areas. In one in Smallcleugh, known since as the Ballroom Flat, a dinner party for 28 people was held by the local Masonic Lodge in 1901. The mine was finished by the end of the 1900s but re-opened briefly in 1963 but little mining was done.

Below the pictures, you will find 2 x videos, in the first one, we look at the main flats, going across to near where it drops down to Rampgill then following along, via the mini ballroom to the main ballroom, looking at many of the features. In the 2nd video, we continue from Gypsum Junction along Cowshill Vein and look at the enormous flats and the stopes further along, one of which is narrow and extremely tall, the other of which has the 'bridge of doom'. Coming soon will be other parts where we show you even deeper into the mine.

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Nice! I love underground schizzle!

We had two mines on our land when we had a farm property in Lancashire. Sadly both were flooded, and one was blocked by a roof fall anyway, so going in was not possible. I ran into an elderly guy wandering on the land one day and engaged him in conversation whereupon he told me he had been into one of the mines when he was a teenager. He related a tale of hurtling down the rail track in pitch black lying on a cart on his belly! But what was rather surprising was that according to him this was actually supposed to be the normal way all the miners got to the coal face! It was the sort of mine cut into the face of a steep hill where the inclines were not very steep at all - is it called a drift mine? I dunno. We got hold of mining maps going back a century or more and found, much to our relief, that our house was built on a pillar of solid rock a acre or more in size but we were surrounded on all sides by tunnels which ran away under the neighbouring land for almost half a mile or more. Oh how I wish we could have explored it!

Have you explored any of the tunnels around Hodge Close up in the Lake District? I recall in the late seventies finding a large cave with a hole in the roof opening out to the world outside. We entered it through a tunnel at the base of the cave and were staggered to see a literal mountain of dumped cars about 40 feet high, some of which at the bottom of the pile clearly dating back a long, long way. I have been back several times subsequently but could not find it again which makes me wonder if the local council filled it in. Hodge Close itself is a former mine of some sort (there used to be rail tracks in the entrance tunnel and various winches rotting away around the pit) but it is almost completely flooded. It has sadly taken the lives of several SCUBA divers over the years who enter the tunnels without sufficient training in cave diving techniques.
 

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