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About TLR

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    Oblivion State Member
  • Birthday 10/24/1968

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  1. Good effort, cracking pics too Having worked up there I know how remote the place is as well as how difficult it is to wander across the moors and pine forests. Never saw the planes while I was there, but that was a fair few years ago!
  2. Cheers all, wouldn't like to be in this culvert today though.
  3. Bank Bottom Culvert - Marsden It's been a few frustrating days visiting many places, but failing for many reasons. Time to rethink the long drives and concentrate on some of my local venues I though. Like most I have a list, some places just to check to see if there is access, unfinished business at other venues and the odd place you keep on meaning to have a look at, but never do. This place fell into the latter two categories; while looking at an old bugbear of mine I wandered past this culvert again. I remember seeing a report once and had thought about having a look myself, but got side tracked and it soon slipped down my list. Roll on a few years, and after one fail under my belt today I decided to have a look at this as it was in the area. You can never tell what you'll find when you venture into a culvert, from stoopy crawls to huge passages, some just a concrete pipe, others fantastic brick or stone work. The depth of water is also unknown so I try and start at the downstream end as if I can get up something I should be able to get back down. First impressions were good, just over 2 meters high and I see light about 120 meters away where there was a small open section as it passed under a road. The further you went in the more open it became, the roof was made up of the floor of the buildings above. Looking back towards the downstream entrance, so far so good. This is a 5 meter section which was open, the stream passes under a road at this point before being culverted for another 400 meters. Nice to have a bit of natural light to play with. Time to continue upstream, the culvert remained about 3 meters high and 6 to 7 meters wide, plenty of additional strengthening pillars and beams were in place. Picking your way up the stream was entertaining, sometimes the line to follow was obvious, but given the lovely tea coloured water once in the stream you couldn't be sure of the depth. Large pools could be bypassed in the main, but the odd retreat to pick a better line sometimes made sense, up to now my feet had stayed dry and apart from the odd slip and slide things were looking good. The next major feature was a light well which opened the roof again giving some natural light. This also had a nice small waterfall and greenery. Back into the culvert again and probably my favourite section, lots going on in here. What I liked all the way along was the various pipes and troughs hung from the roof. It was about here I had my first welly boot breach, shortly followed by a second one where I launched my camera and tripod onto dry land thinking I was getting a dunking! Worth the wet feet for this part of the culvert. This place just kept getting better, one of those places you smile at the start and finish with a huge grin. Every few meters there was something of interest, a small feature or nice section of stream. Things were going that well I thought I'd go for a selfie, at least the camera didn't get a dunking! That was the first dunking in many a year, at least the water was warmish. The culvert just kept on being stunning, better still I wasn't too bothered about getting wet now. All too quickly the light appeared again, that was the end of this trip. Just a small plastic pig was to be seen hiding from our PM, I wonder how many pigs will be found in dark places from now on? Looking back down the 500 meters of fantastic culvert. Well that's it. Lesson learnt is not to overlook stuff on your doorstep, this was one of the most enjoyable culverts I've done, surprised it hasn't ever had more traffic. A cracking day out, making the most of a fail. Cheers, TLR.
  4. Cheers all, I do like the Copper Mines. Hopefully get back in them in the not too distant future as there is just so much of them to see
  5. Coniston Copper Mines, The Hospital Levels The Coniston Copper Mine valley and surrounding areas I think were the catalyst to what I've done with my life ever since. I was 13 when I first visited the valley; there was a weeklong climbing and mountaineering trip there organised by the Scouts at a district level, technically I was too young, but I was keen for some reason, very, very keen so I kept hassling everyone and managed to go in the end as there was a spare place. To this day I'm not sure why I was so keen to go, fair enough I'd been up Snowdon a few years before with the Scouts and had done a fair bit of walking in the Yorkshire Dales, but I wasn't that keen on heights having cried on my only attempt to abseil the previous year eventually scrambling back over the top of the crag. We stayed in the Yorkshire Mountaineering Club hut at the top of the valley, each day we were out in the hills for most of the day and still remember them clearly. Rock climbing at Raven Crag in Langdale up what felt like 1000ft of vertical rock, bouldering and climbing near Chapel Style, trudging up the never ending scree slopes up to Dow Crag and ascending the gullies which cut through the huge 500ft cliff and walking around the rim of the Copper Mine valley finishing on top of the Old Man of Coniston. Towards the end of the week we had a slight change to being on the hills, we went under them instead. I can't remember the guys name, but he was part of the active group who were exploring and mapping the long forgotten sections deep underground. I can remember just being in awe at what felt like a maze of passages, the old artefacts and the peace and quiet of being in the mine. Also having read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings a few times by then I could imagine being in the books now myself and the thought of Awks, Trolls or Dwarfs hiding around each corner left a lasting impression. The Youth Hostel, which was formally one of the mine buildings. Roll on 4 years and I was a keen climber, being close to local crags and borrowing the Scouts climbing equipment had made that possible, but apart from a few caves in Yorkshire hadn't really ventured that much underground. Passing my driving test shortly after my 17th birthday meant I could head over to Coniston for weekends, stopping at the Copper Mines YHA. It wasn't every weekend as my £27.50 a week probably wouldn't cover it, plus there were plenty of other places to visit with my recently found mobility. It was often enough though to get to know the YHA warden well, which had its advantages; a cup of tea and homemade cake on arrival, up to date weather forecasts before setting off from home; plus he had an old beat up car which he use to drive us down to the end of the dirt track to go to the pub and then back, this was very advantageous as it was a fair walk, but YHA's locked the doors at 22.00 in the mid 80's so being with the warden meant it was never a problem. On top of all that he was also a wealth of knowledge on the Copper Mines, so when I wasn't on the hills I was underground exploring the mines. One of the early trips to the area aged 17, we did wonder why other folk were putting on crampons, ice axes, harnesses and ropes. When I said to Jonny (lad in the photo) look at the stunning views, he replied I don't give a fuck about the views! That was his first and last introduction to ice climbing. Even when I went to college in Guildford there were regular trips to the Lakes and many days when the weather was too poor to climb usually ended up with a visit down the Copper Mines. However I stopped staying at the YHA by then, the bright lights of Ambleside had drawn us there. It also had an outdoor education primary school teacher college with a 90% female intake; this usually meant free floor space to sleep on or a bed if you were lucky. It was about this time that I heard that the YHA warden had taken a fall while in one of the mines breaking his back , never did find out what happened to him. I'd say my last trip into the mines was about in 1991, climbing took over and visits to the Lakes in general were less frequent as there were many places in the UK, Europe and beyond to visit and climb. Me and Jim on one of our mine trips 1989. Apart from a couple of wanders around the edge of the Copper Mine valley I have not been in it now for nearly 25 years favouring the quieter Duddon Valley over the hill. I'm still kicking myself for missing out on a job up there in the mid 90's. It was a friend of mine who was part of the team to bolt up a shaft into the higher levels and discover the legendary Levers Water Bung. Rumour had it that in the 1800's the miners nearly broke through into the large tarn, they stopped digging and blocked the passage with a timber plug. This turned out to be true and after contacting Northwest Water and getting an engineer up there he deemed it safe. However a few years later tales of someone trying to blow it up came out and NW water decided to make a permanent repair. This involved drilling into the tunnel from above and dropping a mixture of sand and cement down the hole; filling sandbags and making a retaining wall with them. The company I was working with at the time got the job, equipment was to be taken up with a 4x4 and a helicopter, I pushed to get on the job pointing out my interest and connection with the history of the Bung. Alas I ended up hanging from a tower block in Hackney, while the lads working in Coniston had a pub crawl around the Lake District by helicopter that afternoon, as everything had been moved to site and the pilot pointed out that he was being paid for the full day! Well that's enough of my memories, I have to write them down these days before I forget them. On with the report. History (Very Brief) The history of the Copper mines go back over 400 years but extraction of copper will go back much further than this, probably to Roman times or even earlier. The most prosperous period was the 1850s and by the 1870s the mine went in decline. For most of the mines history only gunpowder was used, hand drilling, and only tallow candles as light. The country rock is volcanic so progress would have been painfully hard and slow. Getting to the copper veins at depth could only be done by descending wooden ladders and stagings. Some of the workings were over 1100ft below the surface and around 500ft below sea level. Although over 1000ft of the mine workings are now under water it is still possible to descend over 500ft through the complicated vein systems. It is like stepping back in time. As well as a good knowledge of where you are going it is necessary to be fully competent in Single Rope Techniques and be fit. Ascending a 180ft vertical pitch at the end of a long day underground can sometimes not be put off! The primary copper ore that was mined at Coniston is called Chalcopyrite (Copper/Iron/Sulphide). This is a yellow brassy colour similar looking to Pyrite or "fools gold" as it is often called. Since the mines closed over 100 years ago a considerable amount of post mine mineralization has taken place (Supergene). For a long time it was assumed that these were the copper carbonates Malachite and Azurite but it is now known that the vast majority of the stunning blues and greens are copper sulphates. These "supergene" minerals have a much higher copper content than Chalcopyrite. There are a number of these stunning formations in the mines and luckily they are in quite difficult places so have remained relatively undamaged. The miners followed the veins down and would put in false timbered floors to tram the ore to the engine shafts. At various points a man-way would be built so the miners could descend ladders to other parts of the workings. These false floors are one of the major hazards to mine explorers today. They are covered with rubble and sometimes it is difficult to tell if you are on a false floor or not. When you are in new ground and you suddenly realize you are on one, with a big drop beneath your feet, it can be a sobering experience! Contrary to what you would expect there are not many artefacts to be seen in the mines. This is because most were sold off for scrap as the mines suffered the slow decline and inevitable money problems, however some areas of the mines suffered from collapses due to the unstable nature of the ground and it is in these areas, where it was not worth tunnelling to retrieve them that you can find the odd mine wagon, jack roll, tallow candles and other small items. My Visit I had been planning to head back here for a few years now, and finally found some time. A fair bit of research was done to see what was feasible to do on my own and without any SRT methods being used. The day started with me trying to find Flemings Level in the pissing rain and low cloud cover. I'd wandered straight past it and ended a lot higher up the Valley at Gods Blessing, a small mine before retreating back to Flemings Level. A tight entrance and a reasonable depth of water meant I left my camera outside. After this brief visit I traversed the fellside on one of the water channels to get to the area below Levers Water. Memory was poor, but seemed to remember a lot more entrances than I found in this area. I did eventually find the entrance to the Hospital Levels and was glad to be out of the rain for once. It starts of wet and you soon reach a right branch from the main tunnel. Assorted timers have been stacked here, there's been a fair bit of strengthening work done since I was last down these mines. This tunnel does dry out and eventually stops about 400 meters into the hills. Back at the fork I decided to follow the main tunnel and see what I could find. I soon found where some of the timbers had been used. Beyond that you encounter various shafts in the floor of the tunnel, the board walks look sound enough but a harness and cowstails may have made some sense, after all safety is paramount. The shaft could drop hundred of feet and know I couldn't see the bottom. The 2nd shaft was a bit more rickety, but easy enough to get past. The right tunnel here led to another vertical shaft with water thundering down, I opted for the left tunnel and carried on with my explore. Another bit of timber to walk across and the tunnel started to open out a bit. Old timbers and chains are wedged in to the tunnel and roof. Just after this point old tracks were visible in the floor of the tunnel. But reached the end of the line too quickly as they hand over the mouth of another deep shaft. Nearly the end of the line for me too. The tunnel continues for another 500 or 600 meters after this, a few interesting side tunnels come off it and bits of steel work imbedded in the walls, but decided to leave these for future visits. This was about the last photo I took down here as my lens misted over and realised I had left my camera bag and cleaning kit near the entrance. That was my first visit underground here for 25 years and will be back a lot sooner for my next visit. Didn't see half of what I intended to see, but the weather was grim and missed a couple of the entrances. I did venture over to the Tilberthwaite Valley later in the day, report to follow. Cheers, TLR.
  6. Llanberis (Dinorwic) Slate Quarries – Llanberis The lowest slate quarry lies just outside Llanberis (100m A.S.L.) on the shore of Llyn Padarn, Vivian Quarry is just slightly detached from the main area, a few 100m away on the shore of Llyn Peris, rising to 650m above sea level, that’s 500m or 1500ft in height and probably 3 miles width. History Llanberis slate starts around 500 million years ago, when layer upon layer of mudstone - deposited over millennia in a shallow sea - eventually became overlain and intruded by volcanic rock, lava and ash. The heat and pressure that these applied to the shale type rock, transformed it over aeons into what is now considered the best slate in the world. Slate is virtually impervious to water, and is easily split into tiles making it excellent for roofing. Post formation the slate lay dormant for another age waiting for the next event in its long history - the collision of what is now the UK with Nova Scotia caused the mountains to rise above sea level and the Snowdonia mountain range was born. And there it would have ended for the slate, buried under a mountain of rock, but the earth had different ideas and around 100,000 years ago the earth was plunged into a glacial period - glaciers shaped the landscape of North Wales into the dramatic mountainscape that we see today. Jump forwards to 10,000 years ago and the globe started to heat up, the ice retreated and the world we know today started to emerge. Whilst limited mining occurred in early times - the most notable a Roman fort who's remains on the outskirts of Caernarfon was roofed in slate - it wasn't until much later during the industrial revolution that slate mining expanded rapidly. Factory building and rapid urban growth led to the need for an effective roofing material, and that's where slate and the Welsh quarries associated with it came into being. In 1890 the industry peaked, with over 17,000 men being employed in the mines and quarries of North Wales. The subsequent decline in the industry was to have a major effect on the locals and workers alike. When, in an effort to employ its workers with disregard for new Health and Safety Laws the owners of the quarries essentially locked the workers out for nearly a year with no pay, times became very hard and when the mine owners eventually opened the gates to the capitulating workers, they only took on half the original workforce. Similarly it is only just coming to light after the Penrhyn family finally released historic papers from the time - after the last living relative of those times passed away - that the owners not only kept the welsh workforce in poverty, but used the ships that transported the slate all over the world to engage in the slave triangle. It was this transportation to global destinations that gave birth to some of the names of the areas in the quarries, however it has been suggested that some of these have been misnamed by climbers, although the general theme is still there. After the Second World War new technology in roofing, which was cheaper and easier to manufacture than slate was born - the ceramic tile. So despite more mechanization the quarries went through a steady decline until in 1969 when the Dinorwig quarries finally closed. By the end of the mining in Dinorwig, 362 quarrymen had lost their lives extracting the grey gold. My Visit I first visited these vast quarries in the mid 80's, not to explore so much, but to climb on a rainy day when it was not possible to get out on the mountain crags, slate dries in minutes so it was possible to climb between showers. During the showers we did venture down the odd tunnel, into outbuildings and enjoy the unique environment we had ended up in. Here's a photo of us exploring the quarries in the late 80's, this is still one of the classic routes of the Quarries, called 'Comes The Dervish' E3 5C. Day 1 Enough of the history and on with the photos, I do like these quarries if you couldn't tell. That much so I decided to spend a couple of days here and visit the whole place. Photos are just in the order I found things, day 1 in the Northern half of the quarries. Straight into a couple of adits as you enter the quarry; nice as it still has the 2ft gauge train tracks at the entrance. The tunnel splits after a 100 meters, the exits terminate about 100ft above the base of the quarry. The weather was getting worse, visibility down to 30 meters making navigation interesting between the levels, this is looking down on the old buildings as I continued to climb one of the inclines. Visibility got worse, but found a track I had hoped I'd find, this went for over a mile to something I'd seen on a map. It probably would have been interesting if I could have seen it as it was a Surge Pumping Station for the Hydroelectric Power Plant, alas a big electric fence put me off taking a close look. I dropped back down to what I hoped would be the top of the quarry, and found a side tunnel to the Hydro Scheme alas it was gated. Was a good looking tunnel as well. The visibility was horrendous and was trying to pick a way across to the opposite side of the main quarry, I didn't know if any of the levels linked up and couldn't see if they did, the good thing was I had to visit each level and pop my head into all the buildings as I passed, lots of small hidden gems to see. Liked this small hut as it seemed to be perched just on the edge of the abyss, had no idea how far the drop below was at the time. The first of what would be many tramway waggons perched on the edge with the hut sat on the abyss in the background. The cloud decided to lift giving me glimpses of where I'd been, where I was and where I actually wanted to be. The level I was on at that time was good, plenty of old buildings. I was at this point also wondering where all the wheel had gone from the waggons, not one to date had any! Once the clouds cleared fully this was my view, I'd basically looked at everything on the right hand side and what lay above me and around the corner on the right side. Where I wanted to go was the left side of the quarry. I essentially had 3 options now, back the way I came and across the top hoping the cloud didn't descend again, traverse out right and head down and climb back up the left side or just descend the huge scree slope below trying to trend left. Option 3 seemed the most fun (easiest) option, what's the worst that could happen? I've descended plenty of scree before, but this was special scree, the whole hillside moved down with you, it didn't stop moving even when you got onto the bigger blocks lower down, the noise was immense, trying to move diagonally away from the main flow being the only way to avoid being enveloped by the flow of rocks. I briefly remember looking down at a group of climbers who were looking up at me and pointing, I must have made an impression as they asked a few hours later when I bumped into them again if I was that nutter on the scree slope, I just grinned. Once things stopped moving I had a quick pop into these nice buildings, just right of centre in the previous photo. The left side, a few interesting buildings here, some graffiti and the realisation I would somehow have to head upwards at some point to connect with a level to get me back on the proper side of the quarry, something to worry about in a bit. This is getting back into the central area where most folk visit, some nice buildings and workings here. The cradle of an old Blondin aerial ropeway dangling on the wire rope. Crunch time, scree or ladders to ascend up the various levels, I'd had enough of scree and what's the worst that could happen on the ladders? glad I couldn't see what secured them when I started up them! I found the tourist bit, old boots and jackets. Plenty of names, a real shame all the recent ones are so huge ffs! Heading back down after the first day, pass one of the inclines. Day 2 An early start the plan was to visit the Southern half of the quarries, the area where the quarry spoil was moved to looking at the maps. Plenty of spoil and waggons without any wheels again. The lack of wheels wouldn't have been a problem for the waggons on this track as it is the end of the line. Looking back down the quarry at one of the towers which supported the overhead ropeways. Many of the buildings have hidden gems, I did like this also a fair bit of 1950's graffiti on the walls. Back to the wheel less waggons, with what would be Snowdon on a clear day in the background. A couple of tunnels on this side of the quarry. Getting back towards the central area again, I'd seen photos of these before so was glad I finally found them, think there's 34 of these slate dressing machines in this shed. Well worth the 2 days mooch to find these and the next set of buildings, possibly I should have just done the tourist trail. This is the next set of buildings, just before you get back to the main quarry. Thankfully they are still a fair stroll for most folk so they remain in a good state. Plenty of sheep shit on the floor, but still a fantastic place to visit. And a final photo as I drag myself away from the quarries. Well that's it, the phone app said I did 20 miles over 2 days, 5000ft of ascent. I just had a good time, somewhere I had wanted to have a proper look around for many a year and I was not disappointed. Cheers, TLR.
  7. Cheers all, it was a nice mooch I've heard talk of the section that the Cumbria Amenity Trust Mining History Society was digging having suffered in the recent floods, hopefully not too much damage has been done.
  8. Penny Rigg Copper Mill and Adits - Tilberthwaite Penny Rigg Mill, showing the pit which housed a 32ft diameter wheel. History Penny Rigg Copper Mill was used to process copper ore which was transported to the mill from the Tilberthwaite mine through the impressively long Deep Level Adit. The remains of the copper mill are extensive and include settling pits, smithy and office buildings, various huts and gunpowder magazines; together with buildings that were used for slate mining. Tilberthwaite Deep Level Adit - also known as the Horse Level - once passed below Tilberthwaite Gill and deep under the hillside to the Tilberthwaite or Three Kings Mine almost a kilometre away. The entrance to is just behind the remains of Penny Rigg Copper Mill, where the ore from the mine was transported through the adit from the mine workings - in carts pulled by horse. As well as the Deep Level Adit 2 other mines are located at Penny Rigg, the Quarry Adit and Small Quarry Adit. My Visit I'd already spent most of my day down the Coniston Copper Mines and had intended heading here the next day, but found myself with some spare time and wanted to at least locate Jenny Rigg Mill. Once parked up temptation and the thought of having a lie in bed tomorrow saw me wandering around the mill buildings. That wasn't really why I'd come here so as soon as I found the entrance to the Deep Level Adit I was in. Wet from the start, the tunnel was a reasonable size so no stooping involved. A small weir had been constructed just before you entered a large chamber, I was hopping the water wasn't much deeper on the other side as it was already close to the top of my willies. Thankfully it wasn't and the chamber had some nice historical artefacts dotted around. From here I followed a side tunnel on the right side of the main tunnel. The railway sleepers are still evident on the floor of the tunnel. Looking back the way I'd come I retraced my steps to gain the main tunnel. The main tunnel continues for about another 400ft to a gated entrance, this I presume was where the tunnel was blocked previously, but the Cumbria Amenity Trust Mining History Society are currently trying to remove the blockages. It seems after removing this one they gained another 343m of tunnel, at the moment they are at another blockage, who knows how much further they will get after clearing this? After this I headed out to find the Quarry Adit, this is located not too far away. Again a reasonable sized tunnel which has a bit of water in it, less frequented than the previous one too by the looks of things. There's some nice mineral deposits on the walls and pleasant enough to stroll through. Probably about 250ft long the adit terminates at a blockage, again lots of nice mineral deposits on the walls. I still had the light to try and find the the 3rd mine, Small Quarry Adit. My description as to where it was located was a bit sketchy and saw me walking along the crest of Tilbertwaite Quarry high onto the hills; at this point I found the remains of some small buildings and the entrance to the mine. It's a bit shorter than the other 2, but probably sees very few visits due to its location. This one's fairly dry and again of a reasonable size. Soon I was at the end of this mine and the end of my visits to the mines in this part of the Lake District. All the mines at Jenny Rigg were great to explore, the outbuildings look interesting enough too but wasn't why I came here. Hopefully work to clear the various blockages in the Deep Level Adit will give a long interesting trip underground in the future. Cheers, TLR.
  9. Like the look of this place, far better than 40 winks too by the looks of it
  10. It's a great mine and a good place to loose your mine exploring virginity
  11. Very envious on this explore, somewhere I have always wanted to pop my head into. Cracking photos especially in the huge storage tank
  12. Nice looking school and well captured No externals though, was looking at an interesting boarded up school in the South of Scotland a couple of days ago, will have a better look next time I'm passing.