28th - 29th January 2012 - Ed Coghlan - NY787428
Well after much deliberation yet another return trip to Nenthead was in the making.The plan was to explore some of the flats and workings close to the entrance of the mine as every time we visit we always end up storming past.Saturday morning saw us meeting up in the car park in Nenthead and kitting up ready for action. We headed up through the snow to the Smallcleugh portal and off we went down the main level. The first port of call was Old Fan Flats as a warm up explore. This has some classic examples of flat working while making use of every inch of space for backfill, leaving some superb dry stoning. We then ventured off into Whartons Sump and after a bit of wandering we soon found our way back into the Gullybeck cross cut and down to the Whispering chamber. At this point we decided to carry on down the cross cut and into the Smallcleugh flats. These are very extensive and run nearly the entire length of the mine. We continued along the level exploring every nook and cranny along the way and eventually found ourselves at the bottom of High Zinc Flats and an ideal time for a spot of lunch. After lunch we headed up into the High Zinc Flats and after a lot of wandering we eventually found ourselves in Incline Flats. We very quickly found out why it's called Incline flats!! After heading back up the incline we headed back down through the Smallcleugh flats and joined the main cross cut heading back to the main horse level and out to enjoy the lovely hot sun and warm summers day (ok the snow!).After a few pints in the Miners Arms the decision was made to spend Sunday heading to the far Middlecleugh Sun Vein and exploring the various sub levels and upper flats around Bogs Shaft.
Below 1: At the entrance to Smallcleugh Below 2: Gullybeck Crosscut Below 3: Ore chutes in Incline Flat Below 4: Smallcleugh flats
Sunday saw us heading back into Smallcleugh and pushing straight down the horse level and through the collapses to Gypsum corner. After a quick breather we pushed on down the Sun Vein and down the ladders for a quick look at the sub level and large stoped out working. Heading back up the stope we stopped for an early lunch and rest. We then headed back out of the level and squeezed through into the incline level dropping towards Middlecleugh. Here we found numerous ore chutes to climb and some very nice vaulted stone work. After stopping for a few pictures we headed back down to the level and out for an early finish.
Below 1: Bogs Shaft vaulting Below 2: Tub in Incline Flats Below 3: Wharton's Sump Below 4: Snow Angel!
All in all a good weekend was had but yet again everywhere we explored opened up new place to look at next time. Time to plan yet another return trip.Ed