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Report - Bowden Hill Mine – Linlithgow - October 2013

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by The Lone Ranger, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
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    Feb 25, 2010
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    Bowden Hill Mine – Linlithgow


    The Bowdenhill limeworks (Bowdenhill Limstone Company) was owned by Mr Forbes of Lochcote and worked by Mr Rankin. Mining operations began around the 19th century, until 1901. The limestone was used in agricultural purposes, probably spreading on the fields. It was quite a small venture based on the NE side of Bowdenhill, near the historic village of Torphichen.

    Still evident are three massive single vent kilns built into the south side of the hill. The structures are at least twenty feet high with massive buttress supports on each supporting corner. The kilns appear to be in good condition and have been in-filled with rubble and the remains of the operation to prevent injury by falling into the 10 foot wide upper vents. There are also the remains of a further three clamp kilns to the North West, built into the lower levels of the hill.

    There were eight mines tunnelled into the hillside of the ancient fort with four still in obvious existence. The shafts are built on the ‘room and pillar’ principle of mining engineering, leaving the shafts in a precarious state. They extend hundreds of metres through the hill towards Lochote on the other side. Just to the north of all this industry, lies a small decaying steading. It is probably the workers residence and the former house of Mr Rankin. It is formed of four buildings with room for horses and a small paddock at the rear. The houses are generally falling down and in a poor condition.

    There are access roads and a tramway to the NW, past Easter Carriber kilns to the landing stage at the Union Canal at Bridge 48 for the transport of coal and lime. Limestone was also sent to Causewayend Ironworks. These kilns were eventually supplanted by the more economically situated kiln block at Easter Carriber.

    My Visit

    (Visited with Yellow Dog)

    It’s always good to break up a long journey, so was happy to meet up with Yellow Dog and go for a nice stroll through the countryside to reach Bowden Hill mine and lime kilns, although the lime kilns were interesting enough it was the mine that we had come for.

    Essentially the mine consists of horizontal passages which go into the hillside about 200 meters, there are few small side passages one of which leads into a collapsed chamber. Generally the passages are between 3ft and 6ft wide and vary in height from about 3ft to 5 ft. The roof is in various states and seems to deteriorate the further in you go, the floor of the passages is often littered with large slabs of rock which has peeled off over the years.

    Was good to finally venture in here, had looked at a few times at work with the Yellow Dog, so on with the photos.

    First thing you come across are the lime kilns cut into the side of the hillside.


    Close to these is the workers residence and the former house of Mr Rankin.


    I didn’t take too long to find an entrance in the woodland.


    Not the best photo, must have kicked the tripod, but some nice colours just as you enter the mine.


    The initial passage is the largest, but you soon end up stooping the further inside you get.


    Various bits of the roof now on the floor.


    Although there weren’t any industrial remains in the passages, the retaining walls and strata of the rock made up for this.



    The obligatory candid pic in our top of the range clothing.



    This is one of the side passages which takes you into the side chamber, the roof is fairly dodgy inside the chamber so left my camera out, I wouldn't want to damage it..


    The end of the passages, not sure if this was the end or just a blockage due to a roof colapse!


    Well that was a pleasant stroll and a fair bit more in the area for future visits, a big thanks to Yellow Dog for doing the initial stroll and digging up the information (probably was looking for bones).

    Cheers :brew

    TLR. ​
    #1 The Lone Ranger, Oct 17, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013

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