1. Welcome to 28DaysLater.co.uk - 28DL - The UK Urban Exploring / Urban Exploration / Urbex Forums.

    Asylums and Hospitals, High Stuff, Industrial, Leisure Sites, Residential Sites, Military Sites, Mines and Quarries, ROC Posts, Theatres and Cinemas, Draining, Underground Sites, European and International Sites, Leads, Rumours and News, Kit, Clothing, Equipment, Photography and Video sections plus a lot more.

    Please feel free to browse this website as a guest. Creating an account removes some ads, allows you to post replies, start new topics and threads, and gives you access to more features including bookmarking, live chat, messaging and notification systems.

    Create an account | Login | Request new password

Report - Moss Head & Spion Kop slate mines, Coniston - August 2015

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by Mutagen, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. Mutagen

    Mutagen 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2015
    Messages:
    147
    Likes Received:
    211
    History

    There has been slate mining going on in and around Coniston for hundreds of years (rumours abound that working here started in the 1200s), starting out as simple surface quarrying then developing into the driving of adits and levels deep inside the mountains in search of the famed green Lakeland slate. Various quarries were opened up during the 18th and 19th centuries, levels were driven into the hillside and tramways were constructed to carry tubs of slate out of the mines. From here, an intricate system of aerial ropeways were set up to send the dressed slate down to lower levels on slate clogs (a little bit like Alton Towers on crystal meth). These mines were largely worked out and abandoned late in the 19th century but some of the quarries were re-opened in the twentieth century and still produce slate of international standard now.

    Geography

    I explored four main sections during my visit: Moss Head has three separate levels (Upper, Middle and Lower): the Moss Head Middle level runs into the bottom of the massive (and I do mean MASSIVE) cavern: Moss Head Upper runs into this cavern about seventy feet or so up from Middle Level. Spion Kop has one level which splits in two after fifty metres or so: the left hand branch brings you out at the extreme high point of Moss Head cavern; the right hand branch brings you out onto a shelf and incline about thirty or forty feet above Upper Level.
    Moss Head Lower doesn't run into the cavern at all but does open out into its own little chambers in its own course underneath all the others. Bearing in mind that these mines are at around 2200' up on the mountain and are relatively inaccessible, they've escaped the pilfering clutch of pikeys and are therefore littered with relics and artefacts, making it a very interesting explore.

    The report

    There is as much on the surface of interest as there is underground here, but I'll restrict the photos here to a fraction of those I took in the various mines: I'll stick some surface ones up later on as a separate comment to this thread. I'll split them into the four sections:

    Moss Head Upper

    IMG_1839.jpg

    An S-bend in the level just before the 'small' antechamber ... at this point, I had no idea of the scale of what awaited me in the 'main' chamber!

    IMG_1850.jpg

    The main Moss Head cavern, looking back to the entrance adit - the air was full of dust, making me wonder whether there had been a recent rockfall (there were some HUGE chunks of rock littering the far end) and this made long-exposure shots really difficult as the light reflected off all the dust. This photo can't convey the immense scale of this place: the shelf in the foreground carries Upper Level into the back end of the stope; above the entrance adit, you can just make out one of the Spion Kop adits, complete with original ropeway; the huge drop to the right marks the abyss between Upper and Middle levels.

    IMG_1842.jpg
    A little side tunnel leading out to the brink of Moss Head cavern, showing some of the original ropeway equipment for conveying loads across the void of Moss Head. The drop at this point is about ninety feet to the floor of Middle Level.

    IMG_1844.jpg

    Old compressed air pipe back into the main chamber.

    IMG_1852.jpg
    Old air/water valve just about buried in an old fall.

    IMG_1858.jpg

    Heading back towards the antechamber.

    IMG_1861.jpg
    Water tank in the antechamber. At this point, you can scramble down the precipitous and loose slate rubble into Middle Level .....

    Moss Head Middle Level

    Scrambling down the slate rubble, you first spot the remains of an old slate tub:

    IMG_1862.jpg
    At the bottom (eighty feet or so down from Upper Level), you hit Middle Level midway between the entrance and the enormity of Moss Head cavern. Before you reach the bottom of Moss Head cavern, the tramway leads you into a big chamber complete with some proper industrial porn:

    IMG_1867.jpg

    IMG_1863.jpg

    The adit into Moss Head cavern runs away behind the steam winch - following it through, you end up at the very bottom of the cavern, marvelling at the sheer damn size of the place.

    IMG_1866.jpg

    I spent ages in here, grabbing shots and just sitting there with my jaw open, staggered by what I was seeing and knowing full well that nothing I took on my camera was going to convey the majesty of the place. Incredible stuff.

    Eventually, I had to get out and explore the other levels but grabbed one more shot on the way out:

    IMG_1868.jpg

    Moss Head Lower Level

    This doesn't run into the cavern, as previously mentioned but cuts its own path into a large chamber with a lot of water falling from the roof and making an incredible noise! The entrance is wet and lined with moss ....

    IMG_1894.jpg

    This was the wettest part of the day's exploration but, by walking on the rails, you can just about get away with dry feet if you have good Goretex boots (I wasn't prepared to wear or carry wellies or waders as my gear was heavy enough already).

    IMG_1895.jpg

    IMG_1899.jpg

    There is a great deal of block/tackle hanging from the ceiling in here, presumably for helping to shift enormous lumps of slate.

    Spion Kop level

    When researching these mines and their locations, a guy had mentioned that Spion Kop wasn't worth the effort to get to. I say he's full of bullshit as it was by far the most interesting for me - the exposure at the roof of Moss Head cavern was superb and made me feel like I'd found Moria. The remnants of the old gear in here also proved to be really interesting. And any mine with a tramway incline always gives me a semi .....

    IMG_1911.jpg

    The entrance. Forty metres or so in leads you to the junction:

    IMG_1912.jpg
    Left takes you to the very highest point of Moss Head cavern; right takes you to an exposed shelf, the incline and a huge stope that overlooks the cavern. Incredible stuff that needs to be experienced to be believed!

    IMG_1917.jpg

    Taking the left junction brings you out right at the top of Moss Head cavern. Here you can see the continuation of Spion Kop, connected to the right-hand branch by an aerial ropeway. Below that, running from the bottom-right is the shelf that carries Moss Head Upper Level. Lower-centre has some dangling steel ropes - they run from the little side tunnel I was in earlier (see Photo 3). Below that is a whole lot of nothing until you meet the ground at Moss Head Middle Level.

    IMG_1921.jpg
    Taking the right hand branch takes you past these old doors and onto a shelf carrying the old ropeway, a ladder/water tank section and the incline up into the stopes.

    IMG_1923.jpg

    IMG_1926.jpg

    IMG_1932.jpg
    IMG_1933.jpg

    This last one shows the ropeway stretching out across the abyss to the Spion Kop continuation (which again comes out into the Upper Level stope further in).

    These are my favourites from the underground stuff. Thanks for reading. I'll lob some surface stuff up in a comment later on. Cheers!
     
    Rev52, trailboss99, Alley and 8 others like this.

    Remove this ad by donating or subscribing.

  2. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Messages:
    1,159
    Likes Received:
    733
    Home Page:
    That's a cracking report and some stunning photos, a very enjoyable read :thumb

    Good to see some new stuff (for me) from the Coniston area, lots of hidden gems around here and as you say not too trashed if you don't mind a wander up a hill or two.
     
  3. Telf

    Telf 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2012
    Messages:
    486
    Likes Received:
    91
    Great report there m8, @The Kwan would like this :thumb
     
  4. Mutagen

    Mutagen 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2015
    Messages:
    147
    Likes Received:
    211
    Cheers fellas: cop yourselves some surface porn too.

    IMG_1836.jpg

    IMG_1876.jpg

    IMG_1882.jpg

    IMG_1887.jpg

    IMG_1888.jpg

    IMG_1890.jpg

    IMG_1892.jpg

    IMG_1910.jpg

    IMG_1936.jpg

    IMG_1942.jpg

    IMG_1946.jpg

    IMG_1947.jpg

    IMG_1948.jpg

    IMG_1966.jpg
     
  5. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Messages:
    1,159
    Likes Received:
    733
    Home Page:
    The top side looks just as good :thumb

    Was heading up the Copper Mine Valley in October for a few days, I have a feeling I'll also be heading here too :D
     
  6. Mutagen

    Mutagen 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2015
    Messages:
    147
    Likes Received:
    211
    I'm going back up this month to explore Coppermines Valley. Spent so long in Moss Head cavern on this trip that all my lights were just about dead by the time I left Spion Kop. Enjoy!
     
  7. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    3,126
    Likes Received:
    1,643
    So you made it then i take it :D Makes a change from Ironstone i suppose ;)

    Nicely done managing to light the place mate :thumb

    Ditto the Spion Kop levels my fav" but it"s all impressive stuff & obviously very much like Dinorwic on the surface for obvious reasons :)

    You just need a lighting Bitch with ya :D
     
    Mutagen likes this.
  8. Mutagen

    Mutagen 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2015
    Messages:
    147
    Likes Received:
    211
    I've seen some shots on a caving forum where they had some serious lighting in the cavern. It was SO dusty in there though. Tried a few bulb exposures so I could light paint but that just ended up reflecting all the light back due to dust. Definitely need a few lighting birches next time - you volunteering?:D
     
  9. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    3,126
    Likes Received:
    1,643
    Be better than wasting the weekend buying new Camera off Ebay scammers like last weekend :(
     
  10. Mutagen

    Mutagen 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2015
    Messages:
    147
    Likes Received:
    211
    That sounds like a shit day out!
     
  11. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    3,126
    Likes Received:
    1,643
    They"ve sold & relisted the same Camera 13 times since Thursday and Ebay say don"t worry about my money......WTF????

    Need a Ironstone trip i think :)
     
    Telf likes this.
  12. Lancashire lad

    Lancashire lad chief taster for costa coffee
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2015
    Messages:
    402
    Likes Received:
    202
    a proper good report that really enjoyed the read and the piks , stunning on the surface too great piks
     
    Mutagen likes this.
  13. Will Knot

    Will Knot 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Joined:
    May 29, 2013
    Messages:
    1,493
    Likes Received:
    419
    Wow....gotta be a top one for me ;).......great pics, awesome lighting work :thumb
     
    Mutagen likes this.
  14. Paradox

    Paradox 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2014
    Messages:
    606
    Likes Received:
    278
    Thats a beltin' report, really like your photos, they are proper lovely :thumb and where I normally skim read reports I actually properly read that :D
     
    Mutagen likes this.
  15. Keynsham

    Keynsham 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2013
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    14
    Excellent. But I suggest the problem is mist rather than dust, not that that helps.
     
Draft saved Draft deleted
Loading...

Users Who Have Read This Thread (Total: 0)

Share This Page

Remove this ad by creating an account and logging in