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Report - Mount Wellington Mine Underground 28/01/07

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by Griffin, Jan 28, 2007.

  1. Griffin

    Griffin Guest
    Guest

    Visited with Ralphh85 and two others. Apologies for the somewhat lame photography, still getting to grips with this taking pictures lark.

    I had a look round the surface buildings a while ago - report here:http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=7204

    Today's plan was to have a look at the underground workings, which of course cover a far bigger area than the buildings on the surface.

    Access is simple if you know where to go - the top of an inclined shaft opens out onto the hillside. It's been breeze blocked up (many years ago by the looks of it) but someone's knocked enough of a hole to squeeze through. Once inside it's a slippery 45 degree slope down into the workings. This entrance is in fact much older than Mount Wellington, and was part of Magpie Mine which was last worked around the 1920s and 30s (I think), although it was started in the 18th century. The slope downwards takes you though some cavernous stopes and onto an old tramming level at the bottom.

    This is a view looking back up the slope to daylight:
    [​IMG]

    We took a left along the level. There's still rails in some places which must date back to the 1920s or before. There's also a modern wall of sand bags and breeze blocks built much later by the Mount Wellington miners to channel water, as they used this level to take water from their shaft to the adit at some point.

    I snapped this looking back the way we had come. There's a lot of ochre all over everything which is bad news for cameras!
    [​IMG]

    Continuing straight ahead, passing tunnels leading off to left and right, we came to a junction. Contnuing to the right where the water once flowed from we found ourselves in the modern workings. The tunnels here are pretty huge with rock bolted ceilings. In places the roof has fallen in, leaving the bolts hanging there in mid air. Continuing along the big tunnel for quite a distance (hard to judge when you're underground) we came to a 5 ft dam, now holding back nothing more than a bit of orange sludge. Over this and through a doorway, suddenly the acoustics change completely. No longer does everything sound dampened and dull, it sounds echoey and lovely. Why? Because we're feet away from the main 900 metre shaft.

    [​IMG]

    The cages are still in good nick - you can open and close them fine. Also the ladders are pretty sturdy although it's a long way up to the pinprick of daylight - probably about 300 feet I should think. After a while playing around I spotted a patch of floor that looked different to the rest - a trapdoor! And it still works! Ladders lead down into the depths of the earth, but unfortunately the mine has now flooded to within about 30 feet of where we are.

    [​IMG]

    There's also lots of pipes everywhere - once they carried water up the shaft from way down below to this level, where it drains away.

    [​IMG]

    There's another tunndel leading away from the shaft which was also used to carry water. It's a good couple of hundred metres long I should think, and straight as an arrow. There's a collapse at the far end so you can't get out this way. I put my camera on 30 seconds and legged it with a big torch. This was the result (I didn't make it to the end unfortunately!)
    [​IMG]

    Having seen this part of the mine, we headed back to have a look at some more of the old stuff. There's a shaft complete with original wooden ladders still in place, which the more daring among us climbed, equipped with safety device (aka someone's dodgy homemade rope ladder) to attach at various point on the way up as some form of primitive backup should the rotting timbers give way. Unfortunately you can't get to the next level up as there's some timber fallen down from higher up and there's a blockage that's a bit rickety and impassable.
    [​IMG]

    The mine continues on for what might as well be forever, so we called it a day and headed out, suprisingly all still alive.
    [​IMG]

    If anyone's interested in going to see the surface buildings, then make it quick. The new owners are moving in as we speak.

    [​IMG]
     

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