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Report - Port Mulgrave Ironstone Mine & Tunnel. MAY 2015

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by ACID- REFLUX, May 13, 2015.

  1. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Little bit of history first :- Port Mulgrave owes it"s existence purely to the Ironstone industry. Created at a cost of £45,000 circa1852 by Sir Charles Palmer who needed a way of transporting his Ironstone from port Mulgrave to the blast funaces & Ironworks in Jarrow (owned by himself & his brother George) Originally it was named Far Rosedale, but to avoid confusion with the existing Rosedale Ironworks in North yorks moors he renamed it port Mulgrave in honour of the Earl of mulgrave a local prominent landowner.
    Tunneling began circa 1854 and the ironstone was extracted directly from the surrounding cliffside being loaded onto ships via wooden jetty"s with a narrow gauge line of 3ft above and below for direct loading into the hulls of the boats.
    By the 1870"s Port Mulgraves depleted Ironstone production was replaced with more productive seams found 3 miles away in Grinkle Park and as the only means of transporting the Ironstone was still via the sea the Port Mulgrave tunnel was extended a further mile through to Dalehouse & futher additions through the valley incorporating 3 wooden viaducts & a futher tunnel under Ridge Lane to the newly formed Grinkle Mine.
    Port Mulgrave harbour continued transporting the Ironstone until 1917 when a rail link to the Whitby to Middlesborough main line was connected, mainly due to the new maritime risk to ships due to WW1.
    A fire severely damaged the jetty"s which was repaired but the now basically unused harbour was finally blown up by the Royal Engineers in WW2 in case those pesky Nazi"s tried to use it.

    Now, i cannot stress this enough, the Port Mulgrave tunnel system & drift mine is "DEADLY" to say the least. It has multiple roof collapses along it"s length, with the first one almost immediately inside the main tunnel portal, never mind the following collapses along it and the fact as you climb up into what is basically the roof void, the remaining roof structure is still collapsing, even without help from being knocked by a camera mounted on a tripod. it really is that fragile. i had to push very large rock sections that were hanging precariously out of the roof to get them to fall controlled rather than risk them falling onto me as i slid underneath them, and this was at both blockages.

    As you will see in the pics water flows from the left hand tunnel, which was the Ironstone drift part into the Tramway tunnel, through deep ochre & water along with it"s own multiple collapses as far as you can see or risk to venture. The water /ochre from the drift side is pretty deep inside the tramway tunnel, this appeared to be due to a small roof collapse into a side audit which looks like part of a side drift coming off the tunnel itself. I decided for some reason to waste valuable time etc removing large rock sections & cleaning the audit entrance to allow the water to drain into the drift (as of leaving the water level had dropped @4") although this still required waders to proceed to the 2nd tunnel roof collapse.

    Longer story short, as there"s no recent reports from here (TBH i"ve not found anything past the first flooded section) it was always going to be possibly high on the risk factor, especially solo, & even allowing for a recce i made the the week before & discussions with Stranton regarding the "AIR" issues & possible cave ins i returned solo like a complete "W@nker"!! Totally Ignoring the conversation we"d had about me finding some dead explorers inside :eek:

    Note that the first section is fine & dandy if you don"t mind crap air & possible roof collapses along with associated slips & falls into orange & black mud. I had to walk down the rail lines due to the depth of water, it should be fine in whellies by now after my hard work unblocking :thumb After climbing through the 2nd tunnel collapse it dries out dramatically due to the roof collapse blocking the flow. All side audits throughout have collapses completely filling them up & spalling into the tunnel. (the first one being the only one relatively clear).

    This also raises the obvious question of air quality, especially with no flow of air felt inside Indeed i had to remove my mask as i was having trouble breathing easily even in the first section while i was taking my pics (in both directions as i proceed, cos you never know ;) & i just accepted the smell of damp & mud etc ( first clue you idiot o_O) after sampling the air in the 2nd section of the tunnel it seemed no different so i carried on with my picture taking including the other trackway running off to the left (as you face the sea) which was completely blocked by a major roof collapse. ( there"s a trend forming here) & i progressed to the 3rd major roof collapse. This was a little more restrictive and after climbing up & into the roof void again i was met with loose rocks & falling debris at the slightest touch. I decided to leave my camera mounted tripod on the roof pile & check out the next section without it, due to the restriction created by this roof collapse. I slid down into this section which was much the same as the last & could see another collapse in the distance to which i walked up to through a few inches of mud. The tunnel was now completely sealed by this blockage so i decided to just take a few pics on my phone rather than the farce that would be going back for my camera etc.

    As i went for my phone i realised i was hyperventilating, that"s weird i thought i"ve not exerted myself, i slowed my breathing down but was unable to get my breath,i immediately felt sick & wanted to void myself this is when the penny dropped and i bailed as fast as you can in a mud filled debris strewn tunnel section in complete darkness, hoping my head torch didn"t fail & i didn"t die (ironically) with my heart seemingly coming out of my chest like a pounding drum & my lungs over inflating trying to find some breathable air inside i threw myself up the first collapse grabbed the camera as threw myself back down into the 2nd section hoping to find some air, especially as i"d already come through here without any problems. No exactly the same situation as the last one, by this time which seemed like forever & i honestly thought it was my time. I could see the next collapse ahead of me but i didn"t think i could make it as the pain from my chest & lungs were joined with a feeling i was drifting off. I only just managed to get up & over the collapse bringing some of the roof down on me as i did, & ended up on my knees in the flooded 1st tunnel section with hardly any strength to carry on, obviously as i"m writing this (badly) there was breathable air still in this section and i managed to somewhat regain my breathing & heatbeat down to @200BPM & after about 5 mins came out of the complex. Then for some reason instead of the long cliff walk of broken ankles i decided to climb straight up the cliff side above the tunnel portal to get to the top of the cliffs (don"t do it,it"s too dangerous especially in the wind & rain. i blame the lack of oxygen for this idiotic act, as for entering the tunnel :wanker

    Anyway on with the pics, in hindsight i can honestly say it was"nt worth it & the last thing i"d want is anyone to attempt this without BA & buddies. All i can think is i had used all the breathable air as i traveled through the tunnel system ?


    I"ll do this is two parts with the drift mine side being the first & follow it with the O2 free tunnel afterwards. I won"t apologise for the picture heavy post, but i do apologise for the ramblings above, except the "WARNINGS"

    Below is an original image of the wooden Jetty"s and Harbour showing the 3ft narrow gauge tracks etc Copyright image archive.

    http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://image-archive.org.uk/wp-content/MAX/2011_04/port-mulgrave.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.image-archive.org.uk/?cat=63&h=641&w=1000&tbnid=I1mHqZYoYPJTKM:&zoom=1&docid=hJS-dMor9gIHyM&ei=m-pTVd-5FIzXU42-gOgD&tbm=isch&ved=0CCgQMygIMAg

    Below is one of the Locomotives that ran from Grinkle mine through to Port Musgrave. Copyright Image archive.

    http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://image-archive.org.uk/wp-content/MAX/2011_04/Dale-House-to-Port-Mulgrave-tunnel.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.image-archive.org.uk/?cat=63&h=535&w=800&tbnid=5OmAxxpicdMOnM:&zoom=1&docid=hJS-dMor9gIHyM&ei=m-pTVd-5FIzXU42-gOgD&tbm=isch&ved=0CCQQMygEMAQ


    Below a copy of the information panel on the cliff top at Port Mulgrave showing the original set up, the Tunnel portal can be seen with the rails running over the Jetty, and the spur tunnel running underneath this one. Thanks to Phils link, more so as he"s been an inspiration regarding tunnels & the fact it was raining so didn"t get a clean shot of the information panal on the cliff top lol

    https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CAcQjRw&url=http://www.flickriver.com/photos/phill_dvsn/sets/72157605736236124/&ei=h-xTVcz4KsG8UqDvgIgE&bvm=bv.93112503,d.d24&psig=AFQjCNHAoUmgd5PSUkGbniKl6Yalgigvgg&ust=1431649246006843

    View of the cliff side portal from the old harbour.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Lower tunnel blocked portal.
    [​IMG]

    Looking back towards the main portal.
    [​IMG]

    Looking back from the first roof collapse.
    [​IMG]

    Looking from portal towards first roof collapse.
    [​IMG]

    Looking down from first roof collapse onto the twin tunnels. Drift on left & tramway on the right.
    [​IMG]

    Looking through the short drift tunnel.
    [​IMG]

    Into the drift, showing multiple collapses.
    [​IMG]

    More collapse"s.
    [​IMG]

    A river runs through it!.
    [​IMG]

    Looking back towards the drift tunnel entrance.
    [​IMG]

    looking though drift towards collapse.
    [​IMG]

    First collapse, looking back through drift tunnel.
    [​IMG]

    Hope you like ;)
     
    #1 ACID- REFLUX, May 13, 2015
    Last edited: May 14, 2015

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  2. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Glad to hear you're still alive. That sounds like a sketchy expedition. Despite your near-death experience into the unknown you got some awesome photos out of it. :thumb
     
  3. Lenston

    Lenston Bajo Tierra
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    Nice that mate, some good pictures there :)
     
  4. wellingtonian

    wellingtonian Subterráneo
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    Good report and pics fella.
    They ain't worth dying for though..........
    Glad you got out ok :thumb
     
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  5. Mutagen

    Mutagen 28DL Regular User
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    Duuuuuude - that's awesome. That's one I've been meaning to get across and have a look at for some time now. After reading your report, I'm still intrigued by seeing it for myself (especially as I thought access was no longer possible from the cliff) but slightly put off by the thought of collapsing in a slavering heap :eek: and dying of suffocation. Really interesting report - thoroughly enjoyed that mate. :Not Worthy
     
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  6. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Right then if you"ve not all lost lost the will to live i"ll continue with part 2 the Tramway Tunnel (of death!)

    Mostly lit by my Lenser head torch for anyone interested :) These as mentioned were taken as i progressed through the Tunnel, not after the suffocation.

    Looking into Tramway tunnel.
    [​IMG]

    Further along with the drift audit on the right.
    [​IMG]

    Looking into drift audit after unblocking.
    [​IMG]

    Water now flowing down into drift.
    [​IMG]

    Back to tunnel.
    [​IMG]

    Showing the different Tunnel widths & arches.
    [​IMG]

    First tramway collapse.
    [​IMG]

    Looking up the roof collapse into the void.
    [​IMG]

    Sat in the void looking down into section 2.
    [​IMG]

    Into section tunnel section 2, with spur just visible on the right.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    2nd section looking towards collapse 3.
    [​IMG]

    A little closer, with audit spalling into tunnel again.
    [​IMG]

    The 3rd Tunnel roof collapse & last picture forward before Death!
    [​IMG]

    Looking back from the 3rd Tunnel collapse.
    [​IMG]

    Looking back towards roof collapse No2 showing the tramway spur tunnel to the left (lower Jetty tramway) fully blocked with rock.
    [​IMG]

    Looking back from roof collapse No2 towards Tramway Tunnel entrance.
    [​IMG]

    Further along, as with the previous pic, you can see the water level has dropped already.
    [​IMG]

    The lower level can clearly be seen now, especially as the sleeper was under water originally.
    [​IMG]

    Finally the tunnel end pre main portal entrance.
    [​IMG]


    The biggest "W@NKER" i know ATM & then some.
    [​IMG]

    I was going to post this in NP because of the obvious high risk of "Death" or injury, especially for anyone following me, & the fact it"s not even on the NET . Well this far inside, that i"ve found yet, unless it"s in some private access Mining community sites ?
    I"m sure some of the experts will tell me otherwise. There were footprints before me but only in the first section i could see, nothing that appeared recent in the other 2 sections unless they"re under the tons of rocks that"s collapsed into the Tunnel!

    Finally i shall state once again it"s a death trap & i"m a "W@nker" for attempting it with all the ?"s regarding the state of the tunnels, potential drifts & drains under water, roof collapses, lack of breathable air etc etc i wouldn"t go underground without a bail out system or a buddy, but yet i did in here which is basically the same thing. I can only say i got complacent and that"s when things go "Tit"s up"
     
    #6 ACID- REFLUX, May 13, 2015
    Last edited: May 14, 2015
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  7. Paradox

    Paradox 28DL Regular User
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    Lovely photos but fk me mate thats proper dodgy, glad you are ok :thumb
     
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  8. Mutagen

    Mutagen 28DL Regular User
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    Ah, that second set are superb too. Great, great work. I would dearly love to see this with me own eyes but fear my gas detector would go beserk!
     
  9. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Cheers mate, although i"m not proud of them due to the suffocation part & my stupidity.

    I honestly thought i"d notice in time if anything was not right regarding breathable air. how wrong i was & if i"d taken the tripod into the 3rd section with me i"d have been a gonna as i"d have been concentrating on pics & never have got through the 3rd collapse with it in time, never mind the next section.
     
  10. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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    A lesson definitely learnt and a good one for others venturing into confined systems such as this

    I wouldn't personally go anywhere similar without my meter, and in some instances fetch the escape set along if it's warranted

    Infact last year I ventured into a known tunnel system but not properly explored by anyone other than city engineers since the 1960's

    Aware of the dangers I lowered my meter down the 6m shaft within a bucket first to sample the air and bizarrely all seemed ok

    As I then decided to climb down for a proper look, about 2m down even with the lid having been open a good 10 mins the air quality wasn't good, as I dropped off the last step iron and walked forward a mere 6ft the meter was singing like a canary, suffice to say I didn't hang about

    I keep meaning to return, as I do actually have my own B.A kit , however it only offers 30mins of oxygen as opposed to 15mins the escape set provides in emergency and is nowhere near long enough to have a proper poke around

    Collapses are another matter, but I guess people need to conduct their own risk assesments/make their own minds up with such places before entering

    All that aside, good to hear you got out safely, and also did wonder if you were ok as you'd not been online for a couple of weeks now, and did actually joke about sending out a search party :p
     
  11. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Cheers mate, i"ll take that from you :thumb

    I was gonna get in touch as i"ve just had a week up North. I did the recce here the other week & did Ridge Lane Tunnel & Grinkle Culvert on my way up, along with a few Derps & Millhead tunnel & called back here on the way back.

    After having my GF crying her eyes out on the phone 3 hours later on the cliff top after texting her before going down (what signal?) and she was going to ring the rescue services even though i said there was no signal & if i collapsed i"d be dead anyway before they even got rigged up, never mind down the cliff.

    I know people are going to try it now especially the local Mining lot on your fav" site :) but not without BA please everyone if you must do the last 2 sections TBH i wouldn"t go back in and i have bail out bottles from my Scuba days. Plus i"ve done it lol

    Now i"ve lowered the water level it"ll be easier, in hindsight i"d have left it flooded as i feel that"s what"s kept people out of it up too now..........which i"ve just changed :eek:

    Maybe NP is the best place for it ?
     
  12. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Cheers Babe
    Yeah maybe my solo stuff should include a psyche test in future. I have no excuse as i do know better. i"ve only had the suffocation thing once before Diving in Egypt, and this was in no way as nice an experience.
    If i"d have panicked i"d be dead, if i"d have walked rather than run i"d be dead, if there wasn"t breathable air still in the first section ( one nearest the Main portal with running clear water, which i always hope oxygenates a little ?) i"d be dead.

    Maybe i should have got some Lottery tickets on the way home :)

    Although i did contemplate calling to Sansend & Kettleness tunnels for a revisit, as even the risky bits are safer than this place......but thought wiser of it
     
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  13. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Don"t need a gas detector mate you just need an Air tank as i"ve done the full risk assessment for you
     
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  14. Mutagen

    Mutagen 28DL Regular User
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    If I had an air tank, I'd be in there tomorrow night. As it is, I might pussy about in the first section, grab a few snaps then chicken out. Anything I do in there now will pale into insignificance compared to this though. Unless I can get some scuba kit and traverse all the way through to Dalehouse. Naked. Doing handstands.
     
  15. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Cheers mate.
    I"ve had a lot on recently, and kept off the NET to see if it helped my migraines & other issues (NO) & been on holiday up North where EE appear not to have phone masts :wanker plus my G5 makes the site unusable for abusing sorry advising HDR Monkey"s:D

    Yeah stupid things we do that we wouldn"t even do for work if we were getting paid to do with the appropriate PPE etc
    Well i wouldn"t lol

    Sure i"d be missed......i just kept thinking of all those posts i need to post lol

    So now everyone knows it"s open for business it"s on me if some kid goes in less aware than i was. I don"t want that on my conscience :(
     
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