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Report - Smallcleugh Lead Mine Jan '08

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by Northern Exposure, Jan 18, 2008.

  1. Northern Exposure

    Northern Exposure 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Feb 11, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Whilst in the area xm657 and myself spent a few hours in Smallcleugh Lead Mine, part of the Nenthead mines complex which is said to have approx 120 miles of underground tunnels, adits and chambers.

    These mines have probably been in use by locals for centuries but mining on an industrial scale began in the 17th century and has had a colourful life with the mining leases changing hands several times over the years.

    Mining ceased circa 1920, however the spoil heaps were worked until 1965.

    Nenthead Mines Heritage Centre operate a sort of museum and do a tourist underground trip into one of the mines, however, the mine we ventured into is around 1.5 miles deep and is not part of the tourist route.

    There are many shafts and sumps leading to lower levels but due to not having any SRT kit, we stayed on the main drift.

    Entry point


    The water was around ankle depth but soon got a bit deeper




    My favourite shot of the day, the first shaft is marked so you know what they look like. 20m down is a big fall in this environment.


    One of the open shafts


    The minerals here were smooth and glassy to the touch



    Some of the tunnels along the route. The construction changes to suit the rock and shale strata





    xm crossing a void using the old rails


    Another shaft with a ventilation tunnel joining the second drift.


    This chamber has been mined out and lined with stone to retain the rock. I think the rusted item on the plinth is some sort of winding gear as there is a shaft directly behind and this would be used to transfer between the levels




    We only managed the 'right-hand' drift but will certainly be back to see the other side and also get to the lower levels.

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