Report - - Coniston Coppermine through trip November 2015 | Mines and Quarries | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Coniston Coppermine through trip November 2015


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28DL Full Member
The classic through trip at Consiton is to enter the old mine workings by The Funnel and then descend about 160 metres through 4 separate levels of old workings to finally emerge back to day at Hospital Level. This involves at least 3 fairly large abseils, some complex navigation between abseils and all the associated risks of travelling through an unstable and gradually collapsing environment ;0)

This trip was with CATMHS (the local mine preservation, exploration and surveying society) in November 2015.

The route initially enters the dark, narrow confines of the Funnel


Before descending various ladders, ropes and stemples, crawling through a couple of passages to reach the first abseil point.


By taking a small detour on the normal through trip route, you can visit MAGS catwalk, which is a crossing of a large, deep stope, using stemples. Definitely not for the feint hearted !


Here Graham crosses MAGS, attached to a grotty old rope, which in turn is attached to rusty old bolts !


But he never stopped smiling ;0)


Rigging the second abseil is tricky as the rope rubs on the hanging wall. Rope protection needed here, especially if you plan on returning up the rope. Given the risk of the through route being blocked below, there is always a chance you might need to return the way you came in.


There are a couple of "in jokes" on the route, which must mean something to someone.


Many sections of false floor in these mine workings (meaning man made, held up by wood, which is often rotten, but covered in rock and clay so not always obvious). This section is still very solid, but as a result you have no idea it is false until you get underneath it.


The post mining mineralisation is breathtaking.


And the colour of the water is also very turquoise.


This rock is almost the size of a small car, and beside it is an old Jack Roll, used for winching buckets of ore up from below or working as a pump.


Hungry work.


And finally you reach Grey Crag Level which is the same horizon as Hospital Level. This section was blocked by a rock fall some years ago (trapping a party of explorers). CATMHS reopened the level and installed this metalwork to help prevent similar blockages.


The floors here are also false in places and this shows a collapsed section with the rail line now simply hanging in mid air.


The Grey Crag Level runs for almost a mile in total. But lots of the work seems to have failed to find any worthwhile veins of ore.


Interesting wooden rail line with a metal strip on top.


And lots more post mining mineralisation on this horizon too.


You pass through The Great Open on the way out. This was a very large vein of ore that was worked out leaving a huge void. It looks like there were several levels here that have all now collapsed in to one floor. But looking up in to the top of the open you can still see the skeleton remains of the upper floor. This picture is looking straight up.


And this is looking down through a hole in the floor.


Nearly out now. Just a couple of big holes to carefully navigate.


And finally, the light of day.


Needless to say, this trip should only be contemplated by very experienced groups who can handle complex abseils, SRT, rebelays and navigation through a three dimensional maze.


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
We did this through trip 12 months ago and still cannot put into words the shear size of the stopes, colours, uncertainty of falling roof sections let alone the false floors you have to walk over. First time we went in (for a look) we didn't have any ropes with us but crossed the catwalk anyway as curiosity got the better of us lol. So we returned with gear and completed the trip.
Great report sparticus. Don't remember it being as colourful as your photos tho but all in all a grand day out!☺
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The Lone Ranger

Safety is paramount!
Staff member
Very nice :thumb

Still to do the though trip myself, but have been in some of the latter section.

mr pink

building magician!
28DL Full Member
grand trip through...in fact my first ever caving experience..will be back in for some of the further levels this year..


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
That's fantastic. I've always wanted to explore the Coniston copper mines but lack any experience in SRT so have steered clear. This is the next best thing - would love to photograph it all myself but this will have to do. Great work. :Not Worthy

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