After going to pridhamsleigh cave a few weeks ago with my camera i realised that i was lucky to have my dslr lasting as long as it has. since then i have bought a new camera, one that is waterproof and shock proof so that it can deal with the conditions. the images from this may not be as good however it could save me from loosing a lot of money.
Since the last post i have been to Pridhamsleigh cave twice, kit hill three times and looking at various mines in gunnislake once. here are some pics:
After many attempts of gaining access to this mine we had found a way in, the only problem being the freezing cold water inside. Luckily for me i was prepared for this with my wet suit. upon taking the plunge the vast network of mining remains revealed themselves, various levels above and below adit level however the levels below obviously flooded.
upon following the adit straight through i came to a shaft unlike any other i had seen before. ladders and platforms piled in a heap on the platform surrounding the flooded shaft.
unfortunately this was the end of the journey for me today as negotiating this shaft alone would be down right stupid. i will be back soon, with others and ropes in order to carry on further into the mine...
Another trip to the 450m tunnel that I previously mapped out. With further research, there are still no records of the tunnel but I believe that it fed the Bovisand harbour with fresh water from a reservoir, therefore explaining the large cast iron pipe running through it.
An extremely awkward explore as you are constantly crawling, one knee on the pipe and the other foot on the ground with very little headroom. May only be 450m but feels like miles with only one way in and one way out. Overall nearly 1km of crawling.
I have now done this trip twice, however the first time I had forgot my camera. On the Devon side of the gunnislake bridge heading up river there are three adits within close proximity of the car park. All interesting and very wet... And in the future I will be taking a dingy and wetsuit...
It has been a while since i last posted on this blog, although that does not mean i have stopped exploring. I have been to various places in the last couple of weeks, the best being Quarry adit on kit hill. Although this was not explored to its full potential due to high water levels, i will be returning soon.
I think time for another change has came. So much is left unexplored due to water. I am now learning to dive with the intention of starting mine diving. Although the risks involved are high, the fact of setting foot where nobody has since the closure of the mines and the photography opportunity will be worth it.
After a relatively boring day of doing very little, in the early evening i randomly decided to go for a cycle ride. After not riding for 3 years, since i was hit by a car on my old bike i hit the drakes trail leading from Plymouth to Tavistock with the intention of stopping at Clearbrook and riding back. On the way i noticed that the gate underneath one of the viaducts had been unhinged so decided to have a look, resulting in quite an impressive structure however small...
When i got to Clearbrook i decided that i would complete the full trail and after a pint headed on towards Tavistock.
After arriving i quickly had a drink and headed back as it was getting dark, I ended up wearing my caving helmet on the way back as i had no light on the front of my bike and took a couple of snaps on the way...
Altogether i rode 41 miles, not bad for the first ride in 3 years...
An interesting day all around, we managed to find several new mines in and around the hill however for the day access was not possible. First looking for quarry lode on the north side of the hill we spent an hour pushing our way through head high shrub, finally finding the adit level however it was gated. Although it is gated access will still be possible through a shaft further up the hill, i descended one of the shafts the day before, however it proved extremely dangerous as it undercuts to much deeper workings.
After this we had a look at the south side of the hill at the workings down there. The adit has been filled in, however above the chimney stack a line of open stopes look accessible. From what can be seen it looks like it will be a 30m decent into the stopes which should lead us into the majority of the workings.
Finally we had a look at one of the WW1 adits on the eastern side. Although it is gated there is enough room to squeeze over the top. Upon entering there is a large winze which is only negotiable via a very thin ledge. Knowing that the odds were that i would end up falling into the flooded winze i left all my gear behind other than my helmet and light...
Absolutely brilliant day today, we visited three mines, two of which were re-visits however we were able to access places we had not been before.
In Duchy i am now confident i have explored the full mine, three levels, one requiring a small SRT decent through a winze, one being the adit level and the other requiring a climb up quite a difficult section of rock in a winze.
Risking this climb was well worth it and when i reached the top i found a place to anchor the rope so the others could ascend and we could descend. This led to a couple of passages and an impressive shaft, where in my opinion i took my best photo yet (soon to be printed and framed)
after this we headed back to Redmoor and back down the slope shaft i had found before, after venturing further in the area became increasingly unstable and risky, however a couple of us pressed on and we still cant find the end.... it just keeps going down!
Finally we went to one that Julian had been on about, he assured us it was mildly moist, and quite dry for a mine. How wrong could he be ;)
great place though, with an amazing stope at the end...
A great morning out, the only mine in Devon with all of the machinery operational once every two years. Although underground access is not possible on the open day, it is an amazing sight to see the stamps and headgear operational.
Well... today has been relatively quiet, have done a little research and had a play with some maps, however i did pop out to Boringdon Consols in the afternoon to have a search for the adit. Still no luck though however i am convinced it is still there somewhere as the stream nearby is heavily ochreous which i am sure is run off from the adit.
Today started with a nice walk along the valley bottom between Morwellham Quay and Gunnislake.
We chose this route as on one of my maps the area was marked to contain many shafts and mines, along the valley on the eastern side (Devon side).
On our walk we found three adits, two small adits partially filled and one large and dry-ish one.
the first we came to was quite easy to access and was essentially a walk in, although not a large mine it had two levels, the higher level only accessible by climbing the winze.
Once past the entrance it was relativity dry with the water only just coming over the wellies.
The second adit was extremely wet, and appeared to have a dive line entering it so we decided to go no further today as we would still have a mile or two walk back to the car from there.
The third and final adit we found was partially filled due to the new track being laid right in-front of it, this appeared to go however I did not enter as it was pretty wet and i had no spare clothes with me...
After a successful day of finding some new places to explore in the future we decided to pop to the pub and have some lunch before calling it a day...
well... today i just thought i would have a look around a few sites, starting at Gunnislake then on to Kit Hill with no success and finally on to Kelly Bray where i found a slope shaft leading to Redmoor Mine.
The slope shaft led down at about a 40 degree angle so i set a rope up from the top just as a little bit of assistance on the return from the bottom as the ground was quite slippery and made from loose rock.
i descended about 35 meters or so until i came to a choke, this appears to be passable however i have left it for another day when im not alone.
Sorry the pics are not great, had a little bit of a focusing...
This was just a quick solo i did whilst i was in the area. The adit is inside the Leighbeer tunnel inside one of the refuge arches. Strangely it appears to be the only refuge arch that is not gated all the way to the top, so easily accessible.
The first 15-20 meters in the adit are pretty damn wet really, the water was just below the top of my wellies and i had to move very slowly to avoid causing a wake behind as a slight rise of the water would have filled my boots...
Oh... and on another note, i've moved the release date of "Exploring the Mines of Plympton" forward to the 26th... Enjoy :)