Explosives Store Update 29 October 2014

Work continued on the back inner wall and one of the side walls.  Sourcing the correct stones is becoming more difficult.  We have cut and dressed some stones to get a better fit in the wall. Mortar is now slower to dry but the weather continues to be relatively mild.

We are planning to complete the inner walls and install the main roof timber on Sunday 2nd November. The weather forecast is good and should enable us to complete the walls.

The timber for the door frame is on order, together with the roof timbers. Once delivered, we will be very dependent upon the weather. Completion may not be possible until early in 2015.

Colin Fowler, Alec Langley, Graham Brooks and Joyce Jackson were working on site today.

Volunteers Working Day 2nd November

Sunday 2nd November 1000hrs

The weather forecast is mild, tea and coffee is available, the company is good, and we have something to achieve.


The inner walls are almost complete.  We have one more batch of walling to complete and a main roof timber to install. The weather forecast looks OK for the lime mortar work.


We are planning to dismantle the walkway ramp at the back of the old NPHT cafe.  We are using some of the materials to fence gaps in the walls and the remainder will be recycled for further use by the Society. If you can build a fence, or wield a crowbar, or a hammer, or a saw  – or carry wood like a packhorse, we have a place for you.


Meeting point is the Smelting Mill car park at 1000hrs onwards.

Phone Pete on 07718385646 for more details.



Explosives Store Update 26 October

A superb effort today by Alec Langley, Martyn Langley, Bob Vidler and Ian Eeles ( and Ruby Dog) suffering in occasional guests of wind and one or two short rain showers.  The outer walls are nearly up to maximum height – before we fix the roof.

Our empty wheelbarrow was blown off the Caplecleugh High level dump by one gust of wind. Alec was sent to retrieve the barrow from the river bed. The barrow had survived the fall – Alec had a long walk to get it out of the river bed and back up to site.

Click on the images for a larger view.

Alec, Martyn and Bob discussing stones....

Alec, Martyn and Bob discussing stones….


Alec working on the south side wall


Bob considering the safe way to get this stone up to the wall top.

IHBC Visit 24 October 2014

The Institute of Historic Building Conservation visited Nenthead Mines on 24.10.14.

Their theme for the day was “Partnership Approaches to Heritage at Risk” which included the Alston Townscape project, Nenthead Chapel project, and Nenthead Mines. The group travelled in  Wright Brothers 1949 Crossley Coach which carried the party right into the smelting mill yard. After the visit, your scribe and Matt Town discussed the problems of flooding on site – informed by the cold and wet weather.


Click on the images to view larger versions.


Matt Town and Tracey Perfect-Reid discuss the presentation, before the guests arrived


Arriving at Mill Cottage

Arriving at Mill Cottage

Skilful driving to enter the yard

Skilful driving to enter the yard

The morning group pose for their photo

The morning group pose for their photo

Out of the yards in one turn

Out of the yards in one turn


Matt contemplates the critical overflow area by the Stagg wheelpit


Flood problem area near Rampgill Burn

Working Day Report 19th October 2014

Rain, rain and more rain – classic North Pennines October weather.  The damp conditions prevented us from working on the Explosives Store – the lime mortar would not have “gone off” in these conditions. Instead, our team of volunteers were working on other tasks.

The drains in Carrs Mine were cleared – notwithstanding the ankle deep water flowing through the workings.  The long spell of dry weather this year has maybe enabled the ground above to dry out. When the rains started again this week, the water has rapidly percolated through the Great Limestone and made the whole mine rather wetter than normal.

The Eimco loader was moved int the Barracks building. This required sections of temporary track and a large plywood skid board.

Switches and fans were checked out on the Barracks lighting system – the timed sensors were removed and replaced with plain switches.

Archiving continued in the office.  General tidying and sorting out went on in The Barracks.

A new helmet and lamp rack was installed .

Members Working Day Sunday 19th October

Come and volunteer at Nenthead – we have a range of jobs to interest you! 

1 Rebuilding the walls of the North Explosives Store.

2 Moving the Eimco into the Barracks

3 Fixing electronics on a our sparbox

4 Clearing drainage gulleys in Carrs Level

5 and more…..if none of the above seem interesting…

If you are interested – you can either turn up on the day or phone Pete Jackson 07718385646 if you want too talk about the jobs.  We normally start by 1030hrs.  Just drive up to the Smelting Mill car park.  

On Sunday evening, we are also continuing our discussion about NAMHO 2015.  Meet at 1930hrs in The Barracks at the Smelting Mill.



Sunday 12th October – Explosives, Geologists and Eimco

North East Geological Society visited the site and toured the valley including a trip into Carrs Level guided by Joyce and peter Jackson. Meanwhile, Alec Langley, Ian Eeles, Mike Luff and Martyn Langley worked on the Explosives Store and raised the back wall a little higher. Mave Luff sorted out our Store room and Alec, Martyn and Ian, assisted by Brian Young, moved the Eimco to The Barracks yard at the end of the day.

Explosives Store mid afternoon 13 October. Ian Eeles, Martyn Langley and Alec Langley

Explosives Store mid afternoon 13 October. Ian Eeles, Martyn Langley and Alec Langley

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Brian Young with NEGS Members on Caplecleugh vein dumps discussing Smithsonite


Eimco starts the journey – ( the wheel fell off – no wheel nut for this one)


Ian Eeles and Brian Young. Land Rover towing and Range Rover braking

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Eimco parked by The Barracks

Saturday 11th October – Visitors and Volunteers

We provided two trips into Carrs Mine for a booked party from the Vintage Motorcycle Club. Frank Lowes talked about the Smelting Mill, Sheila Barker and Hazel Kendrick served the drinks and cake, Rosemary Vidler, Christiane Michel, Helen Wilkinson and Joyce Jackson guided the groups around the mine.  Meanwhile Allan Robinson constructed shelving in our store room. Bob Vidler was stuck in Warrington and couldn’t be there and Peter Jackson dismantled a section of  wall at the Explosives Store.  Rosemary and Hazel  baked the cakes.

This was a great day.


(Click on any image for a larger view)

Allan Richardson and the new shelving

Allan Richardson and the new shelves

Fank Lowes with a group returning from the mine

Frank and the Visitors

Rosemary,Helen, Sheila, Hazel, and Christiane

Rosemary, Helen, Sheila, Hazel, Joyce and Christiane

Rosemary, Sheila, Hazel, Christiane, Joyce and Helen

Rosemary, Sheila, Hazel, Christiane, Joyce and Helen


Stagg Wheelpit

Conservation work has started on the Stagg wheelpit.  The task is to in stall a steel fence around the wheelpit, using the same postholes as the old wood fence.  Contractors have now started the installation.

The objective is to make the wheelpit safer for visitors of all ages by keeping everyone away from the sides of the wheelpit.

Our picture shows Neil (the contractor) discussing the installation work with Peter Kempsey (the architect).  This work is funded by Natural England.

Neil and Peter discussing the new fence  09.10.2014

Neil and Peter discussing the new fence 09.10.2014