Watery Theme

Members Underground Trip 23 September 2017.

An Introduction to parts of Rampgill mine for our new members was advertised by Pete J as having water no more than 0.5 metres deep. A tour of Scaleburn whimsey, Rampgill Engine shaft and Hangingshaw Branch level revealed the horrible truth…that Pete still has not grasped metric measurements – the water depth is 0.9 metres. 

The next day was a Sunday members volunteer work day and we found ourselves working with water again, but in  better conditions on surface.

Sunday 24 September Members Working Day

Pete rapidly disappeared up the valley with Sheila – trying to avoid the comments about tape measures and metrication. Sheila and he were gathering thistles ( they said). Chris(2), Will and Rachel collected the scrap timber which has been lying at Hodgsons High Level for 3 or more years. Audrey got a dry job inside painting the Barracks windows. Chris(1), Allan and Jim toiled in the Stagg waterwheel pit and removed rubbish and scrap that has been thrown down. They also stacked useful building stone from the pit bottom for possible future use and discovered that part of the tailrace tunnel is in  need of repair. They managed to persuade Head Ganger Joyce to barrow the rubbish down the hill to the skip.

Chris(2), Will and Rachel then cleared out some scrap wood from the Power of Water site before starting conservation work on  the Brewery Shaft external pipework. Water has been trapped in the valves and they found that the valve gate could be removed which allows the water to drain, and the pipes to be given a protective coat of paint. Pete was instructed in the meaning  of the metric measurements cast on the gates. Nick was spotted trying to get the squawk box to work correctly – is it full of water?

Jim, Allan and Pete dismantled some stone structures that have appeared around Firestone level. These creations incorporate stone seats and fire pits, with stocks of wood. They managed to dismantle two of three. We think that we have an intruder who is ignoring the normal polite niceties of behaviour about not building on someone else’s property – whilst also remembering that the land is an Ancient Monument.

Chris(2) and Will were viewing the flood damage on the smelt mill trackway when they discovered evidence of a possible culvert just south of the smelt mill flue. We plan to get permission to dig trial pits in this area.


Wild, Wet, Trouble and Success

9th and 10th September 2017

The Heritage Open Days weekend started on Saturday morning with a prospective quiet day which was not to be. The morning mine inspection revealed a break in at the Carrs Mine waterfall exit, with damaged door and woodwork, damaged mineral specimens, missing specimens, moved mine wagon, and evidence of the most basic human behaviour. Most of this was sorted before the first visitors arrived, but the door had to wait until Sunday. Heavy rain showers.

The damage to the mine was the second incident in a fortnight. Two volunteers endeavoured to find replacement door hinges in the afternoon of Saturday but without success – all the outlets for miles were out of stock. A phone call to another team member (who was forty miles away at the time) eventually got us some hinges delivered late on Saturday. The door and frame was fixed on Sunday.

We now have the incidents logged with the Cumbria Police, crime number allocated, and another bump in the crime stats for Alston and Nenthead.

However…good things happened elsewhere. The Brewery shaft lights had been repaired by the Wednesday work teams and they were duly lowered down the shaft. Our visitors on both days were taken on conducted tours of the shaft top.  Everyone seemed very impressed. Meanwhile, we had heavy rain showers.

Sunday visitor numbers were better and we had a busy day.  Not content with being a Grumpy Miner, Titus also enlarged his performance by introducing a song. (underground).

On both days we  sold cakes and tea , books , identified mineral specimens , ate original old style miners bread, and  sampled  home cured bacon. It rained.

Our roving photographer kept emerging from darker corners of Carrs Mine -and we are adding to our stock of good publicity photos.

The total donations for the weekend were just over £600. It rained some of the time.

(click on any image for a larger view)

Titus and Rosemary

Jane and Karen

Nick, Bob and Allan

Dave, Paul and Frank





Essential reading for all members holding a BCA Membership card

BCA holds a membership list of nearly 6000 Individuals and some 200 Groups (clubs, access controlling bodies, National Bodies, Regional Caving Councils and Cave Rescue Teams) who are eligible to vote in BCA’s two house system.  BCA Executive decided to use the over 4000 email addresses supplied by members either directly or via their clubs to avoid the cost of posting the ballot paper out.  Because the email list had not been previously used by BCA, a trial Pre Ballot email was sent out on 13 August to detect email addresses which bounced the message back.  Some 300 such bounces were detected and those members were switched to the postal delivery system.  Subsequently some tens of emails were found to have bounced on the send of the ballot paper on 21 August and those members have been sent papers by post.

Since it became clear some emails were going to ‘junk’ or ‘spam’ folders or into ‘black holes’ or marked up as ‘phishing’ emails, BCA has undertaken several steps to inform its members of the ballot.  They include placing notices up on BCA’s web site, statements on BCA’s Facebook page, the BCA, Adit Now and ukCaving forums and on the Darkness Below web site and emailing direct from an alternative email address or via a club’s email system.

If you have not received your ballot paper by 1 September then please contact the BCA Secretary either via secretary@british-caving.org.uk or by post at BCA Ballot, The Old Methodist Chapel, Great Hucklow, Buxton, SK17 8RG.  Likewise if your email system is marking the attachments as ‘phishing’ or worse and you are not prepared to risk opening them, then contact the BCA Secretary.  Duplicates will only be sent to the address BCA holds as a security precaution.

If you experience difficulty in returning the completed ballot form by email, then please type in the supplied address rather than ‘click on the link’.

Please note the ballot form will only be considered properly completed if the Unique Security Code number has been accurately placed on the form and crosses have been placed within boxes.

Please ensure completed ballot forms are with BCA by 23 September 2017.

Bob Mehew, For BCA Executive



You can keep up to date with the proposals for the Nent and West Allen rivers by going to the Gov UK website at   https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/metal-mine-water-treatment

We will publish a selection of documents on our website, including copies of paper documents distributed at Consultation Events. These paper documents are usually available from the Gov UK website.



Follow this link for the latest letter from the EA. EA Update



A proposal to build a new weir downstream from Nentsberry Haggs Mine.  The Planning application is on the Eden District Council planning portal.



The EA are asking for feedback about their proposals for Nenthead and Nentsberry. The information and feedback forms are here – Nenthead and Nentsberry proposals

This document works through the criteria for choosing treatment sites –   Site Evaluation Criteria.



The Coal Authority contractors are renewing the water measuring devices in Caplecleugh Low, Rampgill and Nentsberry Haggs Levels. This work will start on 27th March and should be completed by 31st March.
Please note that the works include concrete weirs – we are asked to avoid the mines during the construction works, and to keep a look out for any damage to the weirs.
The newly constructed weirs should facilitate more consistent measuring of the water flows and collection of water samples.

Need more information?  email admin@nentheadmines.com