Wednesday 1st November 2017 Work Day

Wednesday Work Day
2nd November 2017

Programme will include archive work (inside). We may also be starting the installation of an improved air extract system for the Assay House showers.
Outdoor work may be curtailed by low temperatures – ( and we do not have any sand in stock for road repairs). No more lime work possible due to low temperatures and Carrs Mine work cannot start until after last mine visit on 12th November.Assume that there will be no outdoor work this week.

Pete 07718385646

Autumn Days at Nenthead – 18th October 2017

A Misty morning turned to blue sky at times, with a cool south east wind. The volunteer team covered a wide range of tasks today.

Dave  walked the site checking a footpath map and then did the whole tour again to check timings and directions.  We lost him in the mist from time to time but he reappeared for lunch and afternoon tea.

Anne, Karen, Sheila and Joyce spent the day in the warmth of the archive office debating spreadsheets and archiving. We are promised an on-line offering sometime soon.

Alec, Chris, Colin and Andrew, Audrey and Janet cut up scrap metal and moved it to the skip. They also collected some Arris fencing from Bernard and installed next to The Barracks.

Audrey painted the Brewery shaft pipework and then Colin and Audrey went off to count trees in the woods….

Andy completed his marathon task of photographing all our specimen collection.

Chris and Alec drilled new holes for the Grumpy Miners. They became grumpy themselves when the drill also decided to get grumpy.  Andrew and Janet dredged gravel out of the Carrs Mine drain, whilst Pete packed the fluorspar specimens for movement out of the mine.

Pete and John toured the east site boundary looking for gaps in the fences.


NOTE:  plans for future Working Wednesdays will normally now be published on the preceding Monday evening, on this website and the Facebook page. We will also setup an email notification list – send an email to if you want to be on the list.


Newcastle University Visit 16th October 2017

On 16th October we welcomed  50 students and staff from the Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences,  Newcastle University.  Our contribution required five group trips into Carrs Mine and supporting the groups on surface sampling.  We started the day in cloud and drizzle and ended with blue sky.  It was rewarding to see so many students taking an interest in earth sciences.

Thanks to Dr Martin Cooke, Director of Postgraduate Studies and team for choosing Nenthead as a field study site and to our team of volunteers including Steve Holding, Alan Robinson, Dave McAnelly, Karen Beer, Chris Buckingham , Joyce Jackson, Gavin Stewart, Andy Hopkirk, Frank Bouweraerts, Anne Hopkirk, and Peter Jackson.

Successful Sunday – 15th October

The last planned Sunday work day for this year had great results. Several potholes and gulleys were concreted on the approach road. This consumed our stock of sand and cement, including some new donations of cement.

15 October 2017


After lunch we split into two groups. One team cleared fallen rock from the river adjacent to Carrs waterfall. The water level was dropped by at least one welly depth. Another team visited Rampgill Burn culvert intending to retrieve the stocks of dressed stone that were leftover from past conservation work. Stocks of stone now safely housed at Carrs Mine.  We also viewed a collapsed culvert wall and retrieved some fallen walling from the burn. Pending longer term repairs, this work will help to prevent more erosion of the silt on the burn side.


The day ended with a quick visit to Carrs Mine in order to inspect and prepare the mine for a visit on Monday.



Sunday Work Day 15th October

SUNDAY WORK DAY 15th October

The weather forecast is dry….
Outdoor jobs will include
1 Mixing concrete and filling road potholes
2 Shifting dressed stone from around the site
3 Pulling fallen rocks out of the river- depending upon water flow.
4 Dressing Carrs Mine for Newcastle University visit on Monday
5 Moving arris fencing – if Bernard is at home.

Phone Joyce on Saturday evening if you have questions etc 07702538709

11th October – Bad weather! 15th October – maybe better.


Weather Forecast is rain all day, so there will be no major planned outdoor work.

Archive work, including starting a sort of our photos and slides.
Painting windows – inside.
Cleaning Bunkhouse for a group booking.

Outside jobs available – if you don’t mind the rain….
Loading scrap metal into skip.
Cutting shrubbery at the car park entrance.
Moving arris fencing from Bernard’s yard to our site.

The weather forecast is warm and dry. I will plan an outdoor and indoor work programme.

Contact for questions and suggestions: Pete J on 07718385646.

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 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