Adam’s First Trip Down Chatsworth

On the evening of the 10th July 2019, myself and Adam took a trip down Chatsworth Mine in order to inspect the ginging around the top of the main shaft as well as move some of the scaffolding left at the bottom and to install another anchor at the head of the second shaft.

From having a proper look at the ginging, it is clear that something will need to be done to hold it in place. Whilst the collar is in fairly good condition, some of the bricks have worked themselves loose which risks the integrity of the entire shaft, as well as posing a risk to ourselves when descending and ascending. Further to this, as the ginging meets solid rock, there is a section of brickwork that tapers down in the south easterly corner and definitely needs stabilizing. Myself, Adam and John intend on meeting up within the next few weeks to discuss the best method to hold this section in place. My initial thoughts are to copy methods that commercial mining companies use by cementing over the entire brick work and drilling long rods through the wall into the rock behind. This should hold the ginging in place and my thoughts are that it would not be too expensive.

After spending a while looking at the ginging, we descended 40 metres down to the bottom of the main shaft where I began installing a second anchor at the top of the second “manway” shaft which descends 12 metres. Most of the currently explored passages only have one bolt installed however as we will plan to descend the mine frequently over the coming months, I thought It best to install a proper Y hang. Looking at the way the rope hangs down the manway, I will also need to install a deviation half way down as the shaft is slightly offset. I would have done this there and then, but we were running out of time and still needed to move some of the scaffolding.

Next to the head of the manway shaft is a small spoil heap that the miners must have put to one side rather than haul out of the mine. The spoil heap is only held back by a rotten stemple and poses a risk of the large rocks falling down the manway. Compared to some of the other sections of the mine, the risk posed here is minimal however its an easy fix. We intend on lowering all of the material at the head of the manway down to the bottom of the main shaft which is only a couple of metres from the manway. Adam is going to manufacture a kibble with a rope attached to the bottom which would allow us to tip out the spoil without having someone stood at the bottom of the shaft.

Our next job was to move large sections of scaffolding down the manway along the 40 metre easterly passage to the head of the third manway where the unstable sections are located. Thankfully the levels and shafts are large enough to move even the longest sections of scaffolding without having to cut them down. Adam and I were able to move two 8ft scaffolding tubes, along with a number of shorter sections right the way along to the head of the second manway before it was time to head out.

Before making our way back up the main shaft, we had an explore down some the passages that myself and John had briefly visited during our first trip down Chatworth Mine. I was able to show Adam markings on a passage wall with the letters JL 1839 and we found lots more chairs (used to attach the rail to the floor of the passage).

We ascended quickly back out of the main shaft as we were running out of time, and found ourselves in complete darkness after arriving back on the surface at around 22:45. As we were detackling, I spotted the headlights and loud rumble of a quadbike crossing the moor towards us. Surprised that someone would be up on the moor this late I soon realised it was the local gamekeeper George who had spotted our head torches from the other side of the moor. We had a quick discussion about the work that the Grassington Mines Appreciation Group is conducting, before both Adam and myself set off back over the moor to Adams van parked at the end of Old Moor Lane.

It was certainly a productive trip and Adams first experience of Chatsworth Mine. We hope to continue moving and installing the scaffolding within the next few months, however Id like to first ensure that the ginging in the main shaft is secured before we start conducing frequent trips.