Ding Dong Mine
Present: Steve Gray, Andy Macdonald, Tim Eastwood, Andy Hall, Emma Wilson, Stuart Bennett
Location: Ding Dung, Mine, Lindal in Furness. The Task: Check out the mine complete with cow skull and other artifacts.
We arranged to meet at 10.30 am very close to the entrance. Tim and I had half a clue where we were going and as we were driving through Ulverston we were overtaken by Steve Gray, which is lucky, as he led to us a merry dance down some very narrow roads to the lay-by we were to meet.
Andy Hall was there waiting. Once we had all arrived and said our hellos, we decided to get changed. At that moment the rain started and the wind began to blow. At that point I began to wish that I had put my furry suit on at home.
Still, we got changed quickly and then the rain stopped. Typical! We made our way to the entrance by a very convoluted route as Steve couldn’t really remember where it was.
Once the entrance was located Steve started rigging the entrance pitch with the 30 metre rope which Andy Hall had collected from the farm earlier. The email and flyer said it was a 15 metre pitch but it was definitely 30 metre pitch so the rope Andy had bought was just long enough.
Steve descended first saying he had a new Petzl descender given by CUMRU. There was a lot of chuntering and grunting going on down the pitch then finally, after what seemed like an eternity there was a “rope free” shout from below.
I went next, attaching myself to the rope and descending the first 15 metres of steel tubing that was liberated from Barrow shipyard in the past. The last 15 metres is inst mineshaft hewn out of the rock. At the bottom of the pitch you land on a pile of earth and detritus, here we had been told there was a horned cow’s skull but that had been removed, no doubt by someone who wanted a trophy from their visit
Once everybody was down, we found out why there was so much grunting and groaning from Steve as he descended. It seemed that the rope sheath had bunched up a bit and caused him to come to a stop about 10 metres from the bottom and no amount of jumping up and down would make him shift downwards, so he had to downwards prussic past the bunching. I had had a bit off dreg through that bit of rope but not enough to stop me from moving.
We then set off to have a look around the workings and take pictures of passages and workings. Steve, Tim. Stuart, and Emma went off to look for a connecting passage to take them to a complex maze of workings with the bonus of (if the water table is low enough) of accessing some extensive workings heading towards the main pit in the area (B30). Andy and I took a few photos around and about then waited for the rest of the group to re-appear and one by one we made our way out Once we were all out we observed the tact that we were all now looking like we had bathed in Copperslip.
A great trip nicely finished off by having a bacon and duck egg butty on the way home. Thanks Steve for entertaining and leading us. As Leslie Philips used to say ”DING DONG”