Baron’s Sump by Ian Cummins

Baron’s Sump, Nenthead: Ian, Emma (6 October 2012). 

Inspired by Mike Hrybyks excellent articles and pics., I was keen for a return to Nenthead to try to find this elusive gem  a pumping station lying some way beyond The Ballroom.

Thankfully Emma was also keen to visit the place and we met up at mid-day on this beautiful autumn day.

I had remembered the survey, but forgotten my compass and wetsocks  oops  with only thin nylon between me and the frigid water in the entrance passage, I was hoping that there wouldnt be too much deep water beyond the passages I already knew.

Swift progress through Wheel Flat and past the Ballroom turn-off, found us passing a couple of dug out collapses, as I had expected and then back to where we had started at the hanging rails of doom!  I realised that these low sections were the way I had first tried to find Ballroom Flat before finding the route through Wheel Flat  oh well, it was good fun looking.

Reading the survey with a bit more care, it was obvious we had taken a right, not a left at a junction.  Repeating the trip through Wheel Flat, we carried on, taking a left at the previous point, we were soon passing landmarks familiar from Mr Hs description.  A couple of low sections through falls led to a fine junction of 3 stone-arched passages.  Taking the middle one, we were looking for a climb up to avoid a fall-in.  The fall-in was found, peering up to view the very-hanging-very-death above, we retreated a few yards to find a rail ladder leading up.  Above, a climb with a handline plopped into a very nice passage, where a slide down a wooden chute brought a superb rail and bogey into view.

Knowing we were very close now, a drop down and right and there it was!  A very spectacular bricked construction soaring perhaps 60 feet into the roof, with huge cross-beams and a deep pit in front  an incredible feat of labour and a delight to find it in its crumbling, yet still magnificent form, with long straws growing from the mortar joints.  A few pics., a snack and we headed out  only an hour to the surface.

Another scrap of this huge complex committed to memory (hopefully!).  Lots more to go at here, cant wait to explore a bit more.