Escoe Mine: Chris, Geoff and Chris Dudman, Steve Warren, Caddy, Andy Cole, and Jane Kulkova (2nd February 2014).
This is not one of the big big mines that Ian likes to see up at Nenthead, nevertheless, Escoe Mine does offer a good two hours or more of some variety. These workings did produce limited quantities of lead – in the order of 3-5 tons in the latter part of the 19th century.
The entrance can easily be seen from Thorpe Lane, sItuated right under the south flank of Elbolton. Easy going for 600m led us to the easterly terminal at a collapse under a riser and it was in this area that a substantial stringer of galena was seen in the roof. In places a black coating or deposit on walls, roof and floor led to some speculation without a satisfactory explanation.
On return to the main junction a northerly heading took the party to a 20m shaft, winze or sump, dropping to water. Without suitable gear to either bottom the shaft, or pass over it to the next section, this area was left for another time.
It was the return journey that led to some of the most interesting parts around the junction nearest the entrance, 150m from daylight. Shown simply on the survey made by Mike Dickinson and Randy Coe in 1953 (when they were just lads I might add) as “Rise to cave” a little time was spent exploring the area. In essence it is a partly mined phreatic tube extending for some 50m with miners’ pick marks in profusion and calcite crystallisation in great masses. A couple of small specimens of fluorspar were brought out for further examination.
On returning to daylight and a watery sun we were left wondering what had happened to the walkers who had set off for Cracoe Fell, and apparently ended up, at sixes and sevens, disported variously around Thorpe, Burnsall Fell, and hiding under wall bottoms, it seemed. Hopefully all were reunited before the pub closed.
It was a great day all round for Chris, Geoff, Chris, Caddy, Andy, Jane and the writer.
Pics by Jane Kulkova & Steve Warren.