July 25, 2000

The weather has definitely returned to cold and wet. It drizzled all day and it was colder outside the mine than inside. I don't mind the weather though, without the wet it wouldn't be so green and it keeps the insects down. First it was Midges and now it's Black Flies. At least the flies don't bite.

Byron continued working the cavity on the left side of the tunnel face sawing out more fine specimens. He thinks that he will finish collecting everything tomorrow and then we can drill and blast the right side to widen the tunnel a bit and then be able to push it forward. We have loads of material waiting to be taken up to the house for cleaning but haven't had access to the mine by car. We have been coming in the back way since the saw mill has been keeping odd hours and we don't want to be locked in. It has happened before.

Dave and I went around tightening up track bolts. It is amazing how quickly they loosen from the vibration of the mucker running back and forth across them. We also cleaned off the tracks leading to the face in Mick and Lindsay's tunnel and then mucked out a tub full of debris. There is a hump in the tunnel where we have, in the past, used the tugger mounted outside to pull the full ore car over and out. Dave thought we could just use the mucker to push it over the hump instead of hooking up the tugger and pulling it. We ended up pushing the ore car off the track at both curves in the tunnel. A full ore car is not easily put back on the track, but after some time we managed to. I guess pulling is better than pushing. These are the little things you learn through experience.

The first mucker load was mud washed out of the "Crack of Doom" where Byron had been looking for green fluorite. (The Crack of Doom is a three foot wide crack/fault full of the most tenacious mud found on Earth.) Of coarse, when we dumped the load outside the mud didn't want to come out and stuck to the bottom of the tub. The tubs are balanced to be dumped easily when full, not when they are only partially full or nearly empty. We had to prop it in the dump position with a piece of wood and wash out the mud stuck to the bottom. It was a tedious day.

Tomorrow, we have important guests arriving after lunch, but I think we will have time to either drill the face in the new drift or the face in Mick and Lindsay's tunnel.

Till then, Cheers, Jim

Part 2

Hi All,

Another typical Weardale Summer day, ie.- overcast occasionally drizzly and cool. I woke up about 50% better than the day before and am beginning to feel human again. Marc O. and I were ready to go about 10a.m. -- my nieces were still asleep and Kerith was ending her bath/shower; so we set off for the Rogerley mine.

Byron and Jim and Dave Beadle had managed to get about an 80 pound rib of fluorite that I wanted to take a peek at and perhaps have Byron do some chains trimming on. Turned out to be a wonderful specimen probably better than any of the large pieces collected last year but, in my opinion, just too damn big but I saw no easy way to trim it. There were quite a few nice small specimens scattered along the tunnel, mostly high end 'B's' but five or six nice 'A' grade specimens several of which are really really nice small cabinets in the 4" or so price range. Anyhow, Jim Clanin waltzed the big piece down the ladder and Mark O. volunteered to carry it out to the car, a goodly walk as you all know when carrying anything of value and weight. About half way to the car the specimen broke of its own volition thus saving me the agonizing decision of 'to trim or not to trim'. We drove back to Stanhope for a money run at the bank and gas up the Vauxhall then lunch with my now awake nieces and Kerith then took off for the afternoon about 1p.m. to the Weavers Cottage in Ireshopeburn to look at some of the wonderful weavings they have, then by the riding stables to make arrangements for an hour pony trek for the girls and on to Killhope. Marc, Sarah and Liz did the underground tour and we all did the above ground tour, cool enough that the peat fires in the buildings felt wonderful. Drove back to LA to drop off the specimens still in the trunk of the Vauxhall and then down to the Golden Lion for a pint of Black Sheep and a discussion of the day's results. Byron and Jim need more buckets since all are full of green fluorite at the moment -- hurrah hurrah.

That's all from somewhere way North of Lake Wobegone. C&K

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