August 14, 2000

Another nice day in the Dale.

Today Dave and I worked in Mick and Lindsay's tunnel. We first mucked out the debris that came down from the ceiling to have the room to drill a few holes. Drilling went fine for the four holes we put in, 2 to prepare for the steel arch and 2 to even up the tunnel face. It appears like all the blasting will be on the left side of the tunnel in the mineralized zone. The right half of the tunnel is a brecciated water course that is nothing but blocks held together by mud and we have been able to actually drive tunnel using the mucker.

The four charges were set off mid morning and almost immediately we were able to muck again, not much explosives were used, so not much fumes. The first tub we took out of the mine jumped the track near the tugger at the end of the line, a little past the dump spot. Normally, Dave would have brought out the mucker to put a full tub back on the tracks, but I suggested we try using the tugger and a pulley to pull the tub back on. The first attempt was almost successful but we over shot the tracks and the front wheels of the tub ended up on the other side of the tracks. We were a bit closer to the dumping spot so we tried just to pull the tub forward a bit to get rid of the muck. When we dumped the muck the tub came off the chassis and nearly went down the muck pile. It took four of us to put the chassis back on the tracks and the tub back on the chassis. One of those days.

I said we had four of us to put the tub back together, Cal brought by two men who are going to work the Tsumeb deposit in Namibia for mineral specimens. Ian is the project manager and Veeteck (sp?) is the miner. Veeteck has a lot experience mining but not for specimens so he will be with us for a week to see how different it is from ore mining and to pick up some pointers on collecting and using the diamond chain saw. He's a big boy who calls us midgets, he must be 6' 8''.

In the afternoon Dave and I installed the new steel arch with not much of a problem but there wasn't enough time to crib everything to the ceiling. Tomorrow's project will be to finish the cribbing in Mick and Lindsay's tunnel and then drill and shoot 7 holes in the New Drift to finish the timbering and give Byron more room in the cavity.

Nice specimens have been coming out daily with no end in sight. We are working towards Byron's pocket from last year and are not sure what the distance is. With the amount of time we have left we have to concentrate on one goal, dig where we know the nice stuff is.

More on our progress tomorrow. Cheers, Jim

Part 2

Hi All,

Weather today looked grucky and BBC1 said we would have heavy rain and windy conditions with temperatures to about 65.

About 9:00 a.m. Richard and I drove up to Little Allercleugh to start sawing and watergunning - about the time we got suited up Kerith drives up with Ian Bruce and Vitek his miner who is getting a quick training course in mineral handling and collecting from Byron and Jim. So we stopped what we were doing and drove back down to the Drapery and switched people around then Richard and I in one car and Ian and Vitek in his drove up to the Rogerley mine. Vitek is a nice big (emphasize big like Bill Pogue only taller and a professional miner). A quick tour of the property and saw Byron getting the area ready for blasting in the new tunnel tomorrow morning and Jim and Dave set off a blast at the old heading while we were there and managed to muck it out and get another arch put in, hopefully they can quit with the arches and start using timber. The new tunnel will need a bit more timbering and cribbing and I'm not sure what Alistair is charging us for the timber, hopefully the bill will not be a shocker. About noon the crew decided to break for lunch and we left Vitek there while Ian, Richard and myself went back to the Drapery for lentil soup (Paul and Lisa have left us enough lentils to make an Indian Ocean of this soup) Afterwards we drove up to Little Allercleugh to start on the sawing that I was going to do in the morning, about the time I got 'kitted up' Ian had a phone call that required he drive back to Devon --12 hours of driving English M roads on a rainy day is not my idea of fun fun fun. I took Ian back to the Drapery to pick up his car and say his goodbyes to Kerith, I then went back up to LA and got 'rekitted up' and began sawing. Sadly about 2.5 hours into the process the masonry blade decided to give up the ghost, we had used all of the diamond up and worked the curf down to near zero. It was an expensive blade but I think we actually sawed as much with it in a shorter time as we did all last Summer going through two blades so cost wise it is similar, good thing we just happen to have a new lapidary blade left over from last summer. We cleaned things up and Richard (who had been watergunning for the entire time while Jonina unwrapped and started dithionite on some pieces) and I took off for St. Johns Chapel, happened to see that the Weardale Museum was actually open so we stopped and took a gander for about an hour then down to the Golden Lion where everyone was already into the better part of the first pint, except Jonina who was way into the halfway point of her half pint. Byron had a nifty stalactite specimen he had pulled out for show and tell and and Jim was able to relate the effort of putting in the last steel arch and of the adventures of the run-away tub full of muck. Anyhow, Jonina and Byron and Vitek and Richard Busch and Kerith and I had a marvelous dinner of vegetarian lasagna and chicken cattcatori -- Jim and Bobbie had opted for a quite time by themselves before she is off early early tomorrow morning. I believe her flight out of Newcastle is at 6:30 a.m.

Anyhow, that is about it from this place a way way north of Lake Woebegone. C&K

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