August 17, 2000

Another glorious day in the Dale. The weather forecast called for flooding in the Northern Pennines but somehow it missed us. I heard that it rained further up the Dale nearer to Little Allercleugh, our house, but not much. I can feel it is getting a bit cooler at night now. Before we leave I know I'll be putting on more blankets to keep warm.

With four men working we got a lot done today. Byron continued working in the pocket pulling out nice specimens, although, not as nice as yesterday. Several cabinet size pieces came out that were very atheistic. Generally speaking, the luster on the crystals this year is much better than last year. He figures he needs another couple of days of digging and sawing before he'll need more lifters. We still need to finish the timbering in the New Drift and now plan to do it after we blast in there again.

Dave and I timbered Mick and Lindsay's tunnel and tied the arches we placed this year with the timbers Byron, et al., placed last year. The tunnel feels much better now. Dave is trying to get used to our method of timbering. He says generally they fill the space between the arches and the wall and/or ceiling with what ever they have on hand. In some mines they use straw to fill the space. We, on the other hand, prefer open spaces between the timbers and only lag it completely when we have running ground. In this case the rock is stable if you can just hold it a little. Completely filling in the space is not necessary and looks unsightly. We have all sorts of visitors coming through and it is nice to be able to show them the purple pocket and others scattered along the wall as well as the mineralized vein containing galena and fluorspar.

While we had many hands to help, we put tension on the cable for the gondola and now it operates very easily, especially with heavy loads of galena. It also works as well hauling up things like wedges and blocks for cribbing, we just can't over load it. <.P>

The last thing we did was to muck out the face in Mick and Lindsay's tunnel to prepare for a couple of shots. We want to make the tunnel a proper width for the operation of the mucker and be able to put in a set of timber. The process now will be to push the tunnel 4 feet and place a set of timber. We have to do this due to the fact that we are following a fault that has had water running through it at some point in time and all the mud that normally holds everything together is gone. There is an offset in the roof of about 18 inches due to the amount of movement in the fault and the whole formation is dipping to the north, the direction of the tunnel. The roof has been steadily dipping down to meet us and now we are at the point where we will have an extra high tunnel to compensate for the dip. The Limestone is blocky and it is hard to get it to break where we want it to. It generally comes down along the boarders of the blocks.

Cal and Kerith came up in the afternoon along with a gentleman from Killhope for a tour and another load of galena. Cal supervised the trimming of several large specimens and ended up with some very nice cabinet sized pieces. Kerith, meanwhile, cleaned and sorted crystals from the mud and bagged them up for shipping. We now have a kinda production line going and we are able to take out several plastic tubs full of specimens everyday. Larger pieces still line the tunnels though and it is incredible to see the shear volume of material that comes out of the cavity. When Byron is digging specimens it takes two people to keep up with him wrapping the pieces.

Tomorrow, Dave and I will drill and shoot the face in Mick and Lindsay's tunnel and place the first set of timber and then tie it in with the steel arches. Tomorrow is Vitek's last day, on Saturday he heads home to the South of England for a few weeks till he heads to Namibia in early Sept., so what ever work we have that is heavy we will try and do tomorrow.

Till then, Cheers, Jim

Part 2

Hi All,

Awoke to blue skies and breezes this morning about 5:30 a.m. but was too sore from yesterday's efforts hauling timber up and down the stairs to actually get up and start the morning till about 6:30 a.m. BBC1 informed me that today would have the potential of flooding over the Pennines and that heavy rain showers would be moving through ruining by hope for a great day - weather wise. Happily there were no showers at the Rogerley at all and only a brief 20 minute downpour during lunch at the Drapery and Little Allercleugh.

About 8:30 a.m. I drove up to Little Allercleugh, passed Jim and Byron with Vitek in the white Peugeot pulling over to pick up Dave Beadle outside his house about a block down. I had a handful of specimens I wanted to bead blast and after doing a dozen or so specimens on the blaster moved over to the saw. Yesterday Jonina and Vitek had made great progress on going through the tubs outside and getting some space cleared for all the material that had been brought up the night before. She set to putting things into crock pots and water gunning and I set to sawing. Well the new blade -- the one Bill Pogue brought last summer -- even new is a far cry from the old blade. Next summer we will come armed with two of the MK concrete saw blades. Anyhow, I spent my time doing sawing till about 1:30 p.m. then back to the Drapery for lunch. At 2:00 p.m. we met with Ted next door for a brief tour of the Rogerley so Kerith and I drove up and he followed us.

After a brief tour and filling a bucket full of galena for Killhope Ted drove off and Kerith and I stuck around wrapping specimens and gleaning the screen till 4:45 when we drove Dave and Vitek back to St. Johns Chapel. A very good day, not the killer we got yesterday but probably more specimens and a number of superb pieces including a couple of cabinet specimens, the best of these has two nice sized stalactites on it to 4" and some gem twins to 1". Would guestimate that we wrapped and brought in another 200 or so specimens, at this rate we will be inundated with fluorite but Byron has a day or two more of relatively easy collecting before more lifters are needed. Anyhow, all are very tired, my shoulders are killing me from having to bear down on the new saw blade to get through the rock. Now we have a 'fresh' breeze blowing and blue skies with high cirrus clouds. That is it from this place way north of Lake Woebegone.

Regards, Cal & Kerith

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