July 25, 2001
Greetings from the Pennines,
Today was another great day, a bit overcast and even drizzly early this morning but by 9:00 a.m. the clouds broke up to show patches of azure sky and temperatures today soared to about 24C.
At 9:00 a.m. I walked over to the post office where Maxine helped me mail about 14 specimens to Jesse and a batch of mineral and mining books to myself. Found a wonderful antiquarian natural history book store over by Kendal which has literally dozens and dozens of old books on minerals and mining going back to the late 17th century.
Afterwards, the three of us drove up to Little Allercleugh where Kerith started wrapping specimens into boxes for either our crew to clean up in Fallbrook or for turning over to Stan Esbenshade to handle; I took up sawing the zillions of specimens that Jonina had set aside for same and she and Richard Busch did a tag-team watergunning of specimens till a little after 1:00 p.m. when we broke for lunch.
Kerith, Richard and myself drove down to Durham Dales Center in Stanhope to pick up bubble wrap stored with Phillipa Rowe and to have lunch at the tearoom then on to the Rogerley mine where Kerith got out her trusty stool, Byron rigged up a hose with high pressure sprayer and she sat out on the ledge looking for fluorites in the muck pile.
Richard and I had a quick tour of the mine. At the west face we had a decision to make, after the last blast there opened up another watercourse heading north - but barren and a huge sturdy pillar of limestone right in the middel of the tunnel which would create problems if we dropped it. We would have the same old problem of too wide a tunnel. So we have opted to head back into the veins and put another curve to the west, unfortunately this will involve doing something of an "S" curve into the veins. Mucking after a blast on a curve is very difficult so the next 20' or so in the western adit are going to be difficult but going into the vein system now could be very productive. There is nice green fluorite high up on the western edge of the adit so we shall see.
After this Richard and I repaired to the old Black Sheep Pocket and spent a fun filled afternoon using the high pressure water sprayer, pry bars and our old backs to remove rock and collect. Nothing superb but lots of saleable material. What is really unusual here is that the fluorite pockets and veins in this area are like a layer cake and as you go down into the floor you keep finding more and more material. We are now to the point where you can stand in the pocket - a good 4' below last years floor - and with effort there are lots of specimens including a few more stalactites which will need to be chainsawed off.
About 5:30 p.m. Kerith came in and informed us we HAD to leave, just as Richard pulled out a glassy gem thumbnail twin, a real 'bonny bit' as they say here. We promised ourselves more of the same and headed back to Burnbrae for a warm shower and to rinse the mud off of all the crevices in and on our bodies.
We have a dinner reservation at the Cross Keys for five of us and will report back on the food, though any place that has a hay sniffing competition; pork pie competition and sticky toffee pudding competition has got to be at least acceptable, or I hope so.
Anyhow, that is it from this place way north of Lake Woebegone. Cal