Saturday, July 24, 2004

Greetings All,

Yesterday started with some early morning excitement, an email from eagle-eyed Alistair to phone him as soon as possible. He had caught someone breaking into the quarry with knapsack, chisels, hammer and water. He got the registration number of the car so I will go by and see if I can get that information and pass it on to the constable with a trespass complaint and see if we can find out who it is. Over the years weíve had problems with petty theft and a bit of vandalism and we know people trespass onto Alistairís property to dig on the mine dumps but most of this has been more nuisance than anything else. But, weíve not had this problem while we are working the mine itself, usually after all is closed and tidied up after the end of the season; though last Summerís loss of 50 gallons of diesel hurt, canít imagine how it was done except by driving through the lumberyard at night since trying to move that much weight, even in a barrel by rolling it out past our gate would be too much work for the gain.

Anyhow, we finally got things going up at the mine, Dave did the mucking and timbering at the face, still a bit of a blue/purple fluorite pocket showing though impossible to extract; Byron spent his entire day in the Corner Pocket. Dave had been kind enough to drill four or five holes in some extremely obstinate rock in front of the pocket and we spent a happy hour taking our aggression out with a sledge and a set of feathers and wedges. We did the boulder damage but it still there asking for more. Most of Byronís day was spent moving rock that was in his way; the pocket is way back, even for somebody with his nearly 5 foot reach and a 4 foot stick. About the last 40 minutes of the day yielded one amazing stalactite for all his effort, but what a piece. It came out as two parts, each capable of standing on their own, one a sort of mace headed quartz stalactite with small fluorites and secondary drusy quartz overlapping a galena vein base and about 7 inches in length, the second part (which fits nicely to the first part) is the rest of the stalactite with a small crest of ĺ inch fluorites and about 5 inches in length. It turns out to be a double terminated stalactite about a foot in length. Just canít believe anything like that could be churned out by nature.

The previous day, Dave had put in a couple light holes in the heavily mineralized pillar between the West Crosscuts and after mucking the area out I got started after lunch pulling rock apart to see if there was a pocket. Answer, yes, a small one which yielded three or four snow white aragonite coated fluorite twins, the most unusual a miniature with the aragonite encrusted on the edges of the of a large twin with part of the crystal face showing through to give the effect of an owlish set of eyes and face.

We broke off early since we were expected at the Landís new abode around 6:30p.m and needed to clean up. When Byron and I got back to The Drift we found Ralph Sutcliffe chatting with Jonina. He too had a difficult day, getting caught in a massive traffic jam out on the M6 at the Preston turnoff, which made the news several times. After quick showers and goodbyes to Ralph we took off for Cowshill. The Lands have a wonderful old converted cattle barn on three levels sitting right on a small waterfall on the Wear River and a wonderful still pool which empties into a 15 foot waterfall. House and view are fabulous. They had made dinner reservations for all of us at the Cowshill Hotel. An incredible meal that took four hours and finished up about 11:30pm. Needless to say we all had a great time and great meal.

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Thatís all from the Dale.

Regards, Cal



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