Friday, July 14, 2006

Greetings from Weardale.

The weather here for the past few days has been about as good as it gets, sunny, light breeze, warm but not hot. A while back, Byron showed me a narrow back road that winds from the west end of Stanhope up the hills into Rookhope. An excellent panorama of the middle dale can be had from the top. A couple days ago I went up there on the way into the mine to get some photos in our good weather, and one (looking toward Rookhope) is today's feature photo.

Yesterday at the mine Byron and Dave busied themselves with "infrastructure" chores. Our timber order had been delivered to the quarry the previous day, so first order of business was to haul it up onto the mine platform. With the growth of our dump over the years, this is now a fairly easy task, at least compared to the early days. We have a pneumatic wench (known as a tugger) at the end of the platform, and are easily able to pull the timber up the slope of the dump with it. The tugger has been attached to the end of our rail, which is not the most secure place for it, and plans have always been to plant it more securely by bolting it to the rock bed of the platform. Yesterday afternoon seemed the time to finally have at this chore, so Dave drilled several holes in the rock for the anchor bolts, and after a shopping run for a few more necessary bits this morning, the tugger should be securely relocated.

For my part, I spent several hours back in the East Cross Cut, in a largely futile search for more good specimens. The area still shows promise, with seams of bright green fluorite showing in a couple places. The place will need to be mucked and some roof supports put in before much more digging can be done, however.

This morning, while Byron and Dave are out shopping I am spending my time on administrative duties, including filling out credit applications for potentially new vendors of supplies and equipment, and updating the website in hopes of attracting some customers who would like to have some of our most recent produce. This evening Byron and I have been invited to dinner with some friends, John and Marie Land, who run a couple of local rock and gem stores. Last year they moved from the metropolitan (for Weardale) setting of Stanhope to the outback of the upper dale near Cowshill. While Byron has seen their new place, I haven't yet. It should be a pretty setting on a day like today.

Cal and Kerith are arriving in the dale tomorrow, and I will go back down to London on Sunday, and then onward home to California after a days visit with friends. Hopefully, the continued reports, courtesy of Cal, will bring good news.

Stay tuned for more,


A summer day looking up the burn toward Rookhope.

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