Monday, August 4, 2014

Good Morning from Weardale.

Over the weekend we had the first serious bout of rain in quite a while here. Saturday it varied between drizzle and light rain to the occasional torrential downpour, though temperatures stayed around 15C/59F for much of the day. Yesterday varied between outbreaks of rain followed by brief bouts of sunshine. Temperatures were a bit cooler, and the wind came up, helping to dry things out a bit. This morning the wind is still up and I see some blue sky out the window. Hopefully the mud pools in the quarry will dry up quickly.

Saturday Cal and I went in to collect what we could from the newly exposed section of the pocket zone. After bring down a section of loose rock at the opening of the pocket, we took turns wallowing in the mud and washing out the cavity. By around 1400 we had managed to fill several tubs with new specimens and decided it was time for a lunch break. Taking advantage of one of the few “labor-saving devices” we have about the mine, I brought the loco back to the face and we loaded our finds onto it and drove them out. A few large bits were left at the front of the mine for a future date with the chain saw while the rest were loaded into the gondola and lowered down to the containers in the quarry.

After a quick lunch, Cal began the cleaning process for the new material by distributing them into tubs full of a strong detergent, which helps lift the mud off of them. Just as I stepped out of the container to get the last two tubs of specimens from the gondola a torrential downpour hit. One second it was a light drizzle and the next was like a dam had burst! I managed to get the remaining specimens into the container, and for the next 15-20 minutes we watched from the relative safety of the container as the quarry filled with water. About that time it occurred to me that we had left the generators outside the mine and running, so we donned anything and everything we could find that was somewhat waterproof and hurried up to secure everything. Being fairly well soaked by that point, we decided to call it a day and headed back up dale to get dry and warm.

Back at the cottage we met up with Jurgen and Kerith, who had been off to Durham playing tourist. Seems that they has been spared the downpour that hit us here in the dale, which was a good thing considering that Jurgen’s luggage (and any change of clothes) was still awol. That evening we met up with local friends Jeremy and Phillippa for supper at the recently reopened Lord Crewe Arms in Blanchland. The building is evidently an old monastery that now serves as a pub, restaurant and hotel, and is one of the few places in the area here to get a really good meal out. Highly recommended by all here, should you be in the area.

Yesterday morning, with the rains somewhat in abeyance, Cal and I had at washing the mud off the recent take of specimens, and by noon had much of the drying table covered. Though we were still getting periodic sprinkles of rain, the wind was sufficient to dry things off fairly quickly. Today’s photo is of a portion of the table covered with fluorite specimens.

A little after noon I left to pick Ian up at the Durham train station on his way back from a doctor’s appointment in London. On returning, we found Cal back at the pocket zone. In our absence he had uncovered a small eastward trending bulge in the pocket and had filled a couple tubs with new produce. Having done enough work for a Sunday, he turned it over to us and headed back to the cottage to get cleaned up. Ian and I spent another couple hours washing out mud and pulling out rocks, but it quickly became evident that the cavity is quickly pinching out to the east, just as the last one had. Guess today we’ll plan on drilling and shooting it again and hope that something more turns up further ahead.

Stay tuned for more.

Cheers, Jesse, Ian, Cal & Kerith

Some recent finds, washed and ready for packing.

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