Saturday, May 23, 2015

Greetings from Weardale.

Thursday was another cold, dark day. Heavy clouds all day that looked like they were about to unleash some serious rain, but somehow never quite got around to it. Yesterday, while still on the cool side, the cloud cover broke up a bit and by evening one could be fooled into thinking that summer was finally arriving. We were even treated to the first good sunset I’ve seen this year. The forecast from the punters in the pub has it that we’re in for a good weekend. I haven’t yet cross-referenced this with the BBC’s weather page yet, but I do see the sun out this morning.

Thursday was largely spent on infrastructure at the mine. Before drilling around the pocket zone for the next shot, we first needed to clean up the mess created there by recent collecting. There are a couple fairly tight bends in the rail just back from the face, and last year this caused a bit of bother with derailments of both the Eimco and the loco while trying to muck the area. Getting a full tub of rock and mud back on the rail in a fairly narrow tunnel is not my idea of fun, but fortunately, everything went according to plan, and by early afternoon Dave was installing some final cross-bracing, which will (hopefully) keep all the timbering in place when we blast.

Vibrations from the work at the face evidently loosened some of the rock in the corner of the junction we created last summer for the siding, not far back from the current face. Ian was standing nearby but seems to have only caught a lump of mud or two. After a slight diversion to replace a few timbers that were rearranged by the rockfall, Dave got to drilling at the face, while I went down to finish scrubbing the last specimens we had collected from the pocket.

Other duties called Dave back up dale before finishing the drilling, so back Friday morning he finished the job and the face was shot by early afternoon. That done, Dave was away early in order to get to a weekend bike race up near Edinburgh. The blast was not a full-face round, but merely skirting the pocket zone, so was fairly lightly charged. This means that the air will clear fairly quickly afterward, and I was able to have a quick look at what the results were. As hoped, I found a nice, neat pile of rock in the drift behind the face with only a couple of the cross-brace timbers sticking out of it. A quick look at the exposed portion of the face showed a lot of mud and traces of some green bits. We’ll know more on Monday when we can get it mucked out and have a better look, but the signs are good.

Back up dale, we had a few pints with Roger and Fiona at the Golden Lion and watched the Friday evening parade of folks come through the pub. Bacon sandwiched for supper, then off to bed. With Dave away until Monday and no accessible collecting spots currently available at the mine, I guess we’ll need to find other entertainment for the weekend. Shouldn’t be too hard, particularly if the weather holds.

Stay tuned for more.


Jesse & Ian

Another Weardale Sunset.

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