Sometimes things just go off the rails and there's nowt to be done for it!

Back in the almost pre-history of the 1970s a couple English collectors decided that it might be fun to work their own mine for mineral specimens. After searching around a bit, they got permission to begin work on a fluorite-containing vein that was exposed in a disused quarry between the villages of Frosterley and Stanhope, in Weardale, North England. Their venture became reasonably successful but by the mid 1990s health problems forced them get out of the mining business. Along came another group of collectors, this time from somewhere across the pond, who likewise fancied having a go at mining for specimens. Not having a clue as to just what they were getting ourselves into, I think they did pretty well for themselves, and for over 15 years were able operate the mine on a seasonal basis each summer, raising enough money with the sale of bits of green fluorite to come back and do it again.

But as with all fairy tales, something always happens in the end to put it all off the rails. Ever more bureaucracy to deal with. Ever more costs to deal with. And, for some reason, people get tired of working for little or no pay. By 2016 it was becoming evident that continuing the project would require a lot more time and money than anyone had, so that was that. It was fun, though. Most of the time. Each summer a journal was kept by way of e-mail reports that were sent out and then posted to the web. For the sake of posteriety, and as perhaps a warning to anyone else who might think this all was a smart thing to do, these are all presented here. I apologize for the paucity of photos during the early years, but the participants were still ensconced in the film camera age at that point. There exist many albums of prints, which I might get around to scanning at some point, and try to add a bit more graphic excitement to all of this, but for the moment, they are presented as they originally were. Should you want to find out what this was all about, or relive past glories, please dive in. But remember, nostalgia just isn't what it used to be!

Below you will also find a link to a series of pages describing the major pocket finds that occuerd during this time period.


The Almost Daily Report

















Major Pockets, 1999 - 2016

The Bonny Bits