Not having been in Carr's Level for around 5 years, and coupled
with the fact that a new flat had been discovered recently by a few explorers
from CATMHS, our interest was fired up. We gained entry to the level via
Smallcleugh and one of the sumps on the Cross Vein.
Once in the mine,
not sure where the new flat could be we headed to the main ones, looking at the
rises and hoppers along the way. When the main flats were reached we proceeded
to explore the middle and high horizons. Each was impressive, and the middle
ones had particularly striking calcite formations, which easily rivaled ones
found in caves. The biggest flats were on the high horizon, and these extended
for a long way and in places were approximately 3-4m high. The whole area is
relatively undisturbed, and this can be seen from the way it is all preserved.
Fantastic straight pack walls, and many artifacts abound, including some
excellent examples of ore trucks. After exploring the high flats we dropped
back down to the middle ones and had lunch. During lunch, impromptu
entertainment was provided by Pete as he figured out how to open his tin of
'The Full Monty' - a dubious all in one breakfast in a can, without a tin
opener. Once he had accomplished this (partially covered in beans), he set
light to his stove and discovered it had a leak, flames jumped up all around,
but he managed to pick it up and turn the valve off - the smell of burnt hair
filled the air.
Afterwards we dropped back down to the main level and
had a look around the low flats, which could be accessed via a short branch
passage. When finished and back in the level, we saw the bottom of the main
shaft intersecting all the flats. It was possible to crawl through the wooden
debris and reach the other other side however, after a short distance this
level ended in a fall. From here we went to the show mine gates and had a look
around some of the smaller crosscuts in the area, all leading to blinds.
Retracing our path we had a look in a short branch, which at the end had a
rise. After a bit of deliberation, we climbed up it and this for us was new
ground and yet again, it was obvious that it did not get much traffic, Pete
spotted some newspapers dated from the mid 1970's. From what we saw, I think
that we must have climbed up into an isolated part of the middle and high
flats. Between the two flats we came across an ore truck, water pipes, wooden
platforms and a selection of tools. In the middle flats there was a ochreous
rise with a ladder coming down it, no sign of foot prints - so I had a look up
it. It entered into a shattered stope with no way on, the only thing this
achieved was to get me tangoed again. Time was really getting on and we had to
make a move to get out, having spent some 8 hours underground so far.
the way out we looked at a number of rises and found a few towards the back end
of Carr's Level that looked promising, but these would have to wait for another
time. Back out, and for once there still was a little bit of light left! A
quick wash up in the Nent by the bridge and back to base, for a rather nice
cook and drink up.