With a hankering to do one of the less visited mines, we had a
look at the Gudhamgill Level. Before setting of we had a quick chat with Karli
asking what to expect, he told us that it was a bit of a messy mine, mentioning
that there is orche on the walls, on the roof, great for getting 'tangoed',
then he added 'it's not that bad.
Reaching the adit we removed the slabs
barring the entrance due to the lack of a gate. Sliding down the small slope
brought us straight into rather cold water. The level was lined and in good
condition, apart from near the entrance where part of the roof had failed,
allowing light to enter. Past this we carried on for some while entering lined
and unlined parts of the level. Eventually a collapse and part of an old dig
was reached, squeezing past this we immediately sank into deep and very cold
water reaching the mid rift, Karli seemed to have forgotten to tell us about
this surprise, if we had known - wet suits would have been put on! Not
particularly pleasant but we carried on, after a few minutes stinging
sensations started to manifest themselves on all submerged body parts, then
more stinging, then bad burning and finally pins and needles. After about 10
minutes of this, the water thankfully got a bit shallower. The language, often
referring to Karli was as colourful as the orche we where going to encounter
We reached a junction with a large diameter air pipe coming
out of a choked rise. It was possible to get past it into a passage, but the
cold deterred us at that point and according to the plan, it was a blind. The
air pipe lead east along the main level, we followed it and shortly came to a
raised area out of the water with a rectangular shaft on the right. Carrying
on, following the meandering air pipe, we passed a few ore shoots and a stope.
Shortly traces of orange ochre starting appearing and then we came to a choke
damming back ochrus mud. Climbing over the choke and avoiding getting the foul
slops into our wellies we entered into a chamber with fantastic formations.
Quickly we saw that this was as far as we where going to go on this trip, 3m
on, a pool had formed with about 15cm of airspace in the continuing level.
I dropped back into the level we had come from and took photographs
whilst Peter tried to dig some of the choke, standing around really brought on
the cold as there was a really strong draft, so we retraced our route to the
stope and climbed into it. A bite to eat and then a look around the stope.
South, the stope ended and north it carried on for a while where we found a
manway heading up. Under the manway there was a small hole. Peter tried to get
down it, but from the sound of the rocks that he disturbed the hole seemed to
be at the top of a scree slope. The rumblings carried on for a long while and
since we had no rope, I ended up pulling him out, leaving this one for another
time. We went back to the air pipe rise and braced ourselves for the cold