Slate Scrin Mine - Phil Wolstenholme

Wednesday, 17 June, 2015

Present: Phil Wolstenholme, Lisa Wootton

This short trip was purely to take some photos for the next book I'm working on with Dr. Jim, as it's woefully undocumented - in fact most people I've asked in the history business (again) didn't seem to know it existed, though I'm sure many cavers and mine explorers have been - they just didn't write anything down. The level is high up on the west flank of Cowlow Nick, adjacent to Faucet Rake, as they hit the steep slope parallel to each other. An opencut on the opposite flank heading downslope toward Castleton seems to be the merged veins, though the Barmaster may have registered it to Slate Scrin as it seems to be closer to its line. As it reaches the Speedwell Vent (large basalt plug), there seems to be a run-in shaft.

The entrance to the Slate Scrin workjng  is a narrow slot above a small solid vein section, and immediately drops you into a narrow but fairly spacious passage, the first part of which looks to be fireset, with a smooth pointed profile, and dark walls with no shotholes.The passage descends slightly, leading under the first of a few stone stemples and false floor sections overhead, most of which look fairly stable if not touched. The passage then rises again before heading downslope to a final forefield at 50m. The vein in the end wall is only about 10cm across, and can also be seen in much of the roof along the length of the level. Stemple sockets are obvious in some sections and non-existent in others, the ledges left from blasting looking more than adequate to stand on for working, and make free-climbing up the stopes possible, with an easy climb up a steep slope on the nearest false floor to the entrance - this gives a good view of the roof from the top, with a lens-shaped hole, backfilled from above, which was clearly the original vertical entrance.

Some stemple sockets noted at floor level indicate the mine was worked deeper, but it's impossible to determine how deep owing to the backfill. However, there is a strong outward draught noticeceable upon entering the mine, and the stones in the floor near the forefield had a faint but distinct draught emanating between them, suggesting there may be an open void of some sort beneath. The passage is clean, dry and quite pretty for a narrow vein working, with patches of purple fluorspar on the walls here and there, and chunks on the floor too. Sphalerite was also seen near the end of the passage. Nothing remarkable about the site, but nice to see something else relatively unknown at least.

Slate Scrin Level

The Slate Scrin level looking east. Photo by Phil Wolstenholme