Author Topic: Portland: Inmosthay Quarries  (Read 2626 times)

Offline NigelG

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Portland: Inmosthay Quarries
« on: November 27, 2016, 12:27:05 am »
I reconnoitred the Inmosthay Quarries, roughly in the middle of Portland, recently. (There is a rather ill-defined right-of-way I THINK across the area from Wide Street to Easton Lane; other parts were visible from the surrounding land).

Nothing of any speleological interest left. The whole area, including a near-isolated meadow "island" called Fancy's Beach, has been excavated and partially back-filled.

Over the years these quarries had intercepted and fragmented a phreatic network into individual caves: Sawmill Cave, Devil's Hole, Horseshoe Hole and Engineers' Dig (my first digging attempt in the 1970s, along a complete choke of finely-varved sediment!). None of the caves could be considered "sporting" but were of technical interest, with interesting and elegant passage topographies.

Also a fissure-cave, Devil's Slit. Quite what that was doing there so far from the cliffs is anyone's guess! I suppose it might not have been a mass-movement cave after all, but a major joint solutionally-widened by water percolating through its thin roof and trickling down the walls, though it displayed no obvious karst features.

Anyway, all are now gone, and I had great difficulty even identifying main locations among the ruins.

I did find a massive, light brown stalagmite. The quarrymen had removed it from some unknown location and laid it down by the track, next to a sign-post bearing a rough map showing you vaguely the route of the R-of-W. I've no idea what they'd intended but Nature was beginning to give it a shroud of brambles.

Offline Ed W

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Re: Portland: Inmosthay Quarries
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2016, 09:53:42 am »
Nigel, I have also noticed the rapid and dramatic progress of Inmosthsay Quarry.  However, this is not something that has happened all that recently, with the Fancy's Beach Caves having "gone" over three years ago.  Sawmill cave was exposed and part of it briefly accessible just over three years ago before it was completely quarried away.  Of course we could claim that the cave is still there, its just the rock around it that's gone...

I try to keep an eye on the active quarries two or three times a year when I come down to Weymouth, but it is a little sad that it is now much harder to have a nose about like we used to do 20 odd years ago.  It seems like the number of accessible caves on the island is shrinking fast.

Online tim.rose2

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Re: Portland: Inmosthay Quarries
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2016, 10:10:14 pm »
For those of you interested here are a few pictures from what I suspect may have been the last visit to Sawmill (thanks again for the tip off Ed) back in 2013.  Its a real shame the cave is no more.  I guess with the new quarrying activity at the bottom of Weston there is always hope of new holes?








 




In terms of other 'lost caves' Rubbish dump (local name) or as per the Portland book Fossil cave at the grove is more or less inaccessible.  The last time I had look at the quarry the fly tripping had more or less covered the entrance and there was no sensible way across to it.

There is however (to my knowledge) a previously un-recorded hole at Cheyne which I have been made aware of.  As you walk towards the Bill from the small pull in used by climbers it's in the first cutting on the right hidden behind a nose of rock.  I suspect its only about 10m long and pinches out, however there is an awkward squeeze in the entrance.  I had a  go but didn't fancy the committing head first, slightly downhill into a rift option with no one the assist.  Needs a thin person to have a look!  Pictures of the entrance and the squeeze (you have to fit through the gap on the left)...





Tim

Offline mikem

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Re: Portland: Inmosthay Quarries
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2016, 09:35:48 am »
I have posted links to Geoff Kirby's photos, taken over several years, of Inmosthay & Rubbish Dump / Fossil caves on the Portland Caves thread.

Mike

Offline mikem

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Re: Portland: Inmosthay Quarries
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2016, 10:50:26 am »
Tim, did you ever get up to Blacknor?: http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=594173

Mike

Online tim.rose2

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Re: Portland: Inmosthay Quarries
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2016, 09:36:44 pm »
Hi Mike,
Yes, a local climber (who turned out to be my science teacher from quite a few years ago) went up and rigged the entrance for srt.  Since then I've taken up climbing so reckon I should soon be up to doing it myself with a bit of clipstick cheating.  Been thinking of having a go sometime soon.  If I succeed I suspect I'll be heading there somewhat more frequently as its a great cave.
Tim

Offline mikem

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Re: Portland: Inmosthay Quarries
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2016, 06:52:33 am »
Of the 71 Portland sites on MCRA, 25 are listed as lost, mainly in the centre of the Isle.

Mike

 

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