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Cuckoo Cleaves


I have a photo somewhere of a mate using a diving regulator to get enough air around his lighter for a cigarette underground...


Active member
In a book I just read about coal mining before all the 4x stuff and safety lamps , it was one of the only rules of safety in the work place, that  you could not leave your workplace for breathing issues unless the candle had gone out ! Which I believe is around 17% if remembered correctly sod throwing a pick axe for 16 hour shifts in that ! ,  I have seen it many times when you can?t ignite your lighter in a iron mine.


New member
We have an area of blind pits that are only accessible in the winter months. Bad air prevents access at other times.

We all use lighters on a bit of string. Test the lighter at the entrance. Then, as we descend the pit, stop, lock-off and test the air with the lighter. Repeat often. As we encounter bad air, the flame develops a gap between the top of the lighter and the flame. The gap gets larger the worse the air gets i.e. the lower down we go. If it doesn't light then get out quick.


Reminds me of a trip that formed part of my introduction to the wonderful world of caving.
It was part of a 'managerial' type course that used the outdoors as part of the classroom.

Trips included trying to survey Richmond Copper mine, abseil Buttertubs, visit Crackpot and the trip in question to Windegg Mine Caverns.

We were told of the possibility of bad air, as the only smoker present at the time, I was instructed to use my lighter to test the air as per previous post.

Only trouble was, I was just under 6ft tall and so was raising and lowering the lighter down to just below my neck and all seemed fine.
After a chunk of time one of the team who was a little over 4 foot tall was complaining of shortness of breath etc. Taking the lighter lower showed the problem.
A rapid exit was made and all was fine, with a lesson learned.