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    The publication date for issue 289 is the 10th of December, meaning subscribers should receive their copies during the week leading up to that date. It is also available from caving suppliers such as Inglesport and Starless River, or from our new website

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Pindale End Mine

DCA volunteers were out last week in the Hope Valley working on 2 unloved mine shafts. The Pindale End mine workings have never really been on the radar of the general caving community, but they have been there and open since at least when the last caps were done during the 1990s. The 2 shafts are less than 100m away from each other. One is just uphill from the tight bend in the Pindale road where the track up to Pindale quarry goes off. This is 'Upper Shaft'. The other shaft is downhill along a rough track parallel to the road and near a telegraph pole, and is referred to as 'Lower Shaft'.
Both shaft tops had seen better days, with their original steel lids heavily corroded and with no security. The shafts were extremely close to the public and in their current state, presented a very real risk for anyone venturing a few feet from the road. DCA consulted with the landowner and gained permission for the works, which are now complete.
Hard labour & good company was provided by Phil Wolstenholme, Pete Knight, Roy Rogers, Gordon Fiander and Tim Webber.
DCA wish to make a special mention of Alan Medhurst at Pindale Farm campsite. He gave us a cement mixer, wheelbarrow, a chunk of space in his drive and plenty of interesting info about the mines around his property. Thank you very much Alan.

Details of the shafts can be found on the DCA Registry here:
Upper Shaft https://peakdistrictcaving.info/home/the-caves/castleton/pindale-end-mine-upper-shaft
Lower Shaft https://peakdistrictcaving.info/home/the-caves/castleton/pindale-end-mine

Some points to note if you plan a trip here (do also read the Registry page!):
  • Both mines do contain some loose ground and false floors. The workings off the Lower Shaft is particularly loose and great care needs to be taken.
  • Both shafts are secured shut with two 24mm nuts. You will need a Derbyshire Key to get in. Please report missing nuts.
  • Both shafts have a scaffold tube belay set into the lid (inspect before use). You should use a tree to back the bar up as it is free floating in its socket.
  • Both shafts are extremely close to the public rights of way and must be kept shut at all times when cavers are not getting in or out of the shaft.
  • The lids can be closed whilst a rope is rigged to the scaff tube and a backup tree.
  • The sites contain a mixture of old 8mm Spits and 10mm stainless steel expansion anchors installed in 2021. No BP resin anchors are present at this time, hence there is no DCA rigging guide (they only cover our bolts but I'm sure CPCC will be on it soon!).
The Lower Shaft might just be the finest example of a climbing shaft we know about. It's worth seeing for yourself!

From this...
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To this...
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Thanks as ever to the volunteers. This work was entirely funded by DCA, which is supported by your membership fees. If you're not a DCA member, consider joining us. www.thedca.org.uk

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AR

Well-known member
Well done peeps, I shall add them to my "to do" list
The lower shaft is probably the finest example of a climber with inbuilt stempling in the Peak - when coming back up, it's great fun to just clip your chest ascender in and come up like the miners did.
 

pwhole

Well-known member
Here's a crude Survex model (looking west, toward Castleton) showing that the main levels in each would probably connect if dug through - though it would be messy - the lower shaft far end is very wet and muddy, though with a hint of natural about it. The Pindale Tuff is quite crumbly in places and invariably ends up as a sort of turquoise-grey mud over everything - like an albino version of Odin. The pitch through the false floor in the lower shaft workings is something of a collector's item looking up from below, though it doesn't currently really go anywhere, and only I would go down it last time - without the Disto, so that is not especially accurate.

There's a still a short unexplored level a few metres down the upper shaft that needs some bolts adding for safe entry - may do that soon.

The real feature is the winze from the upper shaft (really a continuation of the main shaft) which goes down to sough level, though it's badly silted and normally above the roof of the level, though I have just seen the top once. However, if the summer stays dry, it's got to be worth a look, especially if uphill access were possible. There's no stacking-space though, which is a problem, and stacking silt is no fun. Obviously in ye olden daze they would have paid some guys to regularly sloosh it out coming all the way in from the bottom at Peakshole Water...

pindale_mines.jpg
 
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wellyjen

Active member
Jen, I'm happy to go down and measure up for you or accompany some CPCC people. Just need to get ResCon out of the way first!
Thanks for the offer Pete. I'm sure we can rustle up some Crewe folk to come along. Definitely one for after ResCon!
 

pwhole

Well-known member
One or two things that are still unclear about the surrounding workings - to me at least. The sough continues up-dale to 'Pindale Old Engine' shaft - I have no idea whether this was a separate title or part of the same mine that we're accessing. That shaft is covered with an enormous slab of concrete on the approach road into the quarry - why I don't know, but I suspect it may have been used as a working platform for something or other when Earle's Quarry opened in in 1929, as they started it in that corner, very close to PIndale Quarry bottom.

Also Pindale Mine, where the engine house is, and which opened in the 1860s, must surely have intersected (and extended) the old Pindale End workings, including a deep-level cartgate - I have a plan and section but it's unclear where one starts and the other finished. It's certainly well below sough-level, so if the original Pindale End workings also went that deep, they would have had to do a lot of pumping. But it seems we're only touching the top-level workings via these two shafts, and there must be more below somewhere. The level off the upper shaft near the top is the only part we haven't looked so far.
 
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