Clearing the downstream blockage in Deep Adit Level
As the blockage lay downstream of the winze intersection, it meant that the clearance work had to commence form the winze working downstream. The blockage comprised a mixture of kaolinised granite and clay which had collapsed from the roof and had completely choked the level; water managed to percolate through the top of the blockage. The tunnel was only about 3 feet wide and 5-6 feet high, which is a tight space within which to work. Initially, there was no natural air flow in Deep Adit Level, so forced ventilation had to be implemented until a breakthrough could be made downstream.
Initially, each time work was to be carried out, the water in the winze and filling the upstream accessible section of the adit had to be pumped out. Once drained, the back of the blocakge could be dug by hand into kibbles, which were wheeled back to the bottom of the winze on a small trolley and then hoisted up the winze, tipped into the 1 ton wagons and disposed of on the tip outside No.2 level.
After several months of digging out sludge, we managed to breakthrough the top of the collapse and make a small connection to allow air to flow from the downstream side of Deep Adit, up the new winze and into No.2 Level. The roof at this point was extremely kaolinised and kept slumping, so robust timbering had to be installed to prevent on-going collapse.
The start of the blockage Digging in the confined tunnel
Eventually, after 2 years, we completed clearing the entire blockage, which had extended over a length of 30 metres. We installed a fixed ladder in the winze, so that we now had direct access from No.2 Level and along Deep Adit Level towards its outlet. Upstream of new winze the Deep Adit was partly full of slumped, washed out material from another collapse further upstream. The adit has now been cleared for a distance of about 17 metres and we have now reached the base of either a major collapse or the bottom of a backfilled stope. We believe there is a possibility that when the exploratory crosscut was driven in No.1 Level during the 1910s the rock from the crosscut was tipped down an old stope or winze between No.1 Level and Deep Adit Level and, if so, this could be the blockage that we have now encountered in Deep Adit.
The narrow cramped conditions and the restricted ability to transport the material back to the new winze are hampering further progress. Our goal is at least to connect with an old winze that is recorded on one of the 1914 mine plans to connect between No.2 Level and Deep Adit (at a depth of '25 feet') close to the intersection of the Deep Adit structure with Red Lode, approximately 15 metres further on. At present the clearance work is on hold whilst we think what to do.