11th May 2014 - Olly King - SK 1449 6729
A trip organised by myself as requested by a couple of members, I had never done Hillocks but it had been on my list for some time.
Myself, Phil, Gareth and Anton all made our way up to Monyash triangle to meet Amy and Gaz, whom had recently treated themselves to some new SRT kit which needed a little bedding in...
After a quick bite to eat at the cafe, and a little procrastinating as we waited for the rain to pass, we decided to make our way over to the mine 1 mile away.
The plan, basically to rig the Wharf Engine Shaft, then enter via the barrel and descend to the bottom where folks would then have a choice of which way they wanted to return...
After rigging the shaft, we all headed for the cutting that would lead to where the miners probably intercepted the vein and initially worked the place out.
A small barrel shaped concrete entrance led in to a stope, slightly larger than expected. Some stooping and crawling then led to an awkward heads-first drop to our first challenge, a little wet squeeze that would lead to a rather nice hand picked passage..
This led to the first pitch, about 8 or so meters down to a tiny little hole at the bottom.
Amy came through the crawl followed by Gaz and Anton, whilst Phil and Gaz went round and decided they would drop the Engine shaft and meet us at the bottom!
We continued on in the little labyrinth of pipes and passages to the next drop of a few meters. I dropped to the bottom not realising that I had missed the passage, and really tried to get through the hole below, and being unconvinced it went on got Anton to check it out as he was smaller than me!
I was relieved to find out it was not the continuation (as this would have marked the end of my trip!) and so I retraced my steps and finally found the way on a couple of meters above us.
I crawled through the small passage and noticed the flash of another lamp... This turned out to be Phil which was good timing!
We all descended in to the passage below and so had a little look around the place. After sitting down and chatting for a while, we decided it was time to make our way out. I was surprised that most wanted to climb the Engine shaft, so as Phil and Gaz had already come down, we decided to make it a bit of an exchange trip so that they would return the way we came, de-rigging the ropes as they went back, and we would climb the 58 meter shaft!
This would be Amy's first major ascent. I know I would have been very nervous when I was at her level but she was really keen and I was not going to stop her! I decided to ascend the first ¾'s of the pitch which would allow me to sit on a ledge and encouragement should she need it. Gaz and Anton would follow behind.
I have to say I was genuinely surprised how well she did! For someone who says she is not fit she climbed the rope in a very respectable time, and was soon clipped on to the ledge alongside myself!
At this point I made the last 12 or so meters out of the shaft so would be there to assist anyone getting off the rope (it is awkward!) if they needed it. As Amy was making her way up Phil and Gaz appeared and so we were all re-united again.
Gaz was next up, followed by a very quick Anton!
We all finished off with a pint in the Duke of York Inn and discussed a very successful and fun days trip.
Hillocks is a super little mine. You could actually be mistaken for thinking it was largely natural, apart from the coffin levels and blast holes strewn about. A real fun place regardless of whether you like mines or caves, and one I will return to and explore further in the future.
Below 1: Amy makes it to the top! Below 2: Gaz glad to see daylight Below 3: Anton at the top of the Engine Shaft Below 4: A happy Gaz and Amy