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Mandale Mine

2nd October 2022 - Oliver King - SK 1971 6611

Mandale Mine
Yvonne, Robert and Myself

So in an attempt to tick off numerous trips in Derbyshire, one mine I had not previously attempted is Mandale, A mine found in the Lathkil valley just up river from Over-Hadden.

We met up in the little carpark and then drove as far as we could down the lane. From here we made our way to the main Mandale entrance, which sits next to an old engine house, which would have at one time contained a second hand Cornish Beam Engine. The original ‘bob’ wall remains largely intact to this day.

So, we get to the gated entrance, and as with most Derbyshire mines, we require a Derbyshire key. Rob had his Derbyshire key, and so immediately began loosening the gate bolts.

Within a couple of minutes though, we heard Rob exclaim “Bloody Hell”. We immediately went over to see what he had done, and before we got there, he cried out “I’ve dropped the spanner through the bars”.
Sure enough, the spanner was lying about 5ft away from us, on the floor of the entrance adit.

Now thinking I normally carry a spanner around for Alderley, I volunteered to head back to the car to fetch said spanner, but sadly on this occasion, no spanner could be found! We were stuck!

On my return, another plan was hatched (we were not going to give up easily!).

Rob and Yvonne thought it would be worth heading back to the house by the river, knocking on and seeing it the inhabitants had a spare spanner going. Off they went, and because I had previously run the same path I elected to stay behind.

On reflection, this was a good move. I sat by the gate, and with the spanner shining through the bars like treasure just out of reach, I fashioned a piece of tree, and decided to try to hook the end through the eye of the handle. After numerous modifications and attempts, finally I was able to retrieve said spanner yay!

Finally, what felt like an eternity (although the mild night and sound of owls was pleasant), they finally arrived. It took a while, but when they noticed the gate was partially open the look of dismay turned to shock, then surprise, and then with multiple interrogations as to how I managed to get said gate open!

So finally, the underground report can begin! The mine is certainly interesting, we headed in to what we expected to be historically low water levels, and according to Rob things were pretty low, but they had risen a little.

We had a good look around, it didn’t feel like a typical Derbyshire mine to me, as the passage seemed to undulate as it felt like it had followed natural cave in parts, and miners had taken advantage of an easy route.

Rob came in with spare rope, and he insisted he had something he wanted to achieve. He took us to a narrow rift filled with water, and after taking some pictures, he declared he had wanted a swim!
So, tentatively, he made his way into the deep water, screeching as you’d expect from most cavers, and then we set him up for a photo. I think he looked surprisingly happy for achieving this!

So on we went, and after a climb past an old drum, we got to a part of the mine that changed in character some what. Here, we dropped down into a traverse, which was interesting without cows tails! We moved on, and started to note some rather nice formations, deposits etc.
We saw some lovely calcite deposits that glistened in our torchlight, which reminded me of a trip to the far sump beyond Titan many years ago, where small calcite crystals lined the walls and glistened to make for quite an experience!
We finally came to a large chamber that opened out. This was partially flooded and looked to originally lead elsewhere, but water levels are too high these days. I was able to wade around this chamber, and even managed a have a shower in a small waterfall! We couldn’t let Rob be the only one to get thoroughly drenched!

We continued along the original sough admiring some nicely packed walls and stone blocks maintaining order to the passage dimensions. Things gradually seemed to get tighter and tighter until I was progressing at an oblique angle and arrived at an area shored up by timber, modern supports that had been erected by DCRO during a previously rescue some decades ago.

Not wanting to push things further, we headed back at this point, as one of our team was eager to not be too late on a school night, that was my perfect excuse to turn around at least!

I will probably head back to check out the other entrance along with the tail end of the sough some time, and might even push the sough a little further upstream!

A good evening was had by all, and despite losing the spanner, and then nearly running out of petrol in the middle of nowhere, we all made it home in good time!


Below 1: Looking into an area that Rob contemplated swiming in   Below 2: Yvonne and myself admiring some pretties   Below 3: Myself going for a quick dip   Below 4: Rob actually doing what he came here to accomplish!   

Picture 1: Looking into an area that Rob contemplated swiming inPicture 2: Yvonne and myself admiring some prettiesPicture 3: Myself going for a quick dipPicture 4: Rob actually doing what he came here to accomplish!

Type of entry: Mining Club (social)

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