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I have been really busy these past few weeks, what with writing my new website and just the general crap that goes on on my life. I haven’t had much time to get out and about. So when a friend of mine suggested a quick walk one Saturday morning I took the opportunity.

The Dales are littered with old mine workings – many are obscure and are hard to find and I have been to many over the years – but I recently read about some old workings that I hadn’t been to before (although I knew where they were). I wanted to have a look at these and my friend agreed.

I picked James up at 7 am and off we went. The roads were clear at the time and we drove past Bolton Abbey and Rylston (the original location of the ‘Calendar Girls’ W.I.) and up into the high Dales. The Dales are really busy in summer but no tourists were about so early and we made good time.

The destination was the mines of the Mossdale Mining Company – high on Coniston moor. There isn’t too many workings but I had heard of an uncapped shaft up there that is reputed to be 800 ft deep. I very much doubted it but wanted to see for myself.

The moors are beautiful this time of year and the sun was beating down on us with no shelter. We walked for ages, just enjoying the remoteness and scenery of these amazing moors.

We also came across lots of small traps on wooden slats spanning the streams – sadly many contained the corpses of wild birds. Fortunately their end would have been very quick – a spring trap snapping their necks and I don’t think they suffered. The traps are meant for stoats and rats who hunt baby red grouse – but these contained the corpses of baby red grouse. So maybe a rethink is needed Mr. Gamekeeper.

After poking around for quite a bit we found the remains of a capped shaft with barbed wire around it – and also James discovered a hole which looks like it just appeared. You have to be careful around old workings. This wasn’t too deep but unnerving nonetheless.

On the way back we passed an old reservoir and the water was deep clear and cold – very tempting for a dip on such a hot day.

An excellent walk and James was such a good companion. Stay tuned – more are planned.

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