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Those of you who are regular readers to this blog may remember a post I did some time back about a strange little tunnel which goes into the hillside on a very remote part of the moors. My good friend Paul Bennett found it years ago and named it the Fairy Mine. You can read about the original discovery here.

A couple of weeks ago I had an email from a friend of mine, Sue Vincent saying she was coming to Ilkley and did I fancy a bimble on the moors. Sue grew up around here and knows the moors very well, so I jumped at the chance. Sue arrived with Stuart France, whom I had met briefly once before, and together we set off onto the moors, visiting old places and seeing the sites.

Sue said she always wanted to visit the Fairy Mine, but it is difficult to find and we have deliberately kept it’s location secret. If you don’t know where it is you will never find it. But I was more than happy to take Sue and Stuart as they have an interest in these things and would keep ‘mum’.

Fairy Mine Ilkley

The Fairy Mine is in an obscure location, not paths and the bracken was high – shoulder high and itchy. Horrible walking through it, and we seemed to be in it for ages. The entrance took us a long time to find and I slipped and smashed the glass back plate on my Nikon – so no photos unfortunately. I don’t have much luck with cameras, but then again they go through an awful lot – rain, snow, dust, grime and knocks. Even the most ‘weather sealed’ dslr doesn’t last long – and I dont use a case either, just carry in hand so it is always ready.

I think Sue and Stuart were impressed, and both came up with a good explanation (more later in another post). They suggested that I bring a compass and take a bearing, see if it corresponds to the winter equinox.

So after visiting the Badger Stone, we said our farewells and promised to keep in touch. I had never really talked to Stuart much before, but he really is an excellent fellow, and we all got on really well. I was sad to see them leave.

And just when the day was done, I realised that it was only the backing scratch-proof cover on the camera whcih was damaged, so I missed some good photos – silly me!

Anyway, I bought a compass on Friday and yesterday my walking buddy James and grandson Mackenzie set out for the mine again to take a bearing.

As it was raining slightly, with a not too good forecast, we decided to take the shorter route instead of the longer 8 mile circular. The bracken was high and itchy, and wet too – not pleasant, and it hid several large, deep bogs which we managed to step into.

We eventually found the entrance amongst all the dead bracken, and we did our bearings – which later proved to point to the Winter equinox sunrise alignment.

So, not handing around to be eaten alive by tics and those funny hairy caterpillars (whch are poisionous and are out this time of year) we made our way back home, and arrived dirty, smelly and full of mud – much to Shirl’s annoyance.

So now we have the bearings, I have written to a couple of archaeos to see if they have any ideas – I will keep you informed of progress.

Stunningly beautiful place to explore though…