View Full Version : Force Crag Mine, Cumbria - Aug 08

04-11-2008, 01:02 PM
Force Grag mine has been worked for three main minerals, since 1839 when the first adit No3 was driven to exploit a Galena (Lead Ore) vein which out cropped on the valley side, the lead mine expanded to include No1 and No2 adits lower down the valley sides the three levels were linked internally by a shaft known as Halls rise to improve airflow and movement of the ore. Lead Prices collapsed in the 1860's leading to the mines closure in 1865. Two years later the mine was reopend for the production of Barytes from an area above the Crag known as force crag. Here levels No4 to No7 were driven into the hillside. The barytes market also collapsed in the late 19th centuray leading to the mine's second closure in 1881.

The mine reopend in 1905 for the production of Zinc using reopening the flooded No 1 adit. Zinc production continued under a number of companies until 1923 when the mine once again closed. The next operation concentrated on reopening the High force levels for Zinc and Barytes. these levels had been abandoned since 1880. A new Cross cut called the Highforce level was added to the high force workings. Mining continued under a number of companies whith varing success until the harsh winter of 1947 lead to the flooding of the Highforce levels without pumping gear the mine was abandoned. In 1949 the Laporte Chemical Company of Luton bought the mineral rights they planned to drive an underground Incline up from the No3 level to below the High Force level then drive a shaft up into the flooded workings allowing them to drain down the incline. After the working were free of water the incline could be used to improve the transport of ore from the High force level down to the valley floor and provide miners a cover method of walking to work. The incline was completed by 1952 but Laporte then pulled out of the project before mining commenced.

In 1960 McKechnie Brothers purchased the mineral rights and completed the works to link Highforce to No3 Level they worked the High Force Level for Barytes until 1967 when the mineral reserves appeared to be running out. The mine didnt stay idle long the new operation reopened the closed No1 and No Zero levels for the extraction of Zinc, mining operation on these levels continued under numerous owners until 1993 when the National Trust purchased the mineral rights on the expiration of the last mining companies lease. The National trust has preserved the Mines preperation and dressing mill and has reinstalled and restored the original mill equipment it is opened occassionally throught the year.

Visited as part of Darkplaces Big Bash 09 We explored the No3 level which is knee deep in water then proceeded up the La Porte Incline investigating the baryte levels at 280', 900' and the 1100' level at the summit of the incline. From here fozz and claire climbed up the shaft into the 80' level of the High Force Cross Cut via a ladder up through a waterfall. the rest of us hung about on the 1100' level taking photos before retracing out steps out.

Force Crag dressing mill in the distance

Force Crag dressing mill

Grizzly Ore Crusher


Convayor into the dressing mill.

No0 Adit "Unsuccessfull level"

No1 Adit "Great Level"

Collapsed protective water cover near the top of Hall's Rise

Water flooding down from No3 to No2 Level

Rail Sleepers stacked up on No3 Level

The Foot of the La porte Incline covered by a rock fall.

Pulley on the La Porte incline.

The bottom section of the Laporte Incline between the rock fall and Big rise.

The Stair way over "big rise" a shaft down to level3 water flowing down the top section of the incline drains down the shaft to the lower levels.

Slusher Engine on the "big rise" platforms.

Platform over the "Big Rise" shaft.

Rail tracks extend out into the incline from the 900' level.

Ore tipper on the 1100' level

Head of "Mawson's Rise" on the 1100' Level

Abandoned Air Drill

Haulage Engine on 1100' level

1100' level

Ore hopper on 1100' level

04-11-2008, 01:45 PM
Some great photos & reports of these mines you have visited-they look like serious exploring!:ohmy Well done! :thumb

04-11-2008, 01:47 PM
wow, that looks mammoth sized. lots of stuff left too.

04-11-2008, 10:00 PM
Another fabulous mine, I really admire you for these as they must take lots of effort.

That multi-level ladder shot is excellent :thumb

04-11-2008, 10:04 PM
What, might I ask, is a Slusher Engine?

07-11-2008, 12:49 PM
The slusher engine was basicly a haulage engine used to lower large boxes of ore from the upper levels down the incline, a flow of water was maintained down the incline to make the hauling easier and to drain the upper levels, there's still quite a flow of water on the upper part of the incline.