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REPORT: 28th May 2010.
Cumbria Bits 'n' Bobs.
John and I headed to the far north-west to clear out a few bits. I wanted another look at the 'Big Tunnel', John wanted to do the 'Little Tunnel', and we both wanted to look at a couple of quarries in Shap and Rowrah.

The itinery was:

  1. 'Shap Tunnel Bridge': Nothing remains of this possible tunnel at NY565104
  2. 'Shap Blue Quarry': This tunnel was certainly used by a 2ft gauge railway in the 1950's. The following extract is from the Durham Mining Museum website:

    "The -6 in. ± 1½ in. stone in the bunker is drawn off into Hudson trucks which run on a 2 ft. narrow gauge railway. Trains are made up of sets of 10 trucks carrying a total of 17½ tons and these are hauled by either a 20/28 h.p. Simplex Motor Rail locomotive or a Dorman diesel locomotive to the secondary treatment works. The route involves a ¼ mile length of tunnel running from the quarry floor underneath the main A6 road, and a further ¼ mile of track to the main works. Here the material is dumped into two 30 ton hoppers each feeding a separate secondary crushing and screening plant."

    I have not yet been able to find out when this operation began, nor when it ceased. The tunnel now carries a conveyor which has replaced the tramway.
  3. Keswick 'Big Tunnel': (aka Bobbin Mill, Threlkeld, Brigham Forge). This tunnel was filled in when the A66 was built. The A66 passes overhead on an award winning concrete viaduct (surely an oxymoron? Not to the ever so slightly biased Concrete Society who voted it the 'Best Civil Engineering Structure of the Century' in 1999!!)
  4. Keswick 'Littel Tunnel': (aka Wescoe). I was here last year but John needed it so we nipped in. It also gave me the opportunity to take some daylight pics.
  5. 'Kelton Head Quarry': A strange structure! The quarry is shown to be connected to the main line on a 1926 map. However, the line is not shown on an 1886 map, nor on a 1970 map, this is as much as I know! The quarry end is now filled in. The quarry itself currently plays host to a kart racing track surrounded by Network Rail style palisade fencing. The other end is open and 'plays host' to four inches of cloying gooey mud!Once past the mud you can climb the infill to see what’s what. To the right is a very steep offshoot which would have led to the surface and was presumably used for loading aggregate into wagons below. Any info gratefully received.
  6. Rowrah Hall Quarry: This was a long shot. I know there was a tunnel there but have no evidence it ever carried a railway or tramroad. My 1970's map shows the two quarries still separate, Rowrah Hall Quarry to the North and Salterhall Quarry to the south. Rowrah Hall Quarry was already substantially water filled by then but there was 100m of unquarried land separating it from the still dry Salterhall Quarry to the south. Since then, the land between the quarries has been removed and the southern quarry (Salterhall) is now also water filled. The tunnel penetrated the land between the quarries and has now disappeared... or so we thought. There is in fact a short length buried under a large mass of quarry waste. The walls of the quarry are in an extremely precarious state. We dug as far as we dared but needed more time (and more energy!)
  7. Mossdale: aka Mossdale Head. This is in a farmers field where sheep were grazing happily in the sun and I stood in their shit. The roof is badly bowed for a length of 30m or more approximately one third of the way in from the east end. There is also a substantial amount of fallen masonary in this section. The farmer still uses it to store his gear.
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