Remains of mine works hidden in the hills
Published at 21:35, Wednesday, 11 April 2012
SINCE my car has disposed of my services, I have found other means of arriving at the Wanderer’s wandering areas.
I am fortunate that I have some very good friends who not only have an interest in walking but also have a means of getting there at an appropriate time in the day.
As a result, Bill and I arranged to visit a place not very far away but hard to get to without transport, a place we both had visited frequently.
We crossed the Bentpath bridge and at Georgefield turned into Megdale. Like others parts of Eskdale, the Meggat had been a thriving community of shepherds’ cottages with the addition of a miners’ row at Jamestown and a nearby library.
Such names as Crooks, Stennies, Effgill, Glensaxon, Glendinning, Megdale School, Jamestown, Glenshanna and Corlaw with Greensykes at the top of the glen.
I am concerned only with Glenshanna. Glenshanna, like many of the others, is of Gaelic origin.
It means Glen of the Old Ford. We arrived at Glendinning and parked at Jamestown near the Thomas Telford cairn built by Eric Boyes.
When we arrived, we were greeted by my old friend Willie Tod who had festooned around his neck injection needles and bottles of injection chemicals.
The farm was surrounded by hundreds of Cheviots waiting, I imagine, for thousands of lambs to appear out of hiding.
We crossed the Glenshanna burn and headed up the gently-sloping track out of the farm and onto the hillside.
A nameless side burn crossed the small path and tumbled on downhill and sported three clumps of yellow primroses, my first sighting of spring.
In the distance we could see the mine spoil at the top of the bealach with a small stone works building near the burn.
On my previous visit this wee house had a slated roof but now it is bereft of that.
The first evidence of long-gone mines was the remains of a winding frame above the pit entrance almost filled with spoil. About 100 yards uphill we came upon other evidence in an entrance to a mine drift.
This had been relatively extensive with addits at many levels and in different directions.
This entrance used to be about six feet high some years ago when I crept along until I was stopped after about 30 yards by flooding. Now, for health and safety reasons, an iron barred gate has been fixed to seal the entrance. Imagine being amid such lovely country and spending life in a hole like this.
On my previous visit the dog and I went back down to Jamestown by climbing across the Munshield Hill (1,350ft) which is only about 700 feet higher than the burn at its base.
From the hill top I heard the roar of a piston engine, like the Lancasters I worked on nearly 60 years ago. The aircraft came into sight. It was a Hercules transporter and was flying below my level so there was not any air space to spare. I could see right into the cabin.
Another one came along the same route. There were four of these short take-off and landing aircraft. I watched for a few minutes until they seemed to float down Glenshanna round Glendinning and off down Megdale.
There appear to be a lot of Hercules training flights in this area where the terrain is suitable and quiet.
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