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Trip to Parc Mine level 3 -- 8th Nov 2004

Group: Dennis, Roger, Dave, Paul

We hadn't been to Parc Mine level 3 for a couple of years and it seemed a good trip to take Paul on and Dave wanted to look at the problems of doing a full survey and also take some photos.

The trip took place on the Sunday after a bonfire party at Paul's, amazingly everyone managed to keep fairly sober and we all had clear heads for the trip. The weather was rather overcast as we parked up at the pull-in at the side of the forestry road and changed into caving gear. Dennis went ahead, the rest of the gang following with Roger at the back weighed down by a massive amount of camera gear.

Once inside it was noticed that there seemed to be rather more debris on the floor since our last trip, this was probably due to progressive dilapidation.
We headed onward intending to follow the main line to the collapse and then coming back to look down the branch leading toward Hafna. In the event we explored a side passage just past the hafna junction and this led into the hafna mainline and so we decided to continue to the ore chutes and flooded section.

Some of the stemples holding up beams to prevent rock falls blocking the railway lines seem to have seen better days. There is a fair amount of debris underfoot as can be seen in the photos below. You probably shouldn't stay under this stucture for very long!

The side passage we explored split into several other passages, one was a dead end unless you had diving gear. The railway lines can be seen plunging down an inclide towards level 4. There is a solitary roller in the middle of the tracks showing where the hauling line would run.

Carrying on along the hafna passage you eventually reach a set of ore chutes and a ladder up to a sub level. A fair amount of water enters here from the stope above. The ladders are in good condition and we have been up before and looked around.

Just past the ore chutes there are some large slabs on the floor which dammed the passage and made the water on the other side about 15" deep (i.e over welly depth). because of this no-one seemed to want to explore further and so we made our way back to the main line and headed towards the parc shaft area. There was a junction with the remains of an ore wagon body and an extensive network of compressed air pipes.

Following the RHS passage led to a junction and with a crosscut and another incline down to level 4. The stope containing the incline had seen better days and there was an extensive collection of stemples littering the floor. None of the ones still in place looked particularly stable and so we did not go any further. There was some interesting ironwork holding up the overhanging rock.

Back at the junction there was a passage containing a compressed air tank and a ore chute with a short ladder propped up against it. There is a bit of rope dangling down and this was probably the bottom of the route down from parc level 2.
A little further on was a bay containing parc shaft. This connected levels 3, 4 and 5 and extended up to a sub-level between parc 2 and parc 3. There was a ladder (good contition) on the RHS and this gave access to a platform. From here it was possible to see a steel A-frame where a hoist would have attached. There were some pieces of timber over the flooded shaft, but it's wise to avoid testing if they will take your weight!

Further on the passage rejoined the main line and this was followed to the collapse where the water is dammed. We had previously stopped at this point as the water was over welly depth. Dave decided to have a look further on and carefully waded along the RHS side, the floor was soft sediment and the water depth about 24". After about 50 yards the passage was blocked by a pile of rocks which competely filled it, water issuing from gaps in the rocks. There was another flooded passage on the LHS which seemed to go on for a while, however poking about with an old drill bit showed the water depth to be over 36" and so it was decided that exploration of this would have to wait for the acquisition of a kiddies beach boat (traditional equipment for exploring flooded mines!)

At this point we decided to head back, pausing to look in the massive stopes which connected level 2 and Level 3. There were also some interesting carefully crafted piles of stone holding up the walls supporting the roof.

After this we headed back out into the somewhat sunnier fresh air.

Trip time about 2 hours