Sunday 13 August 2017

Slitt Mine, Westgate in Weardale

I've had this walk on my radar for many years, although short it's packed with interest for anyone interested in mines/industrial archaeology. We were blessed with the weather,  I should make a note that we risked life and limb by defying the warning that the path wasn't passable at the moment!
Here's a few photos of our walk...

Having parked in Westgate the path enters Slitt Wood near High Mill.
There are several small falls in the beck, nicely lit today with the sunlight through the canopy.

As you leave the wood behind (and the perils of the collapsed path) the first indication that the mine is just round the corner is this row of Bouseteams

This is the main site of Slitt mine and the next image gives an impression of how things would have looked over 130 years ago.
We had lunch here, whilst reading the information boards. It gave us time to contemplate how the tranquil air was so different to the times when the mine was in operation. 

One of the excellent information boards above the Main Shaft 177m deep (thankfully capped by a concrete slab) Imagine descending that on rudimentary wooden ladders by candlelight before you actually start work! Health and Safety....Pahh!

Continuing up the valley on what appears to be the trackbed of an old tramway we arrived at the remains of the washing floors at Middlehope Sheild.

Leaving the valley behind we made the short climb to the West to visit the West Slitt Reservoir.
 The mines would require lots of water, so many reservoirs were built throughout the North Pennines. This one is very impressive and must have required a huge amount of labour.
We walked back to Westgate and the car via field paths enjoying the views across Weardale.
Excellent, and well worth the wait.

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