Larry and Marie met at mine and James’s house to begin the not inconsiderable drive to Alderley Edge for some SRT training where we met Dave, one of the key holders there, who led us to West Mine.
We made our way down two smallish ladders before making a detour to look at some beautiful copper mineralisation. Then it was onto the first 20 metre pitch into a huge chamber.
This was my fourth training trip and my second abseil, it would not be an understatement to say I was a bit daunted; heights have never been my forte . After Larry rigged the pitch, however, everyone made it down without incident.
While in this massive chamber we all practised the up down manoeuvre. I was quite pleased that, at last, I managed to find a way to disengage my chest ascender. Small victories and gradual progress, but I’ll get there.
A 30-meter pitch was then abseiled, and Larry rigged a rebelay so that the more proficient members could practise passing this on the ascent. James caught on quickly, this being the second time he had tackled this procedure.
Time caught up with us however and when one of the party noticed that it was 10:45pm it was decided to derig and make our way up to the surface. It was agreed that as a venue this place is amazing. The workings are huge and extensive and even more impressive considering the party saw less than one percent pf the mine. A return trip is definitely desirable and the ‘Boat Trip’ is a very intriguing prospect.
Our disappointment at the pubs being closed was slightly tempered by the two bottles of beer which we found in the back of the car!
We arrived back in Nottingham at 2:15 am, very tired but glad we had made the effort.