I woke up wondering what the day would bring, I had been itching to explore between Crinnis and Charlestown again for some time since the tidal surges. Previously planned trips had been scuppered due to either the weather or tides being wrong.
Pulling back the curtains revealed a reasonable day, checking the tide tables confirmed we were good to go. The only problem was I had not mentioned anything to anyone and it was an hour off the ideal ‘descent time’. A quick text to Cllr Pears and we were on.
I threw all my kit in the van and headed over to Pears Hq where Earl Grey tea, tiffin and other pleasantries were promised but only a mug of builders tea was provided.
In the usual fashion Cllr dug out his un washed kit, grabbed what he thought he may need and we headed off to the rigging point.
At this point most people chicken out as you have to fight through gorse and brambles, not us St Austell lads. After a pleasant battle with undergrowth we were lacerated, pricked and battered but had made it, or so we thought. Since the trip 2 years ago the gorse and brambles have set in around the rigging points on the shaft. Cllr realised he had forgotten some kit so battled his way out and back again – unlucky. This left myself and his brother to set the rigging, we used our combination of alpine butterflies, slings, carabiners and car mats to make the rigging as safe possible.
As Laurence (Cllr Pears eccentric brother) has limited experience it was agreed we would set up two ropes to ensure he was supervised on the descent and ascent.
Once all the kit had been checked using the buddy system we followed the goat track over the edge of the cliff and descended through what turned out to be blackthorn below. We were already battered from the earlier undergrowth so just took this on the chin. Eventually we were all safely at the bottom and ready to explore.
I am not sure what the best way in to this area is, the cliff is not much fun and coasteering from Carlyon bay beach can be tricky also. I think we will use kayaks in future as it opens up the exploring potential of the whole area.
The main purpose of the trip was to see if anything new had been revealed during the storms, we are familiar with the area so knew what to look for. Initially we were disappointed as it appeared we had only lost a known adit, admittedly it was in a terrible state and Stuey had referred to it as suicide adit so we moved on.
We came across a known adit but one we had not really given much attention to on previous trips, after investigation it looks like it may go. We are concerned at the internal condition as much of the roof is on the floor and the timbering looks suspect, we will save this for when we have the assistance and expertise of the CBC to see if it is worth pushing or not.
Further towards Charlestown we found a lovely adit in the cliffs, it seems stable inside but is choked, some water is trickling out. Again we will return with the CBC and shovels.
At this point we were becoming aware of the tide turning so knew we had limited time, we had a quick dash as far towards Charlestown as we could and found more workings higher up the cliff. Laurence was given a leg up and confirmed it was a dead end.
We returned to the base of the abseil point and got on the ropes ready to ascend, Laurence went up first and was literally like a rat up a drain pipe. I was meant to ascend with him but due to the amount of kit I had in my backpack I was skating around on the slatey cliff face and could not get going. Eventually Richard roped up on the spare line, got going and gave me a hand up.
We then commenced a slow ascent which gave us the opportunity to take some great photos. Half way up two boats that had been in the distance came in to watch us climb back up the cliff, it was tempting to head down and ask for a lift out of the cove as I really was not looking forward to the blackthorn and bramble alley. Eventually Cllr Pears talked me in to continuing and we were up at the top in no time.
I had promised my wife a phone call or text at 16.00 hours to say we were out safe, the ascent had taken far longer than anticipated and I could not reach my phone which was in the bottom of my kit bag. We crested the exit at 16.20 hours and were greeted by my irate wife – oops.
The trip had taken four hours and we were now starving so headed to Par market where the burger wagon is currently selling local burgers and we all tucked in.
We really enjoyed the trip and will be inviting the CBC to return with us in the summer as there is plenty to be seen in this area including the worthwhile Crinnis Wheal Regent adit trip.
Article and Pic’s by Tom H
Shortly before departing on work assignment to Kurdistan ,northern Iraq , I realised I had a packing dilemma . The temperature in the region I was heading for drops below -5 at night and would be doing night shifts out doors on a oil rig. Somehow I had to pack rope rescue training equipment and enough clothing to keep me warm for 10 days .
The oil rigs do have laundrettes but as with all my excursions abroad I never expect anything to be in place .
Hearing Cornwall search and rescue team had a discount with Finesterre I thought I would pop up to the St Agnes show room and see if I could get anything to suit my needs . Shortly after a discussion with the young lady in there I had bought a Merrino wool ,long sleeved ,base layer.
As promised the garment kept me warm and,drum role, after wearing it for 8 nights work , didn’t whiff . The lady in my life will agree that my arm pits are the ultimate challenge for any bay layer making this claim.
Now the assignment is done I will continue to use the top for any other “extreme”situation I might find my self in. I am planning to use it under a dry suit as an additional layer of warm and going by how it has performed so far I think it won’t let me down….
What next ? well will probably buy another one and in doing so would easily cover any prolonged trips .
Saturday came and the call went out for anyone else who would like to join myself (Claire, Hugo, Rach and Tom) and 3 good friends’ who are underground explorers and Poppy the dog for a photographic trip planned for the next day. Sunday arrived, and our plan was to drop a 40 metre pitch which, although straight forward, can be different when a dog is also involved who would be dropping it as well, so we packed enough rope and hard-wear. Arriving at our destination, we were happily joined by 3 other explorers – Jim, Jzuns and Mark – a nice mixed group of friends and colleagues coming from 3 different Cornish clubs – Carbis Bay Crew, Cornwall Mine Explorers Club and the St Austell Group.
Having attained prior knowledge that the mine and surrounding cliffs were all intact and aokay, we duly made our way with full abseil kit, to the top adit only to find it full of water, way over wellie depth and heading further upwards! Not pleasant. Poppy would have been swimming and freezing cold at the start of the trip – something not ideal when you have a dog to consider.
So, we headed back to the top where Jim and Tom took the redundant abseil kit back to the cars and then headed down the cliffs, through the portal and eventually onto the beach below where they caught up with Jzuns and Mark.
Meanwhile, Hugo, being our chief cameraman, made his way across the scree whilst Rach, myself and Poppy followed and into middle adit.
Once underground, Poppy, Rach and myself explored; although having been in there many, many times, each time the mine is different and something new is often found.
It was important that we gained photographs of Poppy in her new all singing and dancing Double-back harness, so we headed over to the ladder that friends had put up late last year. Here, we rigged up a rope system that allowed us to lower Poppy over the edge and down, whilst all the time, Hugo frantically took photographs. This was Poppy’s second time over the drop, and although not that high (12-15ft +/-), she knew what to expect and therefore hardly struggled as we swung her out and lowered her gently down to ground.
Once down and with all four paws grounded, Poppy loves up on us all – smothering us in her licks all over our faces and hands, even Hugo was not missed out on!
Poppy is an amazing dog – a Hungarian Vizsla that dances on grass outside a mine entrance, that runs off in the woods and comes back to tell you she has found something, then heads back to it and waits for you. What is it? Well… It is a hole in the ground, a collapsed mine that she then tries to dig into for us to get in! She runs around underground with her tailing wagging, never straying too far from you and she returns as soon as you whistle; she heads into rivers and up rock faces, crags and cliffs, always waiting for you and wagging her tail as she goes. Poppy is an amazing dog.
Poppy’s owner – Rachel.
By Squeezy Ninja
Following a Facebook message from an old friend wanting to get out and about more but needing a refresher on SRT (Single Rope Technique), the booked date arrived for speedy shafting followed by either frolicking or exhaustion. Arriving at the car park, we met up, kitted up and headed out for the airy top drop down, and airy it was with foam being hurled up from the sea below onto the cliffs where we were walking, walking? Nah, More like desperately trying to stay upright before throwing ourselves on ropes, off into the depths below. Overcoming the first obstacle of being picked up by the wind, the second was over wellie depth, Water – I guess the only solution is to empty them down the shaft you are doing, after all, makes for a speedy trip down J Rigging the top drop, we heard voices below, so shouted down – no reply, was it the weather mucking with our heads? Going over rigging, rope work, descending and ascending, followed by checking all rope work and each other’s kit, we down shafted the now rather slippery drop into darkness together, following the request to check that safety and technique was okay.
Once at the bottom, a quick recce of the new ladder friends had installed and off we mooch with the distant rumble of high seas and crashing waves. Checking out the passages, we come across a couple of recent collapses, though small, the potential is always there for further and bigger collapse. Then, rounding the corner we find a rather good looking Ore Shute with a potential way up next to it; however, whilst thinking about checking it all out, voices are heard and lights appear. Bother – why do lights have to appear just when you are being rather inquisitive over something? Feet dropping down, we are greeted by fellow explorers from Cornwall Mine Explorers Club (CMEC)who are underground with two potential new members and a guy wearing a rather fetching old tin miners helmet with a light strapped to it. Following chit chat, a catch-up, musings and laughter, we split and head back to the ropes for ascent whilst CMEC slowly head back out and up the old Miner’s path.
Hoping that my fellow partner in crime, has enough energy to haul himself up the 40m+ shaft, Knocker ropes up and starts the short ascent whilst, being a ‘gentleman’, I hold the rope to make it easier for the rope to run through the Croll, hence an easier ascent. Five meters up and I jump on and run up the rope and crash head-first straight into and up Knocker’s backside and stop, thankfully a rather soft head-on collision – he is trying to adjust his foot loop length as it is too long. The next 30 meters of ascending consisted ‘X’ rated conversations on the best way to rope jam or jummar, including the odd demonstration, which became rather amusing at times. Then, with only ten meters from the top and a rather tired Knocker, I rope run past him and ask if he wants me to rig up and pull him out but the look on his face says it all. With sweat dripping from him, red in the face and puffing, he slowly but steadily makes his way up the last ten meters of rope and rock. I derig and we make our way back out and up the cliff, whilst being blown and battered by force 9 gusts of wind. On the cliff top, foam is still being blown up, high above the waves below and we shout to be heard above the wind and the crashing waves below us. Stopping, for a moment, I take in my surroundings and a sudden rush of excitement goes through me – the saltiness of the sea spray, the wind with its awesome power and the crashing waves below. Friends, the sea, underground exploits, and fun … such happy crazy times. Love it.
Text and photos: Squeezy Ninja
Over Christmas we were all invited to Moret Towers for the CBC Xmas Dinner, splendid occasion it was too!
Many thanks to the Moret householdfor being such splendid hosts, especially to Jane.
If you missed it you have only yourself to blame.
The highlight of the festivities was the presentation of the much sought after Lewis Collins Trophy. The award is for the person who has made outstanding efforts for the CBC in attending events, enthusiasm, having excellent skill sets and being an all-round good chap. Much like Lewis Collins (Bodie) in the Professionals…
A number of people had been previously put forward for consideration and the winner was selected by a nearly secret ballot, haggling, bribery and fist fight by an elite panel of people who should know better.
There were close runners up but as they were both girls they unfortunately had to be overlooked.
I am proud to proclaim that Mr A Sunshine is the well deserved winner of the coveted Lewis Collins Trophy, I expect it is now in pride of place in his living room polished daily.
Three cheers for Alan, Hip Hip etc.