Mud & Water

Much of Derbyshire is still riddled with shafts, passages and voids from the days when the rich mineral veins of the Peak supported a once thriving and important lead industry. Mud and Water, the video’s title, gives a flavour of some of the hardships faced on a daily basis by th’ow’d man, an affectionate term for the old lead miners, as he blasted and picked his way though the hard limestone in search what was more often than not a very meagre living.  Life was a constant battle against the awful wet and muddy conditions, these same conditions that we modern “miners” now seek out for study and recreation! 

This video is a compilation from three separate mine sites, each an example of Derbyshires “finest” – tight and wet with a bit of mud for good measure!  

YATESTOOP SOUGH: One of many soughs or mined drainage passages in the County. Yatestoop is part of the vast Millclose Mine

CARLESWARK CAVERN: Carleswark is a typical Derbyshire underground site in that it is part mine– part natural cavern. The Lower Sump is a seldom seen “collectors piece” and only accessible in times of drought.  To my knowledge It has never been filmed before or since!

MECCANO PASSAGE: A tight awkward connection between the Knotlow and Hillocks systems, originally mined in the early 19th century and re-opened by cavers in 1969 to provide a memorable through trip.

The video was originally shown to an audience at the National Association of Mining History conference titled appropriately “Mud and Water”. 

“As we journey for pleasure– spare a thought for those who have gone before…”

Filmed under conditions quite hostile to both humans and video equipment, grateful thanks are due to the dedicated team of club cavers without whose help this video could not have been made.