Thursday, 3 May 2012

Cononish and the lead mines

Sunday's forecast was looking very promising and when Russell phoned to ask if I wanted to go walking around the hills at Cononish.. I just couldn't say no. I have been researching the mines on the Ochils lately so a change of venue and the prospect of some new mines made my mind up :-D

The forecast proved true to prediction and it was a beautiful morning as we started walking up the old mine path on Sron nan Colan

It was obvious that it had been a large mine in this area, due to the amout of spoil littering the hillside. I guess the miners in days gone past were like rabbits digging burrows, the spoil from the hole was just dumped behind them as they burrowed into the hillside ?

We quickly gained height on the steep path and great views of Ben Challum opened up above Tyndrum. A sprinkling of snow against clear blue sky highlighted the rocky ridge to the summit.

The lower tops of Meall Buidhe and Beinn Odhar, although clear of snow, looked just as inviting

But it was Ben More and Stobinian to the south east, that really sparkled on such a beautiful day.

Near the top of the hill we were walking on, was a fenced off area which indicated we had arrived at the mine adits. (An adit is an mine entrance) Although I had no intention of entering the mines, I wanted to get a photo or three so clambered over the fence and approached the first adit.

Happy with my photo, I then made my way to the second adit but this was more like a winze. (A vertical shaft between mine levels) I could not see the bottom but it was a long way down. I didnt go any closer as I didn't want to find out how deep it was by falling in. It is only one of the dangers of old mines. Winze can be in the floor shadows and down you go without seeing it..that is if gasses that have collected underground dont get you first .. or a rock fall entombs you forever.. nope..not for me ...give me an open hillside anyday :-D

These mines were lead mines and first started in 1741 and finally exhausted in 1923. A large exposed vien of lead ore was open mined down the length of the hillside. Happy with my exploration, we then headed to the summit of Sron nan Colan to see the views to the west... and look for the gold mines ..

To be continued ...

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