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Mosedale, Quaker Hill, Willywood Well, Dry Gill Mine, Brandy Gill, Grainsgill Beck, Cumbria.
[13.8 km]  Thu 26 Nov 2020

OS Grid ref:
Lat/Long: 54.6799230,-3.0055320
‘Essential journeys only’ is still displayed on the motorway. I returned to Mosedale and parked on the grass verge a short distance to the west. Nearer the village the grass verge has been churned to a muddy mess by workers vehicles working on the adjacent farmhouse. It was overcast as I wandered north along the road towards Quaker Hill.
There were no unfriendly locals around like last week. A woman overtook me on an electric bike and said hello, presumably a local. I made a detour across some very wet ground to inspect a couple of mine adits and spoil heaps. There was no access as the entrances were collapsed. The old map says ‘Copper Mine’. I reached the ford and crossed by the footbridge.
Copper Mine adit.

 Looking back along the road.

 Another view from the road.
Instead of following the path through the gorse that’s shown on the map I continued a short way and followed a well used path with horse tracks up to the miners track. The weather had improved and the higher part of the Carrock Beck valley was in sunshine. It was very pleasant as I walked up to Willywood Well which I visited last week. When I got there I decided to stop for a while and eat one of my two sandwiches.
Willywood Well.

 Heading up the miner's track.
There was some sunshine higher up but I sat in shade. I continued up the track to a minor branch off to the left that headed to a ford and up Red Gate track. Carrock Beck was running high but there was a narrow point where I could hop over. Red Gate track continued up the hill and I soon stopped to eat my last butty. The track continued up and was well defined due to centuries of use.
Looking back down Red Gate track.
The views opened up and I stopped to look down on the ruin of the smithy and across to the Driggith Mine spoil heaps. I reached the high point on the main Carrock path and turned right. My original plan was to head west to the Cumbria Way path but decided to follow a faint path across to Drygill Head. I was soon on pathless fell but the going was quite easy.
Driggith Mine in the distance.

I met the main path and tuned left to continue to the Ligy Hut. So far I’d only seen walkers at a distance and still had the place to myself. I peeked inside then left to descend directly down to the SE.

Lingy Hut.

Inside Lingy Hut.

Maintained by the Mountain Bothies Association.
I continued upwards to t

 View down from the Lingy Hut.
I followed the minor

I reached the Carrock Mine aea and stopped to look at the information board. A couple came up the track on electric bikes and stopped to look around. I pointed out the excellent information board then continued walking down to the road. I was surprised to see only one car parked by the road. I continued back to my car near the village.

Illustration from the information board.
Some text from the Carrock Mines information board.
Mining has taken place at Carrock for over 150 years. Deep underground, miners extracted lead, arsenic and Tungsten ores. Over ground, the ores were crushed and washed to extract the valuable minerals. This is the only example of a tungsten mine in England outside Cornwall.
There are five important mineral veins at Carrock Mine. They are called Wilson, Smith, Harding, Waterfall and Emerson. The most important ores mined here were Wolframite and Scheelite, which made tungsten. The Emerson vein was the first to be worked. It is named after miner F. W. Emerson who first mined for lead here in 1852. In the 20th century the Harding vein was the most productive.
Miners often referred to tungsten as 'wolfram'. The name is said to have come from early German miners who called it 'wolfart, wolfert or wolfrig'. They saw that tungsten ‘ate up the tin among which it was found as the wolf eats up the sheep’.
“Your wolfram is wundershön - more than wonderful - far better than all your Lakeland scenery!”
German prospector before World War I.
Carrock Mine was managed by two Germans, William Boss and Frederick Boehm, from 1906 to 1912. Germany was quick to understand the importance of tungsten and its use in making weapons and munitions. In the early days of World War I several 'sturdy Cumbrians' mistakenly captured a geologist from the Geological Survey at Carrock Mine. They believed he was a German spy. They confiscated his plans and tools, 'roughed him up a bit', reported him to the police and bundled him into the local school room for the night.
The Uproar of machinery and stir of busy endeavour
What was it like to work underground here? George D. Abraham, author of the Complete Mountaineer visited the mine in 1917 and described what he found:
'Wonderful crystals and rare minerals glistened in the low, narrow, rocky walls, and now and again, when the openings to upper galleries were passed, the songs of miners echoed in the silent gloom. Superfluous clothing was quickly discarded, for compared with the chilly outer air the warmth was remarkable' from The Autocar, 27 January 1917
Mining stopped here in 1981. Many of the surface remains were demolished or flattened. In 2007 The Cumbria Amenity Trust Mining History Society (CATMHS) began a long-term programme of surveying, recording and managing Carrock Mine - over ground and underground. Their work continues today. Find out more at:
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