Force Crag Mine, Braithwaite,Cumbria

by Veronica

I am in Cumbria for a few days and today I walked 6 miles there and back to visit an abandoned zinc mine in beautiful landscape.

Force Crag Mine in the English Lake District,was a working mine until 1991. The site was mined for lead from 1839 until 1865, and for zinc and barytes from 1867. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and a SSSI (site of special scientific interest). The old mine is at the end of the beautiful Coledale Valley.

The mill buildings were built in 1908-9 and redesigned in 1940. It is owned by The National Trust, and the buildings are only open to visitors to visitors about 4 days a year. The mine is not open to visitors.

Force Crag Mine, Cumbria

The mine
The mine

Old English Vocabulary

In order to fully access this piece I am including here some Old English / Norse words which are still in use in the very North of England.

Fell  .....  

A fell is a high and barren mountain side and the term is used in Northern England.

Ghyll ...

 a narrow mountain stream flowing down the side of a mountain

Force ...

a waterfall

Beck ....

 a fast running stream

 Crag ....

a steep or rugged cliff or rock face.

The walk up to Force Crag Mine is fairly easy once the short walk up part of the Whinlatter Pass has been done. Here we turned left into a small car park and then we started the walk up the beautiful Coledale Valley to the abandoned mine.

Entrance to the 3 mile walk
Entrance to the 3 mile walk

The walk

In Braithwaite village the walk starts amongst a very pretty scenery but climbs to more rugged and spectacular scenes further along.

There had been some very low cloud and it was hanging on the fellside as we walked. Autumn colours were glowing everywhere.

pretty scenery
pretty scenery
More rugged
More rugged
very low  cloud hovers over the fell
very low cloud hovers over the fell

Anti pollution measures

The mine which worked for zinc and other metals has been responsible for polluting Coledale Beck and the nearby lake Bassenthwaite and so environmental measures are being undertaken to stop the pollution.

We passed by some of the anti-pollution procedures.

anti pollution measures
anti pollution measures
caution !
caution !

Force Crag, Force and Ghyll

Force crag and force
Force crag and force

Force Crag broods over the mine below and also the waterfall, The Force. Unfortunately, because of a spell of dry weather, the waterfall was very weak and it looked more like a ghyll than a waterfall.

a map of the old mine
a map of the old mine

The information board map

The map above gives  good indication of the lay out of the inside of the buildings and mine. What a good idea.

Updated: 10/26/2017, Veronica
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Veronica on 04/21/2017

I have been visiting that area for nearly 50 years and never knew about the mine until I picked up a leaflet about it in our hotel. I also missed the open days ! :)

In the UK, the schools finish for only 5 or 6 weeks in summer, those weeks being end of July and August. The schools here have a total of 11 or 12 weeks a year incl all 8 national days

DerdriuMarriner on 04/21/2017

Veronica, Thank you for the tour, particularly since I've missed this month's open day for 2017 -- ;-D -- according to the National Trust website information on Force Crag.
Is it typical that Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays for days of the week and April, May, June, July and September for months are selected?
Does August -- in the United States, it tends to be a flurry of activity for back to school and work, with all the vacation burden on June and July -- have the reputation as the main vacation month?

Veronica on 11/10/2016

MBC. TY. Yes. It is in a very quiet Lakeland vale. The walk is just over 6 miles in total but fairly flat once we rose. As I said, I would LOVE to go in.

MBC on 11/10/2016

Looks like an interesting outing.

frankbeswick on 11/08/2016

It is many moons since I walked the Whinlatter Pass.

Veronica on 11/08/2016

Ty for the input. It helps put the bigger picture together . If you get up there to Braithwaite , this is a walk off The Whinlatter and well worth it. We will certainly return.

frankbeswick on 11/08/2016

Methane is more common in sedimentary deposits, and is common in coal strata, but in the area about which we are talking the rock is metamorphic, slate which has been created by high pressure on shale, which squeezed out any methane millions of years ago. But radon is found in igneous deposits, which are also present in the area, especially in the central Lakes, so I think that radon is the more likely gas.

Veronica on 11/07/2016

I don't know what kind of gas but as it is a mine many gases are possible.

frankbeswick on 11/06/2016

What kind of gas? I suspect that it is radon, a heavy gas that is found in areas where there are volcanic rocks. We do have it in parts of Britain, and it can accumulate in cellars or other underground places. It is radioactive,but it can be pumped out.

Veronica on 11/06/2016

BSG. Spot on !

I was ITCHING to get inside but there is gas deep down and it is unsafe. It reminded me of those cowboy westerns with mines. I have been visiting the English Lakes for 46 years and never knew it was there. Suffice to say, I had to be content with viewing the outside and a map of the inside. It is only open 4 days a year and of course .... they didn't coincide with my visit. Next time maybe . I will return and the location is spectacular.

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