Monday, December 22, 2008
To Hayle and Back
Hello all. I've just got back from a (modest) epic 800 mile round journey that took me from Buckinghamshire to Plymouth, Devon, to Hayle and Camborne in Cornwall, back to Plymouth and then home to High Wycombe again. And all within 30 hours. I did the same thing last year within 24. I must be mad. But it is an opportunity to visit all of my family in one fell swoop and do the Christmas presents and cards swap.
With it being dark so early in the afternoon, I don't have many photos to share except these shots of the magnificent Great Flat Lode near Camborne. There is a trail that takes you through the entire site.
The Great Flat Lode was a very large and very rich area for tin mining at the height of the Cornish mining industry - the late 1800s. Here's a description taken from the Cornwall Today website:
'The Great Flat Lode was an enormous ore-bearing body tilted at an angle of about 10 degrees to the horizontal situated to the south of Carn Brea. Normally lodes are found perpendicular to the ground surface or at best at angles of about 60 degrees. The Great Flat Lode got its name as, in relative terms, it lay a lot flatter in the ground. This meant that mines could be placed at the optimum locations to extract the tin or copper ore from the ground without digging to excessive depths. The Great Flat Lode Trail encompasses all the major mines of the Camborne-Redruth area running in a 7.5 mile multi-use circular trail around the granite hill of Carn Brea.
The mines of the Great Flat Lode helped to provide employment to men (miners), women and children (ore dressers) at a time when the rest of the Cornish Mining industry was in decline. As the copper ores became exhausted in about 1870, the mine owners explored deeper finding fine high-quality tin concentrations underlying the copper. This gave the mines of the Great Flat Lode a new lease of life. After some of the companies amalgamated in the late 1890's the mines continued producing until about 1918.
The area has now achieved 'World Heritage' status, and has been made safe for walkers, horse riders and cyclists. There are even some parts accessible to wheelchair users.'
For me, it's just fascinating to walk around these huge, peaceful, monolithic buildings and enjoy the silence. It's hard to imagine what it must have been like when it was one of the busiest and most productive mining areas in the South West of England.
Oh, and that's photographer brother Simon and his dog Mya in the first shot.