Friday, July 19, 2013
Abandoned 19th century copper mine in Avondale
Yesterday, part of the ICH team was in the Salmonier Line/Colliers/Holyrood area conducting fieldwork research for our traditional wells and springs project. We had a little bit of time between interviews, so we went exploring an abandoned copper mine in Avondale. Above, Joelle Carey (left) and Claire McDougall (right) are shown reaching the end of the shaft, about 100m in.
I first learned about the mine through local kayaking websites (read here and here) and had only ever been to the site by kayak. We luckily arrived as low tide was starting to turn, so were able to walk to the site of the old mine shaft by parking at the Avondale wharf, and following the shoreline to the south side. It isn't a long walk to the site, but you'll need to time it correctly to be able to walk there, and wear rubber boots.
The mine shaft is dug directly into the rock face, just above the high water mark. It is fairly clear of debris, but a bit wet with pooled water for the first section of the shaft. The shaft runs more or less straight into the rock, with a few very short side passages, which looks like the miners were attempting to follow a vein of ore which petered out before they got too far in.
I'm 5'10", and except for a section at the entrance, the shaft is high enough so that I can walk most of the way in without bending over.
Kayaking folklore maintains that the sandbar in the bay is the spoil removed from the mine. I don't know much about the history of the mine, but would be very curious to know more. If you know anything about it, or about other abandoned mines in the area, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.