Throwing caution to the not inconsiderable wind, I decided to continue wandering along the Australia level, if nothing else to see if there was a less difficult way down. Seeing some buidlings ahead, I wandered over to see what they were. Various bits of scrap littered the grass outside which piqued my curiousity, and inside I found some quite substantial machinery. This was a large industrial compressor that was used to generate compressed air for the upper levels of the quarry, to power penumatic drills for drilling the rock. All round the quarry was evidence of the steel pipes that took this air to where it was needed, and I hadn’t realised just what they were.
The machinery was quite substantial, and I did wonder why it hadn’t been broken up for scrap and shipped back down the incline when the quarry closed. Maybe the cost of doing that was more than the scrap value back in 1969, but the opportunity was missed and now it will likely be there forever.
Big compressor. I remember making a miniature version of this in the machine shop at college. It was only 6 inches high, whereas this thing was about 12 feet high.
Not a steam engine, but a compressor.
As I wandered, I noticed the shattered remains of some steps down to the gallery below. Carefully picking my way down what was now just a slope covered in slate rubble, I quickly realised that although there was another winding house and incline on this slope, I’d no idea where it went to, or if it would take me back to where I wanted to be. Erring on the side of caution, I decided to return the way I came.
Making my way back to the incline, I braved the slippery, near 45 degree incline, with it’s wet slate and grass. Using my two walking poles to reach ahead of me, I scrambled down with only one slip. Not sure if it was any slower coming down, but it was certainly less physically demanding.
A smaller inclined plane used to connect to an intermediate level.
Could I get back down in this direction? I found out later that yes I could, but the route down looked only marginally less precarious than the C3 incline.