The tin mines of Cornwall, or more specifically the beam engine houses are a unique site around the county. The high walled engine houses and the tall chimneys were some of the first mechanised deep mines in the country and a site unique to the south west. Or so I thought…….
I was researching mining sites for a project and I stumbled across the excellent http://www.ukminingremains.co.uk website. A rummage round the sites in the north of England revealed Cononley Lead Mine, which was less than an hour from the sun drenched lowlands of Chorley where I live. In fact it was only 15 minutes over the Yorkshire border, and much nearer than I realised.
But while the geographical proximity was useful, what interested me was its position in the landscape, and the odd juxtaposition of a Cornish style mine in the North Yorkshire countryside. Further visual research on Flickr and Geograph suggested that the adjacent waste tips could make for a potentially interesting foreground. They reminded me of some of the bleak Polish industrial landscapes of Michal Cala.
A check of the weather forecast on the morning of my visit showed an overcast outlook which is ideal for the kind of skies I like in my photographs, but on arrival, the clouds were rapidly clearing and the sun was coming out. But you have to deal with the light that’s there, so I did what I could. Annoyingly, having left the mine on what was by then a sunny day, a check in the rear view mirror as I drove back across the moorland to Lancashire showed a now dark and cloudy sky again over the area I’d recently left. A revisit is definitely needed as I have a few photographs in mind, and unlike many places I photograph, it’s not going to be demolished anytime soon!