Thursday 10 September 2015

Do'nt go down the mine, Dad

Alighting from the bus, I looked around for someone from whom to ask directions. The only person in sight was a little old lady carrying two shopping baskets apparently containing only Pringles, Rizlas, and chocolate bars. I asked her how to get to the museum, and her response was “ Wow. Yeah, the museum. Cool. Might be over that way. Hey. Cool,”
Yes, I was in Wanlockhead, the highest village in Scotland.

I soon located said  “Museum of Lead Mining”, and registered for the mine tour. At its peak, there were 47 lead mines and several copper, gold and silver mines in a two mile stretch between here and the neighbouring village of Leadhills.The lead mainly went to the Low Countries by way of Leith.

A lot of work has gone into re-opening this mine and making it suitable for visitors.


The galena ore was dragged out on these sledges by wee boys, You had to earn your X-box in those days.

  The remains of the smelter

One of the deep mines. Some went down to 600 ft below sea level. Big deal ? Well yes, if you remember that the surface here is 1500 ft above sea level.
The spoil heaps are a mecca for mineral collectors


The beam engine - unusually operated by a water-filled, self-tipping bucket at the opposite end from the pump.


 A lump of Wanlockhead galena.


A good day out, including a wee rail trip from Glasgow to Sanquhar  I realised that I hadn’t been in Ayrshire for a ridiculously long time and resolved to remedy this at the earliest opportunity .

I think Liege and  Lief is in my Top 5 albums



  1. I love industrial archeology, no matter the age - it's fascinating. I love Liege & Lief too, a brilliant album wot I have got :-)

    1. It's only 15 minutes or so off the M74 between Carlisle and Glasgow.
      That was the classic lineup with Sandy Denny and Swarb, the unlikeliest rock star ever ! Great songs and arrangements.

  2. Enjoyed that, OM. Took me back to holidays in the 60s. My dad was from Sanquhar and we used to go up there a lot. It's a great area, but it must of been a hard life in the old days. Probably is now.
    All the best, Alen McF

    1. A hard life indeed, Alen - both above and below ground !
      Interesting museum in Sanquhar too. Helps to put the current craziness in perspective.