Down a mine is he ?? Ho Ho Ho

So there I was, lying in a pool of muddy water staring up at a two foot square patch of sky.

The bleep on my watch told me it was 7am, two hours into a four hour run across the Kinder Plateau. I was at least 5 miles from the nearest house, two and a half from the nearest road, and probably a good three quarters of a mile from the nearest path.

I was also lying at the botton of a bell pit (so called because thats the shape they are) wondering vaguely what I'd managed to break.

I say vaguely as I'd managed to clout my head on the way down, and the world hadn't quite stopped spinning.

Anyway I get to my feet and everything seems to be in working order.

Except I can't get out. I'm effectively trapped 20 feet underground on a featureless landscape. The shape of the pit means I can't scramble up the sides, and even if I try I'm likely to bring the whole lot down.

So what to do.

Saving grace number one : The note on the kitchen table saying where I was going and when I'd be back. By 9.30 Mrs would have raised the alarm, and the MRT would faithfully follow the directions and find a very small hole on a very big hill.

Perhaps not

Saving grace number two : At the bottom of my bumbag, a piece of metal, fashioned by Acme of Wolverhampton into the "Thunderer". The whistle that my Policeman Grandfather took with him to call for help.

Well Grandad here's hoping...

Six short blasts wait for sixty seconds. Six more, wait for sixty seconds.

And so on.

Finally after my watch bleeps for 8am I stop blowing after one batch of six and here a voice.

"Over here"

bugger the sixty seconds I blow for all I'm worth.

Five minutes and an improvised rope later and I'm sitting in the sunshine. Muddy and wet, with a sore head, but otherwise none the worse.

I'm enormously grateful to the two walkers who fashioned a rope from dog leads and rucksack straps to haul me out. I'm also grateful to the now defunct Acme works for one hell of a whistle, which brought them to me.

Its probably the only time its been used in anger - and its probably the only time it will be - but its back in the bumbag now - just in case.

Make sure that you have yours....


  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    Scary scary tale FR.

    Glad you are ok.

    Spookily, I got a whiffle as a spot prize at the Corrie 2 weeks ago. Must string it up for my next off-roader.

  • ho ho ho

    shouldnt that be hi ho hi ho ?
  • Ed

    You've obviously never read your Thomas the Tank Engine books:

    "Down a mine is he?? Ho Ho Ho" said Gordon

    "Poop Poop little Thomas - we'll have you out in a couple of puffs"

    ..... Must be the bang on the head

    Need to lie down
  • Hasn't quite got the same cachet Haille. Simpson wasn't rescued by a couple of middle aged ramblers and a Jack Russell terrier

    He also didn't look up from his crevasse to see a bemused Jacob Sheep staring down at him.
  • Cheers

    Got some stick from Mrs for being such a silly old sod and going off piste where I wasn't 100% sure.

    Its between Within Clough and Red Clough halfway between the Snake Path and Featherbed Top.

    I'll be avoiding the area in the future - these things hunt in packs
  • Bloody good luck FR -

    I have been a victim of said bogs on Kinder but never a bell pit thats a new one to me. Just thank yourself there wasn't a dead sheep in there like there was in the peat bog that i went upto my waist in last week, quite pongy!



  • It was smelly enough - trust me. Mrs made me take all my gear off outside when I got home. Good job we don't have any neighbours !!
  • thats a rather ominous story.

    specially as I do a lot of running on dartmoor in the middle of nowhere with nothing other than a mobile phone thats usually out of signal.
  • glad to hear you are okay fell running.
  • LizzyBLizzyB ✭✭✭
    Glad you're OK, but it is the sort of story that makes me shiver! I take a whistle when I'm walking in the hills, never when I'm running ... I may rethink this now.

    I'd never heard of a bell pit either!
  • dan dandan dan ✭✭✭
    Just a thought: have you reported this hole to anyone in authority? You were bliddy lucky to get out, maybe someone else might wander over there by mistake and not be so lucky.

    Glad you're ok.
  • mmmm getting stuck down a hole, have any of you guys heard of a man called les hewitt. He's a good friend of mine and in 1992 he got stuck down Sleets Gill Cave in the North of England, one of the first times he went caving!

    I think he and his mate were stuck for about 36 hours and had to be resuced by diving out (it was the first time it had been used to resuce someone)! He was saying that at times he'd look at his watch and it would say something like 12.10am then he'd turn the lamp off and wait for a bit thinking ah it must have been an hour by now and only 15 minutes had gone by!

    What a nightmare being stuck in the compete darkness with water fast appraoching and cutting off your air supply! horrible!

    He also said that during his time in the cave he didn't speak much as he was so scared - but the thing is, is that, because he survived thats all he bloody does now is talk, he won't shut up!

    LOL He's a top bloke, a real character, a good friend and one of the most knowledgable cavers in Britain now, he must be, well he is mad! Cheers Les have a good holiday in France and take care please, come back safely you old tart!
  • Edward

    Yes I've heard of Les - Like you say - mad as a bicycle - but very knowledgable.

    Dan Dan

    Yes I've informed the Peak Park Warden service - I'll be taking them out there later this week to locate the spot, and it'll probably be fenced off.

    The problem is that there are probably others in that area. Bell pits were dug to get at minerals just below the surface. In this case probably iron ore. They can be very old. They're very common in the Yorkshire Dales and on the North Yorks Moors. Not so common here in the Peaks.

    Usually they cave in over time to just leave a big hole. But this one still had its tiny entrance hole which had grown over and looked just like solid ground. I was very worried that the roof might come down with me still inside, so I didn't try too hard to climb the walls !!
  • Glad you're safe, FR :o) That must have been so scary, though!
  • Phew, you were lucky that the dog walkers didn't come across the hole in the same way you did, else they'd have landed on your head. And then you'd have been in trouble!

    Seriously though, it just goes to show a whistle and a note saying where you're going are vital when you really need them. I'll be a bit more careful in future, as a twisted ankle can be as restrictive as a deep hole if there's no-one around.

    Top tale FR.
  • Wow FR, thats an amazing story! And you were so lucky you got out unscathed, apart from the pong!

    It goes to show... when I go out for a hike or run in the hills I always leave a note of where I plan to go and an approximate return time and I always take my little rucksack with first aid kit, wistle, water, some food, emergency aluminium blanket thing etc etc. My partner always accuses me of being a nutter and calls it overkill... however, last year we were out for a short walk on the hill opposite our house and he twisted his ankle badly! I was able to bandage him up and get him halfway down the hill until we met a 4x4 viable track. Left him there with the water, the warm top I always take, the aluminium blanket around him and the energy bar, ran down the rest of the way, got the car and picked him up.

    Guess who is never making fun of my careful nature again????

    I am now seriously contemplating taking a rope as well... just in case. BTW so far I have only had to use the kit I carry on other, grateful, people... fingers crossed it stays that way!
  • FR - glad your OK .. must start carying a whistle when i go off road on my own

    Last nite myself and the GF were getting redy for a hiking weekend we are going on and i said i needed to get my ermegancy blanket etc out my big ruck sack .... to which she replied "why do we neeed that?" ....

    "I informed her that she was havng a blond momentcos the answer was in its name"
  • You should definitely take it Will! I never travel without it. It can even come out handy at the airport. Once had to wait at Jo'burg airport for my connection to Maputo and it was -12 centigrade there, while it was summer in the UK. My thick fleece was in my luggage, but the blanketty thing in my handluggage and it kept me from getting hypothermia. Heating at the airport was either non-existent or not working!
  • alwys take an emargancy pack when hiking ... touh wood - not needed to use it yet
  • Fell Running - Lucky you and glad you're ok!

    Bell pits are also all over the north east in weardale and in north northumberland used as a simple method of mining. Les Hewitt and i were out the other day near kielder water doing a reky on a crag when we found an open one. Told the farmer and his going to fence it off. But there is message there that you should always leave details of where you're heading, estimated time of arrival etc and basic safety gear as you just never know - do you!

    glad you're ok mate and take care!
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