Wanlockhead Travel Guide

  • Carpark visitor
    Carpark visitor
    by nickandchris
  • Part of the museum
    Part of the museum
    by nickandchris
  • General view
    General view
    by nickandchris

Wanlockhead Things to Do

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    by nickandchris Updated Apr 22, 2010

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    This is just outside Stairsteps cottages and was used to pump water out of Stairsteps mine.It is the only remaining water bucket engine to be seen on a mine in Britain.

    I have to say Nick, who is an engineer, wasn't particularly impressed with what was left of this, there was no evidence of it's workings, only an information board.

    There is more information about the beam engine on the website.

    Beam engine, Wanlockhead. Beam engine and cottages.
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Archeology
    • Historical Travel

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    by nickandchris Updated Apr 22, 2010

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    Gold panning has been popular in the Lowther Hills for centuries and continues today, on an amateur basis.I would have loved to have a go at this but with snow still on the ground and the temperature little above freezing, we decided it was not the ideal time!! We shall have to return in warmer weather.

    There are sample gold panning activities from the museum during July and August, as well as Bank Holidays. You can also take a a gold panning course, which can last up to five weeks. If you fancy, you can hire panning equipment from the museum and wander off at your own free will to wherever takes your fancy and just have a go! We actually passed people panning in the river further down the valley, enroute to the museum. I know of people who regularly pan in these rivers.

    For more info please look at the website.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Adventure Travel
    • Hiking and Walking

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    by nickandchris Updated Apr 22, 2010

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    The mine tour was our first port of call. We were very fortunate in that there were only six of us on the tour , the maximum being 24 allowed in at one time.

    Having ploughed our way through the snow, we donned hard hats and our guide opened the door to the adit. We walked along a timbered, wet passageway, stopping every so often to listen to our guide describing how conditions would have been. We arrived at the end of the passage,(for tourists, anyway) and were told how the minerals were extracted from the rock, mainly galena (lead ore),which was chipped out. The miners could tell in the dark, candlelit conditions, when they had hit a seam of galena, as it is harder than the rock and makes a different sound when knocked. Our guide switched the lighting off and lit a candle to demonstrate working conditions.

    Although the men worked in dangerous conditions, the accident rate was very low. Men had to work in short shifts, owing to the lack of air.

    Our guide told us that to continue as a tourist attraction,health and safety regulations had forced them to fill in the pit below the adit and to build an escape route, which they did, at huge expense and maintenance costs.

    No women were allowed to work in the mines but boys as young as eight could work in the streams, washing the product and at twelve, they could then work in the mine, hauling trucks.

    The Lochnell mine was open for 150 years , closing in 1861 after it became flooded when the pumping system failed. They had mined to a depth of 500 feet.

    As we came out of the adit, we passed the next guided tour, a huge group from a coach. I felt quite priveleged to have been in a small group, almost like a personal tour!

    The adit opening Our guide in the adit Looking from where the adit is.
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Adventure Travel
    • Family Travel

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Wanlockhead Transportation

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    by nickandchris Updated Apr 22, 2010

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    A spectacular route, following the Mennock Water as far as Wanlockhead at 467 metres above sea level .As the road wound it's way up through the valley and over the pass, we noticed lots of wooden plank bridges with little cages on. We were told they were for monitoring any animals that crossed. How anyone could tell what animals these were, I don't quite know!

    .Leaving Wanlockhead, you climb some more and pass the re-fettled railway line from Leadhills to Glengonnar. Leadhills was a bit of a disappointment after Wanlockhead and is a rather strung out settlement, larger than Wanlockhead. From Leadhills, there is a choice of routes, both heading to the M74. One takes you to Elvanfoot and the other to Abington. We chose the latter, more northerly route from which we then headed south again on the B740. This was another lovely scenic drive, following Crawick Water through varied scenery.Again, there are wild camping opportunities on this road. The B740 brings you out on the A76 just north of Sanquar, where petrol is available.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Camping
    • Archeology

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