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Wednesday, 6 November 2013


For some while I have been working with Network Rail and Lafarge Tarmac on the possibility of a rail re-connection into their Arcow and Dry Rigg quarries at Helwith Bridge.   I had rather too much to do with the coal mining industry in the 1980s but never anything to do with quarries.

Throughout my police career I never lost an opportunity to see behind the scenes of industry, developing a huge respect for those who worked in them.

Today was a 'blast day' at Dry Rigg and I went along.   At the appointed hour sirens sounded and six tonnes of explosives detonated amidst strictest security.   26,000 tonnes of rock moved sideways and slid down into the quarry bottom as if liquid.   The photograph does not do justice to the grandeur of the location and its enormity.

All this stone will be crushed and graded, ready to become an ingredient of the very finest tarmacadam in locations where skid resistance needs to be high.

click to enlarge

This is what that amount of rock going sideways looks like.   The advancing rolling 'liquid' front of rock is to the right.   The sound is not ear splitting - more like a roll of distant thunder.   The rock itself muffles it.   Not sure how far it is to the far side of the quarry - half a mile maybe.  The dry stone wall in the foreground is made of the rock being blasted.

Awesome - and one of the best kept secret free shows in The Dales.

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