Force Crag Mine
As you walk the gently rising mine track from just outside Braithwaite village, it is hard to believe that this beautiful area of the Lake District fells was once the backdrop to a mining industry. Hugging the side of the fell with the winding beck below, you are lead to the head of the Coledale valley and the sheer dark face of Force Crag.
For over 200 years men have worked in this isolated spot digging for lead in the early years and then later barites and zinc.
During the Second World War, tons of barites were extracted for making munitions. Trucks transported materials from the mine levels high above Force Crag down the fell side along what became known as the 'Burma Road'.
The operation was very risky particularly during icy winters; as a result an aerial ropeway was built, but this also failed in freezing conditions.
The working environment was harsh at Force Crag, huge amounts of water flow through the mine most of the time. In 1990 a collapse occurred at zero level. Water and debris built up behind the collapse which could not be removed causing the mine to finally close.