One of our party chanced to be going over to Wilmslow for the weekend, so three of us decided to make an afternoon of it in the copper mines at Alderley. Running swiftly, we soon left Stretford and Cheadle behind, arriving at Alderley in under two hours. Storing the bikes at the station we bought some candles, and thus equipped started to climb the Edge. At length the great yawning mouth of the mines appeared. The keeper – who I knew – opened the gate and we entered.
Immediately the air felt cold but became warm as we entered into one of the numerous passages that stretch like a maze on each side of the main entrance. The passage we were in had been proved the longest, all the rest ending in some deep well or blank wall. As we progressed the roof became lower, and, descending rapidly we came to a great cavern, the roof of which could not be seen.
The silence was intense and now and again we could hear water splashing eerily. Further on we encountered wet sand, and had to make a detour to escape a pond of water. We made out a form reared up the face of a low cliff, 20 ft high, and as we neared it, it resolved itself into a ladder. Up this we climbed and followed a winding, low roofed tunnel for some way. In one place someone had chalked ‘Danger’, and a little farther on a great fall in the roof made us hesitate.
We kept on though, and after crossing a narrow plank over a deep pit, we walked down some steps and found ourselves in a still greater cavern. As the time was late we decided to return. After a little way we came to a pit, and throwing a stone down we heard it dully some way below us: it made us shudder.
At last we got out, and after getting the bikes two of us made for Knutsford, the others returning to Wilmslow. From Knutsford we made to Altrincham, via Mere, and thus home at 10.10pm. We calculated that we had walked at least three miles in the mine.
62 miles, 7.75 hours