20152015

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History of Greg's hut

The original building was erected as a blacksmith’s shop and to house miners working at the nearby (50 metres away) Katelock lead mine. They lived in here during the week, walking home each week-end.

In 1883 a visiting journalist wrote - “This house consist of two rooms; in the outer one there is a blacksmith’s forge (near to which is a stream of running water), a large cupboard, which on my visit contained tea, coffee, bacon, bread and even jam. In the inner room are two or three beds, a quantity of miners’ clothing – trousers, stockings and strong heavy boots”. The stream is still there, fed by a spring which rises near the ruins of the Katelock Mine entrance.

A number of lead mines were worked here on the slopes of Cross Fell in the 19th Century, producing over 13,000 tons of ore between 1811 and 1911, and the ruins are of great interest to industrial archaeologists and historians.

Just outside the hut, as well as the remnants of the mine entrance are a spoil heap, bouse teams (lead-ore storage bays) and a washing floor where ore was separated from waste. These are important relics from a once-great industry, and a poignant reminder of the men who worked here.

In 1883 Thomas Sopwith produced An Account if the mining districts of Alston Moor, Weardale and Teesdale; in Cumberland and Durham. Describing the climb up Cross Fell, he wrote “ The horses or ponies on which strangers usually ascend the greater part of the mountain, are left either at the Smelt Mill, four miles and a half from Garrigill, or at Lang Kate Lock mining shop, which is a mile and a half further along the side of the mountain”.

Following John Gregory’s death the building, then in a ruinous condition, was made good by the Mountain Bothies Association renovation projects of 1968, and 1970. In 1974 Greg’s Hut Association was constituted to maintain it (under M.B.A. auspices) as an open shelter, in his memory. Its founders were drawn from members of mountaineering clubs in the Birmingham area who had known and climbed with Greg.

News

The Greg’s Hut Association is working to a plan for the hut’s refurbishment. In 2014 the two large windows were replaced followed by the stove in 2015. The next major project is to cover the shattered “blacksmith shop” floor with a more hygienic wooden one. Maintenance continues - with the pointing of the porch taking place this year.