Mining The Past

The ‘Memories’ tab on Facebook is one of the site’s more endearing features. Now that they’ve tweaked the algorithm so it doesn’t send inappropriately chirpy reminders to people of the time their grandfather died and dozens of people sent messages, it’s a helpful aide-memoire of things that you posted on today’s date in years gone by that might be worth another look. Or at least a fond glance.


One day this week, this picture popped up, with a note saying that it was my most-liked photo of 2016. Which does suggest that my Facebook friends have a taste for the gothic. Or did five years ago, anyway.


The photo shows part of the ruined remains of Cornelly Lead Mine in the Isle of Man. In the 19th Century the Island was a lot more industrialised than it is now, and there were a number of mines all over the place. These days, they’re deliciously desolate landmarks around the place. Most of them are in the centre of the island, like Cornelly, which lies midway between Crosby and Foxdale.

It was, as you can see, a foggy day when I took the picture. However, I wasn’t expecting the picture to show quite such a sulphurous pea-souper, totally obliterating any kind of background scenery and giving the impression of a tower situated in an absolute void. From where I was standing, there’s actually a vista of hills and valleys behind the mine. In these conditions though, it’s nowhere to be seen.


Looking at this, you feel as if the Hound of the Baskervilles might loom out at any moment. Which thankfully didn’t happen while I was snapping, because being mauled by a fictional pooch would have been most distracting.

And anyway, when you’re in a spooky, fog-shrouded abandoned mine, surely the dog of the day would be Scooby-Doo?

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