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Painful but fond memories

Content image: Painful but fond memories

I collected the fluorite specimen above back in April 1996.

I remember it well from the events of the day before!

In those days I used to travel up from the South of England for weekend mooching trips in and around Weardale, usually arriving at the Broadwood "Works" for Saturday closing time at noon.

The "Works" was a fluorite/fluoride processing plant where lorries would deliver fluorite rock from Frazers Hush (and Pateley Bridge) for refining into powder for industrial use.

If you went in at noon you could spend the afternoon illicitly collecting on the ore piles. On this particular day I managed to let a large boulder roll back and catch my finger before I could get out of the way.

Ouch! even with a glove on my finger blew up like a balloon and the pain behind the finger nail was excruciating!

Wind forward a few hours and to the bar at the Crown Hotel at Overwater, Nenthead, The pain was still immense and finger completely black.

Over the evening we got talking to a couple and their friend, who turned out to be a casualty nurse from Middlesborough. Being an expert in these things she persuaded me to provide her with a pin and a cigarette lighter.

With the heated pin and a sudden stab, my finger nail was punctured and with quite explosive force the pressure was relieved!

The following Monday found me collecting up at Hilton, and by chance a large fluorite bearing rock showed up. The twinned crystals shown above were attached in the middle, so the lump hammer and chisel were called in.

Unfortunately for my finger I am a lousy shot, and I wont repeat the language.

Driving the 280 miles back down the M6 that evening, I was happy to have this little specimen beside me, maybe not the throbbing in my left digit!

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