Hunt for lost precious mineral proves a gem for cavern family

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A frustrating, life-long search for a rare stone has finally come to a happy end at a spectacular network of caves in the heart of one of the North’s most visited beauty spots.

Peter Harrison had spent 70 years searching without a breakthrough for a lost vein of the rare mineral Blue John stone after a former miner at Treak Cliff Cavern in the Peak District, Derbyshire, tipped him off about the discovery before he died.

Earlier this year the treasure hunt was over, when Mr Harrison and his grandson John Turner brought to an end countless hours of searching over the decades by finally unearthing the rare deposit beneath a well-trodden route through the cavern.

The BBC’s Countryfile programme and its presenter John Craven visited the pair to capture their story on film earlier this month and the resulting report is due to be broadcast on the BBC1 programme at 6.20pm this Sunday.

Mr Harrison said: “It was lovely meeting John Craven and taking him underground to show him the lost vein.

“I was just a young lad of 19 when my family took over the running of Treak Cliff Cavern back in 1945.

“The old miner John Royse told me of this fantastic deposit of Blue John he had found but he died before he could reveal its exact location.

“I spent countless hours over the next 70 years searching for it.”

It fell to his grandson, Mr Turner, who has followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and works as a tour guide and miner at the cavern, to uncover the lost treasure.

Mr Turner, 25, explained how the long sought after discovery came about out of the blue one day.

“It was while I was stood at the bottom of the ladder that leads to the upper galleries that I noticed something unusual on the floor,” he said.

“After digging through muddy deposits I was amazed to come across an old piece of carpet supported by some wooden batons.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes when we pulled away the old carpet and there was this most amazing deposit of Blue John stone.

“It was right under the ladder that my grandfather put in decades ago.

“He must have walked over John Royse’s old find thousands of times over the years.”