OK, slight exaggeration.
Having not been down Eldon Hole for a while (expeditions, work and other excuses I've dreamed up), I thought it was high time I went and had a look myself at what all the fuss was about thats been holding up progress. Pete O'Neil joined me last Thursday (15th) evening.
Things have got a fair bit smaller at the dig face since I was last there but a good 2m deeper. Pete and I had a good look at the options and did a smoke test to see what sort of draught we had. There definitely is one but not a strong one on Thursday.
We both agreed with Mark R's idea of starting to slope the shaft in slightly from the upper of the two lower rings and use the floor to brace scaffolding from and follow the floor and right hand wall. There are certainly some large voids behind some of the boards but Pete, who has a lot of experience of digging this type of shaft, didn't think it was too much of a problem. By starting the slope from the upper ring many of the voids can be incorporated into the continuing dig.
We reckon we should install another horizontal just below the upper ring and start the sloping boards from there. The vertical boards can be cut off where they are. Probably just keep the left hand scaffold wall running in its current position.
There will certainly be a lot of faffing but if major underground engineering projects were that easy everybody would be doing them. When you consider how much progress was made in the first couple of months I really think with another good hit this site could reveal its secrets pretty soon. I will be chasing up the Eldon members this week to try and get things moving again. The site has considerably more potential than Rowter Hole ever had and we found nearly 0.5K in there!!
See you at the Eldon Hole car park next Thursday at 7pm????