Mark R, Tom-Tom, Medic
Returning to the world of mud and scaffolding after a break of about 6 months was nowhere near as unpleasant as I had worried. We assmebled on the usual hillside venue and after got down into the relative warmth of the cave as quickly as possible. None of my underused caving apparatus spontaneously disintegrated and I didn't fall to my death, so we were already off to a good start.
Crawling through the river of decaying animals and excrement into the main chamber, it was clear that I'd missed a fair bit of work. It's a lot tidier and the spoil heap had doubled in size since I last visited. The dig is starting to rival Gin Shaft in size, but the uneven nature of the site doesn't allow for quite the same level of regularity when it comes to the metalwork. Nevertheless it remains similarly impressive and it took me longer than I expected to clamber my way down to the bottom.
We started by shifting out a few of the larger rocks and cleared space to get a ring in, about 30cm below and behind (i.e. to the West) of the previous. It wasn't the easiest to instal as it required defying the 'wall of death' and quickly slapping a pin into place before the precariously balanced rocks started to shift. A few disconcerting rumbles later we were successful. We pushed the oblique scaffolding down to meet our new floor-level ring. This made for a much more comforting roof over the next digging site, and should allow us to continue to safely undercut the rubble pile that makes up the main chamber, and continue to progress downwards.
We had a quick go at draft testing with Mark's "non-lethal" smoke spray, and it quickly cleared upwards, so there is certainly a good amount of laminar air flow, but it wasn't much help in picking a direction...yet!
Before we knew it, it was home time. We escaped to the surface world and bade farewell. I managed to get my shiny white new car stuck pretty spectacularly in the mud at the side of the road, but before long I escaped and drove as quickly as possible to bed.
A successful return to my digging career. Not much out by way of spoil, but plenty of technical work out of the way, which should allow for quick downwards progression next time ... although that said the oblique kink in the shaft is going to make for some interesting hauling challenges
Till next time,