Buttered Badger Potholing Club
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Clean Washed Passage

Mark R, TomTom

So it had been a while since the dig last saw action, it was a bit difficult to get back into the routine but I soon got there with the checking of kit, Oversuit – rigid, SRT kit – double stopped, Scaff poles – excessively long. It was all there so off we went into the sunset (literally).

Eldon was looking a bit wintery still but it was soon brightened by the sound of tubular bells as we descended into the darkening abyss, Marks torch already dying after a good 4 minutes use. I’d forgotten just how awkward descending with scaffolding is, no wonder it’s never found on other clubs kit lists.

Being just the two of us tonight the plan wasn’t too elaborate, I’d requested 200m of clean washed passage and perhaps a short but interesting pitch. The undercut of the dig was looking good, the shelf of floor had been cleared and it was now far enough into the rubble to go vertically down again. There was no way we could haul with just the two of us so Mark went into the undercut and proceeded to throw rocks at me for me to stack in various places at the bottom of the main shaft.

Through a mix of throwing large rocks at me and loading a bucket with smaller ones we managed to fill up a step at the bottom of the main shaft, lowing the floor in the undercut from crouch level to stoop level. Now it was my turn to dig, and I’ve always been a fan of hanging around the underside of several metres of loose rock.

But every cloud and all, at least now it was my turn to launch rocks at Mark. He went for the stacking technique of pushing the rocks behind the boards to fill in the various voids that exist (and which we don’t like to think about). I managed to briefly upset him by announcing that I had found some solid floor, but it was just some glued together rocks.

Despite being some way down now it’s very fresh at the dig face, there is a definite draft down there, and the rock is very pleasant for digging through. There wasn’t time to put a ring in tonight so I mostly dug in the centre to stop the sides collapsing in. Making a fair progress so that we were able to stand with room to spare in the centre.

Eventually it was time to leave, a lovely pile of rocks to be hauled out come the weekend! It may have been a while but the climb out wasn’t as bad as feared, making it out in time for a quick visit to the local pubbing establishment.

To be continued on Sunday

TomTom xxx