Mark Richardson, Mark Wright, Tim Gould, Sarah Clough
I'm sure there can't be many digging trips where half the participants arrive by MG and motorbike, but it was my first one so I have no basis for comparison, perhaps there are. After the initial confusion of arriving first (arriving anywhere first is confusing in itself for me, even without not knowing where to park), three other bods rolled up in quick succession and it all started to happen. There was myself, Tim Gould, reuniting himself with caving after a hiatus, and the two Marks, diggers extraordinaire.
We descended quickly (on average, Mark W's speed making up for my failure to disengage my Full Stop from the thick ropes at each rebelay), and got on with the task at hand. Tim and Mark W descended to the work passage and I helped Mark R haul up the buckets into a higher passage and unload the spoils into the blind chasm behind. When I learnt that's normally one person's job I felt a little like I wasn't proving my worth, so in the gaps between buckets I set about lowering the floor to make the rift a head-height passage again (the spoil had stacked up making it necessary to stoop). This of course meant I was digging or carrying or emptying non stop, and soon sweat was pouring down my brow, but on the plus side the time flew by and it was kind of addictive trying to get the floor even - a bit like cutting someone's hair a bit off each side to make it all even and end up with none left.
There was a bit of hassle with the yellow buckets - one broke and I sent another to a grave at the bottom of the spoil heap (next time I looked it had disappeare, spooky), so we were down to just the black one. But it didn't seem to slow the diggers down and Mark R seemed particularly happy as the yellow buckets are all too easy to overfill and subsequently near impossible to haul.
After 2 hour's digging and I'm not sure how many buckets, I dropped down to have a look at the actual dig site, then pub was called and we started to make our way back out. After a wet SRT outing the day before my arms were feeling the strain, but I managed to keep up with Tim up above me.
The pub was the Bowling Green in Bradwell which given that Winnat's Pass was closed involved a rather circuitous (and cold, for those of us without roofs) transit, but was a worthy venue to see what everyone looked like in the daylight so I know who to run away from when I hear someone recruiting for volunteers... (just in case that puts anyone off, more seriously I actually enjoyed it and will hopefully be back for more!)