Mark R, Tim N, Robbie S, Nicos Liaskos, Elizabeth Hynes, Becky Turner, Mark Wright.
Also visiting- Keith Mason, Lee Langdon, Fay Hartley plus 3 or 4 (?) other YSS members.
It was nice to set off to the hole with the company of Lizzie and Becky for a change, we went via the photographers house then followed him to the garage “5 minutes away”….. Naturally we were late to Rowter Farm and were greeted with the sight of 8 other cars all parked in the field! Surely they weren’t all here for Rowter but after a bit of asking around and some detective work it transpired that they were. We paid the very happy farmer and headed over to the hole. I knew Keith from the YSS plus a couple were down there from a phone conversation earlier in the day so we rigged 2 ropes but left them outside for Keith to drop down when he left and descended the first pitch on his ropes.
Our objectives, as there were so many of us were threefold- digging (of course), getting an accurate survey of the shaft, the dig and some other parts of interest and also bolting into the void in the roof.
Becky, Liz, Nicos and I went to dig- it was Becky and Lizzie’s first digging trip with us and they both seemed to enjoy it. I hadn’t seen Nicos for a while so it was a good opportunity for a bit of a catch up. With the 2 girls at the bottom filling buckets, it was easy hauling and we steadily worked away at removing the ever decreasing plug of gravel.
Meanwhile Tim and Robbie were surveying with some kit kindly donated at the last minute by Dan from the Eldon. The surveying was pretty easy and they took care to do a good job of it- we will post the results when we have them.
Mark started the bolting on his own and absolutely flew up the first 11m, it was at this point that I came up from digging to see how everyone was getting on- I was surprised to see Mark at the bottom of the rope but soon found out that he had a bolt pop on him at the top of the climb. I’ll let Mark tell the story of what happened after the bolt popped at a later date but there may be a lesson in it for us all to heed- aid climbers beware.
With a slightly shaken mark, 2 happy new diggers, a pair of mine surveyors and a Greek man in the shaft on the way out (because we had 2 ways rigged) the shaft looked fantastic- full of light and people strung out from top to bottom, I wish I could have taken a picture of it…
We went off to the Red Lion for some beer and free chips and met up with several other cavers to chat about… well, caving! It was an excellent nights work even with the near miss and it was lovely to see so many interested people down there, long may it continue.