Mark R, Adam P, Chris H, Lizzie H, Luke N
15th September 2012
After a long hiatus a brock of Badgers returned to Rowter Hole to try to make some progress in the dig. It was a glorious sunny day as we changed into our caving suits, almost too nice to be going underground but Adam and Luke had come over from Liverpool especially for the dig so as nice as the sun was we set off. Once into the field behind Rowter Farm we were faced with an intimidating herd of heffers, some of which had calves with them. They promptly emptied their bowels and salivated everywhere whilst giving us the evil heffer eye as we passed.
We arrived at Rowter Hole to find a shiney shiney new lid had been installed. After a quick fiddle with the bolt and piece of metal holding the lid down we rigged the pitch. The cows obviously thought us highly interesting and had followed us down across the field, they gathered around the fence glaring at us until finally we disappeared from view.
Adam shot off to take a look at our dig face while Mark took a look at the other dig going on. Lizzie and Luke took up position at the spoil heap preparing to haul our many buckets from the dig face while Mark and I descended down to meet Adam at the face to take a look. I'd come prepared for some water by wearing my wetsuit therefore making me the obvious choice of digger.
Sure enough at the end of the dig there was 6 or 7 inches of cold muddy water sitting on a gloopy mud base. With little head room it was a case of lie on your front or side and scratching away under the water trying to dislodge boulders, and hopelessy scoop mud unto the haul tray for the others to unload. After an hour my arms were numb with cold. The bucket count was low but a long scaff bar left by previous diggers and some rotten wood had been removed along with a few larger boulders.
Mark took over and there was a constant stream of moans, grumbles, shouts and screams as his furry suit slowly soaked up a large volume of the cold muddy water.
After a few buckets he decided it would be worth moving the position of the pully. Bolting kit in hand he set to work tapping a new bolt into the wall to reposition it. Once completed a quick test was done before he retreated back to the main chamber to put on a brew.
I moved back down to the dig face to try to have a poke at the boulder choke beyond. After removing 3 or 4 largish boulders there was little movement.
We'd managed to start creating a channel to the end which will hopefully help to drain away some of the water that keeps pooling in the dig. The thought of a nice warm brew was becoming all to enticing so after another couple of buckets Adam and I fell back to the main chamber.
We were met by quite a sight. Mark was wearing my spare dinosaur print furry suit half on half tied round his upper body with his dry t-shirt on below it and his sponge of a furry suit and Meander hung down behind him whilst hovering over a small gas stove. He was not a happy badger and it wasn't because he was cold and wet. Another group had left our tea pot and mugs in a used state. What was laid before us was a fungus farm of mouldy teabags and cups that were ready to prusik out of their own accord.
A warming cup of tea was off the menu. Never to let our spirits crumble we packed up and returned to the surface. Fortunately the heffers had dispersed and the sun was still shining. Still plenty to be done down there but we've got a plan of attack scribbled on a napkin.