Luke, TomTom, Ryan
Luke and I headed to Tom’s where we all piled into his car and got going. Traffic wasn’t too bad, considering we were passing Warrington during rush hour, however soon after clearing Stockport the fog began to set in. After much maneuvering to ensure the car would shield us from the wind we all crawled into slightly crusty oversuits and trudged over to Rowter, noting along the way the hundreds of worms that carpeted the ground.
Luke rigged the pitch, proudly exclaiming that he remembered how to tie a fig 8. I headed down first, followed by Luke and finally Tom (who insisted on going last so that he could be first out). At the bottom of the pitch we readied our list of instructions and gathered the required ‘buckets without holes’ before heading to the now named ‘Gin Shaft’.
Climbing down Gin with the new ladders was a welcome treat and after a brief warning from Tom to ‘not touch that wall at all or we’ll all be trapped without tea’ we went exploring. I think Luke and I were both quite surprised by just how much Rowter has opened up and the addition of a natural section is definitely a welcome change.
After a thorough look around, observing things such as the dangerously large boulder supported by a questionably small pebble we decided that Mark probably wouldn’t buy the flattery that we were too concerned about stability to proceed without his expertise, so headed back up to do some real work. On the way back what sounded like half of Rowter crashed down behind Luke, we’re still not entirely sure where the falling rock came from but it goes to show that some of the new dig is dangerously unstable!
I drew the short straw so hauled the diagonal line whilst Tom took the vertical and Luke placed pebbles in a bucket from the bottom. After an hour of hauling we had clearing most of the rock from the bottom of Gin and decided to stop for a tea break in the new and rather ‘cosy’ kitchen area at the beginning of Foster’s Faith. We all had a nice discussion about why anyone would ever want to dry liquid, i.e. powdered milk, and it was decided that Mark is disgusting for drinking it.
Once the tea and biscuits had been devoured we decided to shift the last few rocks and move scaffolding to the bottom of Gin, being unsure of which direction the dig would continue in this seemed like the safest option to avoid carrying equipment to unnecessary areas.
There is now a nice store of bars, poles (unfortunately not the kind that wold offer cheap labour) and clips at the bottom of Gin shaft and a few of the planks are hammered better into place but there is still quite a bit of tidying to do and until digging resumes it may be a bit of a squeeze in the new storage area.
Tom was (as he’d already secured the position for himself) first up the rope and after I began to hear music that wasn’t there Luke hinted that maybe I should go next, the fact that my SRT kit went on backwards and upside down before I got it right suggests that this was a good move. When I reached the top of the pitch Tom had already cleared off but the fog meant aimless wandering for me until Luke emerged to tell me that the car was in fact in the opposite direction.
We got back to a broken high-beam on Tom’s car but all-in-all it was a successful trip and I’m glad to see just how much the last six months have paid off for everyone.