Mark R, TomTom
The evening started with the definite plan of something underground followed by the pub. We managed to attract even more DoE attention whilst changing in the field with Mark bringing out some show and tell (a survey, nothing weird!). It was perfect weather to be honest, not to hot, not to cold and barely a breeze in sight. With that in mind we got changed into thermals, overheated, and then went underground.
We had tackle bags laden with much rope, metal, drills, and bonus SRT gear, but this wasn't a huge issue as we were only going a pitiful 130 or so metres down today. Mark had brought a new entrance pitch rope and so it was a bit of a shock when gravity alone was enough to make us descend.
Mark rushed off ahead to swap a long rope fromthe absent medicfor a shorter one whilst I tried and failed to swap some mallions for crabs ontwo left wellies. To cover up my fail I unpacked the drill ready for Marks bolt climb abovethe milky relief.
Once Mark returned he kitted up and began the bolt climb whilst I belayed. It seems that the walls were mostly hollow as no matter where he hammered the noise was not exactly what you'd call reassuring. Mark zig zagged his way up from side to side as he hunted for the solid parts of the wall. I think the hole he was aiming for was just over 10m up but it was hard to work out as it was above the pitch, but 10 or so bolts later and he was starting to peer into the hole, still unsure to whether it was a goer or not. A bit more wriggling and another bolt later and Mark disappeared into the hole, unclipping from the bolts and onto belay alone. I heard the pleasant sound of oversuit rubbing against wall and then after some thrusts light appeared in the ceiling of one of the other holes. Unfortunately this hole was just a oxbow of little interest, but as it is with things like this the only way to find out is to go and look.
Mark returned to his bolt climb and rigged a pull-through, returning back to more solid ground after what we think was 14 holes and quarter of a battery. Time was getting on and so we packed up ready for our return to the surface and pub. We left the rope and crabs behind ready for Saturday and headed out with Mark taking the lead. This time armed with a spanner I was able to re-rig thetwo left welliespitch with crabs as we begin our retrieval of mallions from Rowter for the summer. We had fairly light tackle bags for a change on our way out but this was changed as Mark started to take apart some of the pulleys at the top ofgin shaftand pack various bits of generic heavy into his bag.
Mark lead the way out Rowter as I was also going to change some of the mallions for crabs on the entrance pitch, shooting up as always like a whippet despite all of the weight in his tackle back, we all hate him :) Once on the surface I enjoyed coiling a rope that wasn't as rigid as re-enforced concrete and headed to change in the pleasant temperature field (it could also be argued that it was still a little light). Mark had shot off to get me a pint in the cheese before last orders and after a quick change I gave chase.
Despite the shortish trip and few things got ticked off today. Managed to investigate two holes above milky relief (since they were joined), transported a fair amount of gear down for Saturday, managed to recover a few mallions which will soon be needed, and took out some more rubbish/useful things. But most importantly we made it out in time for the pub, bliss.
Time for rapid kit cleaning and drying, we're back in 35hrs,