Buttered Badger Potholing Club
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Where's the ballast?

Mark R, TomTom

We met at Rowter field around 7pm where Mark unravelled the relatively helium like load for our tackle sacks, not a drill or bit of metal in sight! Tonights plan was to re-measure the entrance shaft, carry some piping from hypothermia to decisions decisions, and fill some sand bags for the upcoming Badger dam.

The weather for the walk to the hole was quite pleasant, as was the load of empty sand backs in my tackle sack. I headed down first with one end of the tape measure whilst Mark stayed at the surface to record the magic number. On our survey we have the entrance shaft as 65m where as various others have it as 69m. Since we are currently 1m short of Nettle pot we thought we'd give it a re-measure and see. Once at the bottom we began our measurements with Mark trying to pull the end out of my hand when he tightened it up. Some slow shouting later and we had measured the entrance shaft at 67.82m, enough to make Rowter Hole 181.8m deep in total, and the 3rd deepest in the peaks.

Once Mark joined me at the bottom of the shaft he announced just how much piping he wanted to take down through the squeezes, a oversized rigid yellow pipe, a smaller rigid red one, and 3 flexible ones, all in all a good 60m+ of piping to squeeze down. Once we packed what we could into the tackle sacks we began our trip down, bending and feeding the big yellow pip down gin shaft and round Fosters faith into the steam passage. Bit by bit we managed to get it down and eventually through  bad badger choke until we were able to launch it down two left wellies to make a reassuring thud as it hit the floor.

Even with the faffing getting the pipes down and re-measuring the entrance shaft our descent to decisions decisions only took an hour and a half where it was now time to start the sand bag filling. We used the mud from the little dig on the side to fill the sand bags which was quite quick work as there was much loose mud from our previous dig in there. We wanted to get out in time for the pub tonight so we didn't have a huge amount of time for filling sandbags, 40 minutes in fact, but in those 40 minutes we managed to fill 30 sand bags which looks to be about a third of what we need. It was now half 9 and time to head out to the pub, but not until we'd double checked we had enough piping to make it from milky relief to our dam and disto'd it all.

It was now definitely time to head out so we made our hasty retreat, double checking that it wasn't a trick that my tackle sack was completely empty. We positively shot up the pitches without drills and tools strapped to ourselves and apart from massive overheating it was a very pleasant escape. I didn't manage to time it all but we were at the top of two left wellies at 9:55 and were at the surface for 10:20, bonus!

Car, changed, drive, pub, done
Short but successful dig!

TomTom xx