Mark Sims, Tom Tom, Mark Richardson
Apart from some twat forgetting his harness (ahem), the meet up went according to plan with us all rendezvousing in the field at 10. While I went home to retrieve my SRT kit Tom and Mark rigged the shaft and spent some time moving kit from Gin shaft towards the entrance. By the time I arrived about an hour later it was nearly all done… the harness lie was a good ruse I think ;)
We collected some plastic sheeting from Decisions Decisions and a spade from the muddy tube... which was excellent fun in the Ice Cream trail. Before too long we were all at the Party Sausage and unpacked our array of thermos flasks and food, including party sausages (of course) and Chinese vegetarian health food compressed biscuits.The area we wanted to dig in was at the end of the rift directly below the aven, the aven with a torrent of water pouring down it. We stretched out the plastic and stood under the water protected by the extremely loud drum skin. A few bolts, some 6mm cord and a large rock on Tom’s head and my heel later and we had a sort of heath Robinson gazebo to work under. It actually did quite a good job of keeping the water off the dig but it wasn’t half loud! We all agreed that before we had the plastic up we were pretty sure we could hear the rush of a stream below us- not surprising given the volume of water everywhere.
We immediately began digging material out of the end of the rift, following the loose packed boulders down against the gradually undercutting wall. There were quite a few large rocks needing capping, some of them several times. Every time someone got a hernia lifting out boulders or became deaf from the extreme white noise water torture going on over their head we swapped around. Despite the gazebo it was still a bit drippy and splashy in the dig, especially as we started to get further down. We got to a total depth of about 3m and just before we left capped a massive boulder forming part of the unstable pile of rubble that formed the fourth wall of the dig. It’s nice to be following three solid walls and it does look good- rounded, clean washed and fluted but it’s unclear which direction the development may take us- probably back under the floor we have now filled with boulders! If it does we will be needing scaffold and planks and will be building another shaft but I really hope we don’t have to start dragging that stuff through the Ice Cream Trail!
We turned round, deaf, herniated, wet and a bit chilly at about 1700 I think having made good progress and used about 70 or 80 caps. The thought of a pint or three and a game pie at the Cheshire Cheese spurred us on and Tom didn’t even complain about having to jug out of the entrance shaft with a second tackle bag full of scaffold clipsJ
Great dig, now called 'White Noise' and a nice night getting pissed in Castleton. Thanks for the help Mark S.