Tim Allan, Frank Pearson, Diane Arthurs, Chris H, Mark R
Saturday night saw us leave the familiar surroundings of Rowter and head North to Yorkshire to chat about a China expedition and also to help Tim and his team with a bit of digging in the Mohole.
After a leisurely Inglesport cafe breakfast we headed over to the Mohole. Mark and I hadn't been down before and Tim had told us the entrance pitches were a bit tight and that there would be some crawling to get to the dig. The walk up the fell was peppered with talk of dig envy after the recent break throughs in Rowter.
The descent from the surface wasn't all that unpleasant. A bit drippy on a couple of the pitches and because of the relatively tight nature of them it was difficult to avoid the water but once down we were wowed by the scale of scaffolding construction. Perfectly aligned and boarded, the shaft sunk down from the 'To Hell or Connacht' boulder choke to a dog leg which then became crawling passage. The material under your knees is sharp limestone that has been persuaded from the walls to make a comfortable tube through which to crawl.
Around the corner, a short wet drop down and you reach a natural opening which has a loose boulder and clay floor which is the site of the current dig activities. With a bit of neck craning you can see through the boulders for a good 5m or so.
Frank and Diane got to work shifting some of the boulders by any means possible while Tim, Mark and myself headed back up the passage to move some spoil. There was a good collection of boulders and debris that needed loading into buckets and hauling; first along the passage and then up the scaffolded shaft to the limited stacking space.
This double handling of the material is a time and effort consuming process and really needs 3 people to make it work smoothly but with extremely limited space to stack material in the passage below it is a vital process to making progress in the dig.
Just as we were finishing hauling the last couple of buckets up the shaft, Diane appeared, summoning Tim to come and have a look at the latest progress. Her description of it needing some 'stabilisation' seems to be an all too common occurance in digs, be they in Yorkshire or the Peaks. Natures order seems all too chaotic when it comes to arranging boulders in holes.
Shortly after this Mark and myself headed out to start out journeys south and further south.
Thanks to Tim and the team for allowing us to take a look at the Mohole and the hard work that has gone into it. Best of luck with your efforts and we hope you are rewarded with a break through soon.