03 June 2014

Final(ish) exploration

We had had to wait a while for it, but the night had come to explore the extremities of the mine we had spent the past two Thursday nights in. It didn't start too well; after my swim the previous weekend my camera had developed fog on the inside, and I had let it dry up, but only having travelled half an hour in the boot of the car had made the droplets return with a vengeance. Oh dear; that might render it entirely useless! That is worrying.

I had to travel camera-less, but well, one can live on memories too. We headed for the entrance, and we weren't taking prisoners! We scampered in, dropped to the level our discoveries would be made, and went to where I had explored the two almost-bricked up passages. We first headed straight ahead, though. I hadn't been there! It turned out the adit was filled with very cold water. It came up to my chestbone. But it did contain an exit we hadn't known about. Maybe next time we can take that way in! It does save some hassle....

 Me and a tank. Pic by Rich

We then tried the passage to the left. I knew what was there, but it was fun showing the others, and also to see them try to get in. Most men went for the head-first option to clamber through the hole in the wall; given that they had just come from a very wet level this means emptying their boots through their suits. Some nice cleavage waterfalls!

We then tried the other level; I had not been to the end, so it was exploration for me too. And it wasn't as endless as one might have hoped, but we saw a nice stretch of a level with all sorts of small crosscuts. Now we know!

We had more to check out. We went to an ore chute with a rather wet level both behind and above it. Richj wasn't keen on goin into the former, so we climbed up to th elatter, although we knew it was blocked; I had been there the week before. I expected the others to join, as they hadn't gone there two weeks before, but nobody appeared. I clambered back down and went into the initially discarded level. And indeed, I heard sound and saw the flashing of a light! The others had gone there. I made haste to keep up. We went all the way to its double dead end, through deep cold water that smelled funny. And then tried a last junction. At its end we found rarely visited terrain. There was a chain ladder hanging down. It had such amazing rust-related formations it was clearly largely untouched. I admit I did something about that; I wanted to know where it went! Luckily it turned out to be anchored to something solid. But it didn't go much beyond it so we went back.

This time we didn't waver; we even had a chance on a pint afterwards! That's how I like my Thursday evenings; full of exploration but not ending too late. Although the pint aspect was lost; we tried to drive in convoy, with the front car searching for a pub that looked open, but we ended up all losing sight of everybody else and all just went home. Oh well! A successful night anyway!

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