Once in a while we take someone new underground. Sometimes it's a one-off. Sometimes they become hooked. Sometimes they come from Canada every now and then. And it was that time again! Paul brought a Canadian along; a chap we had taken into Cwmorthin last autumn. We would do that (or something similar) again. So when during the Monday climbing session one of the ladies mentioned she would be quite interested to come along, I mentioned this week would be a good week. A good starter trip with not much need for specific kit and not too many mine-specific challenges with narrow spaces. loose rock and rotting wood. And she agreed!
Ika, as was her name, did indeed show up. All together we walked to the entrance, where we split up. Some of us would continue with our dig. Simon would join Paul who would bring Paul's visitor Dave, and me with Ika to a rock drill deep inside the mine. I felt a pang of disappointment when many others would end up doing rope work, exploration, and hard work while I would do a leisurely stroll,but then I thought about the number of people in a rather confined space, and the chance of people getting in each other's way and annoyed with each other, and I figured it was maybe better this way.
We moved along familiar territory. We didn't move very fast as that just isn't Paul's and Dave's way. Dave also sometimes stopped for pictures. Ika was getting impatient! And I am rather susceptible to such myself. Although I was very happy to be shown a hole high in a wall that didn't seem to be on the map; that sounded like an excellent new project!
We moved on and at some point we got to some passage I was not familiar with. There was a rope! And it lead to a ladder and then another rope and another ladder! I went down. Simon and Paul followed. I was surprised Ika didn't; she's a climber, some scampering along ropes and on ladders won't intimidate her. The three of us scampered straight ahead. And then to the left. In the end we got back to familiar terrain. We didn't want to keep our mates waiting too long so we turned back, but along the way Simon and Paul scurried through a hole in the wall. Not without me!
We got to a flooded chamber with some bolts that Simon had placed years before. One of the passages leading on seemed to go to a collapse that, when cleared, would give access to otherwise inaccessible terrain. Cool! Maybe yet another project?
We went back and moved on. We didn't have much time left! Soon we were at the drill. It struck me how cool it was. I had seen it before but it still impressed me. A nice thing to be preserved!
The drill on its mounting
When we had seen it we had to go back; we would meet the others in a specific chamber by ten. We got there only minutes too late; there was no sign of them. I decided to go look for them. Fortunately, on the way I heard a sound and came across Phil. They were coming up! Good. That way we could go out and return to the cars. And home. Ika had had a great time but she had mentioned she is on my side when it comes to bedtime: early is good! I hope she comes again, and not only because she may then join my fight for reasonable leaving times...