Bedford Utd is one of these mines with high playground credibility. There are many winzes to cross, drop down in, or climb up into, and there is water coming down in many places, and there is a plethora of old rails, ladders, launders and pipes. Lovely! But such adventure also requires some safety measures, in the form of ropes. The last time we were in there we had trouble getting the bolts, to which we attach the ropes, into the bolt holes. Or rather, we got them in, but also out, without any effort. We decided to put fixed bolts (secured with resin) in there. That was what this trip was about.
Or at least: that was the plan. Dave, however, the designated bolter, suspected we had dimply used bolts that were too long. And his shoulder hurt. And we had Bob Waterhouse, our dear mining archaeologist, visiting; he had done a survey of the mine some time ago, and that had yielded some hypotheses he wanted to test. So he didn’t want to bolt; he wanted to get in!
When we got to the first winze, which one crosses secured with a safety line, I got the opportunity to rig it. Excellent! And Dave had been right. Most bolts bit. One bolt hole indeed seems to have worn out too much. But this way I got rigging practice; I hope to really get the hang of it, and be able to rig for the club soon! That would take some of the burden off Dave, who often ends up doing it. And I like learning things.
The next obstacle after the winze is a small free climb. The person who climbs it brings a rope, so the rest has an easy ascent. I had never free-climbed it before, but hey, I was trying to learn new things! So I gave it a go. I struggled to get over the edge, but some help from Rick got me there. I think next time I’d manage!
It was Rick who rigged the pitch, and because of time constraints we didn’t venture far into the mine once down, and I wasn’t the one de-rigging either, but I think I got closer to being a rigger! Bring it on!