08 February 2017

Introducing the dig

For the first time in a long time, I would join a regular Thursdaynighter trip. Or would I? Since the dig sort of took over, we have been deciding late what to do and where to go. This time was no exception; on Tuesday I started mailing around. I wanted to go to our digs, of course, but soon I had a reply from Paul he wanted to go elsewhere in the same mine. Soon a message arrived too from a chap I hadn't met yet, as he had only done two of our trips, and both ones I hadn't joined due to being in the dig. He wanted to visit either part of the mine! That was good, but didn't help decide. His girlfriend would come too but we didn't know if she had a preference. The trip was posted up on the forum as going both places. We would probably only be four people though, so that was a bit of a stretch.

Then another voice piped up; irregular Thursdaynighter Corin. He said he'd make a a decision there and then. And on the day itself I found out Jay came too. So we were six! Maybe we would have two trips.

On the parking lot it became clear Corin was interested in joining me, and the rest wanted to go with Paul. Corin's preference might have had to do more that the digs are a lot closer to the entrance than where Paul would be going than with his keenness on the digs, but hey ho. Corin had a dodgy ankle and wasn't keen on long walks...

We went in and split up. I walked with Corin to the pitch. He was slow with his ankle, but that was alright. On the pitch he struggled, but he got there. Time to go to Dig 2!

He struggled in the first crawl through a chamber. And the second too. And the third! But he got there. I showed him the graffiti. On my own I went into the next chamber to look at the void Miles had pointed out. I didn't see anything promising! Along the way I did a tiny bit of rock removal, and I tidied up our detonation wire. I wasn't only a tourist guide!

It was time to go back. We negotiated the crawls again, and went to Dig 1. Corin was very impressed with the sheer amount of material we had moved. And rightly so!

We went into the second chamber. There Corin decided it was enough. He was going to have a cigarette and some coffee while I went on. I promised to be back by nine. If I wouldn't come back he'd go and find the other group...

I went into the next passage. I wanted to have a go at photographing the next chambe rup. I hadn't brought my tripod, but I thought this one wasn't too big, quite unlike the previous one I had explored. I was wrong! This one was enormous too. I ventured to what looked like the end, but might not have been; I was already pushing it for time. I turned around and tried to get back by nine. And failed... oh dear. But in a collapsed chamber you can't hurry; you have to be careful. Five past nine I saw Corin's light again. He hadn't got too worried yet!

The lower bit of the chamber; for scale I put a stick figure in. I had to have a bit of a guess at the right size!

We had another cup of tea and then we went back up. Not too soon; Corin was limping by now and we were slow. The other group was already at the meeting point. They had had a good time too. But now it was time to go out!

When we tried to walk down to the cars we were almost blown back up the hill. The weather was vile! But we got home safely. A good trip, with both diggers and non-diggers catered for! And Corin didn't regret his outing, ankle or not...

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