I hitched a ride from Phil. We were the first to get there! That gave us the opportunity to have a look at an entrance Phil had seen before (probably walking the dog) when he didn't have light with him. It only went a few meters! Oh well. If it went we would have known about it. We went back down the hill and said hello to David, Paul and Ed who had appeared in the meantime. And we got kitted. Simon, Edwyn, Jason and Garry appeared too. Enough to carry any number of ladders!
We set off, carrying the ladders one by one. We got to the top of the shaft and had to rig it. Phil already went down to receive the ladders on the other side. In the meantime, we tied the ladders together. And then lowered them down the shaft. It worked! They didn't snag along the way. Then we had to follow ourselves (those who chose not to go via the ladderway), but it always takes a while to get several people down a shaft. I decided to have some fruit while waiting in the queue. But there was no fruit! I had left it in Phil's car. That miffed me quite a lot. I decided I didn't feel like abseiling the shaft anymore and followed Jason down the ladderway.
When we came down we found only Ed. No ladders, no most people! They had gone ahead. Ed was waiting for Garry, as he was worried he would have a problem getting past the deviation. Jason and I started off for the others. And after a while, saw a light. It was Ed! Oops. Walked in a circle. We tried again, and this time we got to where we wanted to be. The ladders were in position! And people were clearly at the top. That was good work!
Up the ladders to the little passage. Pic by Ed.
It sounded like what was up there was not what David (who had come up with this plan) had hoped. Oh well! As usual. If something goes, someone has explored it!
When the people up there had come down I went up with Jason to have a look. Indeed, it didn't go far! Although the end looked like a collapse, not a proper dead end. It could be diggable! But it is a bit of a faff to get there.
We went down again. Then David, Phil and Simon went up to bolt the place, for in case we did want to come back to dig it. We had a disposable rope with us! In the meantime I had a nice chat with Simon. And a cup of tea. Then Ed went up to rig it. And then Phil came down, ladders and all. Time to pack up and get out!
We got back to the bottom of both shaft and winze below the ladderway. I thought I'd go up, but then changed my mind. I had brought David's drill and bolting kit down, but now he was carrying it himself. That seemed a bit unfair! I offered to take it back but David didn't feel like the faff of unpacking so he kept it. Edwyn started up the winze. I figured I'd go up the shaft. Best to use both passages! Is more efficient. And then I would get to see the shaft after all!
I started my way up. It was a fair way! But it was an OK pitch. And after a while I saw the deviation. I was getting somewhere! And Edwyn had been worried about getting past the deviation on the way up, but his worries were unjustified. Edwyn worrying, that's unusual! Maybe he was ill or something. But I got up and screamed 'rope free'. The others probably already had fixed the ladders to it. So we could start hauling! Even though there were only two of us. Why were there only two of us? The ladderway is a much quicker way up! Oh well.
We started hauling but it was hard. I suggested we wait for more people but Edwyn was being stubborn. And we had the things most of the way up by the time the next person appeared! That was Jason. He gave us a hand. Then Phil appeared, but the ladders were pretty much up by then. Success! And since we didn't expect anybody else to come up the shaft we derigged. And untied the ladders. And carried them out. We were being rather executive!
I had changed into my civilian clothes by 22.30. That's pretty good for a Thursday Night! And I suppose we will be back. I don't mind some ochreous digging!