Author Topic: CHECC grand prize entry, ULSA: digging with BSD in Carter Passage  (Read 1045 times)

Offline nobrotson

  • Wob Rotson, ULSA
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  • This not bono. Why the plastic fruit?
Peachey is now in UWFRA, and there he met a man called Chris Fox who is the driving force behind the Black Sheep Diggers who operate in the Goyden Pot system in Nidderdale. So far, they have created a through trip from Manchester Hole to Goyden Pot, and have linked the Aquamole Series (dry access via Frog Pot) to New Goyden Pot. Their ultimate goal is to link all the caves via dry passage to provide one massive awesome through-trip. Chris kindly invited us to one of their Saturday digging missions in an attempt to break into new passage in a now dried up sump at the far end of Goyden Pot (beyond the Labyrinth series).

After a heavy night at the pub, it ended up being the people who had travelled from foreign climes (Rachel and Rowan) who were available to head to Pateley Bridge at 9am. Mike and Luke Staffroom proved too hungover to attend. After fuelling up heavily on coffee, we set off underground at around 11am with Chris and three other Black Sheep Diggers: Nick Bainstow, Scott Little and Connor Kearton. Goyden is an excellent sporting cave with a very large streamway, and apparently the through trip from Manchester Hole to Goyden is excellent (will have to do it soon). Once there, we got stuck right in to the dig. We removed a lot of material from Carter Passage with a long chain of people removing bucket loads of gravel, sand and rocks to facilitate easier progress at the dig face. At the same time divers (Rich Hudson and others) were investigating the potential for lowering Goyden sump 2 to a shallower depth to facilitate a free dive as the sump is only 10m long.

At 2:30pm a surprise occurred, with Mike and Kristian showing up to lend a hand. Mike had failed to find his helmet that morning after its acquisition by the earlier party, and consequently sported a rather interesting choice of headwear. Further progress was made, with around seven cubic metres being removed total that day and with me and mike pushing an extra few metres into the crawl. The enlargement process will be gradual but easy digging, with the floor needing to be excavated to aid moving beyond the mud constriction reached on this trip. A polythene sheet dam at the head of the dig would also stop it becoming the waterlogged mess that it had become by the end of the session. Out by 5pm via the Church Pot flood bypass, and after some delay due to Scott getting lost on the way out we went to the Crown Hotel in Middlesmoor for an excellent pint courtesy of Chris (the pub is also excellent, like a Yorkshire version of the Hunters: hide your smartphones!).

Saturday November 5th saw a return to Crater Chamber and Carter Passage with the Black Sheep Diggers. A bright and early start from Leeds, unhindered by the fact that Graham View was host to an impromptu party the night before, saw myself, George and Luke arrive at Goyden for 9am, punctuality of a calibre totally alien to ULSA members. Here we met Ben and Nick, with Chris joining us later. Quick easy progress to Crater Chamber was made via Five Ways chamber and Telegraph Aven with three large lengths of pipe for catching the stream in the chamber and funnelling it into a large polythene bag set up by Chris and Nick the week before, allowing for much drier and thus less cold and waterlogged progress at the dig face. The dig face prior to the session had ended at a lowering of the roof by around 2ft, meaning that increased excavation of sand in the floor was needed for further forward progress.

We then got right to it, with myself and Luke wallowing in freezing cold water and wishing we had worn wetsuits. Due to the bag being a bit temperamental, slow progress was made for the first hour and a half, with around 10 buckets going back. We then had a quick snickers break to allow time to fix the bag after it had drained its contents and resumed, with George now inserted into the sordid little griefhole. With the drying up of the stream, progress sped up rapidly and in the next hour or so 15 buckets of sand and chert were removed, with the dig face advancing around 4m. A further 4m of ongoing passage are visible before a tight left hand bend.

After watching the water flood impressively out of the bag into the dig and chucking some rocks down into the dig to continue building a containing wall for the spoil next trip, we headed out after around 5.5 hours underground. Luke enjoyed his peasant bread and monkey fruit before we headed to the Crown Hotel again for another excellent pint courtesy of Chris and Nick. Back in Leeds for half 5 to go and watch some tent metal at the Union.

The dig is ongoing and the next session will be more of the same I imagine. Chris reckons we are about to hit a major fault (see figure) which could see us face some kind of obstruction before breaking into serious territory. Sounds wicked! Huge thanks are due to the BSD (Chris and Nick especially) for their hospitality and friendliness. Really excited about our continuing partnership in Nidderdale to try and produce what will af fine through trip indeed!
the man is mentally ill. I have seen him eat a plastic pie.


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