Author Topic: Makita Drill - The Last Time I Dug In Goyden  (Read 1111 times)

Offline Kevlar

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Makita Drill - The Last Time I Dug In Goyden
« on: May 05, 2016, 08:52:04 am »
Our housemate George had a day off work so I persuaded him to join us this week for his first digging session with the Black Sheep on the proviso he only had to do surface digging. We picked Vicky up from work and drove out to meet with other seasoned diggers Chris, Alex and Ralf.

The first task was help out on the newly re-opened Howgill Pot (one of many Howgills knocking around, this one is a stream on the way to Thrope Pot) which was known to be a source for water entering Thrope Pot. The vague plan was to use this water to power the water blaster in the dig Thrope Pot dig which I had been helping push for many months. The Howgill entrance was reopened a week previous during a very productive session and we were tasked with moving cobbles from the riverbed back into the cave (an unusual task - akin to taking coals to Newcastle!) to fill a rift and make a traverse to a dig face easier. Once Chris was satisfied the traverse was easier we split into groups. George dug at the end of the traverse destroying a muddy face dropping his spoil down the rift. Alex and Ralf climbed down the rift to explore from the bottom.

Vicky, Chris and I headed to Thrope to explore from the other end and hopefully make the connection. We took in some scaff and Vicky headed to our normal dig to locate spades and a crow bar. The crow bars had apparently disappeared under mud and rock (a fairly regular occurance!) Chris climbed a rift in the inlet and began to rig a rope to allow us to climb up and dig a choked tunnel he believed connected with George's dig. I followed the water at stream level up the inlet until Chris called me back. He needed a scaff bar to rig from, so I sent one up. It was the wrong size, so I went back to the dig to find another. They were all large so Vicky took one and I headed to the entrance to find a smaller one. Bar retrieved I dropped it on my foot (ouch!) and then took it to Chris. We sent both bars up the 15' climb for his assessment. He made his choice, shouted for us to get out of the way and dropped the unwanted one back down whilst we cowered further down the passage.

In sheltering we had headed back up the inlet so went for a better look this time. The first obstacle was passed by Vicky wallowing in the stream beneath it whilst I cunningly went over the top. The second boulder blockage led to a tight squeeze with awkward bends at stream level, or a climb up about 8' or so over boulders to a point about the squeezes. We took this option but found the route a bit too awkward to continue with. We thought we heard voices, but noone replied to our shouts. We noted the sumpy foam at the bottom and headed back to Chris who had made knots in the rope up the climb and was beginning to lower the water level of the inlet by moving the boulders along the floor. He gestured to me to help shift a rather large pointy rock. We had it moving and then suddenly it was moving too fast and out of control and my hand was pinned against a flake on the wall.

This smarted a little, I apparently went fairly pale and I felt faint. As the space near me became full of cavers having a look I felt a little sick. I crouched into a ball and asked to stay there for a bit, ignoring recommendations to removed my (fleecey and warm) glove and wash the hand in the brown gritty water. After a few minutes Vicky and I headed out to the car to change, blood dripping impressively from my hand. My exit was no slower than normal. Apparently I always just find the climb out awkward!

Vicky helped me get changed and was very patient with me as I did things in the order my panicked head was telling me to do them in. Finally I removed my glove, we retrieved the car first aid kit and Vicky bandaged me up. In the light of our headtorches it was clear it was cut, there was plenty of blood, but no real swelling or bits of bone poking out. Once changed and bandaged the others appeared from their digs and we headed to the Crown. The sensation in the thumb improved once next to the fire, bitter shandy definitely helped and the pork scratchings practically healed me whilst we heard how the other's digging in Howgill had got on. Apparently the skinnier Alex had forced his way through slightly above stream level to a muddy point that he then reached by approaching from the Thrope end.

Despite our early finish the evening had been a success. Alex, Ralf and Chris began plotting a return with tools to enable the passage passable for people bigger than Alex and also our water blaster pipe. George had been quite happy digging, but now there is a question mark as to where his and Chris's muddy digs went, and whether they are worth pursuing.

Once we got home (me having driven my car alone) I was rebandaged as the first dressing was drenched in blood and I went to bed. On Friday lunchtime I went to the butcher and popped into the GP surgery on the way home. They took one look and sent me to A&E. By Friday evening I had been x-rayed, had a pocket full of helpful drugs and a fancy new bandage. Apparently I had crushed my thumb, "popping" it and creating lots of new little bits of bone. The cut wasn't quite deep enough to need surgery though that was debated at length. There had been some confusion with the x-ray as it appeared I may have got rock in the wound, but it was decided the extra dark patch was just my bone, I am officially dense. I was told off for not going to hospital immediately, but we agreed that my delay was an improvement on the 3 days it took me to visit them with my broken foot (when I walked to A&E!).

I can't wait to get back to the dig once fit, I feel the cave owes me a little now!

Offline Alex

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Re: Makita Drill - The Last Time I Dug In Goyden
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2016, 01:53:26 pm »
Just noticed this trip report. Just to add to Kevin's report, the next week me and Ralf made the breakthrough and connected the Howgill entrance to the Goyden entrance, not breaking any bones in the process.

How is your thumb now Kevin, is it healing up alright or is a bit short?
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