TRIP REPORTS - what have you been down to? > Digging & Exploration Trips in The UK

P8 Xmas Aven dig diary

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I had travelled back down to Derbyshire to go dig Christmas Aven in P8 again - it felt good to be home.

The day started with me waking up on the SUSS house couch, consuming an energy drink (highly recommend the purple Rockstars). After a suitable amount of faff my companion Jack whipped off his dressing gown to reveal an undersuit in a superman esque fashion and off we trundled in my piece of shit car to the hill from Sheffield.

And what a beautiful day it was! Clear blue skies, beautiful sunshine. The trip across the moors was brilliant. The sun and cool temperatures meant it was a perfect day for grit climbing, but alas, climbing is for bellends and I suspect neither me nor Jack wanted to queue for routes on Stanage.

We arrived and paid our dues (the farmer remarked it was possibly warmer down the cave than outside but later I discovered this was not the case) and after a bit of usual faff we got underground.

Jack sped off and this reminded me of how fat I have become after just starting a PhD with its luxurious stipend, which allows for copious cake. I made a mental note to cut back on unnecessary cake (that sort of shite with raisins in it for a start). I was suitably impressed by the on-going P8 cleanup and I don't think I'm alone in never having been aware of just how much shite was in there.

Jack had re-rigged the digging perma-rigging (NB: please leave all rigging in P8. It is retired rope tho so up to you if you use it) but I am old and fat and consequently we reached Xmas aven in a sluggish 30 minutes.

For those not aware of the background: upon reaching owd man's rift at the end of dry P8 before sump 1, a climb leads up left and follows a (mainly) phreatic upwards towards an aven (Xmas aven). This is almost directly above the junction between mud hall and the main streamway and is trending towards Sump B area (ish). There's a big hole in the aven approx 2m across which the Eldon dug back when Reavis was young (maybe 1875, I believe this is why it's called owd man's rift). They were kind enough to not only let us carry on the dig (I suspect they abandoned t for less miserable prospects) but they also left several tools and sandbags.

Since we have started this dig, we have bolted the aven to add a pulley system for hauling, and extended the dig downwards by approximately 5m (I know it isn't much but we had to learn how to make a scaffold shaft wotsit) and installed a retaining wall to stop the whole sodding thing collapsing.

Anyways I digress. Me and Jack arrived and begun work. The job today was to sandbag the retaining wall installed last time by several SUSS members, with Jack doing most of the work. It was relatively easy going and the dig has been downgraded from "imminent death" to "just a bit sketchy". Assuming we put the scaff in right of course.

After finishing this, we began to dig. We were delighted to extend the dig HORIZONTALLY (gasp!) By almost a metre and find the roof flattening. This is what we have hoped for and expected - we are hoping that the dig opens into horizontal phreatic similar to the way into Xmas aven itself.

There are two options it might proceed if it "goes" - the first is that it will open into some passageway or maybe a chamber. The second option in my dreams is that the dig finds a reef marginal conduit, suddenly turns left and extends several kilometres, bypassing sump 10 and finding the passage underneath the
Badgers/Eldon dig, so that I can leave a cardboard cutout of me for them to find.

I suspect the former is more likely than the latter and at this point I'd take anything I get.

After some time digging, the CO2 build up in the dig reached a tipping point and Jack began to talk more bollocks than usual and complain of nausea so we left. I don't know what we're going to do about the bad air. I'd like to measure it. Perhaps we can throw some lithium peroxide in it or start a small cannabis plantation on the spoil heap too remove CO2 and raise dig funds. Alternative suggestions welcome.

Just before leaving, we shot the disto down it but Jack said he had tunnel vision and I doubt his accuracy so I don't think I shall send the data to the Guardians of the Master File just yet.

We cleaned our kit in the stream and toddled out to Baltic conditions, threw all our shit in the car and zoomed (trundled) back to the SUSS house for pizza.

All in all an enjoyable time digging. Feel free to go and have a look as long as you realise:
1. The climb into the dig is a 5m bridging based freeclimb with a shit handline tied to a stal so if you fall in that's your own fault
2. The dig is full of noxious gases that extend beyond the student club's normal verbal effluent
3. The dig is unstable please don't touch any of it

Good trip tho and an interesting part of P8.

Surely it just fills up with all the rubbish you chat though?

Today was prime connies for grit escalade escapades and you know it.


Nice to hear your back on with your P8 Project 2xw..

Enjoyed reading your amusing description of your overland and cave journey....

Dig report 2017.12.03

I awoke on the suss couch again and settled in to reading the new descent (amusing to hear about controversial Southerner digs, I wish ours got so much attention). This time I had a yellow monster energy drink and some quavers which was shit.

This time we were joined by the illustrious new President of CHECC and a photojournalist by the name of Tommy Moore.

We proceeded to get to the cave via Castleton where Tommy bought some cake. I noticed a heart shaped photograph of Rob Eavis in Tommy's wallet but thought I had better not ask.

The cave was dry ish and we proceeded via the normal route. We made youth carry the tacklesack with photo and disto, to which he replied "Hi I'm David I'm the new president of CHECC"

Upon entering the dig Tommy's engineering sense tingled but he approved of our scaffold. The president of CHECC started digging whilst Tommy buggered about taking selfies.

A few kibbles later, I asked how each were doing.
"Hi I'm David and I'm the new president of CHECC" said the new President of CHECC.
"I wonder what Rob Eavis is doing right now", said Tommy, misty eyed.

Mirth was had and we surveyed the pot, the data for which Tommy promptly deleted last night. More kibbles were removed. Some rocks will require capping and/or plug and feathering.

We left early so Tommy could take some pictures.

The non-lemon flavours of San Pellegrino are disappointing.

I will upload pictures soon.

 ;D ;D :clap2:


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