Author Topic: Reminiscing, August 2017, Longcliffe.  (Read 213 times)

Offline alastairgott

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Reminiscing, August 2017, Longcliffe.
« on: October 22, 2018, 07:07:55 pm »

After an excellent weekend up in Nenthead with the DCC hiding from all the mining enthusiasts. I thought it was high time to write up a little digging report. Partly to mourn the loss of a good dig and also to thank the DCC for a good piss up.


Roll back a year and a half, Lauren Griffin was inviting me to a birthday party of DCC proportions. The date Saturday night on the August Bank holiday. I believe before the party I might have gone climbing on Stanage, but I could be wrong.
 An awesome night was had with the DCC followed by waking up in a field with a sodden tent and remembering my tent had a broken pole. I tried to sneak out of the field but was spotted leaving, because gates like to close before you can get your car through them. I tried this a few times much to the amusement of the SUSS contingent who were onlooking. When I had to ask them for assistance, they asked me where I was going, Longcliffe again?!?


I don't know why. But this day seemed different, more important than any of the other digging days, I'd made a conscious decision not to join the rest of the party and tour Alderley Edge mines. Which would have been fun. I guess a mixture of camaraderie and a good day to be on the surface were coming over me.


A quick pit stop at the Breakfast van between Chapel-en-le-frith and Dove Holes was in order, this remedied the late night. and so I made my way to the parking spot on the Treak Cliff road, where I met the others and urged them to crack on and get ready for digging, I'd join them shortly.


I knew from my recent sessions at the bottom that it was getting close, however digging is never a fast task, I've counted up the trips between the April trip report I wrote and the August 2017 breakthrough, and there were 9 digging sessions between the "howling gale" and the breakthrough day. [four and a half months, probably one dig every fortnight]
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AlastairGott » Sat Apr 15, 2017 6:32 pm

The End Game

A good Day was had today, with eight in Attendance. 

Attendees: 
Down the Hole- Alastair Gott, Ann Soulsby, Joined By Charley Cooley
On the Surface- Charley Cooley, Phil Wolstenholme, Glyn Roberts, Luke Brownbridge, John Sharp and Pete Knight

Started well with Sand being brought up to the Hole. Then an Efficient rig went up, I prussiked up to the knot before Descending, upon realising that my Croll was undone!
        Some Furtling was had in the Drain hole, and I got into this section and Started Pushing Rocks out. not really knowing when I would be joined But I had the Bit between my teeth.  Ann arrived soon and immediately I asked whether she could move the rocks out of the way so I could get out. she did this before she was distracted and I was left still stuck in the drain hole, like a prisoner, only able to look out between the crack in the rock
     We soon were at work lowering the floor all over with diggers delusion, feeling draughts in all the little holes. But my mind kept saying get back to that bit near the drain hole.  Eventually I managed to manoeuvre myself back into pole position, feeling cooler at times but thinking nothing of it.  I soon encountered a bit of wood poking out of the spoil and thought mmm that's interesting. So I had a waggle, and it didn't seem to move a great deal at the start but seemed like quite a sizeable chunk.  So I kept on Digging around it and pop! I pulled out a rock next to it and saw a void underneath, approximately Head Sized going down approx 2ft This Void however had a real draft a "howling draft!".  At this point I called up, "does anyone have an SRT kit", to some confusion.  So I kept digging till i'd filled the hole with more spoil by accident.
     At this point I was getting a little tired, but excited, so I called again. "does anyone have an SRT kit, Can they put it on".... "Can you make him get changed any faster? tell him There's a Howling Draft"  So we set to, mainly to reassure My Mind that there was in fact a draft and also to show Charlie that there was one so he could tell the others that we had not in fact gone crazy down the hole.  The Draft was uncovered again and we will be back at a suitable time that most people are free, hopefully we can get a cast of thousands out to help and do a long day.  One of those longcliffe Picnics might just do it, we've certainly been thinking that it would be a great Idea for years...

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by AlastairGott » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:02 pm
Double Decker Dig, or The View from the Bottom on 16/07/17
  So to follow up on Phil's report on how "sunny" it was, or how the Delectable Keeley Donovan 'got it right', again! So 'glad' to hear it was a sun-soaked session!
   My suit dried off fine when I got out :p
  So I rapidly popped down as soon as someone said it had to be my turn today. As Oleg hadn't turned up by this point, but oh well we'll give him a break this week.  I 'set to' immediately by filling 2 or 3 buckets before Ann could get down, then not long after I decided it would be wise to start another 'step' as the digging area is long enough to have two steps working their way across the shaft.
  so I left Ann on the original step for most of the Session while I worked on the new lower step. The Beauty of having two steps is that Ann and me could work at the same time and fill buckets quite rapidly without getting in each others way or doing hard digging of the floor.  I left the session having dropped the floor on the Tap side by enough to leave the hose swinging vertically a bucket length above the floor. The height of the Step is 2-3ft and is now approximately 3-4ft from the wall with the Tap on it.  The Original Step is progressing well towards the void on the opposite side of the shaft, I know this because I believe we were sharing buckets 50-50 (or should that be 75-75). so a similar amount of Material has been removed on the opposite side (toward the side of the shafte where we believe the entrance to the workings in Longcliffe are).  It is promising to note that the step on the tap side is drafting showing that there must be some air moving between the large rocks in the floor, promising!

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Anyway, back to August 2017, I briskly walked up the hill probably in shorts and T-shirt, as i'd become a surface support digger. Preferring the sunshine to the hole below.


I'd estimate we'd done about 8 buckets each, when a call came from the bottom, we're through! As you would expect, there was some back and forth, while we worked out if they were taking the piss or not. Soon enough I was legging it down the hill to get my caving kit on and run back up to the shaft. Never before have I run down and back up that hill as fast as I did on that day. Sure enough, when we got to the bottom there she was, the passage leading off to the stope, just as on the original survey. https://thedca.org.uk/sssi-monitoring/sssi/castleton/send/5-castleton/52-long-cliff-mine


As predicted by Phil, we had a bit of Excitement, while we reexplored the passages that had already been found by previous explorers but still had the hard graft to do to ensure that the entrance to the passageway was nice and easy to pass. But once that was over, there wasn't really a lot to excite people, so now we've got to do sport caving instead.  :thumbsdown:


We're still working in there, but nothing is looking as nice or sociable as the original dig we lost when we broke through, so salute to a good dig.