Where Have All Our Diggers Gone?

The last major find by the Red Rose as far as I recollect was the Woodhouse Way.
Maybe one of Jim Newton’s digs will go one day but even if it doesn’t it was Jim who pointed the intrepid diggers at the Woodhouse Way in the first place as I remember.
Anyway, the point is how about some of our newer/younger members having a go. The thrill of finding new passage or even maybe a new cave or pot, to tread where no man has trodden before is really the ultimate event in a caver life. What we get is worn out fingers.

There is new cave to be found but it won’t be unless someone gets out there and turns over boulders. If you think there’s no chance then read on . . . . . . .

Craftsman’s Pot — West Kingsdale.   Winter1986.

Some of the regular digging team (N.C.C. & D.C.C.) had been prodding a draughting grass sod near Apprentice Pot for some time, it had been called a “No hoper” by one or ‘two of our “experts” but then all of a sudden one weekend it wasn’t a no hoper any more, and even the doubting Thomas’s got infected with enthusiasm.

Down a dug out and shored ten ft. muddy and hole through a revolting muddy ditch and into a fairly tight meandering passage descending fairly quickly to the head of a tight, free climbable pitch of around 20ft. At the base of the climb all of a sudden it turned into fun, the constriction gone we were two thirds the way up a 40ft. hole with a 25ft. pitch below us.

At the bottom of this pitch there is a hole into a small boulder floored chamber out of which is a hole in the floor, another 25ft ladder pitch into a large but none too safe chamber with a boulder slope rising up to above the top of the first 25ft. ladder.
The following day another passage was dug through rocks near the base of the first ladder to reveal ‘a descending crawl on boulder floor for about 30ft. At the end of this passage Lugger started digging in the floor only to find it disappear beneath him leaving him jammed and sweating 90ft. above an already well littered aven (littered with an assortment of digging tools and lots of big rocks, and thank goodness, no bits of Lugger).
At this point everybody came out to eat and drink, and calm Luggers nerves. Of course cafe owners have all got big flapping ears so I was “invited’ to go along on a pushing trip.
It was Sunday evening and up till then I thought I’d had a hard day, but it’s amazing what adrenalin can do. We found the head of our newly formed 90ft. pitch exceedingly loose, being lined on two sides with mud and boulders for. 20ft. to 30ft., so it was decided to rig one ladder and descend to a loose ledge 15ft. down (judging that any falling rocks wouldn’t gather enough momentum to do us too much damage.) An exposed 1Sf t. traverse on this ledge took us to a calcited blockage which caught hammer rash, thus allowing us through to the head of a superb 60ft. pitch, it even came complete with it’s own ladder hanging stal boss at the top. A fine aven this if just a tiny bit littered with evidence of bits of loose roof! We .were all far to eager to find a way on to be too worried about getting squashed. (No one had bothered to look for a way on below the original dig in the floor for quite a few trips to tome though).

We thought that we were about 250ft. - 300ft. deep now so we didn’t anticipate another pitch but there were upstream and downstream passages to follow.
Upstream is a mud floored tube getting too tight (still needs digging.) Downstream took us three or four trips to get through a tight wet bedding but then yet more adrenalin pumping stuff, stomping along the first significant horizontal development Craftsman’s had yielded. Some crawling, some walking, some avens to climb (none of them gave us anything) and some more crawling to it’s present end, a too tight duck, floored with very fine silt like sand which when dug out is immediately replaced from every side. The roof will have to be raised sometime to allow us to go further towards the “Upper Kingsdale Master Cave”.

Steve Round.

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