Volume 45 Number 3 Article 3
Ray Duffy (RRCPC Ease Gill Project Officer)
On the 14th of June, before we’d set out for underground, Sam and I planted some new stones on the opposite side of the farm track to the existing ones, in an effort to encourage our growing colony of orchids to thrive. We even painted the stones white to try and stop pillocks hitting them in their cars.
Three teams from the Red Rose Cave & Pothole Club set out to do some conservation work in Lancaster Hole. Team Hall (Andy, Tim and Andy Mac) set out with a ladder replacement for Montague West, scrubbers and water bottles. Another team, Team Penney (Glasgow Uni. lot) actually thought they’d escaped but timed their arrival back at Lancaster Hole just coinciding with Obergruppenfhurer Duffmiester and so got sent off to do some work in Slug World. The final team, Team Duff, headed off to the gem, sadly often visited by knobheads, The Colonnades. The aim of us all was to clean the mud off stals, left by clumsy or misguided cavers, and to put new clean tape in place to help make them aware of the presence of the formations and features. Sam and I have spent several trips doing a bit on our travels, a bit of scrubbing here a bit of washing there, so we were looking forward to not ruining another trip because this time we were setting out to clean.
When we arrived at the Colonnades we tried to clean the large stals and their friends, but some of the marks are either natural or very ingrained. However, as we reached the base of the columns we noticed that the stal continued onto the floor, although covered in thick mud. After about four hours of scrubbing were amazed to find that the floor below the columns was calcite flow and not just mud, a flow of white, yellow and red was exposed below the twin columns.
We intend to return to clean the floor beneath the third column at a later date (unless someone beats us to it!!!!). Several other stals had the muddy fingerprints removed and the majority are at the moment clean and white. We think some of the stal are darkened at the top due to have candle wax melted on them, it beggars belief! Hopefully the formations we've cleaned will remain mud free until next year giving us a chance to reach another area.
While we were underground Jane Chilton repaired the streamside wall near Bull Pot of the Witches and managed to empty the carbide tub at the top of the lane, what a good effort.
Johnny had done his stint by strimming the whole farm area with a stimmer minus the strim stuff. He improvised with some electric cable, another good effort.
Andy Walsh headed off for County Pot and made a good start at trying to stabilise the slope down to the pot, this could take some time and a lot of effort.
Several other people have pledged time and effort but couldn’t make it for the actual weekend so hopefully even more may be achieved. If you haven’t done anything yet remember every little bit helps, even if it’s just taking the rubbish left around the farm away with you sometimes.
Thanks to everyone who helped or is about to help.