Depth through thought

OUCC News 20th May 2009

Volume 19, Number 10

DTT volume 19 (2009)

DTT Main Index

OUCC Home Page

Editor: Andrew Morgan

Upcoming trips:

Digging Properly

Fleur Loveridge

Our new dig site in Dollimore's (Ogof Draenen) was looking quite interesting. It had been a location that Pete had been keen to look at for a while, situated on a bend in the high level passages above Hall of the One and pointing off into the blank mountain. He’d first been there at the end of March with Nick Edwards and Kayliegh Gikes and had found easy digging in loose sand and a significant draught. When we returned in April with Keith, we had battled hangover’s from our friend’s wedding the day before, but still managed to delivery the promised mini-breakthrough. It might not have been Pontypool just yet, but it was a start.

However, the new end of the dig now looked more difficult. Although it was possible for the bold to squeeze over the block just before the end and look into the top of the passage beyond it was certainly small. My main hope was that the passage would be significantly undercut as elsewhere in the dig and we could go round the boulder and dig through the wider section that surely must exist beyond. Well that was the theory anyway. We went back in with Ben the following weekend to get his opinion and allow his years of digging experience to help us find the way through. The dig was still draughty; in fact it was blowing very well on a day when the wind in other parts of the cave was quite weak. Ben was keen and immediately set to attacking the sand filled right wall of the passage just back from the block. This was where the draught was emitting from and it spurred us on.

Ben kicked back masses and masses of sand, quicker than Pete could fill the drag tray and certainly quicker than I could empty it. In fact I thought I was in danger of blocking us all in as I never had time to actually take the spoil back down the passage, just dump it next to me in an ever growing heap. Now we were really “digging properly”. I had been wanting to use this name for a project since my grandfather died earlier this year – it was a phrase that came up again and again at his funeral as my cousin read from his reminiscences of growing up in poverty on the canal side in west midlands, making the most of all the land around them for cultivation, and well, “digging properly”.

We all had an appointment in Pembrokeshire that night so only had the time to put a few hours in, but still shifted many cubic metres of sand out of the dig. There is now a “chamber” at the end big enough to turn round in. We’re following a solid, undercut roof as predicted and also following an impressive draught. So I am hoping for a birthday breakthrough in a couple of week’s time. If I don’t make it out in time for my own birthday party at the Goose and Cuckoo then you’ll know that I am in the mystery streamway.