Walling with some of the big
The winch in its new purple livery
Simon brings yet another
barrowload of fertilizer
Over both the Easter and May Day bank holidays, the
weather was quite good and some long digging days were fitted in.
Initially, spoil was removed very rapidly as it consisted of broken rocks
in large chunks, interspersed with fine sand.
The length of ladder down the shaft was increased as the floor went down
and the buckets came out. The rocks were greatly needed for
finishing off the right hand side walls of the spoil heap.
The Easter digging went well until late on Good Friday when the winch
broke; the main shaft had sheared at a weak point. On Saturday,
Clark and Chris took off for Swansea, looking for a 30 year old motor
mower part which was not surprisingly unavailable.
Luck was on our side however, and instead of a spare shaft, they obtained
an entire mower for the princely sum of �10. The mower was stripped
and the winch back in action and reinstalled up the hill by Saturday
Over the next two days, disaster struck again when the engine governor
broke, but having now a spare motor, this was swapped for the original and
we were back in business with little delay. Graham took both the
engines and the winch home for maintenance before the May Day session.
In May, an engineering break was forced as (i) the digging had outgrown
the shuttering on the rift side wall and (ii) it was found that the bottom
ladder, far from being fixed to bedrock, was attached to a very large lump
of loose calcite.
Both were swiftly remedied; some wood went in and a load of calcite came
out. After that, the dig continued downwards albeit a little more
slowly as the fine sand and large rocks had once again given way to lumpy
mud which was difficult to dig.
The right hand spoil heap was liberally adorned with cow pats in an
attempt to start some plant growth on what is otherwise a very barren
At the last count, the bottom of the dig was 20 metres below the original
Cutting up wood for shoring
The view up the shaft to the flume and beyond
The view down the shaft from the flume