First day of digging week sees major new breakthrough!!

Zach's Dig breaks into the lower end of Gents'

By Bridget Hall

Bridget, Gary, Mandie and Rhys at Zak's dig.

The first day of digging week was kicked off when Gary Evans got a team of people together to help him with his project, Zach's Dig that for the past few years he has dug with friends. I was going up the hill to have a look at Razor Slot but Gary pursuaded me that my morning would be well spent helping haul buckets and I could get back to the hut for a cuppa in 5 minutes, so I was in.

This was the first time I'd been to this dig and I was joined by Martin Hoff and Nicki Bailey. Having cleared the sleepers off the entrance I was surpised at the size of the shaft that Gary and friends had created. It was all well scaffolded apart from one bar that Gary told us not to touch or it would all fall down. Gary was first down and was expecting to have to do his usual frog resuce, however there were no frogs to be found; perhaps this was the first sign that today was a little different. Having hauled on lots of buckets and started to stack spoil on the impressive heap, Martin came up and told me, as we stood on the edge of the shakehole, how close we were to Northern Lights. This news spured me on to have a go at the dig face and so armed with a crow bar and spade I had a go at clearing my share of the fill from the bottom of the shaft ...... >

It was quite exciting as I could see air space above the fill and the water was draining away. Just as I thought I was getting somewhere Martin shouted for me to stop and jumped down into the dig face area and leaned against the shuttering. A little purturbded I climbed up into the roof space and over Martin who called for more wood and the lump hammer. Martin was very calm at this moment but was in fact hold back much of the soil behind where I had been digging. I was a little put off and as soon as Martin had rebuilt the shuttered scaffolding was measured up for and I retreated to the surface to start hacksawing. Having got half way through one steel bar (girls!) , Martin took over and managed to get through the rest and also three blades in the process!

While all this was happening Jules, Madie and Rhys had turned up and joined in with the hauling and heckling. Jules and Martin went to have a dig and it wasn't long before there were shouts of excitment and Gary was called for. The excitment soon died away as evidence of Mr Clipstone and his white tip-ex marks were found. Mandie, Rhys and I were not to be disappointed and sent Jules to fetch a ladder and the key for Gents'. We entered Zach's Dig and made the first through trip to Gent's, free climbing the ladder pitch on the way (Jules had forgotten the tether!).