After a few weeks of dry weather, and now with a new set of beefy pumps, the prospects looked good for a productive weekends digging. By Thursday evening only Keith and Brendan had committed to going and we reluctantly packed up the pumping gear that evening. It looked like all that we would be able to do would be to install the new pumps, when the mill door swung open, and in walked Bartek and Paulina. Is anyone going caving this weekend? they asked. Keith looked at Brendan and then said well sort of... and so was hatched a plan, in return for help setting up the new equipment in the dig, we would arrange a nice caving trip for them in the afternoon.
Paulina supervises Keith and Brendan setting up the pumps - Photo by Bartek BielaArriving at the dig we first popped down the bottom to asses the state of play. Water was a foot lower than when visited two week earlier, so was going to be easily pumpable. We set about installing the header tanks into which the new pumps would sit, plumbing them into the existing pipework. The rigid yellow pipe proved difficult to connect to the tanks until an ingenious idea was thought up. A large teapot was filled with boiling water and transported back to the dig, after as short spell under the flow of boiling water the pipe slid onto the connector to form a watertight seal. Tanks were set up half way up the rail track and also to the side of the middle pool. Once in place the pumps were dropped in and the generator fired up into life. The lower pump filled the higher header tank which was then in turn pumped up to the surface. The float switches activated the pumps as needed, so once connected they could be left unattended. With the middle pool drained and the tank installed we then moved down to the bottom of the dig. The cables just reached the new end point and a pump was dropped into the pool to drain the last of the water, the system above ran unattended clearing the water in record time.
Bartek watches the setting up of the pumps - Photo by Paulina BielaWith the water gone, the digging could now start. Kieth attacked the dig face, concentrating on the area straight ahead. After a few minutes of work with the shovel, a low arch was uncovered, under which was hard packed silt. Attention was also given to the passage that has now appeared on the left. This contained much softer infill and was much more pleasant digging. After an hours work we had achieved as much as could be done with the four of us, so headed out for tea and cake at the Club in readiness for our caving trip.
Present: Bartek Biela, Paulina Biela, Keith Edwards, Brendan Marris