With Tav, Jake and Nick.
After doing the digging bit last session it was my turn for surface duties this weekend. As it turned out I was rather overdressed in my plastic caving suit on this pleasant spring-like morning. Once the others had disappeared underground I spent a little time tidying up around the cave entrance, packing away the empty bags, etc., before settling back to take in the pleasure of being in an English wood. Down in the village below could be heard the occasional barking of a dog, the sounds of children playing. I watched a group of dainty long tailed tits flittering about in the branches of a hazel just showing signs of fresh leaf growth; overhead the plaintive call of a buzzard as it soared high on rising thermals, all around there were the sounds of other birds going about their daily business – wood pigeons, blackbirds, robin, chaffinch, coal tit, rooks, jackdaws, etc. A farmer then decided it was time to cut his hedgerows, a task that mostly drowned out the sounds coming from the village. This peaceful appreciation of the English countryside and life was truncated every now and then by a shout of “Yo” coming from the cave below as another batch of bags and occasionally rocks were ready to be hauled out, the bags were then emptied and hung up on the line or on a branch. Underground Nick was digging and filling the bags, Jake was clearing them back and Tav was on the haul and shuttle. 56 bags were filled and emptied along with 6 skip loads of rock. Good progress forward was made and we left Hallowe’en Rift to make our way down to the farm satisfied with the mornings work and ready for refreshments at the Hunters Lodge Inn.