Saturday, 12 August 2017

Mossdale Session 3 - Decisions, decisions.....

As of this year (2017) and more to enable easy reference, all visits to Mossdale will be referred to in numerical order (starting at zero) even though at times I will be adding the month or even the full date.

Mossdale Sessions 1 & 2 will be added at a later date. The first session refers to an ongoing dig that as yet to receive further examination. The dig in questions is situated beyond the Marathon Crawls and although many an opportunity as come to pass, the project in Ouroborous has thus far taken precedence.

Mossdale Session 3 - Decisions, decisions.....  

17th May  

(Simon Beck, Adele Ward)

A notable trip for a number of reasons; The main one being it was Adele's inaugural visit of many to Mossdale Caverns. 
We'd been putting it off and cancelled the last few opportunities to visit Mossdale. Little did I know at the time that Adele would become my main working partner down there for the foreseeable future.

I really only ever had my sights set on the region beyond Marathon. The reality of pushing sites in the further reaches of Mossdale on a regular basis just isn't practical, especially evening trip type affairs. As a consequence of this I've been pondering with the idea of taking on projects a little closer to the surface. Repeating what ULSA did by damming/diverting the water at Cigarette Junction to lower Syphon Passage, but this time adding pumping in to the mix, as been on my mind for a few years now and was earmarked as a possibility.

Ouroborous was the obvious contender, especially after my previous visit there during the Christmas period 2016. I realised though, that Ouroborous would possibly require a siege style attack with some scaffold at the very least. Primitive tools and antiquated simple means would not only make the going hazardous but success far less likely. One only as to look at previous attempts here by ULSA. A club who managed to pass quite simply through some of the most formiddable obstacles in british caving. If it was easy they would have made short work of it no doubt. 
But, who's to know sometimes?

Mud Tunnel was also a possibility but one I'd really have to be desperate to bother with.

The aim of the days trip with Adele was a brief introduction and a recce down Mud Tunnel. The forecast was't 100% good so I limited our trip to under 1.5 hours. This mean't only a brief visit of Mud Tunnel took place, just beyond where it becomes squalid and muddy. 
The Assembly Hall - Broad Street - Blackpool Sands loop was then completed. With many excited white Trout in attendance!

Ouroborous seemed on the cards for sure after this one, albeit one more visit to Mud Tunnel was decided upon.

The other note worthy issue was noticing the concrete plug from the original new entrance while inspecting the dubious looking blocks that make up the ceiling there. A decision was made to undertake some stabilization work in the entrance crawl before things got any worse. A block in the ceiling appears to have dropped a little and the outside of the first bend has suffered some collapse/subsidence. If human traffic and heavy equipment were going to be a regular occurrence the integrity of the entrance series was going to be put to the test. I didn't want to take any chances especially by putting those helping me at risk.  

If this visit marked anything, it marked the true beginning of a new and exciting phase in the exploration of Mossdale Caverns. I vowed I would do what ever was necessary, even if it mean't back breaking donkey work with equipment. One thing I felt for sure, I was going where nobody had gone before, both with my approach and destination.

It's now almost the middle of August and this write-up (no-3) is long over-due. My 18th visit of the year took place just a few evenings ago. The rest will follow slowly over the coming weeks. Hopefully I will catch up sooner rather than later.

Mud Tunnel (from memory) left amongst our tracks on the walk back.

(Next Installment) Mossdale Sessions 4-9 -

© Simon Beck, 2017. The copyright for this article and photographs remains with the author. It should not be reproduced without permission.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see you're getting round to posting sir, jolly good stuff.