For those that haven’t heard me waffling on about getting this cleanup underway, The Great P8 Cleanup consists of shifting all the crap that can be found in Keith “Ben” Bentham’s old dig out of P8. Preliminary work last Summer consisted of collecting all the old digging kit into one big pile and filling up as many old dig trays as we could in preparation for taking it all out. I never knew Ben but I’ve spent a fair few days in his dig over the last 4 years, surveying, digging and clearing – Jesus Christ could that man dig!

At the current count we have 27 broken dig trays to get out of P8, they seem to be 50L water containers and every single one has the bottom broken out! It seems Ben just brought more in every time one broke and he didn’t bother taking them out (it would eat into precious digging time!) Of the 27 containers 7 are filled with old digging stuff; cables, chain, rope, tool handles, tubing and conveyor matting. Anything salvageable as digging kit has been moved into the face of Ben’s Dig as I intend to carry it on.

The plan is to move all 20 empty trays from Ben’s Dig into Mud Chamber, then use rubble sacks to carry the 7 trays of loose rubbish there afterwards. We will then move all the empty trays to the small chamber just inside the entrance, followed once again by the loose stuff (I’m yet to work out the best way to move all this stuff with the P8 traverses, pitches and thin streamway!).

The last move will be to remove all the rubbish from the entrance to a skip placed in the P8 Car Park. The DCA has kindly offered to hire a skip for a day to aid in this project, and I’m talking with the landowner to ask for any help he could provide us with to allow an easy extraction.

If I can convince any photographers to join me down there I’ll try and get some pictures of the cleanup in action!

– Today’s efforts (28/9/17) – Myself, Corin, Jreg and James headed out early in the morning to get started on the cleanup, we explored the far reaches of Ben’s Dig, during which I realised I’d forgotten just how many trays Ben had down there! I thought it was about 10…

We spent some time removing all the scaff, rubbish and spoil that Will had thrown back into the dig face after I forgot to return his shovel, then did a little bit of digging to the tune of some improv cave singing while we waited for James to turn up with the rubble sack.

We moved all the dig trays to the top of the climb that leads to Ben’s Dig out of the streamway and “carefully” dropped all the empty ones into the water below, with Jreg downstream to shepherd them into a pile (he’s good with sheep). We then clipped three trays each to ourselves and proceeded to traverse over the streamway with three huge trays dangling between our legs like a triad of swollen knackers. Two such shuttles was all it took to take the 20 empty trays from the bottom of the dig into Mud Chamber, located just out of the streamway upstream of the climb to Ben’s Dig. Everyone there will attest to how much of a bastard this process is but there’s plenty more bastard processes to go as the cave only gets tighter on the way out, and there are pitches and such in the way before then. Anyway, the long and short of it is that in Mud Chamber there now sits a large pile of broken dig trays ready to be joined by 7 more, filled with digging tat.

Next trip planned is Tuesday 3rd October, if Freshers Season allows for the time that is!