Maskhill Mine – 3rd April 2021

One advantage of doing a writeup during a pandemic means you don’t have to describe all the tedious breakfast stuff!, so going straight into the caving itself,  we had hoped for enough of us to do an exchange trip between Maskill and Oxlow, but with only 5 of us it seemed to make sense to do Maskill on its own. 

This is mainly a vertical cave, with some great pitchesI set off rigging with some unusually stiff ropes, must be the lack of use during the lockdown I thought, because my back certainly feels stiffer than usual at the moment!, things went well until we got to the biggest pitch about 35m where the rope was obviously not going to hit the bottom, so had to join the ropes. Passing a knot mid rope is never easy especially when you have never done it before! but I managed to arrange the knot so you could stand on a ledge so all good practice and everyone coped well with no major drama, and soon we were at the in West chamber which connects with Oxlow, one more pitch to the bottom lands you in a wet calcite chamber with an even wetter final short descent into a confined riftthis is where all the water in the system seems to end up goingits  the kind of place that you only go to once just to say you have done it so only Mat braved the cascade of spray to hit the true bottom, well done that man! 

A quick saunter along west chamber and a look at some of the mud formations before a slow ascent to the exit, there was some colourful language from certain people on the way out, but everyone coped well with a round trip of about 4 hours so reasonably slick considering that this is the first SRT trip for the club in quite a while, rewarded by a very pleasant half hour in the sun waiting for everyone to make it out. 

First of many post lockdown trips for the remainder of the year! 

Ade

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