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Rampgill Level to Bottom of Proud's Sump - The Christmas Trip, (30/12/04)

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We had promised a young friend of ours, Eleanor (who has been underground with us previously) another underground trip , and it was planned for the Christmas period when she was on her break from school. Having given her a wet suit some time ago she was keen to get wet so we decided to take her into the bottom of Proud's Sump which entailed some wading in fairly deep water.

On the morning of 30th, December 04 and with festive goodies in our caving sacks we headed off into Rampgill Level and then along Hangingshaw Level from Whisky Bottle Junction. The wade was quite cold and gave ample opportunity to test the new suit. At the start of the water section there is a fine short level with a calcite flow floor. Having spent some time studying this we got back into the water and headed off for the ore shaft which rises up into the flats that Proud's sump drops into. The scramble up the ore shaft is laddered, and whilst not over-difficult is an ideal little training piece for anyone not to over familiar with going up and down shafts. It was a good place for Karl to show Eleanor the ins and outs of a working pulley jammer on the return trip. On arrival at the flats in the Proud sump bottom area much time was spent examining artifacts and exploring the passages that have been created with the building up of the ’deads’ . It is a really fascinating place. This is where the Smallcleugh to Rampgill via Proud's sump through trip goes - where you drop through the hole in the roof of the chamber - well worth doing.

After much time spent on exploration, lunch was taken which was a real feast of Christmas leftovers . Somewhat full of good food we made off for the return trip, and en route to the top of the ore shaft explored a part of the flats that we had not visited before. This proved to be really worthwhile and full of interest with splendid passages and workings . It is amazing how sometimes a fairly insignificant looking passage entrance can become something that entails a long examination. Mark and Eleanor then found an old dump of explosives tins and where able to photograph some of the labels. This find and the interesting passages really added something to the day.

We had earlier planned that we would have a Christmas get together with Eleanor’s folks at our house after the trip; and when we arrived back at base wet and muddy it was to the warmth of stoves blazing away, food being cooked on the Rayburn and good company - a great end to a good day underground.