Last Thursday, I went for a quick look at the recently extended section of P8 beyond the old Eldon dig (Christmas Aven) with the aim of taking some photos, improving my survey notes (adding cross sections), and having another assessment of the potential for continuation.

"No." said mother nature and my better sensibilities.

It's been a little while since I've been on a solo trip, it's always enjoyable, as I find it to be a much more immersive experience than caving with loud-mouthed friends and acquaintances.
After tearing myself off the sofa and getting over to Perryfoot I'd say I was underground for about 8.15pm - later than anticipated but never mind. Moving alone through the cave was smooth and steady, with only a small pelicase in tow I made good time.

P8 was on top form; after a long, dry summer the refreshing blasts of water from the streamway felt abnormal but nice. Sump 1 was up, and nice and foamy, the handline up into Christmas Aven was improved after a clean up from the percolation drips.

Upon arrival to the dig I was disappointed to find the breakthrough "U-bend" to be full of brown water. I sat in it to make an assessment, and found that there was no audio connection to the other side. The gravy was too thick, even for this Cumbrian - all the spoil and sides of the dig had slumped in. Knowing how unstable the slop(e) on the other side was, I didn't fancy trying the tight right-angled squeeze and ending up drowned, buried, alone. Or something like that anyway.

A quick photo, back to Sump 1 for another, and then a quick look at Sump B, all very pleasant and behaving correctly.

Water levels had risen ever so slightly for the journey out, and I duly arrived at the pub cleaner than would be expected for a "digging" trip.

I could well be back down some time this weekend for another attempt depending on how the weather behaves...

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