Peakshole Sough Photo Trip - Phil Wolstenholme

Tuesday, 17 November, 2015

Present: Emma Key, Phil Wolstenholme, Lisa Wootton

Another photo-trip for the next book, and a repeat visit from last week when we were given the wrong key and couldn't get in. I already have several average photos from here in various spots, but the last trip to get the rest was a steamed-up nightmare that prevented us from getting any truly good shots. That trip finally persuaded me to buy some flashguns and a radio trigger! Water levels, both on the ground and in the air were very high, and the horizontal aspect to the airborne water was a bit disconcerting. Even underground you could hear the rumble of the wind, and feel the draughts pushing around. The roof was rather drippy compared to usual, so initially we did a few shots in the sough near the ladders, and then climbed up into the lower pipe workings, which again were wet - it's usually bone-dry up there. Got some nice shots given the cramped conditions, thanks to an 'estate agent' lens, and then we did the scrapey haul up the ladders into the top section - my bag getting totally jammed twice beneath me, meaning I had to climb back down and 'jiggle' it out and then try again - doh!

Upstairs was even gustier, and sitting under Wall Shaft was hilarious, with big 'whumps' of wind coming down it every few seconds. We did some good shots in the really tight level running to Field Shaft, and then climbed into the upper pipe workings (where we failed dismally last time) to try and improve the shots - success. We even managed to get a shot of the hand-picked leat carrying water away from the workings, which is a particularly gymnastic pose for both photographer and model! Strangely, despite the wet conditions, the leat was bone-dry. After that I'd had enough of contortions, so we moved back upslope and picked off a couple of easier shots before packing up and slithering out. The water in Slop Moll was definitely higher than two hours before, and the main system was clearly winding up for another 'flush-out', it still chucking it down, so we scuttled back through a deserted village to the relative warmth of the Chapel.

Another successful trip, with only three or four left to do now before we start compiling all the material. Thanks again to Lisa, and this time to Emma too, for being such willing (and flexible) models. I'll post photos when they're done, but please don't spread them around as they're obviously intended for publication, as are most at the moment.