Hallowe'en Rift, Mendip Hills

Excursions [and other notes] involved in the exploration of Hallowe'en Rift; a cave, so far, formed within Triassic Dolomitic Conglomerate.

The exploration of Hallowe'en Rift was started in 1982 by Trevor Hughes with other members of the Bristol Exploration Club, then during the early 1990's Vince Simmonds and other, mostly, local diggers were active at a number of locations within the cave, including the start of the present dig with Graham Johnson in December 1991. The current phase of exploration was commenced in 2009, with the majority of the early work being carried out by Vince Simmonds and Alex Gee, now the regular team includes Rob 'Tav' Taviner, Graham 'Jake' Johnson, Nick Hawkes, Matt Tuck, Jonathon Riley, Paul 'Brockers' Brock and Roz Simmonds. There has been regular assistance from Duncan Price and Mike Moxon, and occasional help from Mike Willett, John 'Tangent' Williams, Pete Bolt, Bob Smith, Callum and Hazel Simmonds, with a couple of guest appearances by that well-known antipodean, Ray Deasy.

4th March 2017

digging 2017Posted by Vince Simmonds Sun, March 05, 2017 08:02:43
With Jonathon, Matt, Jake and Tav.

I did the excavation and filling of bags, Jonathon cleared the bags and rocks away.

The spoil was loaded into the skip to Matt, at the top of the slope. Jake was on haul and shuttle duty, while Tav had opted to be on the surface. The extracted spoil was added to the wall, the sediment packed behind the stonework to add strength.

The wall, with drying bags flapping in the wind like Buddhist prayer flags.

At the end, I concentrated on clearing the 'trample' from the floor, the digging forward toward a back wall. Here, a very narrow, 'clean-washed' gap was revealed. I pulled out some small stones and could peer down about 300 to 500mm, there was a feint draught of cool air emanating from the hole. It would appear that there is a lower level of development. Although, the passage does pinch in, it widens lower down, there is plenty of compact sediment to be removed before a better evaluation can be determined. At higher level in the passage, there still remains a considerable amount of sediment that needs to be removed.

Digging is not exactly rapid at the moment, the spoil is very claggy and sticks to the tools. I found it easier to loosen the spoil with the mattock, then fill the bags by hand. A steady 40 or so bags were filled with a few rocks, along with the rocks left over from Thursday evening, 55 loads were hauled out to the surface.

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