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.

11th March 2017

digging 2017Posted by Vince Simmonds Sun, March 12, 2017 07:38:20
With Tav, Jake, Nick, Matt and Jonathon.

After digging last weekend, I was on surface duty today; Tav was doing the haul and shuttle; Jake, at the top of the slope, Matt at the bottom; Nick, on his return after a back injury caused by over enthusiastic use of the sledge hammer, took the first digging stint, later swapping places with Jonathon.

Seventy-eight loads were hauled out of the cave, mostly bags but some rocks too. I had to change the hauling rope three times, as each became too slippery to grip, even the knotted rope wasn't easy to hold. The bags, filled with claggy sediment, weren't much fun to empty either, difficult to grip and shake the contents out. Only one, though, refused to relinquish its contents, and that became incorporated into the wall, All the sediment was compacted behind the retaining wall. The weather was good, and the birds were singing, keeping the mind off an aching back. I have to agree with Tav, surface duty is one of the harder tasks, especially while it's damp underground and the sediment so claggy.

Still, another good digging session and the refreshments were well earned.

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