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, Roz Simmonds, Duncan Price and Mike Moxon. There has been occasional help from others including Mike Willett, John 'Tangent' Williams, Pete Bolt, Bob Smith, Callum and Hazel Simmonds, with regular guest appearances by that well-known antipodean, Ray Deasy.

29th July 2017

digging 2017Posted by Vince Simmonds Sun, July 30, 2017 09:09:43
With Tav, Nick, Brockers, Jonathon and Matt, returned from the 'Motherland'.

A good team turn-out today, I just hoped there would be plenty to do.

Quickly up to the end to assess the damage done, there was spoil to be removed, so I left Jonathon to carry-on and went back to the Tuck Shop. Brockers and Nick joined Jonathon to help with digging and spoil removal.

Meanwhile, Tav had gone down the pot and along Toil and Trouble, going left at T-junction, and over the top of the chamber into the bedding, a dig-site we had abandoned a long time ago. There is a rift feature to one-side of the bedding. Tav and I made an aural connection between here, and the fissure leading south from the Tuck Shop. Tav returned, a discussion took place, there can't be much in the way to link the two areas, and further digging would be better accessed from Merlin's, so it was decided, let's make the round trip.

There was spoil to shift, so Tav went to the haul and shuttle, I went to the top of the slope, Nick moved into the Tuck Shop. Bags and rock were then moved out of the cave, up to Matt, who had been waiting, patiently, on the surface.

Nick, in an effort to keep himself occupied, began to open-up the fissure south, so we had three people digging, all in different directions.

The hauling became increasingly difficult, the bottom of the skip was breaking-up, and was scouring mud from the passage floor. We had to haul just one bag at a time. It was getting towards the end of the session, another personnel shift was made to clear the remaining bags out to the surface.

Over forty loads, out to the surface and positive decisions made. Jonathon reported that a small crack had opened at the end of digging in the south-west lead.

A successful morning.

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