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.

7th October 2017

digging 2017Posted by Vince Simmonds Mon, October 09, 2017 06:06:55
With Jake, Jonathon, Nick, Brockers and 'Duncy Sumpy' Price.

While Jake, Nick and Duncy set about clearing Thursday's backlog of bags and rock from the entrance, Jonathon, Brockers and me headed-off to the dig.

I was digging, somehow drawn to making the connection, something that was inevitable anyway, Jonathon was clearing away from behind me, and in between times, set-about breaking the rocks left in Tuck Shop with the sledge. Brockers was at the top of the slope hauling the loaded skip and transferring the load to Duncy, who had, by now, positioned himself on the haul, while Nick did the shuttle, Jake remained on the surface, plagued by midges.

At the dig-face, it wasn't long before the ice-axe was retrieved from the 'Lower' Series, the passage beyond clearly visible. By the end of the session, I could get my feet and legs through the connection, turned around, my head and shoulders in, but the chest would not fit through - curse my old, inflexible body - back in the day, when setting-out on this long emotional journey... On one attempt to push through, I had to call for Jonathon's assistance to give me a pull so that I could extract myself from the squeeze. Had to face it, the connection needs enlargement, so gave it up for another day.

Jonathon was clearly, 'digger of the day' for his effort in clearing a large part of the rocks left in Tuck Shop.

Over 140 skip-loads had been hauled out to the surface, including about 50 loads from Thursday. A sterling effort by Jake. Refreshments beckoned, we made our way down the hill to the farm, and from there, to the Hunter's Lodge Inn.

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