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.

28th December 2017

digging 2017Posted by Vince Simmonds Fri, December 29, 2017 08:02:45
With Jonathon, Nick, Jake and, eventually Brockers, who turned-up later.

A morning start, as we were all off work during the winter festivities. Plenty of ice and some snow on the hill, so Jake met us at the farm, not good weather for motorcycles.

Jake digging, I was clearing the bags and stones in, probably, the drippiest part of the cave, Jonathan on the slope. Nick, after replacing the skip on the haul and shuttle, was on the top of the slope.

Initially, the bags were stacked on top of the slope until Brockers turned-up, the spoil was then transferred to the bottom of the entrance rift. Each bag when filled, soon turned into slop, it was not going to be fun extricating the sediment from the bags after they had been compressed. Fifty bags (5 packs) filled, it was time to go and clear-out the spoil. Jake, however, remained for a while to mix some cement with sediment and fill an annoying hole that impedes the skip. Hopefully, the stabilised sediment will have hardened sufficiently by Saturday.

In the meantime, the entrance was cleared, the bags were emptied, everyone out, the cave secured, it was time to go. Another squalid session over, good progress being made.

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