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.

10th July 2018

digging 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Wed, July 11, 2018 06:44:54

With Nick, Jonathon, Jake, Alex, Brockers, Duncan and Tav.

Nick was digging, Alex on the haul and shuttle, Tav and I were on the surface, the rest of the team positioned themselves wherever they needed to be to move spoil out of the cave.

Initially, Tav was hauling and I was emptying bags and adding rocks to the wall. Then, Alex moved up to the slope and I went below ground to do the haul and shuttle. Later, Alex returned to do the haul and I continued with the shuttling, a back-log to clear. As the session was nearly over, I decided to go up to the end to have a look at progress. We must have gained c.20m during the last few sessions, in fits and starts maybe but good progress. From the rift chamber entered 30/06/18, the way forward leads north-east to east, low c. 0.4m but there is width c.2m, although it does pinch in on either side, the low passage continues c.10m then further progress is stopped at a speleothem blocked north to south aligned fissure. Here are some fine fractured stalactites 100mm to 150mm dia. lying on the floor (?). Although air movement can be detected at this point, it seems much diminished. A clear direction forward is not obvious, yet. The current approach through the low passage is minimalist and requires some further attention, the best way to proceed might then be better assessed. The glimpse of something to the north is still a possible option, as is keeping east and following the line of the west to east aligned fissure. Still, all good stuff and the skip route is much improved.

It was time to leave. 55 skip-loads of spoil – bags and rocks – were hauled out to the surface, a fine effort for a Tuesday evening, and another successful outcome, more metres gained.

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