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.

8th September 2018

digging 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Sun, September 09, 2018 08:35:33

With Jonathon and Alex

A small team again, mostly due to injuries and work commitments, but still an effective group.

At the top of the rift, I decided to try out the new cows-tails and shunt on the descent (and, later ascent) but, concluded that some tweaking is required.

At the bottom, I was digging, Alex and Jon hauling away the filled skips with occasional rocks and dispersed the contents. The slope has been terraced to give some stability and space for spoil dispersal. The spoil comprises sandy, fine to coarse gravel of calcite and some conglomerate with cobbles and boulders of the same. There is some finer silty sediment at the farthest extent of the dig. A large obstinate boulder was getting in the way and required Alex’s assistance to remove it. When it had succumbed, it was man-handled, with some considerable effort, to a position where, with some mighty blows with the sledge, Alex could reduce it to more manageable pieces. Once it was out of the way, a better view of the way forward was possible. There are some small holes from which air movement was detected, roof pendants were also noted at the end. There does appear to be a way around a large stal boss but the floor needs lowering and, at least, one large boulder removing.

It was, by now, time to make our way out of the cave. I collected an old skip from the top of the slope, filled it with tools and took it to the entrance where, there is quite an accumulation of digging paraphernalia awaiting removal from the cave.

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