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.

11th May 2019

digging 2019Posted by Vince Simmonds Sun, May 12, 2019 06:49:36

With Brockers, Jon, Duncan, Nick, Jake and Tav

For me, the first stop of the day was to collect the necessary supplies for the task ahead and then meet the team in the Hunter’s car park at the allotted time.

In the cave, while the others were digging in the Soft South, I headed to the Cold Gnarly North to apply the IRS. Keeping the kit out of the puddle was my main concern; as I had found to my cost previously, lithium ion batteries do not like getting wet! Luckily there is a shelf on one-side where the kit could be laid-out. Then to the drilling, I spent some time trying to work-out whether I could achieve the task in hand and stay reasonably dry, I quickly came to the realisation that this wasn’t going to be the case. I drilled 4no. 14mm x 260mm pilot holes in the required locations, that was okay, it was the full length, 12mm x 550mm holes that required me to lie flat-out in the puddle. Once soaked, I began to feel a bit chilly. Anyway, with a bit of care, the task was completed and the kit re-packed. I went back to retrieve the wire reel from where I had left it, Duncan came up to take the drill and bit tube. I returned through the puddle. All wired-up, I made my way back south to join the team.

Brockers and Jon were digging and filling the last few bags. Duncan, at the bend/junction was hauling the loaded skip part-way then Nick, at the bottom of the entrance, pulled the skip the rest of the way. The load was transferred to the surface skip where Jake and Tav were rotating the hauling and emptying, in the pleasantly warm morning sunshine. The count for today; 120 loads, 110 bags and 12 loads of rock (some of these were ‘extra’s’ provided by Nick, who just can’t help himself).

When all were out of the cave, my task was brought to a satisfactory conclusion. The gate was replaced, and the cave made secure. We left to walk down to the farm. The usual refreshments at the Hunter’s followed, although I didn’t tarry long, I was still cold so returned home to soak in a hot bath.

Just the caving kit and other equipment to clean in the afternoon.

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