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.

9th June 2018

digging 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Sat, June 09, 2018 17:09:40

With Jonathon, Alex, Tav and Brockers.

Jonathon at the sharp end, Alex clearing the filled bags and rocks, Tav, returned from injury and it’s his birthday, jumped the queue and was on the slope, Brockers on the haul and shuttle, leaving me on surface duties.

On the surface, there were flies, lots of flies, and the clegs seem particularly vociferous this year. I did try applying plenty of ‘Skin-so-Soft’, but that doesn’t stop them surrounding you and buzzing, always buzzing. Tried to keep moving around, find a bit of breeze and avoid standing too close to the entrance until necessary. The clegs appear to accumulate around the entrance, probably waiting until you are committed to hauling-out of the cave, then they pounce.

Still I survived, and today’s tally was a total of 62 loads, comprised 44 bags and 18 skip-loads of rocks. Not all the spoil came from the end, Brockers busied himself ‘tidying’, the low passage leading to the West Side receiving special attention.

When the team emerged from the cave, there was lots of positivity regarding the prospects ahead.

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