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.

6th April 2019

digging 2019Posted by Vince Simmonds Sat, April 06, 2019 16:51:00

With Jake, Jon, Duncan and Tav

Although last weekend it required three persons to secure the cave, only one was necessary to re-open the cave for this session. Given that we were a team of five, when it was suggested that we should dig in the ‘Soft South’, there wasn’t too much dissent.

I went ahead and clambered down into the cave. I called up for some empty bags and, before I could get out of the way, I received several packs thrown down the entrance by those team members remaining on the surface above.

In the ‘Soft South’ I spent the session lowering the floor of the ‘chamber’, also removing sediment from the southern and eastern extents. Jon, in between loading the skip to Duncan, at the bottom of the entrance, modified the skip haul route into the ‘Soft South’. There had been a delay to the start of today’s proceedings while Jon had to go across the border, beyond the former pinch-point, to the ‘Cold Gnarly North’ to search for tools. The bar that had been used last weekend (lastly, by Brockers, it seems), despite a determined search, had disappeared. Jon reported back with tools from the north and commented that there wasn’t as much water in the puddle as might be expected following this week’s heavy rain. The missing bar was later rediscovered, buried under a considerable pile of loose spoil that had been left un-bagged.

A couple of substantial boulders were loosened, then dragged and cajoled to the base of the entrance, where the surface team comprising Jake and Tav accepted the challenge of getting them out in their entirety. This task called for the use of two ropes. A successful challenge completed, and two more fine rocks were on the surface ready to be used in the base of another stone wall, sometime in the future.

On the surface it had turned into a fine and warm spring day. Today’s final tally was 83 loads out to the surface; 68 bags and 15 loads of rock. Another productive session.

And, I remembered to pick-up my camera – didn’t take any photos though!

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