field notes 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Fri, July 06, 2018 06:33:16
July 2018: Jake, Jonathon, Nick, Brockers, Duncan and Tav.
The spoil removal team:
Jake, Jonathon, Nick and Brockers, got on with digging out the sediment,
breaking up boulders with the new sledge hammer, and loading the resulting
debris into the skip. The spoil dispersal team: Duncan, me and Tav, hauled the
skip up the slope and emptied its contents on to the ever-growing spoil heap. This
procedure repeated over and over, until the clock passed beer o’clock when we
left the cave. Plenty of spoil shifted, plenty more to shift!
28th June 2018: Tav, Jon, Mike, Jake and Nick.
Tav’s account, I finished work too late. “Removed the usual steady stream of sand and clay which further exposed the group of large boulders in the floor of the pot. With the aid of the full team, two of these were later physically manhandled up on to the upper ledge.”
field notes 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Fri, June 22, 2018 06:35:12
June 2018: with Brockers, Nick, Jake, Tav, Jonathon and Mike.
I went to the dig-face to
look at a potential boulder blockage, Brockers and Nick were behind me. While I
concentrated on cleaning around the boulders and into an alcove, they continued
to expand the working space at the bottom of the pit. Filled buckets and the
occasional were removed from the dig at a good, steady rate.
By the end of the session,
the boulders don’t appear to be too much of a problem at the present, they can
be worked around and dug-out, if necessary.
Another fine digging
session, thirsty work, time for refreshments.
field notes 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Wed, June 20, 2018 06:22:11
June 2018: with Nick and Duncan.
Steady trip down to the
start of the 60m crawl, reeled in the wire, before getting to work clearing the
obstruction barring further progress. The IRS had the desired effect and the
blockage had been reduced to fractured rock and gravel. Quickly relocated some
boulders, cobbles and gravel and was able to pass over the obstruction into the
open passage beyond. Unfortunately, not much of it. The passage, c.2m (h) x 0.75m
(w) x 4m (l), heads north-west to a sediment blockage, low-down heading
south-west, a body-size tube was followed for c.4m, it continues for another
c.4m, where it bends towards south and appears to get a bit bigger. The air is
fresh in the tube. Of course, it’s all liberally coated with mud. However, with
a bit of digging the tube will be more ‘comfortable’ and the bend ahead
reached. Back in the day, might have pushed it a little bit harder. A slightly
disappointing outcome, but the obstruction in the 60m crawl has been passed,
and that’s digging for you, On the way out of the 60m crawl, both Duncan and I
had flashbacks to digging in Daren Cilau, emerging from the Rock Steady Cruise
into the sandy passage at the end. Happy days!
field notes 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Fri, June 15, 2018 06:02:11
June 2018: with Mike, Jonathon, Tav, Alex, Brockers and Jake.
Mike was upfront filling
the buckets, Jonathon and Tav were passing the filled buckets up to Alex who emptied
the contents into the skip. Brockers did the brunt of the hauling up the slope,
I passed the skip to Jake who dispersed the spoil to the heap.
Sediment was shifted at a
steady rate but there are some irksome boulders impeding more rapid progress. These
will need looking at and a plan formulated as to how best to deal with them.
There was, of course, plenty
of banter throughout the evening session.
field notes 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Thu, June 14, 2018 05:58:30
June 2018: with Brockers, Jonathon and Duncan.
Straight from work to the
suppliers to make a collection of the ingredients necessary for the application
of induced rapid speleogenesis (IRS), then up to Wigmore Farm to make the
preparations for the evenings task while waiting for the team to arrive.
I got changed and walked
over to the entrance with the kit. Brockers and Jonathon arrived, Duncan was
almost ready, so we set-off underground.
At the bottom of the 26m pitch,
Duncan started to dig a potential lead, Jonathon went off to explore Home
Close, later to join Duncan, Brockers and me headed off to the 60m crawl. At
the obstruction, drilled 1no. hole, 500mm x 12mm, into the right-hand wall,
2no. holes, 500mm x 12mm, into a fractured flake of rock, and 1no. hole, 350mm
x 12mm, into a large boulder. Brockers led out with the drill bag and tube, I
followed on with a bag and laid out the wire.
Back at the pitch, got
the SRT kit on, and when the last man was on the rope, went back to the 60m
crawl to bring the evenings endeavour to a satisfactory conclusion – a low, rumbling
The evening was finished
off with refreshments at the Hunter’s Lodge Inn. All was good!
field notes 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Fri, June 08, 2018 06:22:16
June 2018: with Jake, Mike, Jonathon, Brockers and Alex.
Jake digging, Mike
passing the filled buckets up to Jon who was loading the skip. Brockers did the
brunt of the hauling up the slope and I was emptying the skips for Alex to
shovel the sediment up onto the spoil heap. Some large boulders were shifted
but they were retained for use for wall building in the future. There was lots
of sand and lots of banter, at our end anyway.
Time passed, it reached
beer o’clock, we left the cave, got changed in the car park and headed up to
the Hunter’s for well-earned refreshments.
field notes 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Wed, June 06, 2018 06:34:45
June 2018: with Brockers and Duncan.
Rumours of a significant
blockage of the 60m crawl, the result of induced rapid speleogenesis (IRS),
turned out to be unfounded. The obstructing flake, that bars further progress
along the passage, had come down, bringing other stuff with it, a probability
that had already been discussed some time ago. We moved some of the larger
flakes/boulders into a position that we could work around and set about
removing a quantity of fractured rock. Managed to reach forward and clear much
of the debris along the right-hand side, there is more, but that was out of
reach. We could almost see the way forward and detected a significant air
movement. The way ahead remains promising. Another application of IRS may be
all that is required to reduce a couple of obstructing boulders and gain access
to the potential passage beyond.
field notes 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Fri, June 01, 2018 06:21:53
May 2018: with Brockers, Alex, Mike, Nick, Jake and Duncan.
Called in at the farm to
collect the mattock retrieved from Hallowe’en last Saturday before meeting the
rest of the team in the Wookey Hole car park.
Usual warm trip through
Chamber 20 to the dig. There was a little bit more moisture in the cave
following some recent rain. At the dig, Brockers digging, Alex and Mike
shifting the filled buckets and occasional rocks up to me loading the skip.
Nick and Jake hauled the skip up the slope to Duncan, who was managing the
The dig is getting
ever-deeper and a good-sized team, as tonight, is becoming a necessity for removal
of spoil from the bottom. A long bar and a sledge-hammer would be useful for
dealing with larger rocks, most of the tools we had here were taken to the dig
along the rift and haven’t been returned.
We moved lots of spoil then,
we went to the Hunter’s.
field notes 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Tue, May 29, 2018 06:48:2428th May:
with Roz, Duncan and Nick.
It's been too long since the last visit to Home Close, the aim of the trip, on my part was to pay some attention to the obstruction along the 60m crawl.
A steady trip through the cave to the pitch, which was already rigged, just needed to lower the rope. All down the pitch and along Sandy Passage. At the start of the 60m crawl we split into two groups, Duncan and Nick headed upstream to the gravel choke, Roz and I went to the obstruction barring further progress along the 60m crawl. I started drilling a couple of holes into the flake of rock causing the blockage, it was quite fractured so drilling was not easy. Also drilled two holes into the right-hand wall, all holes 500mm x 12mm. All set-up, we made our way back to Sandy Passage, Roz with the bags while I laid out the wire. Went along to the gravel choke to meet-up with Duncan and Nick, Roz went to look at the boulder choke. Nick was in the process of pushing through the choke, in a pool of slurry, and gained access into a cross-rift, the low gravelly passage continues but requires more digging, about 10m gained. We made our way back to the pitch. Roz was already on the rope, then Duncan followed by Nick, taking my kit bags with them. I returned to the 60m crawl to bring today's proceeding to a satisfactory conclusion, a good reverberating rumble. Then, up the pitch and out of the cave.
We even made the Hunter's!
field notes 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Fri, May 25, 2018 06:20:27
May 2018: with Jake, Jonathon, Alex, Duncan, Nick and Mike.
Nick, after a longish
stint working away, was keen to get back to digging, so we let him, Mike
clearing away the filled buckets to Jake, who was loading the skip. I was at
the first stage of the haul with Jonathon and Duncan pulling the skip up the
slope to Alex on spoil dispersal. The sediment was added to the ever-increasing
spoil heap, there weren’t many stones, mostly silty sand.
When the time reached ‘ten
past beer o’clock’ we finished digging and headed out of the cave.
field notes 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Fri, May 18, 2018 06:44:17
17th May 2018: with Roz, Jonathon, Jake, Alex and Tav.
Jon and Tav, digging, Alex loading the skip, Jake and me hauling the load, Roz emptied it, adding the spoil to the burgeoning heap.
A lot of sediment was shifted, and the hole grows bigger and deeper!
field notes 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Wed, May 16, 2018 06:29:31
May 2018: with Jake, Tav and Duncan.
We did what we set-out to
do. The loose rocks, plus a few others, were removed from the top of the dig, we
also cleared a quantity of fine sediment as well. This should enable us to angle
the slope down, allowing the digging to go deeper. Peering down from the top, it’s
a big hole.