field notes 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Fri, April 20, 2018 07:33:53
April 2018: with Nick, Duncan, Brockers, Jonathon,
Mike, Claire Cohen and Ray Deasy.
A good assembled for this
evening’s foray. As there were plenty of people to carry-on with the dig down
the rift, I decided to go along and check the current state of the Sand Dig,
Nick came along too. We’ve had a spell of drier weather recently, and surface
temperatures are rising. It had been noticeable on the trip through Chamber 20
that water flows had decreased, it was not a surprise to find that the Sand Dig
was now, dry. There had been quite a slump of sediment into the end of the dig,
as we were there, Nick and I started to clear-out some of the rocks. A skip and
hauling rope will need to be organised ready for the digging activities to
resume next week.
It was soon time to re-join
the rest of the team, they had continued clearing the spoil from the fissure leading-off
the rift. When they had emptied the last few bags and climbed the slope, we exited
field notes 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Fri, April 13, 2018 06:49:58
12th April: with Tav, Jonathon,
Brockers and Duncan.
Five go digging! I
couldn’t make the trip last week, but others did and had cleared some of the
bang debris, the flake had been successfully fragmented. This
evening, we continued to clear the accumulation of spoil from the slowly
expanding alcove/rift. The digging is the easy bit, the removal of spoil along
the rift is awkward and quite technical, five people is the minimum number required
to make digging effective. The spoil mostly comprises gravel and cobbles of
conglomerate and limestone with the occasional boulder, these were soon reduced
to a more manageable size with the small sledge-hammer. At the end of the
session, I could stand-up in the rift and turn-around. There remains, plenty of
spoil for another digging session, maybe we will be able to make a better assessment
of the prospects then.
Some drier, warm weather is
forecast, we might consider going to have a look at the sand dig soon.
field notes 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Fri, March 30, 2018 14:32:46
This echinoid was recovered from the spoil heap of a prehistoric ditch being excavated in Sherborne, Dorset recently.
Micraster has a characteristic heart-shaped test, covered in small bosses and usually found in strata of Cretaceous age. Interestingly, the underlying geology at the Sherborne site is Jurassic, this poses a question: does the 'heart of stone' represent a placed deposit? Unfortunately, it was found 'out of context' so one cannot be certain.
field notes 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Thu, March 22, 2018 06:21:02
21st March: with Roz.
A trip to apply some IRS. As usual, a pleasant trip though Chamber 20, a fine section of Mendip cave passage. There is still a good trickle of water in places.
At the dig face, 4no. awkward holes, 500mm x 12mm, drilled and filled, a loud retort and all was well.
Passing the Hunter's Lodge Inn, it would be churlish not to stop!
field notes 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Fri, March 16, 2018 06:58:08
15th March 2018: with Duncan, Jonathon, Max Fisher, Tav, Mike M and Leonie (MCG). Alex came too!
While us headed-off to the digs, Alex did his own thing, mooching around 20, etc. I went with Leonie to look at the 'Sand Dig', the others slid down the rift to go digging.
At the Sand Dig, water levels were higher than the last visit, a consequence of recent heavy rain. It could be a while before it dries enough for digging.
We left the Sand Dig and joined the rest of the team to help with the digging. At the end of the session, the dumped spoil had been removed from the alcove and the narrow rift beyond could be seen. Progress forward will require the application of some induced rapid speleogenesis (IRS). That will have to wait until next week after I return from the Peak District.
It was a fine evening's activity!
field notes 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Tue, March 13, 2018 06:16:02
While out on a regular early morning (c.05:25am) walk with the dog I made the following observation. After I leave home, I pass close to some residential properties, where there is constant artificial lighting, here early morning birdsong is well underway. When I reach the lane and walk-up the hill, there is only natural light, the birdsong has not yet begun. I return along the same route, 20 minutes or so later, the birdsong is just getting underway in the naturally illuminated lane.
An example of how light pollution affects the birds natural daily cyclic rhythm.
field notes 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Fri, March 09, 2018 06:10:51
8th March 2018: with Jake, Jonathon, Dunc and Mike.
It was good to get underground again after a two week lay-off, due to snow and other things.
We continued with clearing-out the alcove and narrow rift beyond. I thought I sensed some air movement now the gaps between the fill are opening-up. The drips through Chamber 20 were active, water flowing down the cascades strongly. It was an enjoyable evening.
Should remember to bring the camera.
field notes 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Sun, March 04, 2018 08:09:173rd March:
with Roz, and Buster.
Not digging in Hallowe'en Rift today so decided to walk to the Hunter's Lodge Inn. Also an opportunity to see how much snow was on the hill-top. Up to Smitham Chimney, the pond had frozen over.
Into the woods,
before crossing fields towards Wigmore Farm, stopping to admire some fine ice formations in a sink.
Some impressive drifts too. We continued the walk towards Red Quar, from there over Stockhill to the pub for lunch and chin-wagging.
After lunch, along the road to SMCC and across the Mineries, the pond was frozen over, but not hard enough to try and venture out.
Back ...through Stockhill to Red Quar, the recently ploughed field has good evidence of aeolian sediment transportation having occurred, the plough ridges were wind dried.
Followed the bridle-path into the green lane before going across fields to Smitham, down to Garrow Bottom and through Harptree Combe.
A good day's walk, about 7 hours. Trudging through the deeper snow was arduous at times, especially for the Jack Russell with his little legs.
field notes 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Fri, February 23, 2018 06:21:5122nd February 2018:
with Jake, Jonathon, Brockers, Dunc and Mike M.
Mike M and myself dropped further down the route to Sump 23.75 to have a quick look at another potential lead, where a feint air current could be felt. This will be left on the back-burner for the while. We returned, up the climbs, to re-join the rest of the team clearing the alcove. Beyond the alcove is a narrow 'draughting' rift, it is this we are trying to regain access to.
field notes 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Fri, February 16, 2018 09:06:4915th February 2018:
with Jake, Jonathon, Tav, Roz, Duncan and Mike M.
Good to have a project in mind and make a return to the quest in Wookey 20. Duncan and Max Fisher, on a diving trip into 24, have followed a dry rift passage for c.10m to a constriction, beyond, the rift appears to continue. They plan to return with caving kit and pursue the rift further.
On the way-up through Wookey 20, it was noticeable that there was plenty of water after the recent wet weather. We were not surprised to find that the 'sand dig' was occupied by a deep pool of water. We collected the tools and equipment required for the mission and made our way to the descending rift that leads to Sump twenty-three and three-quarters, passing a group from Cheddar Caving Group for a second time.
A short drop down the rift, we arrived at the site of interest, a small alcove we had previously backfilled while widening the rift to the sump, we had commented at the time that, "we will probably be digging this all-out in a couple of years", and so we are. We made a small dimple in the spoil stash but, all too soon, it was time to vacate the cave. We shall return.
field notes 2017Posted by Vince Simmonds Wed, November 08, 2017 06:20:56
The main purpose of the trip was to check-out the current state of the dig in Chamber 20. After the recent rain, I wasn't surprised to find that the dig was still underwater.
But, I did take the opportunity to spend some time admiring some of the fine formations that can be seen in this cave passage.
These formations are formed by the precipitation of carbonate that is in solution in water, the energy of water can also lead to natural sculpting of the rock.
field notes 2017Posted by Vince Simmonds Sat, November 04, 2017 07:52:36White Pit NGR ST 5270 5012
Heavy rain caused our planned trip into Welsh's Green Swallet to be cancelled. Earlier in the day, Tony Jarratt (J'Rat) had suggested that Rich Blake and myself joined the diggers over at White Pit, near Priddy, if we were looking for something to do.
From the logbook:
Rich Blake, Andy 'Eyebrow', J'Rat, Trevor Hughes, Tim Large, Pete Hellier, Andy Sparrow, Estelle Sandford.
"Welsh's trip was called off, so Rich and myself decided to go over to White Pit and lend a hand, neither of us had seen the end before.
The work done over here is quite phenomenal, I was surprised by the amount of spoil shifted. Anyway, Tim was already working away, so we got some rocks smashed and shifted, so as to gain entry into a rock-filled bedding. After shifting a substantial quantity of spoil, Tim decided to go for it. Down-slope was filled with too much rock, so he headed up-slope, passing some precarious looking rocks, calling back to announce he was in a huge chamber, I then called Andy Sparrow and J'Rat forward so that they could have the honour. Everybody managed to get into the large boulder-filled chamber that contained some very nice decorations. After everyone had a good root around and chatter they went back to tidy-up the rocks leading down-slope from the entry point. Rich and I were left in the chamber with Eyebrow and Estelle.
Rich and I had already spotted a promising looking site but some formations needed to be sacrificed. We started to shift rocks from the slope to get under an arched roof. I ended up head first down the slope at 45 degrees passing rocks back before I was able to push some to the side and then, some ahead of me. Eventually, I popped through into a big decorated passage. I called back, saying what I could see and to get word back to the others, also asking for a bar to remove a couple of calcited rocks. Rich, Eyebrow and Estelle then came through, I suggested we should wait for the others to arrive.
Andy Sparrow then told Estelle to lead-on. She entered some of the best decorated passage I've seen on Mendip. The passage was 60 to 70 feet long, up to 20 feet wide and 10 feet high, the left-hand wall was white with calcite. Crystal pools, cascades, translucent straws, big bosses, just fantastic. At the end, an easy dig would have led into more passage, it was decided that should be left for other's in the digging team that were unable to turn-out this evening.
After we had got through to the end, J'Rat turned, smiled and shook Rich and I by the hand."
Happy days indeed!