4th June 2016

After recovering from surgery on a dodgy elbow and recently spending several days in the Yorkshire Dales digging at Haggs Brow, Lower Winskill with a group of fine like-minded individuals, it was now time to get back to the local project.

No-one was available due to a whole host of reasons so decided to go solo. This was okay with me because it meant that I could check on the progress made and work at my own speed.

It was a warm day so got partially changed at the farm and packed the rest of my kit into a rucksack and walked up to the cave. At the entrance I got kitted up, packed 10 dry bags and made my way underground. The approach passage is drying out nicely just a couple of small drip puddles. The dig is really dry so I was comfortable in cotton overalls -£6 from Mole Valley Farmers, bargain. A wall of sediment consisting of silty sand with frequent cobbles and boulders including fragmented calcite formations confronted me. I set to work with the small pick, loosening the sediment, hooking out rocks, filling bags as I went and dragged them down the passage to stack them just out of the way along with several rocks. Working slowly forward I eventually opened up a small gap over the sediment that appears to continue, not overly large c.100mm but it is encouraging. The ceiling also looks more solid and it would be good to get away from the small choked rift that is presently overhead. It’s rather disconcerting feeling the tree roots tickling the back of your neck and the constant trickle of sediment falling down into your collar. I filled my 10 bags and found a few more already at the end so rounded up a baker’s dozen plus several rocks. That was enough for me, my elbow was a little tender in certain positions but generally felt good, I made an exit from the cave satisfied with the morning session.

Met Mark, the farmer, on the way back across the field cutting hay so stopped for a chat before going down to the farm, getting changed and making my way to the Hunters Lodge for some refreshment.

Author: mendipgeoarch

Archaeologist, Geologist, Speleologist