30th June 2018

A successful session!

With Tav, Nick, Jonathon, Jake, Duncan and

Me digging, Tav clearing the spoil and
filling bags, then loading the skip to Nick positioned in the intermediate
hauling spot at the beginning of Another Emotional Journey, Jonathon on the not
so slippery slope, Jake and Duncan on the haul and shuttle. Water had been
collected and poured down the haul route facilitating an easier passage of the
skip. Brockers on the surface, wrapped like ‘The Invisible Man’, protection
from the biting, buzzing flies.

At the digging front, much of the spoil
initially comprised slabs of degraded flowstone, coarse gravel to boulder size,
some conglomerate too. Finer sediment was then removed. Forward progress was
quickly made, and I wriggled through into the open passage glimpsed last
session. Some clearing away of slabs of flowstone and I slid into a finely
decorated rift chamber. The chamber aligned east/west, about 4m length, circa
3m at the widest point and up to about 4m high, has some decent flowstone on
the south-side and some small botryoidal formations. The chamber has a gravelly
floor and a ‘lawn’ made-up of thin tree-roots. The floor drops down at the
east-end where there is a small hole, a place we are not to dig. The bedding on
the north-side of the rift chamber continues, low and partially filled with
sediment. Just beyond the pinch point, another phreatic arch looks to go north,
a small gap beyond a mud cone can be seen. To the east, the bedding still goes
on, again low and partially sediment filled, there’s plenty of digging to be
done yet. The initial investigation over returned to the pinch point to enlarge
it and the approach through the bedding. The spoil was again loosened and pushed
back to Tav who bagged and sent the skip on its way to Nick and the journey out
of the cave. Eventually, we had progressed forward, everyone had to shift forward
a position and Nick came-up to join Tav and me at the dig. We’ve probably gained
a good 10 metres this morning. Digging was finished in time for the team to look
at today’s progress. Any suggestions of digging downwards in the rift chamber
were to fall on deaf ears.

Back on the surface, ‘The Invisible Man’ had
hauled 33 bags and 25 skip-loads of rock, according to the Brockers method of
counting whereby, any skips of rock deemed too light are not counted
individually but are added up to make one decent load.

It was almost time for the pub, but we were
temporarily delayed by ‘four damsels in distress’ who had lost their way in the
wood. They were given directions to find the right path and we were able to go
the pub for refreshments.

Author: mendipgeoarch

Archaeologist, Geologist, Speleologist