20th July 2019

With Jake, Jon, Brockers and Tav

We assembled at the usual time, 10:00, in the Hunter’s car park. Waited around a while for Nick, although Nick did say on Thursday evening, he might not be available, so headed down towards Wookey Hole, to the farm. Got changed and walked across the fields to the cave entrance in the woods. Then, another key moment, when I came to unlock the gate the key that had been in my caving helmet was no longer there. So, I had to retrace my steps to search for the missing key, Jon came along to help. Luckily the key wasn’t too far down the path and we returned to Hallowe’en Rift and the gate unlocked.

Brockers led the way to the Cold Gnarly North, he’s been absent for a couple of weeks and keen to get back into the swing of things. There were plenty of bags and loose rocks to be cleared from the “lake” chamber, there’s still standing water here. I went ahead to continue the expansion work beyond, Brockers helped with the bags, keeping them out of the water.

In the small rift chamber, I unpacked the kit and set about drilling the required holes. There was a rather disconcerting moment when a large, quite heavy flake of rock detached from the roof and landed, painfully, on my left knee. 4no. holes, 550mm (length) x 12mm (dia.) were drilled, some short, 260mm, 14mm (dia.) pilot holes were drilled first, makes things a bit easier in the restricted space. Then the holes were filled, I turned around, “Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of Tamp”, six balls of silt/clay, all in a row thoughtfully prepared by the team last week. Good tamp too. All done, I wired up and made my way south to join the others, shoving my bags and drill tube ahead while unravelling the wire.

After clearing last week’s debris, the rest of the team had returned to the Soft South to continue digging. There was a stack of bags in the entrance to be hauled out to the surface before my morning’s task was brought to a satisfying conclusion with a resounding boom.

All out, the cave secured, we made our way back down across the fields to the farm. Another productive morning, 73 bags and 12 loads of loose rock, Jake had managed some walling too!

Author: mendipgeoarch

Archaeologist, Geologist, Speleologist