We’re back, and we have been busy!!!

4th July 2020

Vince, Jon, Jake, Brockers and Duncan.

It was pleasing to see a bigger pile of debris on arrival at the current end of the Cold Gnarly North, the bang had been effective. There was still a lot of gravel but more cobble and small boulder-size lumps too. The crystalline calcite band was gone, and more competent conglomerate was exposed, should make drilling holes easier. Unfortunately, the way ahead is not as open as hoped for, there is a large pendulous flake of rock barring further access or a good look at what lies beyond. What can be seen is the passage slopes down at about 40o leading about 2m to a small opening, the passage is about 0.75m wide (or will be when the flake is gone) and draughting still.

Once the loose debris was cleared, got to work with a hammer and chisel bringing down some more fractured rock, leaving a cleaner face for the next set of holes. A couple of holes were drilled into the pendulous flake and a group of holes placed to try and open access further. The holes, 4no. 600mm x 12mm and 2no. 450mm x 12mm, were filled and wired and ready to go. Jon came back, after helping to clear the spoil to the surface, to assist with the bags. The charge was fired successfully.

Exited the cave a bit later than usual, the team were waiting, the cave secured, we made our way down to the farm and refreshments. The Hunter’s Lodge Inn is not reopening yet.

11th July 2020

Vince, Brockers, Jake, Jon, Duncan and Nick.

On arrival at the current end of the Cold Gnarly North once again it was pleasing to find a good pile of debris had been created. The pendulous flake of rock was almost gone, frustratingly, the way ahead is still constricted, and more chemical persuasion will be required. Clearing the spoil is not an easy task in the narrow passage, head first down a calcited slope, throwing the cobbles/boulders back and scraping the gravel backwards underneath your body. It is then bagged up in the constricted space and the filled bags dragged back along the rift to the next in line. We should sort out another skip but space to use it properly at the moment is lacking.

When the spoil had been cleared, we had gained a couple of metres or so, there is a gap to follow just too tight. The draught was not so strong today, but surface conditions were probably the cause of that, temperature about 15o and a high-pressure front moving across the southwest. The team set about removing the spoil from the cave while I set about drilling and filling another set of holes, 6no. 450mm x 12mm. the aim to remove more of the flake and expand the space at the end to create somewhere a skip can be loaded.

After helping to shift the spoil beyond the lake, Jake cemented another ramp to ease the movement of the skip, then came back to help drag out my kit bags. The morning was brought to a loud, satisfactory conclusion from the corner by the lake and I left the cave.

Author: mendipgeoarch

Archaeologist, Geologist, Speleologist