18th July 2020

Vince, Brockers, Jake, Jon, and Nick.

Yesterday I had spent some time fettling a dozen skips for use in HR from six 25 litre containers supplied by Hugh Tucker, these were loaded into the van along with the rest of the kit, all prepped and packed, ready to go.

At the farm, the team congregated, the van unloaded, got changed and made our way up the hill, laden with various bits of kit and bags. Some of the skips were left in the shed to be used when required.

At the end of the Cold Gnarly North, last weekend’s application of IRS had done a good job and more space had been created, but first there was a pile of gravel and cobble size debris waiting to be cleared. We soon had a skip installed and with a few tweaks to get the correct length of hauling line, away it went filled with loose spoil. Jake was bagging up the skip contents down in the chamber near the aven before sending the bags on their way out of the cave. The skip worked a treat and it was a much more efficient method for spoil removal. Once the loose debris was cleared some work with hammer and chisel to remove some fractured flakes, it was time to have a good look at the end. The sloping floor of the passage leads downwards to another constriction, it appears to be blocked by sediment. However, interestingly on the right (east) side a small phreatic tube leads, after a metre or so, to what appears to be another ‘parallel’ rift. Fresh air seems to emanate from this direction, it is intriguing.

Anyway, to the job in hand. It was comfortable drilling today, plenty of room to sit and move around. A total of seven holes, 3no. on the left-side (450mm x 12mm) and 4no. on the right-side (3x 450mm x 12mm, 1x 600mm x 12mm), these were placed to widen the constriction and start to expand the small phreatic ‘eye-hole’. Brockers came back, after helping the team to remove the spoil from the cave (30 bags and 10 skip loads of rock), to help out with dragging my kit out. While he was waiting, he got to work with lump hammer and chisel to remove an irksome lump of rock that had impeded smooth passage of the skip.  

All drilled, filled and fired from a safe distance, the cave was vacated.

Author: mendipgeoarch

Archaeologist, Geologist, Speleologist