15th May

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

Unsettled weather was forecast, a mixture of sunshine and showers. It had been raining earlier but was dry as we walked to the cave.

Morning session, Jake digging in the southwest lower section, Duncan clearing away the bags and digging along the mid-level bench extension, I was hauling and transferring the spoil from skip to skip at the junction/corner, Jon was at the bottom of the entrance. On the surface, Brockers was joined by a latecomer, Nick. We all settled into a good consistent rate of spoil removal and movement. By 12:30, about 100 skip loads (bags and rocks) had made the journey out onto the spoil heap and we decided it was time for lunch. Unfortunately, our picnic was disrupted by a shower of rain and, after some debate, we decided to return to the task in hand.

Afternoon session, me and Jake opted to take over the surface duties, Duncan at the bottom of the entrance. However, this left Jon digging in the lower south/southwest section, Brockers at the mid-level bench and Nick at the junction/corner where he was ‘side-tracked’ somewhat by his own ‘flood alleviation project’ (I have to admit to having carried out some clandestine work here myself during the morning session!). The result of this was three people were now filling bags and shifting rocks. The hauling out of the cave was relentless and the task was not made any easier as the rope became claggy as frequent showers passed over. And the midges were increasingly irritating in the humidity. Jake and I swapped around at regular intervals as the midges seemed particularly attracted to the area around the cave entrance. We started to dump the spoil in another overspill area as the regular tip needed some attention, there were some signs that a slump might occur, especially if affected by more persistent rain.

The session came to an end when all the bags had been filled and emptied then hung-up. If they do not ‘dry out’ at least they will get a good rinsing! Last job of the day was to haul out the small stockpile of rocks, useful wall building material. I did not return underground to take photographs today, next weekend.

Author: mendipgeoarch

Archaeologist, Geologist, Speleologist