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dighalloween

Hallowe'en Rift, Mendip Hills

Excursions [and other notes] involved in the exploration of Hallowe'en Rift; a cave, so far, formed within Triassic Dolomitic Conglomerate.

The exploration of Hallowe'en Rift was started in 1982 by Trevor Hughes with other members of the Bristol Exploration Club, then during the early 1990's Vince Simmonds and other, mostly, local diggers were active at a number of locations within the cave, including the start of the dig to the 'east' side of the entrance, leading to An Unexpected Development in August 2018, with Graham Johnson in December 1991. The current phase of exploration was commenced in 2009, with the majority of the early work being carried out by Vince Simmonds and Alex Gee, now the regular team also includes Rob 'Tav' Taviner, Graham 'Jake' Johnson, Nick Hawkes, Jonathon Riley, Paul 'Brockers' Brock, Roz Simmonds, Duncan Price, Mike Moxon and Matt Tuck. There has been occasional help from others including Caroline Allen, Mike Willett, John 'Tangent' Williams, Pete Bolt, Bob Smith, Callum and Hazel Simmonds, and several appearances by that well-known antipodean, Ray Deasey.

There have been visits from some notable experts in their various fields including: Charlie Self, Andy Farrant, Christopher Smith, Derek Ford, Joyce Lundberg, Don MacFarlane, Marc Luetscher and Gina Moseley. All have added to a better understanding of Hallowe'en Rift.

12th June

digging 2021 Posted on Sun, June 13, 2021 11:06:57

Vince, Brockers, Jake, Nick, and Tav.

A glorious morning, plenty of warm sunshine.

Morning session: I was digging, aided by Tav who cleared away the filled bags and occasionally loosened sediment and also filled some bags. Jake and Nick were hauling skips, transferring spoil to the surface, and some “tidying” was inevitably being carried out. Brockers hauled the bags out of the cave, the bags were stashed aside to be emptied later. Around 60-70 skip loads up to the surface and about midday, the underground team decided it was time to return to the surface and empty the bags. I stayed underground a bit longer to take some photos. Lunch was taken.

Tav adds another bag of spoil to the heap. Photographed 12th June 2021.

Afternoon session: My turn on the surface, Tav was at the bottom of the entrance, Jake, and Nick further along the passage clearing away from Brockers, who was digging. Another 60-70 skips-loads out to the surface and bags set aside to be emptied later at the end of the session. It was pleasant on the surface and the flies were not too irritating yet. The pulley system makes hauling so much easier. It was another productive digging session!

The Soft South. Photographed 12th June 2021.


5th June

digging 2021 Posted on Sun, June 13, 2021 10:50:10

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

A full-strength team today and the weather was good.

Morning session: Jake and Jon digging, Brockers and Duncan clearing away, me, Nick and Tav on the surface. An extra pair of hands on the surface meant that some spoil heap re-distribution was possible. Work was concentrated on levelling the lower part of the heap to enable another terrace wall to be constructed. The filled bags from the morning session were rolled down the slope and emptied behind the existing retainer wall to further consolidate it.

After enjoying our lunch, we moved a quantity of rocks and rolled them down the slope so that the terrace wall could be started.

Afternoon session: Brockers and Duncan digging, Nick and Tav clearing away, on the surface, Jon was hauling, I was shuttling bags to the spoil heap, Jake was building the terrace wall and emptying bags.

Today’s total was somewhere around 150 bags and several rocks, no-one seemed to be counting really. The spoil heap does look much tidier now.

The spoil heap. Photographed 12th June 2021.