23rd October


No-one else showed up, no matter. Spent the morning squaring and repairing the reference section, very peaceful it was too. Took my packed lunch underground with me and enjoyed my break sat on the ledge pondering the sediment layering I could see before me. Took the time to tidy up a couple of other things that were looking a bit scruffy too. Unfortunately, when it came to making a digital record my camera battery was flat, which was more than a bit annoying.

16th October 2021

Took a break from digging and decided on a bike ride, Devon Coast to Coast. Set off from Ilfracombe to Plymouth along National Cycle Network (NCN) route 27. Got to Plymouth, turned around and cycled back to Ilfracombe. 310km, 3300m ascent, 21hrs 50mins ride time. There were a lot of hills!

9th October 2021

With Brockers, Jake, Jon, Nick, Duncan, and Tav

The day started with a positive vibe. Underground by 09:15 and set about reducing the boulders in the deep Soft South to more manageable pieces. I was soon joined by Brockers who installed a backup to the pulley anchor. The boulders broken up, the backup installed, Brockers decided to head out to the surface to fetch some empty bags so that we could start clearing up the loose debris. He was absent for quite some time having met the later arrivals.

Next to appear in the deep Soft South was Duncan who was adamant that he was digging and joined me in the pot. Tav showed up and took a position on the ledge, the loose rocks were hauled up followed by the bags that Duncan had been filling. He thought the ‘cut-off’ cone was very useful for filling the bags with sand. At c.12:30 we decided to break for lunch as is the norm.

I spent the afternoon on the surface with Jake, he hauled the spoil out of the cave, while I emptied bags and added rocks to the terrace wall. It was very pleasant in the unseasonably warm sunshine. Unfortunately, the positive vibes were not going to last. Earlier, and mistakenly in hindsight, I had agreed to split a small boulder on the ledge that jutted out from my reference section. I had pointed out that the boulder formed an integral and important part of the section and should not be completely removed. The rock was split, and I made certain that the remaining portion was secure and tidy. I was very pissed off (and still am) when I recognised the last rock to come to the surface as the very rock I had asked not to be removed, the reference section will now be prone to erosion/collapse and I will need to spend more time on sorting it out!

Author: mendipgeoarch

Archaeologist, Geologist, Speleologist