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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.

15th January

digging 2022 Posted on Sun, January 16, 2022 06:42:21

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

After digging last weekend, me and Jon were on the surface; Duncan was at the bottom of the entrance, resting his knee following a trip into Wookey 22 yesterday. Brockers and Nick were digging, this left Jake and Tav to occupy the ledge and the junction (I do not know who was where).

On the surface, Jon hauled up the steady procession of filled bags and, quite a lot of, rock. I emptied the bags and added the finishing touches to the final terrace wall on the south-side of the heap, generally tidying and levelling up the surface area. When I left at mid-day it was all looking neat and tidy.

An early finish for me to attend the BCRA Cave Science Symposium being held online (Zoom) this afternoon. These are the presentations that were due to be presented at Hulland Ward in Derbyshire last year (27th November 2021) but Storm Arwen put a stop to that event when it dumped a lot of snow resulting in power cuts and a lot of digging at the Orpheus CC hut! The presentations were varied, interesting and informative.

1st January

digging 2022 Posted on Sat, January 01, 2022 15:08:59

Duncan, Nick, Jon, Jake, and Brockers

First trip of the new year, many more will follow. Met Duncan at the farm, 09:30, plan was for Duncan to update the survey of the ‘pot’ in the deep Soft South. Quickly measured in a base line, then some dimensions for the pot and last night’s section line. All done just before the digging team arrived.

Duncan surveying the ‘pot’ in the deep Soft South

A brief discussion on the surface before heading underground. Jake and Brockers took on the digging duties, Duncan catching the bucket from the very slippery ledge, Jon at the junction, me at the entrance, Nick on the surface hauling out the spoil. Being on the surface was going to be the most difficult task of the day given the recent wet conditions. The hauling rope soon became caked in mud and not easy to grip firmly, the bags too were very claggy, making the rope even muddier. Suffice to say with Jake and Brockers digging bags and rock were moving through the cave at a good steady rate, no time to empty the bags. When all available bags were filled, all out to get them emptied.

Last night’s recorded section no longer exists, there are a lot of calcite fragments on the surface, much of it quite degraded.

Back at home, a lot of kit to wash and clean ready for the next trip!