2017

January to March

January 2nd     Considine's Cave

 

CC, TB and PC
The first digging trip of the year. Delighted to encounter JN and wife KN on site. A cold clear bright winters day, the ground very wet and frosty, a small stream present. The recent heavy rainfall had washed away the small mud dam which formed the small reservoir supplying the hose pipe, swiftly repaired the team descended and began shoring. Cautious removal of stones meant a sort of “controlled collapse” of the debris from behind and above. As part of the rift has narrowed work here is little constricted nonetheless with the combined support four pieces of shoring were juggled into position and secured; following CC's suggestion horizontal lengths of 10mm rebar were pushed between the stones, behind the shoring, to support the disturbed debris. With the support cable moved to the lower shoring and secured PC took over the hauling while TB barrowed. CC then cleared the floor along with the debris slope toward the shoring. Another two pieces of shoring were fitted, once again inserting rebar with timber lathes placed on top to control any vertical migration of debris as new sections of shoring below are inserted. Large rocks continued to appear, many were “Lamped” reducing both their size and weight. During one “Lamping” episode the section of floor beneath the “Lamped” rock sank 50mm! The draught was clearly felt today by both TB and CC issuing from among the floor debris. A lot of the walls and some of the timber shoring were dry. TB took back the rope to wash. A good session. PC leaves for Panama soon, but will be there for the Thursday. To the Roadside for JS’s porter cake and pints.

Hours 13, (302)

Pat Cronin

January 5th     Considine's Cave

 

JW, CC and PC
A cold enough evening chilled by the northern wind, the ground beginning to dry out; a small stream present. The plan; for CC to complete the installation of the second ladder fixings, and dig. JW digging, CC barrowing, PC hauling. A steady, regular pace dropped most of the floor to about one metre below the bottom most lintel of the northern ginging; so the depth is now some ten metres. Large boulders continue to regularly appear, the final one requiring the three to haul it to surface, estimated at 58 kilos. The floor pile moved again under JWs efforts the disturbed boulders appearing to settle; perhaps a safety line is required? From -9 metres the west wall of the rift has gently sloped inward gradually narrowing the floor area. Fortunately, at -10 metres, looking through the boulders, it appears to step back under itself, similar in form to the previous step at around -5 metres,the subtle slope also occurs at the narrows, directly beneath the alignment of the ladder way. The east wall however continues on down vertically. Once the fill at the base of the shoring is removed another ladder will be needed.
NB. The impact load on digger from a 1kg stone falling from the platform would be in the neighbourhood of 100kg, its not the sort of neighbour to be in; so no movement of spoil or materials whatsoever around the shaft collar while the hauling lid is open. To the Roadside for men's talk and pints.

Hours 9, (311)

Pat Cronin

January 8th     Considine's Cave

 

TB & CC

Housekeeping day in absence of PC departing to Panama. Cleared brush from the boulder chute and measured up for tyres; before they are acquired, worth putting the 4 short pole sections in place as rounded boulders could just go far enough from the shute now.

CC descended & removed more mud, then continued the ginging of the North Rift down nearly a metre on a base of rebar. More mud removed & there doesn't appear to be any left here now. TB hauling, much easier than expected. possibly due to Aloe Vera intake, but definitely much less friction without the crab atop the pulley and also no accumulative spin. Loose boulders not used in ginging rearranged at the bottom, one extra large one may require gads or plug & feathers.

Hours 6, (317)

Tony Boycott

January 8th     Panama 2017

 

8th January to 10th February.
JSC (James Steen Cobbett), RD (Roger Day), DH (Dig Hastilow) and PC 
Left Doolin the 8th January, to Galway to catch the airport bus to Dublin.
Meeting with DH and RD in Schipol for the Tocumen flight, to assemble at JSC’s place in Panama City the evening of the 9th January.
The plan; to focus on five project areas.
Phase One: Lago Bayano, (Panamá province).
Phase Two: Yaviza, (Darien province).
Phase Three. Boca de Tulu, (Panamá province).
Phase Four. Aligandi River Cave (Darien province ).
Phase Five Pozl Azul, Penonome, Coclé province).
Report in progress.

Pat Cronin

January 10th     Carsington Pasture Cave

 

MSc, AS, DW, SS.

Click here for trip report "A Stroll Down Memory Lane"

Alan Steans

January 19th     Considine's Cave

 

JW,MR & CC

Two short lengths of Telegraph pole were fitted at the top of the shoring providing a barrier against tipped spoil from falling down the ladder way. These will eventually be replaced with a stack of large tyres (850mm outside diameter) forming a barrier up to ground level. With CC digging and JW & MR hauling / barrowing the floor was lowered to approximately 300mm below the step-back on the west side. MR changing with CC later on in the evening. There is now an unstable pile of rocks forming a ramp up to the shoring which will need removing next. The south end continues to widen and may present a problem with finding a vantage point to rest the required ginging on. This should be checked at the next session.

Hours 7.5  (324.5)

Cheg Chester

January 20th     Good Luck Mine, Derbyshire

 

Malc S, Al S, Dave Walker plus 6 GLM members.
Tourist trip to look at various GLM Members digs and to choose suitable location for Terry’s commemorative plaque. 2hrs underground.
Dave Gough

January 22nd     Youds Level - Gentlewomen’s Pipe

 

Paul, Jack, John, Malc S, Kelvin & Geordie Dave
In a nutshell much of the route had been dug out since Pegasus last ventured in, so yes we made the connection to Gentlewomen’s Pipe without too many problems, bar the winging of Geordie Dave. So good news for the through trip.

Malc Scothon

January 28th     OFD

Dave Gough, Sam, Andy, Kevin, Paul, Mark & Tony Donavan the guide.

Dave Gough

February 5th     Good Luck Mine, Derbyshire

 

It was a good trip,  got to see all the interesting bits I wanted and had a crawl round and about down some other bits as well, then managed to get some SRT stuff done afterwards. Also Nathan is keen to join Pegasus so is there any official rules or initiations he should go through?

Mark Staples

February 9th     Considine’s Cave

 

TB, CC & JW
If we had any sense at all we would have gone straight to the pub due to the extreme low temperature from an arctic northerly wind. The plan to install some much needed ginging in the north rift which is now averaging 45cm wide. CC digging (Warm) TB & JW hauling (Freezing) The walls being so smooth it is difficult to find anywhere to place horizontal supports for the ginging to rest on and in future we may have to drill. Whilst trying to fix supports a large quantity of the mud fill was on the move and to prevent this in future some kind of temporary shoring needs to be put in place. Several nets of large boulders were pulled out but due to the extreme temperature TB & JW said it was not safe to continue as they were having difficulty holding the hauling rope with numb fingers. A short section of ginging was completed.

4.5Hrs  Total 329Hrs

Cheg Chester

February 13th     Considine's Cave

CC, TB and PC
10:00 start, the ground wet, recent rainfall apparently being heavy. A small stream present. The working platform pristine condition, no doubt scoured by the rain. The plan; recent ginging installation had been hampered from collapse of wet clay; likely the result of the high level stream discharging just short of the original north rift pot finding its way down through the debris, so need to extend the pipe and dig. PC to digging at the base of the shoring with CC in support at arms length from beyond the narrows, TB hauling, (his returned ability to haul kibbles the result of a Hawaiian masseur)……………huba huba! With TB’s new found flexibility the kibbles fair whizzed up the shaft. As the floor at the base of the south rift was reduced PC dropped a small boulder, which punched a hole in the floor to expose a large void beneath them. Nervous chuckles accompanied further careful spoil removal. The east wall below the shoring is seen to be significantly widening this may present issues for future shoring. The two remaining pieces of pole were fitted to secure the base of loose hanging boulders, other support packing was installed; more poles needed. With the shoring completed as far as possible PC gave TB a break hauling. CC eventually cleared the shaft of all stacked spoil, which was quite an amount. PC abseiled down to extend the stream pipe to discharge directly down the old pot; this needs further work to allow caving access to the pot. TB measured the depth at 10.7 metres. To the Roadside where PC received abuse and hugs from Billy. The team regaled the prodigal digger of the powerful warm draught experienced during the last session; pints of Black and Gold most welcome; long time no decent Drink.

Hours 15, 344.

Pat Cronin

February 16th     Considine's Cave

 

TB, CC and PC
An overcast day, occasional light drizzle; a good size stream. The plan; to sort the area in the northern rift to complete the ginging and dig. TB digging, PC hauling and CC barrowing. A good amount of spoil lifted, depth attained later measured at over eleven metres. Joss sticks were used to observe the draught, temperature at the base of the shaft was 7.7C at surface 8.9C; the draught sucking in. TB back filled the large voids in the floor, that had appeared, with cobbles to stabilize this area beneath the front of the south shoring. TB and CC exchanged tasks, CC completing the ginging using a stemple he designed to hold the soggy debris in place whilst installing the ginging stonework, which is now some seven metres in height/depth. TB used his battery grinder to swiftly cut 25mm rebar to aid ginging support. The aluminium ladder presently rests upon very unstable ground; this area being some 1.5 metres above the actual shaft bottom, care is required. The next fixed ladder will have to contend with the “narrows”, fixing it to the front of the ladder above will likely best the best solution for offsetting it to reduce the effect of the narrowing rift formation. The new hosepipe purchased by TB, was used with great effect by CC to hose down the dig area. To the Roadside for drink. Hours 15, 359

Pat Cronin

February 20th     Considine's Cave

 

TB, CC and PC
Poor visibility due to low cloud, drizzle, with a good sized stream running. The plan; as PC had obtained a further sixteen one metre sections of poles on Saturday shoring was to be the focus. TB hauling, PC shoring, CC in support. Five sections of poles were swiftly inserted and the area behind back filled with stone. The support cable then lengthened. Reaching the second ladder to climb out to assist TB hauling became an issue with the regular removal of the spoil at the base of the shoring. CC reset the shoring cable support, and the task repeated with a further three pieces of shoring inserted. However, with the east wall curving away a short section of pole was placed vertically to accept the shoring and keep it as inline as possible. The ladder issue was revisited, likely solved by the use of the very slightly narrower ladder already on site, which should pass down between the narrows without too much hassle. The distance between the bottom of the second ladder and the base of the shoring area is presently 3.6 metres. The aluminium ladder is now too short. Forty five sections of poles have been installed to date, the view from the shaft bottom quite striking. A bone was found in the south rift deep among the washed stone, this has been given to TB to investigate. An excellent session with a lot accomplished. To the Roadside for pints.

Hours 15, 374.

Pat Cronin

February 23rd     Considine's Cave

CC, JW and PC

Storm Doris had all but passed leaving in its wake busted trees and minor flooding. It did however blow away the clinging fog. A fair sized stream running, evidence of extensive flooding at the base of the shaft. Though the west wall almost dry from the draught,,,,, A swift assessment for the next section of ladder established the 3.8 metre length need be cut in half to manage its installation in the narrow rift section. CC digging, PC hauling, JW barrowing. The debris from the last shoring session was cleared and an exploration of the area below the narrows conducted. The area does widen slightly so access through this point should be possible when reached. CC and JW exchanged jobs, the floor was then lowered by around a half metre. The exposed clay deposit in the northern rift will be attended during the next ginging session. The west wall continues down vertically, the east side bulging slightly. A good sized joint – rift is beginning in the west wall widening as it descends, good news, the room is needed. The base of the southern rift beyond the narrows is now some four foot above the main shaft floor. Over the next few sessions the ladders need fitting, the ginging needs extending, the southern rift floor needs lowering which means all the poles in stock will be used, more required. Peering through the loose debris of the narrows the irregularity of the east wall seems to continue therefore the next cut of poles should be left and cut to suit whatever span is uncovered. To the Roadside for fun. Hours 7.5, 381.5

Pat Cronin

February 27th     Considine's Cave

 

TB, CC and PC
Storm Ewan had passed dumping a lot of rain therefore a decent sized stream was running. A cold day with showers of snow, hail and rain. The base of the shaft had been thoroughly washed removing some of the exposed clay deposit. The plan, to install the third fixed ladder. The 3.8 metre ladder was cut in two to allow diggers to wriggle into the main shaft between its lower end and the floor of the ladder way. A lot of juggling was involved positioning the ladder precisely in the confined rift. Eventually after almost two hours the task was completed. CC digging, TB barrowing, PC hauling. The area in front the shoring was removed in preparation for the next session, a slope constructed to allow for further debris to slide down into the main shaft for easier loading and hauling. The remaining clay deposit in the north rift then removed ready for the next metre of ginging. To the Roadside for well earned pints.

Hours 13.5, 395.

Pat Cronin

March 2nd     Considine's Cave

TB, CC and PC
Storm Ewan had passed dumping a lot of rain therefore a decent sized stream was running. A cold day with showers of snow, hail and rain. The base of the shaft had been thoroughly washed removing some of the exposed clay deposit. The plan, to install the third fixed ladder. The 3.8 metre ladder was cut in two to allow diggers to wriggle into the main shaft between its lower end and the floor of the ladder way. A lot of juggling was involved positioning the ladder precisely in the confined rift. Eventually after almost two hours the task was completed. CC digging, TB barrowing, PC hauling. The area in front the shoring was removed in preparation for the next session, a slope constructed to allow for further debris to slide down into the main shaft for easier loading and hauling. The remaining clay deposit in the north rift then removed ready for the next metre of ginging. To the Roadside for well earned pints.

Hours 13.5, 395.

Pat Cronin

March 6th     Considine's Cave

 

TB, CC and PC
NB: The rain over Friday, (3rd), had caused severe flooding at Kilcorney, the area flooded to a depth of two foot over the road, (the following morning the flood had almost completely ebbed away). The effects of high rainfall were evident in Considines, everywhere clean washed. A good sized stream running half way up the pipe diameter. CC digging, TB barrowing, PC hauling. Steady work dropped the shaft bottom some half metre. During digging CC managed to complete the previous ginging; the next section is now ready. An undercut which began to appear in the east wall was further exposed during TB’s shift, this is directly below the ribs of limestone adjacent the shoring. Several very big rocks were hauled out, some requiring two men to lift. The next few sessions will focus on more shoring and perhaps installing a fourth ladder. To the Roadside where the team bumped into MC, the landowner, who was fascinated by the Team’s progress from the photos on CC’s mobile phone.

Hours 14, 418.

Pat Cronin

March 9th     Considine's Cave

CC and PC
A mild day with some sun, no breeze, the ground still very wet, a small stream present. The plan; to install the ginging down to floor level. CC digging, PC hauling. A steady pace removed the remaining clay up to and from the area to be supported; many of the supporting stones obtained from the clay deposit. The rift being ginged is twenty inches wide and likely to increase. The bottom most pole of the shoring is now some three metres above the main shaft floor level. The next session will commence installing the shoring to as low to the shaft floor level as possible. The rift feature in the west wall has faded away. There is at least one huge boulder in the floor which may require “nudging”. The “Narrows” widen at twelve metres, once the shoring is lowered past this point access can resume from the climbing shaft after a further ladder is installed. Adjacent the huge boulder the west wall is seen to continue vertically down, for at least a metre, though the east wall bulges out slightly. The area dug by TB was measured as thirteen metres deep, the average overall depth being twelve and a half. To the Roadside for superb pints.

Hours 8, 426.
Pat Cronin

March 13th     Pouldubh South

 

PC
With the regular Team either absent, on holiday or in bed recovering from treatment, “PC no mates”, went for a scamper down Pouldubh to the old terminal choke. The place awash from the numerous inlets along the route of the main streamway. 
Pat Cronin

March 18th     Fisherstreet Mesolithic Dig

PC
No excavating at the site over the weekend. Having begun to draw the survey further data was wanted to increase its accuracy. A two hour visit, on a falling tide, found the base line strings broken in trenches 4A and 4C, trench 4B was covered by a layer of large cobbles. A walk up the coast located a likely position to set up the level for taking heights of the existing base line datum's, not covered by any storm beach debris. Using the five metre staff Datum zero will be reconciled with the TBM, (Temporary Bench Mark), with the remaining datum's to E21. Though 7, 11, 13, 14, and 15 are all presently covered with boulder debris. The mid term plan is to install in the new pier wall a permanent survey reference point ultimately leveled to the nearest Ordnance survey bench mark. Total distance to the pier is about two kilometres. This will be necessary to fix PCs’ base line survey.
Pat Cronin

March 20th     Considine’s Cave

PC
An awful day of alternating sleet and horizontal hail showers. The ground still very wet. Four x four foot lengths of poles were cut and carried to the dig platform ready for use next session. A hasty retreat across the field beat all three donkeys back to the Hilux. CC returns soon, and JW is on the mend; hooray!
Pat Cronin

March 23rd     Considine’s Cave

CC and PC
Cold, the northeast wind really bitter. The plan; to install the next four sections of poles in the widening area of the south rift then assess what becomes visible below. Unfortunately PC thought the pole section, used as a barrier to stop spoil sliding down the slope, was actually one metre long, hence the next section cut to 1.2m, alas these are 150mm too long. So lots of hassle ensued resulting in failure. The team managed however to install three one metre lengths to stabilize the area and expose the rock rib below: 1.05m poles will suit this span. The area behind the shoring is very unstable indicated by the rumbling of rocks during excavation, almost accompanied by a similar rumbling in adjacent trousers. A lot of spoil needs lifting out next session. A tough session. To the Roadside for well earned pints.

Hours 9. 435.
Pat Cronin

March 30th     Considine’s Cave

CC and PC

A warm day, the ground drying, a very small trickle present. Drove down into the upper field area to drop off 6×1050mm lengths of shoring to shorten the carry. The plan; to install these new shoring lengths, however the plan morphed into lifting to surface the incorrectly cut shoring and clearing away all spoil created during the previous session. CC digging, PC hauling and barrowing. A steady pace cleared the entire amount, barrowed along the path and deposited where the other stream enters. A close inspection of the shoring, following the loud rumblings, (23rd March), discovered some shoring had indeed moved though not too seriously. The minor rift feature forming in the east wall was observed to continue on down below the floor increasing in width and curving sharply toward the north appearing to form the roof of a broad undercut. Through a gap in the floor CC clearly observed a depth of three metres, so too the continuing rift feature; this area is adjacent the huge flat boulder presently jammed on edge among the floor debris. The floor hereabouts is very loosely compacted, no doubt the result of the jammed boulder. The narrows have finally widened enough to allow PCs chest to pass! So no more need to climb the wrong side of the ladder way. A superb effort preparing the place for the next shoring session though resulting in two knackered individuals. To the Roadside for excellent pints and abuse.

Hours 9, 444. 
Pat Cronin

March 31st     Finavarra Souterrain CL002-068002


PC
Three souterrains were surveyed in the 1830s by TL Cooke of Birr, County Offaly. Comparing these surveys with other Burren souterrains they each appear as significant undertakings. Present evidence accepts souterrain construction being contemporaneous with ringforts occurring, predominantly, during the latter half of the first millennium, (500-1000AD). Research eventually lead to a field on the west of Finavarra peninsula. In conversation the Farmer confirmed the souterrain has three large chambers so it may be that this souterrain opening is indeed one of Cooke's.
Visited the Farmer to ensure permission granted in December 2016 remained extant. Though the Farmer was out shell-fishing, (low tide), his wife confirmed all was well and to “work away”. Sped off to the site in an attempt to beat approaching storm clouds, this threat ensured the survey equipment remained in the Hilux. Opting to conduct a surface survey of features unrecorded by Cooke torrential rain swiftly arrived. Briefly; the site consists a ringfort situated among fertile pastureland on the south-west slope of a low limestone hill. First impressions of the denuded ramparts suggest a sub circular shape; no evidence of a fosse present or any other form of exterior circumferential earthwork. The eastern rampart is obscured by a modern field wall and hedge. The flattened southern perimeter illustrates erosion from farm stock. Along the western side pieces of stone project from among the earth, though their origin is unclear. On the northern perimeter is a short section of vertical stonework of substantial limestone blocks lain in dry courses. The souterrain entrance is located off centre in the ringforts north-west quadrant. Obscured by briar's the entrance is a vertical opening. GPS I.T.M. recordings in the national database for both ringfort and souterrain are identical suggesting the centre of the ringfort location was also applied to record the souterrain entrance; likely taken during digitally scanning the six or twenty-five inch ordnance survey maps as part of the protocol transcribing data. Today's GPS recording was taken with a Garmin Oregon 300 suspended for thirty minutes, (to stabilize the signal input), directly above the souterrain entrance. It illustrates a discrepancy of three metres east by five metres north with the national database record which does comply with the actual location of the souterrain opening. The Farmer has kindly offered to cut away the briar's prior to the next visit.
Pat Cronin

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