July to September
July 1st Considine’s Cave
A cool westerly wind, midges, overcast, a trickle running. The plan; to construct the ginging prior to attending the Keystone. Drilling kit, eight foot scaffold bar, another kibble and assorted ironmongery was sherpa’d over, and lowered down. After some awkward manoeuvring about on the Plank CC descended the next six metres to the Keystone only to find a vertical metre of loose fill had fallen out from the southern rift substantially covering the Keystone. Much hassle was endured finding a suitable point where a foundation stone could be jammed in the rift upon which to built the ginging, containing and controlling the remaining unstable deposits. The ginging foundation stone needs final securing in position, with a couple of rebar pins drilled either side, to prevent any forward movement from its location. On examination the Keystone gave the impression it had moved since Thursday night though the Team can’t be certain, its north end remains caught upon the thin, small limestone rib. The thick covering of debris was gradually conveyed to the depths, along with the “come hither”, alas. The bulk of the Keystone is now exposed and ready for dropping. Using a powerful torch, shone between the wall and Keystone, a further depth of three metres was assessed. Also, the west wall appears to step back some six inches, whilst the east wall too steps back, the actual distance presently undetectable. The place is widening, a little, though for sure. A weary climb back out. SRT harnesses are now the norm for tired diggers. To the Roadside for some fine music, abuse and pints.
Hours 5, 664.
July 1st Souterrain, CL002-068002
Light drizzle, overcast. The plan; to commence the survey and to see if using the automatic laser level would replace the normal levelled string line. Called to owner en-route to inform of visit; grand to work away. Took GPS to check against national database. After a lot of phaffing about eventually set up level on camera tripod using elastic cord; then installed three wedges, one opposite entrance slope the other either end of the main passage. The main passage is aligned on 041Mg, it has rounded ends which both contain niches, the passage average dimensions are 7.7 metres long x 1.6 wide and 1.8 high: this is a large passage for a souterrain. A high level, small, artificial conduit heads away on 299 Mg. Another, smaller sized one in the north-eastern end requires inclusion in the survey. Getting late, so cleared away the briar's and other growth to exposed the low opening into the next chamber. Will wait for the Boycott to return before entering.
July 3rd Considine’s Cave
CC and PC
Overcast, a cool breeze, midges, light rain, a trickle. The plan; secure the area and drop the Keystone. The usable area of the Keystone is a confined 0.4 metre wide by some 1.1 metres long; elliptical. The walls wet from rainfall. PC descended to secure the ginging foundation stone in the south rift prior to working on the jammed Keystone. Two, almost vertical, 14mm holes were drilled and 150mm lengths of 12mm rebar inserted securing the stone from moving forward. Two further 150mm lengths of 12mm rebar were then installed into 50mm deep holes just above the Keystone as a sort of stance from which to attack said Keystone directly below. Six belts of the surrounding debris, with the 8 foot scaffold bar, caused the debris and Keystone to fall away some three metres.. Peering into the darkness, between his feet, confirmed installing the two small rungs had been a good idea; there is no where at all to grasp or stand here in the rift. Though the rungs may bend a little they appear sound enough to work on the adjacent ginging. Following further gardening PC realised he’d forgot to bring along another electron ladder, so working from the stance six more holes were drilled to create another section of rebar ladder to descend further, as there were not enough rungs to complete the job others were swiftly “borrowed” from the upper ladderway; the climb out. Using the existing three metre electron looped over a rebar step PC managed to pass through the narrow section to just touch the top of the fallen Keystone with a boot; no more ladder. A swift look about showed a small wider cavity which obviously continues on down; presently blocked, but from which another east rift has developed. There is more room to work below the “Pinch”, and a possible safer refuge whilst hauling. Its appearing the “Plank” is now approaching a position halfway down the shaft. A complete review of lifeline and hauling methods is forthcoming. To the Roadside.
Hours 5, 669.
July 6th Considine’s Cave
CC, TB and PC
Cool, overcast, misty, midges, a small stream. The prodigal, injured, Boykers has returned! The Plan; to re rig the place. Cleared all materials from the “Plank” prior to PC installing lifelining bolt at head height above “Plank”, (waist height for humans). With CC lifelining PC descended to find a suitable place to install a bolt for the ladder; none found. So the plan changed to fixing ladder adjacent to lifeline bolt, adding any extra ladder to reach the bottom. After getting stuck in the “Pinch”, owing to harness ironmongery, PC dropped into the “Cavity” which, alas, is not as roomy as previously visualized. The Keystone takes up a lot of room so need be reduced to rubble. This area is small, similar perhaps to that previously encountered some three metres, or so, below the “Plank”, which demanded a lot of effort. The “Pinch” is slightly off centre of the shaft, which may cause hauling issues. The overall depth was measured at just over 22 metres, this is to the fallen debris dropped along with the Keystone, which is some metre or so in depth. CC also descended to assess progress. To obtain a clear idea the area needs digging. The rebar rungs are favourite to use as climbing the electron is tiresome in the confined shaft. To the Roadside for drink and music where thoughts turned to the far end of the southern rift and expanding the project.
Hours 8, 677.
July 8th Considine’s Cave
TB, CC and PC
Bright, warm, midges, a small trickle. The plan; to drill and nudge the Keystone. PC descended using a full body harness, lifeline on the back, which made passing the “Pinch” much easier. CC lowered the drill and in the extremely confined space drilling commenced. The Keystone is of a very hard sandstone, the two holes consuming available battery life. During operations a large cobble fell to the south rift, rattling away below for some four metres. Once the Keystone is gone the rift width will increase to some 20 inches; the “Pinch” being twelve-ish. Hauling through the “Pinch” will be problematic. CC descended and prepared for nudging. All ascended to the surface: a loud noise signalled success. CC returned to the “Plank” to sort out a couple of safety issues. Pulleys etc. were removed for oiling and cleaning. To the Roadside.
Hours 9, 686.
July 10th Considine's Cave
Safety measures at the plank were completed to reduce the risk of any object falling down the shaft from this position. SC descended to the bottom to checkout the damage to the keystone. The news is good and the pieces should pass easily through the pinch. NFB, No black at the roadside again, bloody tourist are drinking it all.
Hours 4, 670.
July 12th Toomullin Phosphate Mine
Roadford, Doolin, County Clare
CC and PC
An unexpected journey to the site, to facilitate CC to take modern day photos of the architectural remains. Previous permissions granted some two years ago were double checked by calling in en-route at the landowners home. TG confirmed all was still OK. Arrived around 19:45 to a vista brilliantly lit from a cloudless sky. No sign of the crane remains previously photographed by CC in 1971. Moved around to the north-side of the river Aille to inspect the other buildings, among them a 12th century church. The “Managers House”, recently so recorded on a website, is more likely an office; being adjacent the crushing plant and associated works. Encountered TG checking stock to enjoy an hours worth of info exchange; a very, very nice man. To the Roadside for talk of short comings of cave survey software. Alas for CC; NFB.
July 13th Considine's Cave
JW, CC, TB and PC
A cool breeze, overcast, a small trickle. The plan; top remove the heavy Keystone segments to surface. CC to below the “Pinch”, (-22m), JW to the “Plank”, (-14m), PC surface hauling with TB. The elevated risk of an item impacting the digger has been developed. When only two present spoil is lifted the eight metres to the Plank then once the digger has ascended from -22m to the safety of the Plank the stacked spoil is hauled to the surface. As there was a Team of four present a 14 metre length of rope was suspended beneath the pulley, maintaining the normal 2 to 1 mechanical advantage, to lift spoil from the surface below the “Pinch” to the Plank. This allowed hauling to be conducted from the surface avoiding the ball ache of the hauling rope piling up around the haulers feet during operations in the seriously confined area of the Plank, the gap being only ten inches wide between the shaft and the base of the ladderway, where the spoil is stacked. The evenings seemingly slow task achieved its aim without incident, the remnants of the Keystone brought to surface. The exposed southern rift is narrow, its debris pile slopes 45/60 degrees down toward the south, the north rift is opening again, slightly. CC then began installing the ginging from just above the Pinch, this will consume a good bit of the spoil from below the Pinch. To the Roadside for pints of Gold, N.F.B, (No Effing Black), but a good session.
Hours 10, 696.
July 15th Considine's Cave
TB, CC and PC
Cool, dense mist, a trickle present. The plan; to dig. CC to the bottom, TB on the Plank, PC surface hauling. To reduce rope congestion on the Plank PC lifelined CC down using the extended hauling rope. A steady evenings progress lowered the floor about 0.3 metre. There is slightly more room to work, another half metre and CC will be able to position himself to avoid the rising kibbles rubbing against his face; this slow cautious haul past CC is agony on the arms, and hasn’t improved his youthful good looks. The roofing felt lain over the pallets works well stopping pieces of spoil from falling down on CC. All ropes lifted out for washing and cleaning. To the Roadside; the boys are happy again, Big Black is Back.
Hours 8, 704.
July 16th Fraggle Rock
First inspection since last August as far as 3T's chamber. No major evidence of flooding past the hauling chair, no stones behind the dam. Removed all tools I could find, also the 2 outermost hauling ropes & most (23) of the skips. 4 trips up the hill, 3 in the cave.
Strange barking & movements heard at 3T's chamber, so didn't go any further - I think we removed all tools back to 3T's last time anyway.
On exit (not pursued by a bear) noticed some Otter spraint on one of the sandbags in Jims Passage. Still a dozen skips to come out, plus the railway & 3T's hauling ropes, lots of wood, the dam & the railway itself.
July 17th Considine's Cave
TB, CC and PC
Clear skies, warm, a trickle. The plan; to dig. The idea to replace the existing hauling rope with another prior to starting work became a disaster, twists in the replacement presenting severe complications. CC to the bottom, PC to the Plank, TB surface. PC refitted the cleaned hauling system at the Plank, lifelining CC down. TB supplied support from surface. The delay in setting up was offset by stacking spoil at the Plank for removal Thursday. At the bottom the widths of all three rifts are increasing as is the main digging area. A bolt for the diggers lifeline is required though no sounds of debris rattling away from beneath have yet been experienced. The spoil being removed remains that which was dropped through the gap around the Keystone, however new ground is beginning to appear. The place is definitely getting larger below the “Pinch”. Amid bugs, flies, donkeys and midges the team sped off to the Roadside.
Hours 8, 711.
July 19th Fraggle Rock
More gear removal, remaining ropes & skips up the hill; apart from a few baulks of timber & the sandbags, only the railway & rock bolts are left. I didn't find the missing "come-hither", but it may be further upstream than I went in the wet conditions.
July 22nd Considine's Cave
CC, TB and PC
Warm, bright, some overcast, a large stream present, as were midges and flies. The plan; check the rift for loose debris following the recent inundation. On arrival the pipe was found to be blocked, but swiftly cleared. CC checked around the pot and cleared several pieces of stone. CC to the Plank from were the stacked spoil was brought to surface. CC to -22.8m, TB to the Plank, (14m), PC hauling. Steady progress landing more spoil at the Plank, during which CC managed to start ginging in the south rift, this will consume around three or four scuttles worth of stone, hooray. A few photos were taken to illustrate the confined dig area. The dig site has assumed a sub-circular shape some 0.7m in diameter. Though hanging from the tripod the hauling rope hangs free of the rift walls until passing through the “Pinch”, an adjustment of some two inches to the east will allow the scuttle to pass here without any contact. During operations PC managed to entirely clear and tidy the working platform of accumulated items to allow more fabric covering of the pallets. To the Roadside for a cracking music session, and pints.
Hours 8, 729.
July 24th Considine's Cave
TB, CC and PC
A very warm evening, stream present, midges, flies, donkeys, etc. The plan; to dig. Swiftly hauled out the previously stacked spoil. CC to -22.8m, TB to the Plank -14m, PC hauling. A seemingly slow start as CC began to ginge the southern rift with debris from the floor. A lot of hauling brought chatter and boulders to the Plank ready for next Thursdays session. The west wall has stepped back about 100mm increasing work space, this area is definitely assuming a sub-circular plan, a curious circumferential “tide” mark was uncovered on the walls at -23m. Hauling; the future of hauling requires review. The distance from the Plank to surface is 14.2m, the total distance to the bottom of the shaft is, today, 23.1m. The present method of hauling from the bottom to the Plank is with a 14m length of rope hung on the hook of the main hauling line. This transports debris up to the Plank without issue to the digger. This length of rope also comes to a stop at the summit of the main haul at the apex of the hauling tripod. Once a distance of fourteen metres is reached below the Plank, (an actual depth of -28m), then the ability to safely remove kibbles without the risk of dropping some of its contents on the poor sod below, will be compromized. Hauling directly from the bottom of the dig would not be an issue if the winch is installed as only a single continuous rope would be required. Alternately, if the available climbing/SRT rope could be used to haul by hand direct from the bottom, as a 2:1,were not so prone to twisting. To the Roadside,
Hours 9, 738.
July 27th Considine's Cave
CC, TB, JW and PC
Mild, gusting wind, no midges, overcast, wet ground, showers, a good sized stream. The plan; dig. Once PC exchanged the short hauling rope extension for a new one CC descended to the Plank sending all the debris to surface. JW to -23.1m, TB to the Plank, PC hauling, CC supporting. A rapid digging session by JW lowered the floor to -23.25m, the diameter of the area remaining constant at around 0.8m. JW observed the floor is loose and easy to dig. On ascent JWs bright lamp illuminated the shaft superbly………… it really is quite impressive, and a long way down. To the Roadside where MC and friend, VK, were shown recent photos of the project, VK was stunned into silence whilst MC was delighted informing CC of another adjacent site on a neighbours land, which also takes water.
Hours 10, 748.
July 29th Considine's Cave
TB, CC and PC
Mild, dense cloud cover, light winds, very wet ground, similar stream present. The plan; clear the debris from the Plank. CC to the Plank, PC hauling, TB barrowing. The significant amount of spoil deposited on the Plank took about an hour to clear, Various bits of kit were brought to surface further clearing the area. This spoil is being spread beneath the copse canopy covering the now piped stream. This is because the previous area of dumping around the surface of the southern rift may, perhaps, be cleared; next? CC to -23m to assess the reported large “dinner plate” emerging from the floor; a decent sized hammer should sort it out. Further ginging took place below using stone from the dig while the surface party braved the torrential showers; some two kibbles worth of material being consumed. CC managing to lay down to stretch into the southern rift to conduct the work. Maintenance session urgently required. Dodging massive downpours made it to the Roadside, fine drink, good music.
Hours 7, 755.
July 31st Considine's Cave
TB, CC and PC
Warm, wet, overcast, donkeys, flies, midges, descent sized stream still running. The plan; due to infirmity maintenance was abandoned so dug. CC to -23m, TB to the Plank, a buggered PC hauling. Many heavy pieces of boulder were swiftly lifted following attention from a big hammer. All spoil stacked at the Plank; the final boulder being lifted onward to surface, after CC had arrived at the Plank. The place is definitely, getting wider, slowly. CC’s helmet received the attentions of a small pebble falling from the Plank, ouch. To the Roadside for a four fiddle session, and pints.
Hours 8, 763
August 1st Fraggle Rock
Everything unscrewable freed, some bits of the frame & most of the cross-members remain in situ.
All short bits of wood, remaining track & curved track & 2 frame sections up the hill in 7 loads; I estimate 10 more loads of the freed wood remaining.
Today enlivened by a 3 masted tall ship sailing past Doolin harbour & out to Aran - looked like a mobile skyscraper when bow head on and hull invisible below the rock horizon at one point.
August 3rd Formoyle West Cave ( A New Cave)
JW, CC, TB, Patsy Corrucan, John Brown and PC
PC had been contacted by John Brown, (Doolin Cave), who imparted news that Patsy Corrucan had spoke of a hole above Fermoyle, Co. Clare. The team assembled outside O’Donaghues, Fanore, before driving up to the green road that heads north from the Faunarooska crossroads. Passing out the Poulnagollum track the motorcade all parked off the main green track, before its descent, and walked northwards for some fifteen minutes keeping the wall on their left, (west). Cloud base hovering around 900 feet. As the ground began to descend to the valley a small cairn was noted marking the narrow cleft some twenty metres east from the wall. JW, in kit, entered the two metre entrance passage, which swiftly lowered to a wet crawl then turned sharply to the right, (West?). Water was falling into the low passage near the corner. At this altitude, (290m), this valuable resource is the likely reason for the narrow excavated entrance gully, created to divert the water out onto the surface for farm stock use. Photos were taken by JW and CC. A Holy Well, (spring?), is marked on the 6” OSI map a mile or so to the WSW of this cave. The area to the south is of well covered karst pavement, very flat in overall appearance. The plan is to return mob handed, excavate the wet crawl, survey the place and enjoy the superb view of the stone ringfort on Black Head. To the Roadside, where else?
August 5th Considine's Cave
CC and PC
Warm and humid, midges, a small stream running. The plan; to install rebar steps around and below the “Pinch” to facilitate passage. The awaiting kibbles of chatter were swiftly hauled to surface leaving only the boulders stacked in the east rift to be lifted next session. CC on the Plank, (-14m), PC to -23m. An impressed PC arrived in a much “larger” dig area than imagined. The dig area is two metres along the rift axis and is 0.7m at its widest; sub-elliptical. Observations: the southern rift width at the Pinch, (-20m) is a vein of calcite, (effectively healed up). At -22m its width has become 0.18m, at -23.3m it is 0.45m, it continues to increase downward, facing south. The northern rift is an average width of 0.1m through this gap clean washed boulders are clearly visible. Prior to drilling falling water in the north rift could be plainly heard but not seen; the obvious source the piped stream from above. A lifeline hanger was installed at +0.6m above the floor to eliminate use of the ladder as security, a pain whilst digging. A series of rebar steps were then fitted from existing floor level in the subtle flute of the east wall, these ascend to below the Pinch. From here a vertical bar is topside the Pinch as a handhold. Another handhold is in the east rift at the level of the lower edge of the Pinch. It is now possible to ascend from the dig, negotiate the Pinch, and reach the Plank on rebar. The width of the Pinch and the shape of the rift walls adjacent the Pinch prevent the use of large kibbles with the forthcoming winch. Therefore whilst hand hauling will be the norm from below the Plank a suitable secure “Floor” may be installed at the Plank to receive a large kibble from surface into which accumulated spoil may be lifted to surface, reducing effort and increasing rate the of clearance, without compromising safety. To the Roadside for some cracking music and fine pints.
Hours 5, 768.
NB. TB was unable to attend this evening session owing to having been “Fraggled” earlier in the day, fortunately his back injury should not inhibit future drinking. His solo dismantling and clearance of the entire railway system, its associated works, dodging sea Otters, braving shite weather and avoiding wave action, to repeatedly carry all assorted well saturated timber supports, steel rails, associated ironmongery and tools, up the initial awkward climb, across the storm beach and up the sixty metre terraced hillside to the truck should be recognized as one of the finest, most committed acts of lunacy; you mad bugger Tony.
August 7th Considine's Cave
TB, CC and PC
Cool breeze, midges, broken cloud, very wet ground, good vis to the islands, small stream present. The plan; dig. CC sent up the remaining boulders from the Plank, (-14m), then descended to -23m. TB to the Plank, PC hauling. At -23m the floor has a quantity of silt most likely washed down from the previous digging. The new step met with some approval. Uneventful hauling for the most part until the final lift of a rounded boulder. Upon ascent it jammed in the Pinch. Whilst PC clung on to the hauling rope, a suicidal CC crept up to free it several times during its negotiation of this narrow bit: thoughts turned to the hauling ropes next birthday, circa 45 years. The plan is to replace this thirty odd metre rope with say a fifty metre length from stock. In the short to mid term this would allow the Team the opportunity to haul from a deeper point. If a fifty metre length is used, and the rift continues in its present form, depth of work could be extended to around thirty-six metres. To the Roadside for drink.
Hours 8, 776.
August 10th Considine's Cave
CM, JW, TB, CC and PC
Cloudy, breezy, small stream. The Plan; dig. JW to the Plank, CM hauling, PC offering guidance?, TB barrowing, CC cut away hazel etc. clearing an area below copse canopy; another piece of conduit is required to pipe the stream course. After CM was shown “how to haul” PC assumed role of overseerer reclining in the chair whilst all around was a hive of activity. With the Plank cleared of spoil JW descended to bottom of shaft, TB to “Plank” (-14m). NB, communications between the digger at the base of the shaft and the Surface Haulier, (when in Haul position, remote from shaft collar), have become virtually non-existent. Upon his arrival at -23m the Belgian became possessed sending up spoil at a frenzied pace; CM coping impressively with the frenetic speed. Depth closing on 24m, or so. (24.4m = 80 feet; Oo Err). The ladderway lifeline was replaced, and sent off with TB for washing. A trip is required to change the main hauling line, to configure, and install, hangers for a three point belay at around +4m above the Plank level, (-14m), in order to accommodate the lower two man digging/hauling system. This will need the use of a plumbline to locate precisely the centre of the “Pinch” to reduce the possibility of the boulder net becoming caught during its passage of this awkward slot at -20m. Thought is directed to removing self lifelining in the ladderway in favour of a “normal” system, thus removing any slack and reducing an impact load should a weary digger slip during ascent. To the Roadside for pints. Hours 11, 787.
August 12th Considine’s Cave
CC and PC
Clear sky, good vis, cool breeze, small stream. The plan; to clear the remaining spoil from the Plank. CC to the Plank, PC hauling and barrowing. The large amount of spoil was swiftly lifted and the Plank washed down to remove errant pieces of debris; potential missiles. Early completion allowed time to visit a site previously mentioned by the owner of Considines Cave; a small sink adjacent the east wall of his field. A brief search found said hole; it is indeed a small sink surrounded by wet bog. It requires lots of work and a good flushing by winter rains to expose any stable geology to work within. To the Roadside.
Hours 3, 790.
August 14th Considine’s Cave
TB, CC and PC
Some cloud, cool breeze, midges, small stream. Recovering from a thumb injury TB descended to the base of the shaft have a look see, then exchanged places with CC at the Plank, PC hauling. Incorporating the two “new” half kibbles increased available storage room at the Plank swiftly filled with spoil.Future hauling through the “Pinch” could be improved by centring the rope some two inches to the northeast, this will reduce contact with the wall, important as the shaft deepens. Depth measured at 23.9m, (78 feet). To the Roadside where visiting musicians from Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann Inis 2017 were in session, excellent.
Hours 8, 798.
August 15th Cullaun II
A scamper down the upper series and back out the streamway.
August 16th Fraggle Rock
TB, CC and PC
HW, 12:24, Neaps. A dirty enough day, wind southerly with rain. Area and main passage free of debris. Stream at 80mm below reference. Following TBs removal of all railway material and equipment this trip was to experience the main passage without the railway. It is a superb example of County Clare Cave passage. CC recorded video to contrast and compare with that taken some years back by MR. On exit the route back took in the lower storm beach. Many examples of massive chinks of limestone being reduced by wave action along the coast line. To the Roadside for lunchtime pints
August 19th Considine’s Cave
BS, TB, CC and PC
Cloudy, cool, very wet ground, (previous day dropping some ½” of rain, and more to come!), a stream present. The plan; dig. Sporting various aches and injuries the Team took up their respective positions, CC to -23.9m, TB to the Plank, BS surface, PC hauling. Prior to operations a powerful lamp was lowered to illuminate the shaft produced by the project; BS thoroughly enjoying the show. The provision of two “Scuttles” means there is no time wasted between lifting the spoil to the Plank and filling the next. The haul caught several times on minor rock projections in or about the Pinch emphasising the need to urgently re-position the haul to reduce this issue. The “Bin” was swiftly filled with stone and four “Kibbles” filled with chatter; considering the individuals assorted injuries it was a dam good session. The volume lifted equal to that when JW is below. Worth noting is once the winch is installed the stacked spoil at the Plank could be lifted to surface during the same session; an excellent prospect as a few more lifts and PCs knuckles will start dragging along the ground. Tonight the depth has confidently passed the 24m mark. To a packed Roadside.
Hours 12, 815.
1) “Bin”, the small narrow east rift adjacent the ladderway used to safely stack loose stone.
2) “Scuttle”, a 20 odd inch length of 6” diameter sewer pipe that will pass through the Pinch, four of these will fill a “Kibble”. Their shape resembles a coal scuttle.
3) “Kibble”, a 25 litre plastic container which will hold the contents of 4 x “Scuttle”
August 21st Clooncoose Cave
The aim; as part of the souterrain project to complete the recording of the souterrain feature. Use of the collapsible planning frame replicated the front face of the defensive feature as a 1:20 scale drawing. The previous evenings torrential rainfall had unfortunately turned the floor into a quagmire wherein the artist had no choice but to kneel to draw the lower sections of imagery. An accompanying crescendo of drips attempted to dampen the fun. Perhaps a canoe would have been a better choice than a pair of boots?
August 21st Considine's Cave
TB, CC and PC
Overcast, humid, midges, curious dense low level sea mist/cloud formations observed drifting into the bay from out of the west likely the remnants of Hurricane Gert, ground very wet from 2½ inches of rainfall in the previous twenty four hours, large stream present, evidence of flooding, several cheerful trickles bypassing the pipework to run down the walls of the rift onto Cheg. The plan; dig. TB barrowing, PC hauling, CC to the Plank, after sending up the spoil CC descended to -24m, (79 feet). Owing to the wet conditions no digging from -24m was actually planned, however ginging began in the north rift behind which CC was able to cast some kibbles worth of spoil. Though this vertical gap is only some four inches wide it should accommodate a great deal of spoil significantly reducing the volume hauled to surface. The east wall has suddenly receded some six inches, (hooray, more room = more spoil!), which might have compromised the lower ginging of the south rift, fortunately a tiny ledge was found which will just suffice construction of the next section of ginging. TB departs on the morrow for the UK. From a query, when the dig began, three dates arise,
1) The first visit to the site was 21st July 2016; JW descended the existing blind pot,
2) Clearing the site and constructing the working platform began on the 11th August 2016,
3) Actual digging began on the 22nd September 2016 following 66 hours of preparation work.
To the Roadside, alas no Gold, misery.
Hours 8, 823.
August 24th Considine's Cave
PC, CC, JW and CM
Cloudy, damp and midges. Wet ground following a week of intermittent rain. The plan: to dig and record some footage of the operation using a go-pro camera and video lights suspended from the rope system. CM to -24m, JW to the plank, CC on the surface, PC hauling. Focus of the dig was on the northerly rift. Gravel and smaller stones were loaded to the 2 scuttles, with larger stones and boulders stacked in the southern portion of the rift awaiting removal via the net. Flowing wet mud was observed coming from behind the SW corner of the boulder pile and pooling in the centre making digging an extra messy affair. Fortunately a small cavity emerged upon removal of a couple of larger boulders from the NW corner of the rift, thereby draining the mucky sump. The cave wall on the E side appears to be flaring outward once again, with a widening also seen on the W side to a lesser degree. The ascending and descending camera system provided a good perspective on the dig operation; See link to the video below.
August 31st Considine's Cave
JW, CC and PC
Jarratts ninth anniversary. Cool. bright, clear evening, ground very wet, large stream present. The plan; to clear the large volume of spoil deposited at the Plank. CC to the Plank, PC hauling, JW barrowing. Once the debris was lifted CC descended to -24m to install one inch rebar for setting ginging upon; the floor area is now a matrix of fine silt, gravels and stone wetted by myriad drips from above. To the Roadside for talk of winches, and girls.
September 3rd Considine's Cave
CC and PC
Almost two inches of rain between Friday and Saturday, the ground awash, overcast, cool, large stream present, clear evidence of flooding. The Plan; dig. CC to -24m, PC to the Plank. The view from the Plank suggested the bottom sumped. As CC descended this was proved otherwise, just very wet. Once PC set up a mid hauling system the fun began. Between hauls ginging continued. Hauling from the Plank is somewhat awkward but to progress with two its the only option. A steady session half filled the east rift with boulders and two kibbles of liquefied spoil; deep joy. Depth can’t be far off 25m. Short of 21:00 the shite covered pair emerged to a darkening evening; winter approaches. Prior to departure CC set up the auto camera to see what type of critter is using the water barrel; as The Boycott is in the UK it can’t be him. To the Roadside where the first arrivals of the Matchmaking season were offering availability; brace yourselves.
Hours 5, 846.
September 4th Considine's Cave
CC and PC
Overcast, humid, midges, donkeys, ground still very wet, large stream present. Further heavy rainfall predicted. The Plan; to clear spoil from the Plank. CC to the Plank, PC hauling. The working area is now three feet by seven feet, the nature of the walls promise further widening. All debris cleared to surface and the place washed clean. No sign of the mysterious water butt bather, am now certain its not The Boycott; camera reset and left in situ. The midsection hauling rope removed and washed at surface, assorted ironmongery taken away for maintenance. To the Roadside for some excellent pints.
Hours 3. 849.
September 7th Considine's Cave
CC, JW and PC
Overcast, cool, some light rain, small stream present, ground very wet. The Plan; dig. CC to -24.4m, (80 feet), JW to the Plank, PC hauling, Prior to starting PC lowered a 10.5 inch diameter pipe to see if it could pass the “Pinch”; success. Conditions below were not as wet as previously experienced. Seven kibbles worth of liquefied spoil soon filled the Plank along with a fine selection of rocks, all should be lifted Saturday evening. Dark by 21:00. The landowner, JN, has offered us the use of his on site residential caravan to change in throughout the winter. To the Roadside; discussing winches, kibble diameters, scuttle lengths, spoil weights, lifting speeds, etc. An excellent session.
Hours, 8, 857.
September 10th Considine's Cave
CC and PC
WNW/NW, Wind force seven gusting eight, severe squalls, ground very wet, a small stream present. The plan; clear spoil to surface from Plank. The benefit of JN’s caravan for changing was felt immediately, upon entering a heavy squall rammed into the place, the deluge observed from the comfort of the lounge windows, as it rocked to and fro. CC to the Plank, PC hauling and barrowing. Wind noise severely hampered clear communications. Two hours of windswept and rainswept effort saw the entire amount removed to surface, the Plank cleaned, all scuttles and kibbles washed, all ironmongery and ladders removed from below for maintenance. Next session the area will be prepared to install the winch.
NB. The process of hand lifting from the Plank to surface was timed, roughly, averaging one minute. Much the same time taken lifting a scuttle from -24m to the Plank. The winch speed is 40 foot, (12m), per minute. Therefore from 24m it’ll take some two minutes to arrive at surface. Whilst the “Pinch” remains an issue for the maximum diameter of any scuttle or kibble, using the extant scuttles, of 170mm diameter and 400/450mm long, means the time and effort saved will be from unloading and reloading onto and from the “Plank”. This means that during an average session of say two hours, if digging conditions remain constant, and a third scuttle is utilized, and, it takes another minute to return the scuttle safely to -24m, there is the capacity for a team of two to lift some forty scuttles during a session. To the Roadside, where a Sunday night during the Matchmaking is a quieter affair, perhaps all shagged out?
Hours 5, 862.
September 11th Considine's Cave
CC and PC
Overcast, windy, small stream. The plan; to prepare installation of the winch. The pile of large boulders adjacent the hauling position was lowered level with the working platform surface; this will form part of the stance for winching. The boulders heaved northward to increase the bulk of the boundary wall. Re-positioning the main lifting pulley, to accommodate the minor adjustment needed to centralize the lift through the “Pinch”, requires a further fixing in the east tripod leg. The pallet of which a slat broke beneath TB was removed out and replaced. Both shaft lid rails were removed up to the water butt, it is in this area the winch will be mounted. The longitudinal sleepers left in situ to improve the structural integrity of the platform. The shaft lid cover level will be elevated by twenty inches to create a level surface upon which scuttles and nets may be deposited prior to emptying into the wheelbarrow, the edge of this area to protrude over the wheel barrow. A canopy to keep the weather off the winch was reviewed. Various other minors task were also undertaken. To the Roadside for a fine pint. PC returns from the UK the 20th.
Hours 4, 866.
September 22nd Considine’s Cave
CC and PC
Chill, overcast, stream present, ground very wet. The plan; layout the site for installation of the winch. CC had adapted the large pulley for ease of positioning it regarding passing the kibbles through the confines of the “Pinch”. After playing around further adaptions are required to attach it to the eastern leg of the tripod for correct alignment below. As the winter approaches weather proofing the winch electrics etc. will require some sort of canopy, perhaps a frame of pallets and timber covered with a fabric? The shaft lid surface need be increased twenty inches for the wheel barrow to rest underneath for transferring spoil without spillage, once the lid is closed. The next few sessions will focus on these tasks. To a quiet Roadside.
September 24th Considine’s Cave
CC and PC
Overcast, threat of rain, cool, small stream, ground very wet. After picking up the disassembled winch from CC’s place its components were transported down onto the field, thence across the waterlogged surface to the dig. Its positions in relation for room for the barrow to pass and angle of the hauling rope off the tripod all seem fine, also a good place where the winch operator will be on the flat even surface of the working platform. The location for the winch motor remote control was reviewed and the issue solved, it will be operated through linkage by a foot pedal. Once the component parts were assembled thoughts turned to weatherproofing just as the heavy rain set in. To the Roadside where Peter Curtin, the owner, has offered and promised free drink on our breakthrough, now that’s what I call an incentive! This day 2016, Steve Milner was present here from Australia. Digging actually began the 22nd September 2016.
Hours 5, 874.
September 25th Considine’s Cave
CC and PC
Sunny – ish, overcast, cool, very wet ground, stream present. The plan; to continue installation of the winch. Pieces of timber were secured around the circumference of the winch, to the platform, to centre the winch and prevent it from lateral movement, two scaffold pole outriggers were secured to the winch chassis upon which to receive a plastic pallet upon which ballast will be stacked, its weight to counteract any lifting load. The reviewed operating pedal system was tried and found successful, a horizontal joist fitted to the tripod to receive timber frame of weather canopy. Cleaned and oiled hauling ironmongery was reassembled for normal operations. Outstanding tasks; complete pedal control system, forward stability pole for winch to be secured, rope jam safety system to be fitted, wire power supply from proposed, (quiet), generator location, wire in emergency stop, prepare remote area for generator and dry platform, build weather canopy, install communication system to base of shaft, build elevated kibble receiving platform on top of the shaft lid, clean slippery working platform surface of algae. Quite dark by 20:00. To the Roadside for pints and the gift of a new stainless steel kibble; a fine night.
Hours 3, 877.
September 30th Considine’s Cave
CC and PC
Minor cloud cover, still air, not a breath of wind, stream present, ground very wet. The plan; continue preparations for winch. Transported yet more ironmongery, assorted tools and materials to site. Completed alterations to the kibble receiver working height, fitted the foot activated remote control to operate the winch functions. Discussed the positioning of the safety jammer. Flood debris grill fitted in front of stream pipe. Dark by 20:15. Arrived in Lisdoonvarna to find it packed, (last weekend of the Matchmaking season), no parking available anywhere, the Roadside absolutely heaving. Took the unprecedented decision to abandon drink, good grief, therapy required!
Hours 3, 883.