October to December
October 2nd Considine’s Cave
CC and PC
Overcast, showers, sunny spells, wind force six gusting seven, small stream present. The plan; continue winch preparations. An afternoon session; whilst PC cut away some of the foliage to prepare for the canopy frame, CC prepared to descend to install the communications cable. Once cable and equipment was secured, top and bottom, the system was tested, topside handset contacts require attention. Efforts turned to aligning the proposed single hauling rope, a lot of fiddling gave some idea of the final position which will ultimately require moving the tripod eastwards to a better position for the pulley. Whilst below, (-24m), CC dug a little, sorting some of the ginging, on lifting a stone from the floor discovered, 1) a strong draught, and, 2) the noise of running water; this may well be the diverted stream from above, then again……? Completed wiring the winch power supply and emergency stop cables also cleared more foliage. To the Roadside where to everyone's relief the Matchmaking season has come to a close, the only evidence this morning being people running for buses with shirt tails flapping about; I kid you not! Next weekend is the transexual, transgender, gay, lesbian festival; should be a crack-in event.
Hours 6, 889.
October 4th Kilcorney
PC & PMC
Further to GD informing of the hole into which his tractor wheel fell. PC visited GD and confirmed the appointment for 18:30 on the 5th Oct. GD drew map of site, just in case he couldn’t make tomorrow night, so PC visited site en-route homeward. The small field, where the site is located, is above the average base level of the Kilcorney depression by an estimated fifteen metres. The tractor was cutting grass around the island of rushes when the rear wheel fell through the surface; this occurred in May. GD cautiously inspected the area and found a second and third hole within the group of rushes. Today the turlough was present at the east end of the depression, though the water level is relatively low. As its PC’s birthday headed to the Roadside for food, drink, music and fun.
October 5th Kilcorney
D, Landowner, JW, CC and PC
A prompt assembly at the cemetery.........! saw the team move swiftly to the field located several hundred metres to the west. From the gate the small flat field northern boundary meets an extensive area of dense thicket of hazel blackthorn etc. Beyond the wall there appears a shallow valley heading away to the north, which warrants closer inspection; it is however owned by another farmer from whom permission will be sought. The obvious area of rushes was eventually reached crossing through a very deep waterlogged grassy marshland; a depth which PC’s height regularly threatened the need to swim. On the western edge of the rushes the principle collapse measures some two metres by one metre, it reaches a depth of a metre and a half in the very soft unstable peat deposit. Likewise the other two openings. The area demonstrates evidence of an active drainage route toward the main depression; local knowledge suggests the surface conditions flood in response to weather conditions. Though these three collapses are unpromising as digs go. GD then showed two other sites in the main depression closer to Cave of the Wild Horses. One an active sink, the other a well developed deep depression. Both have obvious potential and very likely drain into the existing system, or perhaps not. GD pointed out several other minor sites including one in the northern cliff face on the opposite side of the depression from Cave of the Wild Horses, noted as a 1920s location for the local I.R.A. unit. GD very kindly offered the Team permission to dig etc. on any of his land; in the meantime he’ll speak to the adjacent landowner on our behalf for permission to search for cave to the north; machetes required. To a quiet Roadside.
October 7th Considine’s Cave
CC and PC
Overcast, dull, mild, showers, mist, fog, a small stream present. The plan; to continue installation of the winch. The nineteen metre length of cable supplied by JW was perfect for the job; suspended among the bushes its up out of harms way. Once wired the winch was fired up. A minor issue with the generator was that it responded poorly when the motor demanded its start up load, this was obviated by activating the throttle manually at start up.. Once the motor had started it ran without a problem. Experimentation using the winch began with a middle sized boulder suspended in a kibble. A single turn on the capstan demonstrated it was all that is needed; no heaving on the rope is required. Lifting, lowering and slipping the turn on the capstan works very well indeed. Suspending the rope down the shaft to position it for passing a kibble through the “Pinch” was achieved by moving the east leg of the tripod eastward; minor adjustments can be finalized by altering the length of the turnbuckle attaching the main pulley to the east leg, this stops the pulley from swaying about causing the kibble to make contact with the shaft walls. The design of canopy was reviewed. The surface of the pallets was washed to reduce its the slippery condition. The shaft cover, (and kibble receiver), need be moved along some eight inches to be central beneath the new pulley position. The donkeys are attempting a pincer movement by infiltrating the shrub, two pallets were installed as a temporary blocking measure. To the Roadside for the “LOVE IN WEEKEND”, where national adverts proclaim “Lisdoonvarna for the Craic, (Lezdoonvarna for the crack),”! Amidst the throng the diggers pressed themselves against the warm radiator feeling they were the hottest things in town.
Hours 5, 894.
October 9th Considine’s Cave
Fog, rain, mild, a large stream running, ground soaking wet, visibility down to fifteen metres. The plan; continue winch and infrastructure installation. Emergency stop control post erected, shaft lid, (kibble receiver), repositioned centrally beneath hauling pulley, the exposed shaft area covered with more timbering reducing the shaft opening, a bit more needed. Electron ladders recovered from below owing to most of the team abroad for the next week or so. In really filthy foggy weather trudged back to to the truck. Changing in the caravan was most welcome. To a very quiet Roadside.
Hours 4, 898.
October 11th Considine’s Cave
09:30. Heavy rain, overcast. Whilst visiting JN’s place in Oughtdarra CN was concerned about the loud noise of running water beneath parts of the adjacent meadow and beneath their driveway; whilst talking, water began to appear in the meadow to the south of the house and continued to rise over the following two hours. PC was shown the area of subsidence where a modern drystone water had tilted and begun to sink. In the north meadow, some fifteen metres away, is another minor collapse. East of this area, over the boundary wall an ancient choked resurgence was noted 22nd December 1996, an active, small resurgence was discovered to the north, in the area of the meadows several other minor collapses were noted, (field book 6).
15:00. Some cloud, sunny spells, very windy, rain, a large stream present. The plan; deliver pallets and continue preparations. During the night it had made a lot of rain; en-route to dig much evidence present of flooding with large streams along many roadsides. Aille River at Roadford had reached level with its banks. Earlier in the day picked up six good quality heavy pallets from a Lisdoonvarna hotel transporting same to top end of the field. The soaked soft ground conditions meant that only one at a time conveyed across the field into the dig area: six trips using sack trucks took a tiring fifty minutes. Completed the timber work to the shaft opening, fitted spring to winch foot control, (needs adjusting), installed lock system to secure the closed shaft lid in place, secured remote emergency stop button to portable mounting, fixed spars to tripod to accept forthcoming canopy frame.
Hours 3, 901.
October 16th Considine’s Cave
Storm Ophelia present, passing north toward Mayo, conditions a little breezy, large stream present. A swift trip to the dig check on the equipment etc. Various items blown about, both pallets used as gates down, cover off winch, etc.; all put back and tidied. Managed to return across field in record time driven along by severe gusts.
Hours 1, 902.
October 17th Considine’s Cave
CC and PC
Bright, 50% cloud cover, barely a breeze, large stream present, sharp contrast to yesterday. The plan; to continue winch installation. A brief visit to review what’s required to complete the system. While CC checked over and ran generator and winch, PC began to assemble the canopy frame and review possibilities. A list of materials etc. was made followed by an exit to the Roadside.
Hours, 3, 905.
October 19th Kilcorney
JW, CC and PC
(Greg’s Hollow?), (Kilcorney Spring Sink?), (Poulnatobernanangel?)
I.T.M. 0522506 0698817
The rain had all but ceased, having flooded much, Cool, ground waterlogged. GD informed earlier of the evening trip. The plan; to investigate the sites previously shown by GD, (5th October). The first site investigated is close to the gate, which takes the stream from the spring Tobernanangel. The volume of recent rainfall had formed a large pool in the adjacent hollow this ran off via two small channels to converge in the dig. Whilst CC and JW began to clear the debris and tree root choke PC walked west to the cluster of small depressions to record their position on the GPS. Back at the sink the exposedoverburden displays a layer of humus, (eighteen inches?), beneath which is a beige coloured thick clay, (three feet?), this rests upon the bedrock. Moving a few small boulders a rift appeared, east and west both are solid walls. Northward they narrow, the south end is clay filled. The stream partly obscured a clear view below. Eventually, in reduced flow, a boulder blockage was visible; digging is practicable. Some four metres to the north is another collapse, and a further one some five metres beyond this. Their linear alignment suggests a common development, (better viewed in day light). This active sink hasall the feel of a pothole, but that’s PC being optimistic. Satisfied the Team moved across the main Kilcorney depression to the other deeper depression,(Frog Hollow?). A large boulder is prominent in the base of this steep conical depression around which part of the regular flooding swirls and sinks. Much of the obvious exposed strata is similar to the previous sink; it would quite likely repay attention. Two minor adjacent depressions suggest further local development. The active sink requires some pipework to enable digging in very wet weather, spoil can be deposited in the adjacent northern hollow.
October 21st Considine's Cave
11:00. Storm Brian abroad (if only), force 10 gusting 11, (sixty knots+), heavy showers, waterlogged ground, very large stream present. Arrived at CC’s place to pick up three x five metre lengths of timber for canopy roof frame. The severe weather made carrying the long timbers across the field eventful. Positioned them on tripod frame to assess covering capacity; should work out well. Returned home to construct frame for “engine shed”.
Hours 2, 907.
October 22nd Considine's Cave
CC and PC
10:30. Bright, cloudy, light breeze, ground very wet, large stream running. The plan; to complete as many of the outstanding tasks as practicable in daylight and assess any remaining work. So, 1). Generator repositioned to Considine's land, wall rebuilt. 2). Winch wiring completed including facility for 2 x lights. 4). Bracket secured to avoid pulley swinging with descending kibble. 5). Walls of “engine shed” secured around winch. 6). Canopy roof spars secured between walls and tripod. 7). Shaft lid assembly completed. 8). Vertical support installed beneath tripod east leg. 9). Covering of gaps between pallets slats fitted. 10). Counter weight, (four timber pallets), for winch completed. 11). Removed shaft collar trimmer to gain a further two inches of hauling room eastward to reduce drag at -20metres against west wall. Outstanding; hauling rope safety stop brought back for minor adjustment. Hauling rope to be replaced. Batten needed for securing covering over frame length. Complete canopy cover over winch. Existing southern rift shoring to be secured together with vertical heavy gauge wire. To the Roadside for excellent pints and talk of recommencing the digging.
Hours 6, 913.
October 23rd Considine's Cave
CC and PC
18:00. Mild, light wind, ground very wet, large stream. The plan; secure the shoring timbers. Over the course of removing the floor of the rift a matrix of clay and boulders was exposed in the south end of the rift to a depth of some thirteen metres. Over time, to stabilize these deposits, a dozen telegraph poles were purchased, cut to length, and inserted horizontally across the narrow rift section as shoring, (see photos). Prior to settlement of the disturbed deposit face one or two pieces of shoring remained loose, (without any apparent back pressure to hold in place). CC suggested a system of securing the poles using vertical heavy cables tensioned from top to bottom, thereby securing each individual pole to said cables. In the event of movement the offending pole would not be able to easily fall out of position onto the helmet of whomever below. Positioned in the top of the south end CC lowered both 8mm cables to the bottom of the climbing shaft where each was secured in turn. Using a mixture of SRT, the fixed ladder and brute strength PC ascended fixing each pole. Near the top the width became too great for such short legs so circus antics were employed. To complete the task the top ends of both cables required terminating. A piece of heavy mesh will be fitted to the area at the top of the shoring to close off access. TB has been absent these two months; get well soon Toe, come back and bring the Tea! To the Roadside, where else?
Hours 3, 916.
October 28th Considine's Cave
TB, CC and PC
18:00. Dense fog, mild, more fog, becoming very foggy, stream present, and fog. The plan; to trial the winch and associated procedures from bottom to surface. Owing to the dense fog, (vis some forty metres), PC left a blue L.E.D. location beacon at the bottom of the track. As ever, without issue, the generator started, the darkness fleeing before the intense 240v illumination, (second lamp required over shaft), power point for kettle too! CC to -24.m, TB to the Plank, (-14m), PC on winch. Telephones tested, radio comms having minor issue, likely battery health. Using the phones clear comms were established between CC and winchman, (bag required for raising and lowering such fragile equipment). Though not too loud, the noise of the relocated generator with the noise from the winch does affect clear voice comms with adjacent surface team members at the shaft collar. Slowly lowering the Mk.4 Kibble allowed a visual check of its travel down the shaft and any points of contact. The new kibble is formed of corrugated plastic drainage pipe, its rounded leading edge allowing it to scuff past minor protrusions of the rift walls. The speed of the winch is just right allowing the winchman full control and awareness of any detrimental lifting event. Its vertical route, for the most part, is presently acceptable. CC filled a kibble with two small rocks for the initial trial lift, this came to surface uneventfully. A second kibble was half filled; no issues encountered. The third and fourth were filled and again came to surface without issue. In-between these kibbles several nets of boulders were lifted, two becoming jammed in the “Pinch”, several metres above the digger; careful control and working the winch released both nets. The present “Pyjama cord”, circa 45 years old, will be replaced with a static rope terminated with a figure of nine in which will be secured a nylon thimble; the figure of nine increases tolerance by up to 300 kilos, (this will mitigate any severe jamming of loads), the thimble will avoid wear to the bight of the knot from karabiners. The main focus for this session was to check the winch and comms systems for operational readiness; overall a success, with only minor observations noted for adjustment or improvement. Life lining the second pitch from the surface requires a better system, this is due to cessation of the 2:1 hand hauling system. To the Roadside.
Hours, 7, 923.
NB: The ITM recordings obtained on 19th October for “Greg’s Hollow”, by GPSR is suspect, particularly the northing. The altitude is also incorrect by 100 metres! Two local bench marks, located on the 25 inch maps, show an altitude of around 370 to 380 feet, (114 metres)
October 29th Souterrain CL002-068002
CL002-068002, (Irish archaeological database reference).
Bright, sunny, windless. The plan; to continue surveying. On arrival the west chamber was found flooded to a depth of some twelve inches; therefore surveying abandoned. To avoid a wasted trip squeezed through into the adjacent east chamber, (this was left to await TBs return, however), which was also flooded to a similar depth. It appears identical to the west chamber in quality of build, shape and dimensions. BK mentioned that three chambers existed, initially, when viewed from the squeeze, no other passage is visible. Removing footwear, the far end of the chamber was reached, (after 6 metres). Obscured behind a low wall of boulders is an opening into a low crawl, also flooded, with 200mm of airspace. This “duck” is estimated as one metre long, 700mm wide, 500mm, high. The area beyond the air space can be seen to open up, (BK’s third chamber?). The size of these chambers suggest possible habitation during inclement weather. Returning through the squeeze a fresh fracture was noticed in the lowest limestone lintel, likely the result during egress of a large Bullock. To finish the session, leveled datums were established between east and west chambers. Water levels were measured from both these as sixteen millimetres higher in the west chamber. The previous survey of the west chamber need be redone working from the new datums to accurately project along the low crawl into third chamber.
October 30th Considine's Cave
TB, CC and PC
Fog once again, mild, ground wet, small stream. The plan; continue surface preparations. Main canopy completed, old hauling rope removed, lighting system finished, communication system finished, generator checked over and secured to pallet, new lifeline belay secured to eastern tripod leg, platform surface washed and cleaned, hauling rope jammer secured. An excellent session. Back to actual digging next Thursday! To the Roadside for pints.
Hours 11, 927.
November 2nd Considine’s Cave
JW, TB, CC and PC
Cool breeze, wet ground, stream present, five litres of spare fuel on site. The plan; Dig. Encountered JN and Family at house; arrangements for future caving trip agreed. Team briefing held explaining how system should work to include ancient, “S.U.D.” signals, for succinct communication. All comms circuits functioning, comms via loud speaker at winch clearly audible above adjacent noises. Old hauling rope replaced with fifty metre length. Barrow tyre pumped up. New lifeline belays secured direct to eastern tripod leg. JW to -24m, TB to the Plank -14m, CC barrowing, PC winchman.
Prior to digging each depth position for Plank, Pinch and Base, were marked with tape on the hauling rope as visual references for the winchman. Work began. The speed of the winch appears slow, however in the hour of actual digging seven kibbles, (Mk4s), were lifted directly to surface along with five? boulder nets, (each nets weight too great for the old hand hauling method). Moving this volume would normally take two sessions.
Observations, 1). Another Mk4 kibble and another net will reduce waiting time for the face digger. 2). Rocks will be transferred from small boulder net into the old kibbles, once the digger ascends from the base these full kibbles will be lifted to surface. 3). With a compliment of four the lift will stop each time at the Plank, if a net then its rocks are transferred to kibbles, if a kibble the “Up” signal is sounded/repeated the lift continuing to surface; the only comms required to operate the system will be the buzzer. 4). The new hauling rope is bone dry and moves well around the capstan. Fortunately it will also slip if a jam occurs, as witnessed, the canopy and a covered rope tub should maintain this status. An excellent result to a lot of preparatory work. To the Roadside for some tasty pints.
Hours, 9, 936.
November 4th Pouldubh
EM, AA, KD, MC and PC
10:00. EM contacted PC requesting her second ever caving trip, and to introduce her three pals to the joys of Caving. In through South entrance, down a lively streamway to the old terminus, out via Middle entrance. A fun time for all. EM= Emily Gilhooly, (USA), AA =Amanda Anderson, (Canada), MC =Maria Cecchini, (USA), KD = Kristin Doshier, (USA).
November 4th Considine’s Cave
CC and PC
18:00 Cold, northerly wind, force four increasing force six, heavy hail and rain showers, ground very wet, small stream. The Plan; to install signalling system for hauling purposes. Experiencing a senior moment PC left power tools and materials in the workshop, so completion of canopy must wait. Attention focused on installing the new signalling system. The signal button for the Plank is now secured, the wiring down to the “Face” awaits installation. Signal system function tested. The benefits of a canopy were enjoyed during the rain and both hail storms. New lifeline system and its location works well for the ladder way or straight down the shaft for the lower pitch. To the Roadside.
Hours 5, 941.
November 5th Considine's Cave
CC, TB and PC
14:00. Cold, bright, small stream. The plan; continue with winch canopy, and signalling equipment. While PC continued enclosing the winch, CC descended to the Plank, then to -24m completing the signal system with assistance from TB. PC left the Team after 2.5 hours to assist a neighbour.
Lowering the floor slightly in the narrow north rift a place was found to position a chock-stone to allow ginging to be installed. About 500mm of ginging installed.
The roadside like the Marie Celeste.
Hours 8.5, 949.5
November 7th Considine's Cave
CC, TB and PC
10:00. Chill, bright, small stream. The plan; to complete the weather canopy. All manhandled the five metre long roofing fabric frame securing it to the main frame and ground, diverting comms and signal cables to arrive beneath it. This “tent” will protect the winch, and operator, from northerly showers beginning to arrive. A minor issue with the signalling system was investigated and checked. The comms pack was brought back for charging of batteries. Unreported from previous two trips is the amount of draught issuing, evidenced by extensive areas of bone dry shaft wall. Other than a few minor touches the surface infrastructure is now finished! The last full digging session was the 10th September. Some ninety hours were spent preparing the surface infrastructure; not including construction of the winch. To a deserted Roadside.
Hours 8.5, 958
November 9th Considine's Cave
CC, JW, and PC
18:00. Mist, light rain, mild, small stream. The plan; Dig. After setting up the new lifeline CC descended to the Face. PC and JW took turns on the winch and barrowing. All spoil now being landscaped around the south end of the depression. This is the first session since September 10th wholly devoted to actual digging. Eleven Mk4 kibbles and eight nets all brought straight to surface; (one Mk4 kibble equals around one and one third of a scuttle), therefore under the old lifting system that totals some fifteen scuttles. Also, each of the boulder nets were too heavy to have been lifted with the previous 2:1 system. With hand hauling this volume of spoil could have only been lifted to the Plank awaiting the second session to lift to surface. Speed of the lift, from the Face, (-24.5m), was 2.5 minutes including the brief wait to stop the load swinging, lowering took 35 seconds. The addition of the second kibble will speed things along further. In short the ninety odd hours of preparation are immediately paying off reducing effort by half and doubling spoil removal speed. The Team were very pleased with the result. To the Roadside where through lack of use, during the evening, the energy efficient Till had turned itself off. Peter announced that the Roadside had won the title of Irish Innovative Bar of the Year 2017.
Hours 8, 966, Kibbles 11, Nets 8
November 13th Considine’s Cave
CC, TB and PC
11:00. Overcast, chill, drizzle, small stream running, much evidence of flooding in the shaft, the Plank washed clean. The plan; install more steps and prepare ginging support. PC and CC to -24m to discuss next section of ginging at the north and eastern rifts, TB surface support. As depth has increased some five foot below the last rebar step accessing the “Face” has become an issue; more steps required. CC to surface to complete finishing touches to canopy, relocate the water butt and take a few photos. Meanwhile PC drilled numerous 14mm holes for the rebar and 16mm holes for ginging supports, also secured comms cable around shaft perimeter near the “Pinch” to avoid damage during hauling operations in this narrow section.
The colder temperatures have emphasised the draught, which dried most of the upper shaft walls. This significant evaporation has occurred following two inches of rainfalllast Saturday. The ladder too has benefited from the change of temperature; no longer does its sides feel “greasy”; likely algae growth? The shaft cover arrangement is to be altered, the cover will now travel to the east to expose the shaft collar improving vision for the winchman. A mesh barrier will be secured around the shaft opening. The lifelining control will be moved to the west of the tripod, a 50mm pulley suspended from beneath the main hauling pulley assembly. To an empty Roadside for fine pints.
Hours 9, 975 Kibbles (11) Nets (8).
November 17th Mullaghmore
NB and PC
Bright, cool. A pleasant walk across a karst landscape up to the summit of Mullaghmore mountain. The view presents a vast expanse of limestone, karst pavement and Turloughs extending toward Gort and the Slieve Aughty Mountains, the Shannon visible to the east. Little evidence of cave. A superb landscape of lowland and mountain.
November 18th Wapping Mine
MSc, SG, KE & RH
Pre-AGM trip down Wapping and into Cumberland doing the circular route. Those on trip: Malc.Scothon, Sam Garrad, Kelvin Eady, Roger Hall. Good trip with the usual problem of finding your way round the Maize and the climb into Cumberland. Nice to see Roger Hall re-joining and his first trip after a break.
November 18th Archaeological Walkabout
NB and PC
10:30. Overcast, drizzle, cool. A wander to visit;
Poulawack Cairn, (circa. 3500BCE), a neolithic, (Linkardstown cist), burial cairn incorporated by later Bronze Age society.
Cahercommaun trivallate ringfort, (circa. 9th century), a high status stone Cashel built on the edge of a cliff.
Cashlaungar ringfort, (circa. 9th century), constructed upon a precipitous pinnacle of limestone within sight of Cahercommaun. The area is extensively rocky beneath the verdant growth of moss and hazel. Little of the area seems suitable for cultivation. Perhaps this fort was a satellite of Cahercommaun as it looms above an ancient route meandering along the valley bottom it could exercise control over travellers.
Archaeological overloaded day, excellent!
November 18th Considine's Cave
NB, CC, TB and PC
18:00. Overcast, drizzle, cool, small stream. The plan; to commence ginging. As the generator pull cord, “came off in me hand”; digging was therefore abandoned until pull cord replaced; bugger. To the Roadside for compensatory pints.
November 19th Considine's Cave
NB and PC
11:00. Overcast, cool, small stream. The plan; fix the generator. NB began to strip down the pull cord assembly while PC erected the safety frame around the shaft opening and installed another belay for the new lifeline position. With minor assistance from PC NB rewound new cord, refitted same to generator and tested repair; unit working, ready for the morrow.
Hours 2, 989, Kibbles 9 (20), Nets 5 (13).
November 20th Considine's Cave
NB, CC, TB and PC
Low cloud, rain, mild, large stream, run off falling down shaft. The Plan; commence the ginging. After a minor delay chatting to the landowner work began. CC to -24m, PC winch, NB barrowing, TB surface. Water levels very high, a significant volume from the surrounding area draining into and falling down the shaft; below, therefore, very wet. Hammering from the depths indicated CC had not drowned, yet. Ginging commenced in the north and east rifts. As the south end of the rift floor was lowered west and east walls began to curve inward suggesting the downward continuation of the rift width may reduce significantly. Only time will tell. Twelve kibbles brought to surface. To the Roadside for pints; joined by Birthday Girl JS.
Hours 12, (1001), Kibbles 12, (32), Nets (13).
November 23rd Considine's Cave
CC, CM, TB and PC
18:00. Clear cold starry night, no wind. Small stream flowing, dry shaft walls. The plan; CM to dig, CC on coms and winch, PC / TB barrowing and directing. After a quick tutorial on coms, phone set up and spoil removal plan for the evening, CM descended and commenced digging. Initial task focused on sending up nets of loose cleaned boulders from floor and rock pile in the north rift. Once floor space became available it was possible to investigate the narrowing southern rift. To the south, it is apparent that the east and west walls are narrowing to a gap not wider than 30cm with the convergence getting closer to the centre of the digging face. On a more positive note; the NE wall appears to be flaring out and with loose and generally dry spoil beneath. Upward draft occasionally apparent by both digger and surface party. Shaft was measured at the end of the session. Average depth of floor now 25m.
Hours 8 (1009), Kibbles 9, (41), Nets 8, (21).
November 25th Mátyás-Hegy-Cave, Hungary
MSt (Mark Staples) and others
A caving trip from Budapest
After trying and failing to get in contact with any Hungarian caving clubs I went back to an organised tour company "caving.hu" who initially provided contact. The tour offered a harder level tour for only the most adventurous. Naturally this was the choice. The trip with guide and all gear provided lasted just short of 3 hours exploring "The biggest cave in Hungary" and after looking at the map it was indeed just a scratch on the surface. The trip went through tight squeeze, and extremely polished up and down climbs to the deepest part of the trip being approx. 95m.
Other people on the trip where 2 check republicans and 3 Norwegians. The trip concludes with a pint in the Hut below the changing rooms and the email and Facebook contact for the tour, who seems very open to possible future tips and/or contacts to others in the area that could gain access to the other (protected) sections of the cave system.
Name is the same for facebook.
November 25th Considine's Cave
TB, CC and PC
North-westerlies, cold, ground very wet, hail shower, fair sized stream. The plan; dig. CC to -25m, TB barrowing, PC winching. With the new lifeline system in place no delay descending to the Face. The north end of the rift was dropped about two feet, which better exposed the east rift, seen to be extending back and beneath the east wall, descending at an angle of around 15/20 degrees for perhaps three metres. The development of the shaft has edged ever closer to the north end encountering the diverted surface stream. This area may therefore present issues during, or immediately following County Clare rainfall; perhaps divert the stream to the southern end of the depression? Further to adding more boulders to the ginging CC sent up fourteen kibbles and six nets; thus far a record. To a lively Roadside, good music and drink.
Hours 6, (1015), Kibbles 14, (55), Nets 6, (27).
November 27th Considine’s Cave
PC,TB and CC
PC & TB surface CC digging. Because of heavy rainfall the night before conditions at the dig site at -25 metres were pretty damp. The floor area has effectively been reduce by approximately 30% due to the severe narrowing of the southern end. The combined North and East rifts now have ample space to dig in. At the current floor level, one metre into the East rift the passage is one metre wide but the depth of removable material below this horizon is an unknown. Soaked to the skin a retreat was made to you know where.
Hours 8, (1023) Kibbles, 21 (76) Nets, (27).
November 29th Considine's Cave
CC and PC
Bright, cold, superb visibility. The plan; maintenance. Whilst CC took some photos and paved the muddy area PC braced the frame around the shaft collar and fitted a draw cord so the solitary winchman can close the shaft collar A.S.A.P. To an empty Roadside, literally; a search of the building and brewery found no soul about. After fifteen minutes the man appeared, as did the pints.
Hours 3, (1026), Kibbles (76), Nets (27).
November 30th Mouldridge Mine
MSc & IG
Mouldridge Mine, Pikehall, Derbyshire.
Time in 7pm Out 8:10 Intro. Trip for one of Mark’s Mates Ian Gould.
Had a good trip around upper and lower levels. Forgot how nice some of the formations are in here. Also Took a look at one of my earlier digs in the lower level which didn’t develop into anything interesting other that furthering the mine’s length of crawling passage by 15 feet ending in a small pocket where you could turn round. Entrance Frame to the mine is working loose again, reported it to DCA.
November 30th Considine's cave
CC, JW and PC
Bright, cold. The plan; Digging down and stacking the bigger rocks on the ledge and just sending the "porridge" up.
PC and CC manned the winch while JW started digging. While digging JW exposed what he believed to be a boulder but it appears to be part of the floor. Clearing as much spoil in the floor and at the start of the East rift revealed the contours of an "anvil" like outcrop just in front of the rift entrance.
Digging is going to be in the northern rift from now on. It might be possible to have one digger and one "kibble sender offer" on the bottom going forward. The plan for next session would be to secure and arrange the bottom of the shaft to setup for the next stage in digging.
Hours 8, (1034), Kibbles 19 (95), Nets (27).
December 3rd Considine's Cave
Dry for once. CC digging PC surface duties. The shaft has definitely bottomed out at approximately 25½ meteres (accurate measurement to be taken on next session). The immediate floor of the east rift is solid, descending at 25° and now carrying the water from surface which appears at the base of the North rift. You can see along the top of the narrow East rift but to get a better understanding of the passage size the loose fill ahead needs removing but will initially be flat out digging. Rocks stacked into North rift, sludge to surface.
Surface, from Pat; single operator can easily manage the entire hauling, receiving and barrowing system; turnaround for a kibble bottom to bottom was six minutes. A further aid is required, (useful), to open the shaft from the winch-mans position. TBs tally board very useful for recording load. To the Roadside for pints and music.
Usual venue for pints & Music.
Hours 4, (1038), Kibbles 11, (106), Nets (27).
December 3rd Polldorragh
CH and PC
10:30. Fine bright day, mild. CH had previously rang PC with news of a cave on land near Corrofin. Met in the village and drove the area northeast of Lough Bunny. Landowner delayed so attempted to locate the hole, much wandering about in karst area, colonized by Hazel and Blackthorn. Once owner arrived the cave was shown to be quite near the road, adjacent a high tension electrical pylon. Within scrub is a small concrete pump house. Next to this, on the ground, are several large concrete lintels and sheets of wriggly tin. Beneath same is a clean solutional shaft, some one metre in diameter, some two metres deep to water, the clear blue/green water is around two and a half metres deep; underwater the passage disappears down and around to the right. Single kit would answer the immediate questions. Five metres away a collapse suggests other development, possibly associated with the well?, possibly the original Polldorragh well site itself? A GPSR location was attempted beneath the dense foliage and adjacent overhead high voltage electrical supply lines, the result was somewhat doubtful. When this reading was checked the recorded location record is 750 metres to the SSE; wrong. As there is no precise point to refer to Polldorragh on the 6” map the ITM given above is judged in relation to the pylon location. The landowner, SK, has kindly granted permission to return and explore further, mobile numbers exchanged.
NB. From the 1800s six inch Cassini Ordnance Survey map a site, Polldorragh, is clearly illustrated in the vicinity visited; adjacent the pylon. Local knowledge relates this area as a long established fresh water source; once serving five households, now, (December 2017), only two homes are supplied. It is unclear which of these sites was the original Polldorragh, the collapse or the well visited the 3rd December 2017.
ITM 0538900×0697260, (taken off 6” Cassini map, on Archaeology.ie). More accurate reading.
ITM 0538954×0696596, (taken by Oregon 300 beneath foliage near overhead high voltage lines).
Depth 4.5 metres, (including water to visible bottom).
Depth 2 metres, (to water).
Altitude 22 metres
Townland; Killourney, Lough Bunny, Corrofin, County Clare.
December 4th Considine's Cave
CC & PC
Overcast, cool, showers, small stream running. The plan; dig out the inclined east passage. PC to -25m, CC winchman. On arrival the eastern development looked very encouraging. Clearing the debris from the confined, inclined bedding was a little difficult. Debris was scrapped back using the long handled hoe, then shovelled directly into the Mk4 kibbles, these then dragged back into the shaft for hauling. The narrow bedding was gradually emptied of debris widening the passage to where a subtle bend partly obscures the way on. The debris floor was therefore cleared down a further two inches allowing the larger stones at the beginning of the next section of passage to be reached, and pulled back to improve vision. Head down, total progress forward, was some two and a half metres. Even with helmet removed the view ahead into the next section remained obscured, though the larger boulders were removed, causing a significant change in the stream noise; even so PCs optimism wavered, a little. Eleven kibbles of debris sent to surface; exhausted, the session ended. To the Roadside, where a crap encrusted PC did Al Jolson impressions.
Hours 4, (1044), Kibbles 11, (117), Nets (27).
December 7th Considine's Cave
CC, CM, JW & PC
North-westerlies, cold, snow, rain and some hail showers. The plan; to dig out the constriction in the East passage. JW and CM to -25m, CC winching, PC unloading and barrowing.. Due to the downward inclining east rift, digging was uncomfortable and wet so JW & CM alternated between digging and loading kibbles. Fourteen Kibbles and two nets sent to the surface. Progress was made into the rift, which was seen to close down after around 4m to a small T-shaped passage. The stream was observed flowing along the channel in the rift and disappearing into what appears to be a T junction with a narrow north – south aligned rift. CM pushed ahead with video camera mounted to a helmet at arms reach; the results later reviewed in the comfort of the Caravan. Some metre or so ahead this “T” passage enters as a branch. The plan is to reach this junction and assess future potential. Serious consideration is being directed toward opening the southern end from the surface as the entire infrastructure is available on site.. Upon departure to the Roadside snow arrived.
Hours 8, (1052), Kibbles 14, (131), Nets 2, (29).
December 10th Polldorragh
JW & CM
Overcast cold day with snow visible on nearby Mullaghmore. En-route to lough bunny for a dive, JW and CM decided to stop by Polldorragh using location and description provided by PC. Without much difficulty the entrance was located, shielded beneath concrete slabs and galvanised sheets. Pulling back one of the covering slabs it was possible to see the water filled shaft below. Having dive equipment to hand, it was decided to take a closer look. CM entered the shaft using rope. Water clarity was initially good and an obvious tunnel leading off to the right was observed. However, upon donning fins and a single 7l cylinder lowered by JW, the visibility had reduced to a few inches. Diver then descended to floor at -2m and proceeded feet-first into the tunnel. It was possible to progress around 2-3m before encountering walls on all sides. CM then returned to surface to discuss progress and waited momentarily for visibility to improve before making second attempt probing into the tunnel. Unfortunately no way on was found so further exploration was abandoned. It may be worth another look in the shaft/tunnel, possibly by lowering a camera & light to have a better look into the water without disturbing the visibility.
December 18th Poulnagollum
JW and PC
Very mild, hence dense fog above 100m, The trip was planned to do the “Flyover”, a route discovered some ten years ago. Several routes are available to reach the twenty metre abseil down into the main passage.. The route this evening was via Gunman's Cave leading into the middle section of Poulnagollum main passage rift. For those who were at the back of the queue when legs were being handed out the acrobatics required for 27” legs are…. quite demanding. Whilst JW strode across the meandering rift PC needed to throw himself across said rift, repeatedly, ‘til reaching the next section. By now PC had the shits of this and suggested the Bar. Abseiling to the streamway the pair finished the trip down to main junction. To a very quiet Roadside.
December 20th Fisherstreet Mesolithic Dig Site
ML, EL, CL, MH, RJ and PC. (Michael Lynch, Clodagh Lynch, Elaine Lynch, Mary Howard, Ritchie Jones).
Whilst the others excavated Trench 4c north, PC reconciled the levels with the existing sequence of datums along the baseline, (E17 E18, E20, E21), also measured either end of the Trench to Datums E20 and E21.
December 27th Fermoyle West Cave
Altitude, 289m (confirmed by map and 2 x GPSR’s).
Townland, Fermoyle West
TB and PC
Bright and bitter cold, snowline about the 250 metre contour. Follow up trip The route taken today avoided the troublesome ankle wrecking path previously followed; therefore effort reduced to a minimum. Took some photos of entrance and location. Began survey from the end of the surface trench to the present limit, to illustrate the area excavated by previous unknowns to access the stream most likely for the use of grazing farm stock. TB pushed to the end reached by JW observing the route beyond. PC then viewed potential from same spot. Beyond the boulder the passage turns left after some three metres, the passage height lowering to some eight inches, (200mm). It is the sort of place that a full days digging would decide further work. The walk back to the Hilux became a cold affair; the pair thoroughly soaked. The Holy Well on the six inch map may be fed from the stream/water inside the cave, though none was seen to be actually running. To the Roadside for free pints; informed that Jeremy Prince died this morning after developing double pneumonia; (, JP was ex Craven Pothole Club).
December 28th Greg’s Hollow, Kilcorney
TB and PC
Prior to departure PC informed GD of intended visit. TB was still nursing a back injury so this was a visit to view the new site at Kilcorney and to redo the previous suspect GPSR readings of the sites. A significant flow was issuing from the direction of the spring and also from the field surface both sinking in the main site. All surface pools frozen. In light snow fall walked over to Cave of the Wild Horses and on to cave K2, actually up and around the gulley to the west of the cliff face. Evidence in the main surface drainage channel of recent high water flow. Took GPS recordings of both. After some Indian Tea, taken whilst enjoying the vista, sped off to the Roadside for more free pints.
(K1 = Cave of the Wild Horses =.ITM 522245×699339 44m),
(K2 = ITM 522227×699300 Alt 127m).
The GPS recorded altitude for K2 approaches something realistic as the road through the valley is around 112 metres. The GPSR record of altitude for K1 is a joke, location obscured by the adjacent cliff.
December 29th Long Rake Mine
Kelvin Eady & Paul Richardson with guests (non-Pegasus) John & Jack Hickling
On a cold, snowy morning, we met up at 10ish, raring to blow off the Christmas cobwebs. The walk down the mud slope from the surface was largely devoid of snow so it was only a “little” slippery. Since any of us had last been in Long Rake - some 3 years before ago or so, a hand line had been rigged from the mesh fence part way down the slope to the bottom of the slope inside the entrance (before the first fixed ladder).
We explored the upper level, following the rake from northeast to southwest, stepping over shafts / openings in the floor. There was still the smell of creosote from the wooden ore shoots & timber roof supports and what looked to be some collapse that none of us remembered from previous trips. Further southwest, beyond where the roof supports end, we were wading through glutinous mud that occasionally came higher than the wellies. Paul was leading the way at this point (John and Jack had decided no to venture down this bit). It was agreed that there seemed little point carrying on as there seemed to be little gain from our efforts and couldn’t see any dangers lurking at the bottom of the mud.
We turned back, exploring side passages into “old mans workings” and then descended down the fixed ladders to the middle level. We followed the middle level southwest and went down the ramp to the lower level. As there was not particularly much of interest to see down there, we returned back to the ladders and followed the middle level to what appeared to be its north-eastern extent. At this north-eastern end of the middle level we found some passageways heading back up into a large chamber that looked accessible. Paul and Jack went ahead but after about 30Ft or so came back as it was quite unstable. So back to the ladders and back out into daylight.
In the comfort of the Nelson Arms at Middleton by Wirksworth and with a pint of good beer (or Coke for Jack -he’s only 15!!) in hand it was decided that perhaps, due to the instability of the place, particularly the upper level, we would probably not venture down there again.
December 30th Considine's Cave
TB, CC and PC
Cold enough, overcast, large stream, ground very wet following one inch of rain last night. The plan; to video the passage beyond the junction. CC to -25.5m, PC & TB surface support. TB brought Tea and Bread pudding, enjoyed whilst CC beavered below, bliss. CM and JW had previously removed a lot of spoil from the bedding crawl allowing snug progress to within a metre of the junction, (see video ref 7th December). CC fitted video and 10w lamp to an extendable aluminium pole which was pushed forward then turned 180 degrees to view both north and south sections of this apparent parallel passage. It may be we are in the top of a rift presently filled with debris, only excavation will prove this. To enlarge the approach further CC stacked spoil into the north rift and filled two kibbles left at the base of the shaft, a total debris removed of some five kibbles worth. The depth was measured at 25.5 metres to the “central” rib of rock. To the Roadside where the video was reviewed; it requires a big screen for clarity. Using a large kibble through the “Pinch” for carriage was proved useless when on lifting the assembled camera kit it became caught, as predicted, by its square edges. PC studied the aspects of securing the site from farm stock; thoughts of installing lintels, to then fill the depression with debris with a Mendip type concrete tube entrance have ebbed and flowed. The owner, MC, had previously recovered his Spaniel who had fallen into this rift at a depth of four metres; no mean feat, animals used for hunting frequent the area. The bedrock surrounding the entrance exposed during setting up the platform is reasonably flat, so, perhaps clearing more overburden away to expose the bedrock to install a series of posts bolted in place and surrounded by a strong mesh could be an option? It cannot be left as is. A minor issue with signalling speaker occurred, its final transmission sounded like a duck being strangled.
Hours 9, (1061), Kibbles 14, (131), Nets 2, (29).
December 31st Caherbullog Townland Slieve Elba
Last of the year.
Storm Dylan fading, cold, blustery, overcast, heavy rain and hail showers. With the Hilux out of action, stole away in Pauline’s car to check on a souterrain in one of the many Ringforts in Caherbullog townland. Parked at the cave and walked the track. The rainfall provided many streams off the flanks of Slieve Elba, so decided to GPS these sinks en-route. Delays occurred whilst accessing and recording at least fourteen or so sinks. Of note are two, close to the track some forty metres from the shale boundary; invisible when any flow is absent. One or two others also require closer inspection. This area is somewhere over the northern reaches of Upper Poulnagollum system, so likely to be tributaries, then again… Was going to record the sites around the mountain up to and including the Holy Well Toberanahircallough, beneath which exists a sinuous cave passage with several entrances, ( Lumley, McDonald, Milner, Cronin, 1980s) but as the weather struck left these sites so close to the track for later and struck out for the souterrain. The cracking area is one of numerous archaeological sites and field systems certainly of early medieval and, perhaps, even Bronze Age. When rain eventually reached the underwear abandoned the wide open spaces for the 3k walk back to the motor. Sinks really need to be checked out.