April to June
April 2nd Considine's Cave (South End)
CC, TB and PC
Overcast; light rain, cold wind; good sized stream. The plan; to dig, great! CC winching, TB digging, PC barrowing. TB dug down through soft moist mud, directly behind the shoring. This will create a pit from which a working face will allow easier/swifter excavation by being able to drop spoil from the face straight into awaiting kibbles beneath. Working from the shoring end will mean progress toward the south should maintain reasonably dry conditions, without the working area incurring flooding from the southern stream inlet. TB sent up fifty kibbles of mud, muck and rock, making quite an impact on the floor level of the rift. As work progressed tools, platform, men and kibbles disappeared beneath a layer of mud. This deposit of total mud should not last too long, hopefully. Rocks were placed against the north dry stone wall whilst the mud and clay was deposited among the undergrowth. Another cracking session: all systems working well. A rather chuffed and weary Team headed to the Roadside for pints and abuse.
Hours 10, (1209), Southend (148), Kibbles 50, (90), Nets 4, (8)
April 5th Considine's Cave (South End)
CC, TB, CM, JW and PC
Mild: misty rain: gusty: small stream at either end of rift. The plan: dig. PC descended to the Plank to install two short chunks of timber in the small gap left in the shoring to support same during future operations; recovered shoring support cable; recovered other digging odds and sods from the general area: rebar steps from bottom of ladder to the Plank left in place, hose pipe released and ready to pull up. CC winching, JW & CM digging, TB unloading kibbles: PC barrowing. A steady pace resulting in seventy kibbles lifted: CM took over unloading kibbles following injury to TB. Depth of the rift floor below the horizontal bedding is now some two metres; time approaches to install concrete lintels to cover over that end of the rift whilst it remains easy to reach. En-route to the Roadside 80% of personnel abandoned this important appointment due to unforeseen demands: therefore PC, (“I got no mates”), drank away to the strains of regular abuse from the assembled team of Barmen and some fine music; great fun.
Hours 11, (1220), Southend (159), Kibbles 70, (160), Nets 4, (8)
April 7th Considine's Cave (South End)
CC, TB and PC
Sunny: mild: Inis Mór clearly visible: small stream. The Plan: maintenance. TB and CC to fettling equipment, and review safety around the shaft collar, PC prepared to cover the open rift to prevent loss or harm to livestock. Two galvanized steel RSJ lintels were fitted into the upper horizontal bedding of the rift and secured in place. Measurements indicate installation of one further lintel will complete the span from the south stream up to the present hauling shaft. On these lintels will rest plastic pallets, upon which will lay a membrane, upon which will be a shallow layer, (600mm) of boulders with clay on top, to act as a shock absorber; thus landscaping that half of the rift. This effort also prevents debris falling from the steep sides of the depression into the rift, and digger below. The timbering at the base of the dry stone buttress, both previously installed by CC, will have two lintels inserted beneath the timbering to catch and support the collapsing debris when the timber eventually rots away. Photographs of this preventative work will show the landowner the Pegasus made good its agreement, to maintain a safe site during, and after, its operations, (ref, Drunken Horse Hole).
The volume of spoil removed over the previous three sessions has exposed the superb vertical fluted walls of the rift. Such swift progress has been entirely due to the winch, which has performed well beyond expectations, lifting very full kibbles without any sign of struggle, (creaking of the rope around the capstan being the only indication of weight). Two 12mm holes were drilled to receive rebar fixings to secure both the temporary support cables fixed to the existing shoring, once competed the excess cable can be cut off, out the way of digging. The top most piece of shoring is now some one metre above the present rift floor; a good safe height to avoid falling backwards into the adjacent open shaft. TB departs the UK tomorrow for some four weeks; another pair of hands would be very useful during CC’s recovery. Thoughts finally turned to a simple, effortless method of tipping kibbles into the barrow, these swiftly altered to the Roadside for pints.
Hours 6, (1226), Southend (165), Kibbles 70, (160), Nets 4, (8)
April 9th Considine's Cave (South End)
CC and PC
Mild: overcast: very small stream. The plan: to cap limestone projections to install a plastic pallet. CC worked away at sorting much of the surface infrastructure and equipment that required cleaning and fettling. During this PC conducted three capping procedures removing just enough overhanging rock to allow an entire plastic pallet to fit into the space between, to rest securely on the two RSJ’s. Both shoring support cables were then fitted with independent fixings, each adjusted to remove slack and tighten the shoring timber into place against the rock face. Final task, drilled a hole to receive the mount for the signal system button.
Several photos taken were by CC. To the Roadside for abuse from Billy, and cracking drink.
Hours 4, (1230), Southend (169), Kibbles 70, (160), Nets 4, (8)
The two RSJ's in position ready for the first plastic pallet to be fitted in place
Note the 'capped' area next to the top right hand side of the fitted pallet
April 12th Considine's Cave (South End)
JW, CC and PC
Mild; some cloud: islands clearly visibility; ground drying; very small stream: The Plan; Dig. CC winching: PC unloading and barrowing: below, JW up to his eyes in mire. Signalling system fitted. The slow pace due to PC recovering from back injury, nonetheless fifty kibbles were raised and tipped among the copse. The volume of clay spoil produced will soon require a second, or larger area cleared among the undergrowth. The extant mound of spoil is now almost three feet high at its far end; this height accessed via a series of planks that meander among the trees. Another tipping area will allow the present spoil to dry, shrink and consolidate prior to recommencement of tipping. JW focused on removing the dense wet clay floor directly beneath the shaft opening, up against the shoring, achieving a depth of 0.6m, (2 feet), over an area some 1.5m, (5 feet): diameter; almost 1 cubic metre. Clay is some 1.8 tonnes per/cubic metre. A concrete lintel to receive the next plastic pallet was cut to length by JN, (the landowner), and brought to site by PC; installing likely Saturday evening: to the Roadside
Hours 8, (1238), Southend (177), Kibbles 50, (210), Nets 1, (9)
April 14th Considine's Cave (South End)
CC and PC
Blustery; mild: stream a trickle. The Plan: maintenance. CC re-connected the pulley bracket to avoid the hauling rope rubbing against the tripod cross member while PC installed the next concrete lintel and cut down the plastic pallet to fit, some fettled with a sledge completed the job. Both tasks mean the rope is now free from wear and the once open rift now reasonably secure; requires final landscaping. A sliding plastic pallet will be the safety cover for the lower opening of the shaft collar. A surprizing amount of water trickling into the dig in this drying period: to the Roadside. Hours 4, (1262), Southend (190), Kibbles 50, (210), Nets 1, (9)
15th April The South Pole
PMC and PC
Finally reached the South Pole; Annascaul, Co. Kerry, to pay respects and raise a glass in the bar originally opened in 1927 by Polar Explorer Tom Crean, RN: (1877-1938); recipient of the Albert Medal and three Polar Medals.
The term, Hero, falls woefully short describing this gentle mans actions.
The South Pole Inn, Annascaul, County Kerry
April 15th Masson Cavern (Quarry Entrance)
Malc Scothon, Dave Walker, Roger Hall & Ian Gould
20th April Considine's Cave (South End)
CC and PC
Warm and bright: a trickle. The plan: maintenance. The digging area is swiftly approaching a liquid state, therefore a six metre length of 100mm pipe was ordered. This was suspended beneath the recently installed lintels. At this chosen level it should capture the array of trickles issuing from the Southend conveying them into the main shaft, hopefully allowing the digging area to dry out a little. Using a series of pipe fittings, upon completion, the pipe will not encroach into the area of the hauling shaft. This task was conducted now whilst PC can still reach it from the present floor level. The Team received a visit from JN, suitably amused at the project. Whilst PC was below CC installed a cover from the pallet tight to the edge of the receiver to prevent debris falling down through the gap into the shaft. To the Roadside!
Hours 3, (1265), Southend (193), Kibbles, (210), Nets (9)
20th April Carsington Pasture Cave
Malc Scothon & Stephen Sheldon
11:30 - 2pm 21/2 hours
We parked- up near Harborough Rocks and walked along the farmer’s track off the Brassington/Wirksworth Road.
The purpose of the visit was to check out whether any immediate remedial work was required and do a small amount of excavation in Yorick Chamber. The entrance lid hadn’t been tampered with and the lock, surprisingly, opened with very little effort after a small squirt of WD40. Considering the amount of rain and snow we have had it was reasonably dry in the top chamber and the climb down into Yorick.
Whilst we were still in the top chamber, we inspected the entrance area into Flasid and noted there had been a further collapse which required a re-visit to dig out and shore up. However, the benefit of this, when done, would improve air circulation.
Still a lot of potential in this area both for archaeological finds and new passage. We also studied a couple of Horseshoes we had found when digging at the base of the entrance shaft. Identified as very early designs without the front and heel plates to minimise movement whilst on a hoof, they maybe post medieval up to the 1700s. Further research is required.
Steve Sheldon & Malc Scothon
Yoricks Chamber. View from Pig Pen to far end. Space between floor and roof is gradually decreasing due to moving rocks from the slopes
Stephen Sheldon excavating in Yorick’s Chamber
One of the early Horseshoes found in the top Chamber
Entering Yorick Chamber, Steve went off to the left and to the top of the slope, moving rocks in search of bones, whilst I channelled out the chamber floor to make it more easier to get to the far end and extricate yourself quickly in the event of any sudden uncontrolled movement in rocks. Once at the far end, I started to clear a lot of the loose rocks on the left hand side of the chamber moving them to a small pit on the right, created in earlier digs. (an area now exhausted of finds).
Because of the limited space and difficulty in extracting rocks to the surface, we are constantly moving rocks about in the chamber. From the photos, you can see the limited roof space we are now working in. Whilst it’s not the safest of options, we are working our way up the left hand slope of Yorick’s chamber, extracting animal and human bone.
One more visit, for a couple of hours in Yorick will reach our safe working limit without further scaffolding and shoring up. The alrernative is to start another shaft from the entrance chamber into Yorick.
Personally, I think the way forward with Carsington Cave, is to put more effort into Flasid. However, Steve understandably, is put off by working with large volumes of mud & clay.
The trip passed without incident with more human/animal bones extracted to the surface. They will be cleaned by Steve and passed onto Prof. Andrew Chamberlain who is now based at Manchester University.
26th April Considine's Cave (South End)
CC, PC later CM
Cool, bright, small stream, ground wet. The plan: secure pipe conveying south stream into main shaft. “L” shaped rebar brackets had been prepared and were hammered into 10mm holes, the pipe then secured with 6mm dive line. The planned pipeline route to pass around the hauling area proved satisfactory; there is a clearance of some 250mm when lifting a kibble and around 200mm, a net. It’s important to ensure that prior to hauling the suspended kibble, or net, is not swinging at all. Any swing of the load could possibly damage the pipe. CM’s arrival was heralded by the sound of a swarm of Bees, above the Team noticed a drone. CM assisted completion of the north end of the pipework, and began to dig the “step” south from the shaft. CC winching, PC emptying and barrowing. En-route to the trucks a stunning sunset displayed the impression that America had been Nuked: to a busy Roadside.
Hours 7, (1272), Southend (200), Kibbles, 34 (244), Nets, 2 (11)
Drone photos courtesy of Cathal Mullane
The Dig site showing the position of the new shaft directly below the pointed end of the canopy.
Another view of the dig looking West, with the Cliffs of Moher (left) and the Aran Islands in the distance.
28th April Considine's (South End)
Sunny: the distant islands crystal clear: small stream. The Plan; capture water from the Southend to reducing digging in porridge. Having chipped off a few high points a plastic “voting” sign was manoeuvred into the thin bedding beneath the drips, catching most. More phaffing about produced a design for pipework to capture the main stream, water collected by the plastic sign and adjacent trickle: more pipe fittings required. To the Roadside.
Hours 2, (1274), Southend (202), Kibbles, 34 (244), Nets, 2 (11)
29th April Souterrain, Rine, Finavarra
National Ref: S.M.R. CL002-068002
JW and PC
Sunny: increasing cloud cover: windy: The plan; to incorporate the initial calibration of JW’s Distox with digitally surveying the site. PC rang BK to inform of our intent; again told to “work away”. PC had previously established three datums, (29th Oct 2017), Station 0 on the surface, Station 1 in the first chamber, Station 2 levelled from Station 1 through the squeeze into the second chamber. JW could utilize these secure datums to rotate the Distox upon to obtain multiple measurements of distance, bearing and inclination. Whilst JW experimented with the Distox PC squeezed through the defensive drop-hole creep into the third chamber; much larger than imagined. Now dry of all flood water a better idea of the state of the place was achieved; it is much the same dimensions as the other chambers. The place was cleaned by removing remains of fertilizer bags. A large rectangular flagstone lay on the floor, originally part of the entrance drop-hole surround. The floor of the drop-hole to the creep is purposely sloped, which when the flagstone was in place, would present an individual with medium leg length difficulty wriggling down into the creep, (is this why it’s lying on the floor?). Any invader wriggling through such a constricted passage would have their head and upper torso exposed to attack from any individual taking refuge within; even the young and the elderly could sustain an attack from such location that is until supplies ran out. This third chamber is set at a right angle to the second. At its far end a slope of washed in top soil rises from floor, almost to ceiling, the area beyond is sealed by large boulders; apparently placed not by collapse; no damage to ceiling or walls is visible. The dry stone work appears to end among the top soil. Surveying this defensive feature will be fun. Previously BK had asked PC if a video of the souterrain could be made; JW has willingly obliged.
April 29th Cwmorthin, North Wales
The trip was organised by Red Rose, RRCPC but we had me and Geoff (A potential Pegasus new boy) and 2 lads from Wirksworth with us too.
A few miles outside Blaenau Ffestiniog is Cwmorthin Quarry. It’s a slate quarry west of the village of Tanygrisiau, north Wales. Quarrying on the site started in 1810. In 1860 it was connected to the Ffestiniog Railway. In 1900 it was acquired by the nearby Oakeley Quarry and the two were connected underground.
Our site burst into song at around 6am. The first birds set off the rest. For me it was a break from the snoring after sharing my tent with 3 hairy cavers. Breakfast from the Co-op: hot and cold food; then off the Cwmorthin car park that we had parked at the day before. Yesterday we had 11 underground and today it was 10: James; Geoff; Slug; Becca; Dave; Barry; Sam; Graham; Alex and Aaron (Me).
Like a precision military manoeuvre we all landed at 930am, James had the key. We got sorted and headed up the huge mountain. (30 min walk). The scenery around the lake is breathtaking. We took it all in then made our way to the entrance. The mine looked very well looked after which is rare these days. The deeper we went the more it opened up until we reached a large chamber with an incline to the left. We decided to head down the incline in search of the bridges. It didn’t take long to find them and blimey they are bigger than they look in pics.
We headed back to the incline and then found some very photogenic karts and some old pumping machines. Somewhere around this point we descended the famous staircase; a fantastic slate staircase. Later we found massive chambers, scrambles, interesting rooms with old mining gear in and lots of route finding.
The rest of the cave included around 10 zip lines, traverses and scrambles; a hugely interesting and challenging mine. My favourite spot was the spiral traverse and the fast zip line! All ten of us had a fantastic time and we hope to meet up again sometime soon.
May 1st Kangaroo Island, Southern Australia
04:30 local time, everyone else in bed.
Time in cave about half hour. The old sink hole, original entrance of Kelly's hill caves on kangaroo island. After coming round the fence and down the ladder I explored the local area, loads of pretties and formations. Definitely worth going back to explore it properly; maybe even pay to go into it properly with the adventure tour.
May 3rd Considine's Cave (South End)
CC, CM, JW and PC
Mild: misty with drizzle: The plan; dig. CM and JW digging; CC winching: PC unloading and barrowing. Prior to commencing the dig, a corrugated aluminium sheet was placed over the south end of the shaft, diverting drip water into the drainage pipe. CM focused on the southern floor of the shaft, now comprised mainly of boulders interspersed with rotten tree branches. Floor is still a sticky mud consistency wetter to the lower northern end. Spoil removed is predominantly wet clay, but larger stones are being seen more regularly than before.
The floor up to the south end was lowered level to where JW had dug down the pit next to the shoring. Another 0.6m deep pit requires sinking against the shoring to repeat this successful process. Perhaps once dig out this floor could have a timber bottom to facilitate clean hauling from this location? The very large boulders from the south end were removed by net, deposited on the “Big Boulder Pile”. Barrowing began behind the south end to prepare the other spoil area for further landscaping. Another spoil area is urgently required. PC bought more fittings and bits have been purchased to complete the pipework, possibly Saturday night.
To the Roadside.
Hours 10, (1284), Southend (212), Kibbles, 41 (285), Nets, 10 (21)
May 5th Considine's Cave (South End)
Bright: Breezy, Cool: The plan; to complete the southern pipework. The minor flow from the south turns the floor into a quagmire. Difficulties were experienced using expanding foam to seal the gap between rock and prepared pipework. The extant trickle was diverted into the pipe by constructing a small mud dam. The trickle free area then thoroughly washed clean of debris and allowed to dry of excess water; with the surface still damp, (to improve adhesion), foam was then applied and failed to stick anywhere in intended target area. Rubbing to obtain adhesion to the rock ended with it covering PC: a total waste of time. So, adopted yet another plan; the pipework is now complete discharging the water to the shaft. The present seal is of a stiff, sticky mud, which will allow a concrete seal to be set and dry in place to complete the task.
Hours 2, (1286), Southend (214), Kibbles, 41 (285), Nets, 10 (21)
May 6th Whalf Pipe Shaft, Monyash
I under took a solo descent of Whalf Pipe Mineshaft Monyash. 58 m decent to test out some new SRT gear I had bought. Shaft is not free-hanging with several re-belays so afterwards I went over to the 64metre engine shaft and went down about 30metres before changing to ascent mode. My daughter was at the surface as my 'Backup'.
Sam descending Whalf Pipe Shaft
Surface 'Backup' by Samantha Garrad (I wonder who carried all the gear?)
10th May Fergus River Cave
JW Solo trip in preparation for the big dive push.
On the way way to go digging I decided to check the water levels in Fergus. To my surprise the stream bed from the entrance was completely dry (summer levels). So I made the decision to call off the digging and head in.
The plan I had made up previously called for the comfort kit to be brought in and staged in the start of acoustic passage and to check on the drysuit and oxygen cylinder left in block chamber.
On the way in I found the drysuit bag in the decorated chamber 30m past The Nick. It had travelled at least 300m in narrow and low passage. Needless to say the dry bag was full of water and the whole thing weighed a ton. I quickly unpacked it to leave the under-suit to drain and carried on with the comfort kit.
Arriving in Block Chamber I was relieved to find the bag with the oxygen cylinder and regulator still there. I grabbed it, and the comfort kit and headed through the 250m crawl. After the crawl I tied both bags to the blocks and turned back.
On the way out I drained and packed the drysuit and under suit. It still weighed a ton but I managed to drag it all the way out.
All in all a good and productive trip. A bit of a set back with the drysuit but then again I wasn't expecting to get this trip in. If I get one extra person to carry on the next trip I would end up ahead of my 4 day solo plan.
Jim Warny, a post trip Belgian selfy
10th May Considine's Cave (South End)
CC and PC
Bright and overcast: Mild; small stream: Cool SW breeze. The plan: maintenance. Whilst PC shaped a plastic voting poster in the bedding to catch myriad drips from beneath the southern stream channel, CC developed a tipping system to empty kibbles into the barrow. The system to catch as much of the water from the southern inlet should significantly reduce the volume of water in the dig area, though only in normal flow conditions. PC also landscaped both spoil areas creating easier runways for the barrow. Early in the evening JW rang diverting to Fergus River to carry in yet more equipment in preparation for the push, as water levels were surprizingly low for this time of year. All met up in the Roadside for abuse and cracking pints.
Hours 4 (1290), Southend (218), Kibbles, (285), Nets, (21)
12th May Considine's Cave (South End)
CC and PC
Cool breeze, bright, trickle running. The plan: to secure the pipework. After reviewing the previous pipework arrangement it was stripped down as PC thought it could be improved. A short section of four inch pipe was eventually concreted in place; this will discharge the south stream into the northern area of the rift. This procedure was repeated with a smaller diameter pipe to collect the subsidiary trickle from the west side. The mix used was quite strong to assist adhesion between pipe and limestone. The new arrangement means a little more phaffing about with pipework, but it’s for the best. The pipework into the shaft was also prepared for the final length into the shaft; this needs the plumber to be dangled from the platform to complete the task; terrific. The dig floor was awash with puddles, from rain yesterday? So PC dug a gutter to capture water from the south and to drain the general area. CC arrived and began to install the tipping system for the kibbles; this will greatly assist the poor sod who has to hold them whilst emptying same into the barrow, not an easy task. Part of this proposed system requires a loop secured to the bottom of the kibbles; 6mm, dive line was used. Hopefully the pipework will be completed next session. To a busy Roadside: no Billy so delay in getting drink.
Hours 4 (1294), Southend (222), Kibbles, (285), Nets, (21)
12th May Fergus River Cave
Cathal and Jim
The plan was to bring in the drysuit bag from the entrance and to advance the comfort kit snd oxygen to sump 1. Also on the cards was a bit of photography in the area around the nick and drone video of the entrance. On the walk to the cave Cathal flew his drone to the river and back to the entrance. This should make for some interesting footage.
Jim set of with the drysuit bag and Cathal with the camera case but once past the Nick Cathal abandoned the camera case. Beyond the crawl the two other bags where collected and we headed upstream in Acoustic Passage. After a while we noticed the sound of a loud stream ahead of us. This made for a change of keenness in both of us. It became clear to us that the cave was still flowing. Once we reached the chamber just beyond Sweet Afton Corner we had a look at the stream in the room, it was not particularly high but was flowing strongly.
At that point we decided to drop the 3 bags at the bolt anchor beyond the room and have a look further. I popped down through the restriction in to the No Mercy Hall junction room. I went beyond the puddle in the room and soon met another lake which I think was the level of the sump. So I turned back.
On the way out we stopped to do the photography at The Nick. Jim shot one photo in the passage just beyond the crawl out of the nick. Cathal shot two scenes, one in the crawl above The Nick and one in the decorated chamber before bat chamber. (Shown here)
We had both chilled down after the photography so we packed up and bolted for the entrance to surface in glorious sunshine. Both cavers where hungry, luckily Asia was waiting with shepherds pie for us.
Jim Warmy going back through the Nick
The Decorated chamber before the Nick
13th May Considine's Cave (South End)
Overcast, sunny spells, cool. The plan: steal a march on the Monday session; attempt completion of pipework. Laden again with kit waddled across the field to the dig; one length of scaffold and adjustable foot now on site, the three metre scaffold bar is by the track. Prior to assembling the pipework a wide, thick clay garland was created around the edge of the small bedding to convey extraneous drips into the prepared collection point. The constricted work area was a ball ache, but this bit of plumbing is finished; outstanding is the discharge pipe out into the shaft. The end plastic pallet was set in position on the galvanized RSJ’s, so the rift can now be completely sealed off from the outside world, plus all and any curious farmstock; departing the site, managed to jam finger in truck door, so no digging Monday.
Hours 2 (1296), Southend (224), Kibbles, (285), Nets, (21)
14th May Considine's Cave (South End)
CC, Nick Geh and PC
Overcast: bright spells: cool: trickle running. The plan: erect the support for the proposed kibble tipping system. An easy enough session for injured parties; the component parts swiftly assembled. A scaffold pole secured to the platform supports the central roof spar from which hangs the pulley. Testing proved all secure. Meanwhile NG ambled about reviewing the project and taking photos: To the Roadside for pints.
Hours 3 (1299), Southend (227), Kibbles, (285), Nets, (21)
16th May Ball Eye Quarry Meeting
Meeting with Charlie Knighton in The Bell Inn.
Charlie Knighton (aged 71)
Resident on the Hill in Cromford for 49 years.
Originally from Darley Dale, he was employed as a Shot-firer at Ball Eye Quarry.
Owners of the quarry at that time were Pitchmastic.
He prepared the shot holes by drilling 4-5 inch diameter holes with a pneumatic drill operated by Compressed air. Normally ,about 12 holes were drilled for one firing and each hole was set 4 feet apart. Each hole was drilled to a depth of 100 feet.
The explosive he used was Cortex fuse. Similar to black powder within a cord and a detonator attached to it. He detonated at a Distance of 100 metres.
Charlie recalled an incident in the early 1970s. It was midweek and he was doing his normal duties, drilling, setting up the shot and then firing. After about 20 minutes he noticed both police and ambulance on Water lane in the Via Gellia. The Police came to the top of the quarry and spoke to him saying "Do you know what you’ve done? A group of school kids have gone into Ball Eye Mine and have been overcome by fumes".
Charlie explained to me that because the quarry was full of old lead mine workings, the fumes from the explosion had filtered into the main entrance area of the mine. The entrance to the mine is situated above and across from what was the ‘Pig of Lead’ public House and adjacent to the quarry.
Charlie, whilst he was concerned for the school kids, his response to the police was ‘there are signs at the mine entrance and surrounding area that says ‘Private, Danger ,keep out’
Charlie never knew the outcome of the incident, and didn’t hear from the police again.
Meeting ended 7pm.
17th May Fergus River Cave
JW Solo trip
The plan was to go and check if the water level had dropped and to see if sump 1 dive base was accessible. If sump 1 could be reached to take inventory of the gear left there from last year.
The way in was fast. In Acoustic Passage I couldn't hear the stream like last Saturday, this meant the the cave had stopped flowing.
I picked up the comfort kit, oxygen cylinder and regulator up from Saturday's staging point to bring these further. The water was gone from No Mercy Junction, only a few puddles remained between there and sump 1 dive base. The water level of the sump was just low enough to reach the gear.
I took an inventory of the gear that was at dive base:
- Clothes line was intact
- Jim's wetsuit was present, Cathals suit missing.
-1 x 3L at 50bar.
-1 x 3L at 100bar.
-1 x 7L at 200bar.
-1 x 7L at 210bar.
-2 x hood.
-1 x pair of gloves.
-1 x eazy cutter with wrist mount (still cuts)
-2 x Regulator (tested and found to be working)
- harnesses and weights.
- reel with 180m of 3mm orange line.
- 2 x diving mask.
- some snoopy loops.
I left the comfort kit and the oxygen/regulator anchored at the dive base and removed Cathals flooded first aid kit.
A swift exit was made to be greeted by sunshine.
Note. A 'Comfort Kit' is a bag with:- first aid, food, stove and survival stuff all vacuum packed and in a dry drum.
18th May CL004-016040 (Souterrain)
Antony Cronin, Victoria Cronin and PC
CL004-016029, (ringfort, cashel) Caherbullog townland
Sunny: warm: cool breeze. A second attempt to locate the ringfort and souterrain previously made 31st Dec 2017; part of the ongoing survey project. Now armed with a 1800s 6 inch map navigated straight to the ringfort mostly using the network of walls; some walls appearing Bronze Age in date; their heights apparently increased with later additions of smaller coursed stonework. Delightedly encountered two types of Burren orchid and four clusters of late spring gentians. The ringfort is situated adjacent a limestone terrace protected from the southwesterlies; curiously, the ringfort is unlike any other ever visited, its remaining walls of large ill fitted weathered limestone blocks, one block in width, with large gaps between, give an impression of construction by the inexperienced. The souterrain design and dimensions suggest its primary use as a storage facility and, perhaps, shelter during sustained inclement weather. The surrounding extensive field system contains both large and small enclosures; giving the appearance of a busy farmstead. Around the interior circumference of the ringfort are outlines of several small buildings within one of these is a large collapse exposing a souterrain. A second, smaller opening is located, some ten metres away, almost central within the ringfort. Descending the collapse a wide, (1.6m), high, (1.4m), passage, some eight metres in length is entered. At either end of this “chamber” well lain stonework tapers gently inward. At the top of the walls corbelling has neatly reduced the span for the stone lintels. The small opening is a narrower passage, its short length has had its floor raised some 0.6m: a possible attempt to restrict entry by intruders? An interesting site: to the Roadside for craic agus ceol.
19th May S4
AC, VC and PC
During a walk from Poulsallagh bay to McGann’s Bar PC observed the sea approaching low water, (spring tide, waxing new moon); diverted to locate S4, a potential resurgence of Coolagh River Cave. Gentians and orchids abound; hundreds. Located a significant resurgence in the expected area; stripped and entered to investigate site. A six metre wide, one metre high bedding gradually diminishes in height over four metres to a tight bedding which offers no further potential. Recorded location as ITM 0508423 x 0701584; taken three metres seaward of the entrance.
19th May Fergus River Cave
Jim and Ciaran Warny, Quentin, Louey, Arron
Today myself and Quentin to bring the kids caving.
It was Arron's first caving trip.
We went in and progressed well, with the kids leading the way for most of it.
On the return journey we paused in a few spots and made a few pictures.
20th May Eldon Hole
Nathan and Sam
Decended Eldon Hole North Gully on 20th May 2018. Fabulous weather though a little hot in a pvc oversuit. Uneventful on the way down. Quite substantial amount of snow and ice at the bottom of main shaft (see photo). Quick look round main chamber including the latest dig which is an impressive effort though not as good as the Pegasus dig in Ireland. Sam rigged & Nathan de-rigged. Once again the bags got stuck on the way out which necessitated some interesting aerial gymnastics on rope in order to retrieve. This is the second trip with Nathan where this situation has arose!
Photographs by Nathan Bartlett
22nd May Pollaloghaboo
Dive time: 80min. Max depth: 15m
On Sunday I decided to get my dive gear ready to go for a dive in Pollaloghaboo downstream towards Polbehan. The plan was to see how the lines where and to try and retrieve the reels in the downstream section of the Pollbehan junction.
When I arrived at the entrance I spent some time re-anchoring the gate we put in place a few years ago and I also replaced the rope that is used as a handline to get in and out.
I set off laying a line from the entrance to the first belay as this had been washed out during the winter. The tidal flow was going in to the cave quite strong wich made for a fast pace on the way in. The lines where all intact and in good condition.
Arriving at the FRX restriction I had a quick go at negotiating it with the rebreather on but this proved impossible. The new case I have now is bigger than the previous one so I will have to take it off and push it ahead of me to get through. When I came out of the restriction I noticed a hole below the bedding. It seemed to head in the direction of the hole that I usually go through to exit the restriction. I had a quick look in the hole but the visibility turned to zero but it felt like it could go.
The way back was hard going against the strong flow. A return is planned soon. This dive was a good preparation for Fergus river cave wich I plan to push on 9th of June.
24th May Considine's Cave (South End)
CC & PC
Warm: threatening showers: small stream: The plan; continue with covering over the rift. PC drilled several holes and inserted rebar as extra support to forthcoming stone work that will cover these gaps along the edge of the pallets. CC continued working on the tipping system; only minor adjustments now required. Midges galore: headed for the Roadside.
Hours 3 (1302), Southend (230), Kibbles, (285), Nets, (21)
May 24th Pollaloghaboo
Jim Warny and Konrad Nowak
Dive time: 80min. Max depth: 15m
After last Tuesdays dive I decided to repeat the dive in order to get dived up for the upcoming Fergus River dive. Konrad asked me if he could come along for a dive.
We had no dive plan in particular. Apart from Konrad wanting to test his scooter on the way out.
The cave was flowing in strongly so the way in was quick and we made great time to the FRX restriction. I removed the chest mount rebreather and went in to the bedding to have a look. I found the line was stuck in a low section of the bedding so I retreated after a couple of meters in.
The return was slow for me but Konrad made it out faster thanks to the scooter.
26th May Considine's Cave (South End)
TB, CC and PC
Warm: Bright: Trickle: The plan; dig. Whilst TB reviewed progress CC sorted the tipping mechanism, PC installed the “Gantry”; a two metre long horizontal plank spanning the main shaft from the fixed ladder across to the shoring to facilitate access into the south end. A traverse line from the belay at the top of the ladderway to the new hauling way was also fixed in place for use with a cow’s tail and jammer; this will require improvement and a proper belay located in the south end area to secure the end of the horizontal traverse line. Though temporary the three metre aluminium ladder way was “secured” with a lightweight line in the new hauling way. It presently stands atop a small pillar of mud which, once removed, following the next few sessions will be taken out of service. All access to the south end will be via the old ladderway and across the Gantry. TB digging PC barrowing CC winching. The new tipping system was used to great effect enhanced by cleaned kibbles. The spoil appears far less liquid than previously encountered even though TB dug away the “wet” floor surface toward the south. Perhaps the effort creating the south end water collection is paying off? As TB progressed further from the shaft the hauling line was brought forward and attached to the kibble using the power of the winch to drag the full kibble back into the shaft rather than the digger expend energy. Occasionally strangled squawks emerged from the depths these noises were found to emanate from the signal system and not as initially feared from TB. The tipping system was also used to empty the Net, again to great effect, though care is required lest the barrow become damaged from boulders falling from too high a position. Spoil was deposited above and to the rear of the Bunker; a replacement barrow way plank required. The spoil tips are reducing as they dry and therefore easier to trundle a wheel barrow across. Fortunately the midges appeared toward the end of the session. The bottom of the new hauling shaft is now some four metres below the platform; ten poles visible. Though the speed of winching appears slow each kibble is full. This improves overall digging efficiency by a factor of three over the previous method of PC hand hauling from depth; it also means his knuckles no longer drag along the floor.
Hours 8 (1310), Southend (238), Kibbles, 31 (316), Nets, 1 (22)
28th May Considine's Cave (South End)
CC, TB and PC
Very warm, (+25°): Bright: Trickle. The plan: dig. CC winching TB digging PC barrowing. Steady progress raised fifty one kibbles even though extant injuries nagged at each of the team. Wet clay gradually clagged up the kibbles so around kibble 30 these were replaced with cleaned ones which solved several issues not least their weight but mainly the ease of emptying them into the barrow. Das Bunker spoil tip was used tonight, the next session will switch to the original spoil depository beyond the generator to allow tonight’s spoil to dry and consolidate prior to further use. Midges were about and barely tolerated the serious thirsts created were not: to the Roadside for fine drink.
Hours 8 (1318), Southend (246), Kibbles, 51 (367), Nets, 1 (22)
The sketch below hopefully explains the layout of the South End project area referred to in the logs.
Considine's Cave (South End) sketch
Super structure consisting shed, weather cover, tripod & truck not shown for clarity.
Plastic pallets set upon galvanized steel RSJ's and concrete lintels.
Line of pipework is 4 inch sewer pipe discharging into main shaft.
Gantry is 7 x 2 inch timber.
Dotted line depicts the route of the traverse line.
30th May Water Gate Cave, Oubliette Entrance
CC & TB
On our way to checkout the state of the 'Oubliette' entrance we had a close look at an interesting fossil found by Nigel Burns on his visit to Clare the previous week. Photographs were taken from which it is hoped to identify exactly what it is. Much has changed in the small bay in which the entrance is situated after the winter storms with some area clear of boulder and some new, room sized boulders being deposited. Much care is needed to get to the far corner of the bay due to the slippery nature of the smooth boulders. The entrance is well sealed by a perfect fitting boulder but the open shaft can be seen below. It may be possible to remove this obstacle using brute force and ignorance plus a large crowbar. This is being considered to allow a good photgraphic session in the cave.
The fossil found by Nigel with a 2 Euro coin for scale
Tony Boycott admiring the 'Secure Gate' to 'Oubliette'
31st May Considine's Cave (South End)
JW, TB, CC and PC
Warm: Increasing overcast: Trickle: The plan: Dig. CC winching, TB unloading PC unloading and barrowing, JW digging. With little delay digging commenced, to reduce effort unloading the kibbles as they became clagged they were regularly replaced with clean ones.
Digging below was hard going as the spoil and clay was dry and well compacted.
Progressing away from the shoring poles JW dug 2 spades deep. By the end of the session an area of 1.5m x 1m by 0.5m was cleared. A total of 70 kibbles where raised. The spoil was deposited beyond the generator filling the gap against the north wall allowing the Bunker pile to consolidate.
Hours 10 (1328), Southend (256), Kibbles, 70 (437), Nets, (22)
2nd June Considine's Cave (South End)
CC, TB and PC
Warm: ground drying: small trickle: midges: The plan: dig. After severely thwacking the kibbles to knock off the dried mud digging commenced; TB digging CC winching and PC barrowing. At a steady pace TB lowered the area up against the shoring then began to work southward. Boulders of various sizes began to appear from amongst the clay. Thirteen pieces of shoring are now exposed some seven of these need removing that’s about 10% of the total originally installed. Spoil was again deposited above the Bunker: the recent heat wave has allowed previous session spoil to consolidate swifter than expected. The three huge boulders lifted by net were emptied using the tipping system without any damage to the barrow, hooray. The Monday session could remove shoring, reposition the Gantry, secure the shaft collar cover and fit the safety rail: to a busy Roadside for drink
Hours 8 (1328), Southend (264), Kibbles, 40 (477), Nets, 3 (25)
4th June Cliff Cave, Fanore
Jim Warny and Michal Mozgala
Dive time: 120min. Max depth: 12m
Given favourable sea conditions myself and Michal decided to go for a dive in Cliff Cave. I had wanted to retrieve the stalagmite situated 700m from the entrance for some time now so this was our objective for the dive.
Arrival on site around 11:00.
The sea conditions where calm when we arrived and the morning fog had not yet lifted. We carried our gear to the entry point and got suited up. The swim on the surface to the cave entrance was a long slog as usual.
Once at the cave I set of first closely followed by Michal. The visibility and line conditions where good. The way in was slow due to the receding tide.
Once we arrived at the stall I proceeded to deploy the hammer and chisel I had brought. Before I had the tools unclipped Michal gave the stall a big thump and cracked it off, grabbed it and bolted for the entrance, leaving me floating there scratching my head. The way out was uneventful apart from Michal nearly colliding with a giant conger eel.
The stall is now vacuum packed and ready to be sent off. It weighs in at 2.9KG and is 460mm long by 80mm in diameter.
NB. To fully understand the justification for the actions reported in this log please refer to the following explanation.
The stalagmite referred to in JWs log entry was carefully removed from Cliff Cave, (Poul Aillte), for dating. This procedure to identify a date of the caves formation had been planned since the presence of stal was first recorded during original exploration by Jim Warny. A previous example removed was far too corroded to successfully process. This larger stal may, when successfully dated, provide science with the period when the main passage of Poul Aillte was all but empty of water.
The main passage of Poul Aillte gently undulates yet may be observed to have an average depth of ten metres; this is useful as Admiralty marine chart 3339 clearly illustrates a ten metre depth contour around the northern coast of County Clare. This widely meandering ten metre contour offers a representation of land lost as sea levels altered; its present line around the coast differs from only a few metres off the cliffs at Ballyryan to twelve hundred metres off the gently shelving beach at Ballyhagline.
The difference in sea level also impacts upon the present locations of recently discovered Mesolithic sites in north County Clare. These significant sites remain subject to coastal erosion so obtaining a date when the sea was somewhat further away would possibly contribute to understanding the choice for these seeming exposed locations.
To sum up, we have a fairly good idea where the sea level was off the present coast of Clare when Poul Aillte was forming by utilizing the ten metre depth contour. What we lack is the period when the sea was at this level.
JW has arranged with Frank McDermott, University College Dublin who is willing to examine, evaluate and date the stalagmite. If suitable FMcD intends to apply uranium-thorium dating as Clare stals are good for this method having a high uranium content. This procedure is being undertaken as of June 2018.
BCE = Before Current Era = BC = Before Christ.
CE = Current Era = AD = Anno Domini
Mesolithic period 8000 – 45000BCE
4th June Considine's Cave (South End)
CC, TB and PC
Huge amounts of unstable air arriving from the northeast: humid: trickle: midges: The plan: maintenance. TB and CC attended to closing off the many gaps around the shaft superstructure against debris falling through to injure those below. Meanwhile PC removed seven shoring sections; these were winched immediately to surface and the Gantry, now covered with a non slip metal mesh, was relocated at -4 m secured to the fixed ladder. The lifeline is also secured at the bottom to a 16mm bolt and stainless belay, (requires final tightening). This is the route to access the dig as the three metre aluminium ladder, hung from its dodgy bit of string is now removed. The lower shaft cover is now fitted and slides to open within its two guides; to open and expose the full depth of the -5m shaft requires some acrobatics, so the chances of a curious indeed nosey twat doing this and falling down same are reduced. The view along the excavated south rift is superb. The steady pace of winching and barrowing does not convey the volume of spoil dug within the hours worked on this task. The area emptied is substantial. To gaze, dangling from the shoring, into the yawning maw of the north end is captivating, the shape and width of the south side of the rift promises at the very least an equal thrill: to the Roadside for rewarding pints agus craic.
Hours 9 (1345), Southend (273), Kibbles, (477), Nets,(25)
5th June Fergus River Cave
Duration: 1¾ Hours
The plan was to bring the bag with the chest mounted rebreather in from the entrance as far as possible in preparation for this weekend’s push.
The way in was a slog with the heavy bag. I put in my head I would turn at the 60 minute mark. I just made it through the crawls after Block Chamber within 70 minutes. I left the bag staged at this point.
The return was much faster without a load.
7th June Fergus River Cave
Duration: 1½ Hours
Today's plan: Bring in the last bag for the push on Saturday. A smooth trip in with the bag until past the crawls beyond Block Chamber.
Everything bar the support diver bag is staged in the cave ahead of Saturday's push.
7th June Considines cave (South End)
CC, TB and PC
Very warm: barely a trickle: horseflies: midges. The plan: dig. TB digging, CC winching with PC unloading & barrowing. Throughout the entire session arms flew around like windmills swatting horseflies. TB dug away southward sending up forty two kibbles and three nets finishing up some one metre from the South End. The barrow route boards above the Bunker were repositioned so the sessions spoil could be deposited much further up the eastern side of the depression. The new access route and safety line worked well, as did the sliding shaft cover: to the Roadside.
Hours 6 (1351), Southend (279), Kibbles, 42 (519), Nets, 3, (28)
9th June Fergus River Cave
The Push: Jim and Michal Mosgalla
Start: 09:30, Finish: 22:00, Duration: 12½ Hours
Following all the setup trips the cave and the equipment was all staged for a pushing trip on sump 3. The plan was for Rowena to assist with carrying from Acoustic Passage to sump 1 and then for Michal and Jim to continue further. Fast progress was made in the first section of cave and the remaining bags where collected along the way. Sump 1 was reached in 2 hrs.
Once at sump one the gear was configured and Jim set off ahead of Michal to dive through sump 1 and 2. Rowena returned to the surface solo. Sump one and 2 where passed in quick succession owing to the bypass lined on previous trips which avoids having to climb out of the water between sumps. At the far side of sump 2 we abandoned Michal's gear and configured Jim's equipment for transport to sump 3.
With one load each we proceeded towards sump 3. Once we reached the low bedding plane (25cm height) Jim removed his dry suit and donned a disposable overall while Michal advanced more gear to the bedding plane. Jim transferred 2 loads through the bedding and continued on to find the dive base. Once Jim hit water he returned for Michal and the remainder of the gear. We where feeling optimistic having arrived at the dive base in +/- 5 Hrs.
Once Jim donned the dry suit again he went for a look in the pool of water and saw that it was just a puddle and not sump 3. Probably the water level rose and filled the puddles due to the heavy rainfalls last night. Both of us waded and crawled further through the pool to find sump 3. Some 150m further deeper water was met and the cave seemed to continue under water. We returned for the Dive gear but left the comfort kit and bags on dry land before the pool.
While plugging in his dry suit inflator valve Jim was horrified to hear a loud pop and a gush of air coming out of it. The button part had popped out of the valve! Remembering the construction of the valve Jim knew there was a cerclip holding in the button. Jim took of the drysuit slowly while looking for the clip that may have fallen out. The clip was found in the suit but it was broken in two and would not be of any use anymore. Having packed some tools, O rings, etc in a save a dive kit Jim was able to install an O ring instead of the clip in the valve and it worked. Failure to fix the valve would have been the end of the trip and a wet return trip with a flooded dry suit.
Jim Kitted up once again, this time all went well and the time had finally arrived to set off in to sump 3 after 6 years of working on getting there with the right gear and support.
The dive in sump 3
Laying line (Orange 3 mm) from the dive base I progressed in a large bedding plane with a gradual slope. After +/- 50m I encountered the first belay and a staged reel from a trip in 2010. From here I followed the previous lines while continuing to lay my line parallel to it. The visibility was 15m plus and the previous lines didn't seem to have deteriorated much from flow or degradation.
At roughly 300m the lines seemed to be broken. Continuing from there I continued in the direction of the bedding plane which was getting lower. About 50 from the last belay I couldn't progress further as it was to low, despite removing the rebreather and pushing it ahead of me.
When I looked ahead I could see a line running inwards at the far end of the passage but I would have not been able to reach the line in this configuration. With the visibility rapidly degrading to zero I decided to turn back.
On the return trip I had a good look for any junctions in the passage and noticed one. I also found the line I had seen on the far end of the bedding but even the start of it was in low passage (25 cm). I abandoned both my reels at the last belay and headed out.
On the way out I saw a side passage which looked promising but not having a line reel, and getting cold I decided against entering it. After surfacing I returned to the dry base camp assisted by Michal.
Max depth: 14m Dive time: 60min
The return Journey
After getting out of the drysuit again we had a warm meal (Couscous with muddy water). Once again we dragged the gear through the bedding back to sump 2. We abandoned the 2 x 7 litre cylinders by the pool as they where still full and good for a return trip.
Jim dived first in to sump 1 with Michal following closely. When Jim reached the deep point he paused to wait for Michal, after waiting a few minutes and him not turning up Jim swam back. Michal had dived down and his helmet had fallen off in between some boulders. He managed to regain the surface and was stuck there without any light as all his lights where on his helmet. Jim managed to retrieve the helmet and the rest of the dive out was uneventful.
At the sump dive base we got changed and all the gear was packed. When Jim opened up the rebreather he found the counterlung was full of sofnolime; the canister packing must have been compromised during all the rough transportation. This could have caused a Co2 break through with dire consequences, it is something to watch out for in future.
All the gear was secured and packed; 5 bags and 2 x 3 litre cylinders where dragged to the entrance side of the 'No Mercy Hall' junction restriction. The rest of the return journey was made with only one bag and was tough going as we where both battered and bruised.
This trip was certainly eventful and we had some challenges to overcome. Thanks to the weeks of preparation the burden of transporting gear to sump one was minimal. A great addition to the arsenal was the comfort kit with survival equipment and cooking gear. The 'Save a dive kit' proved crucial too.
Next assault would require a 3 day camp trip with push divers to achieve maximum efficiency.
9th June Considine's Cave (South End)
CC, TB and PC
Warm: clear: barely a trickle: midges: The plan: dig. TB digging CC winching PC unloading and barrowing. TB continued to progress toward the south end encountering a variety of debris boulders huge, large and small, muddy chatter and clay. Sorting this spoil at surface meant most was deposited to the west area of the Bunker, smaller stones thrown up against the north wall, the flatter boulders kept to increase the height of the Bunker wall. To the Roadside.
Hours 8 (1359), Southend (287), Kibbles, 45 (564), Nets, 7, (35)
12th June Fergus River Cave
Duration: 3 hours
The plan was to ferry as much gear outwards. I reached the bags in under an hour. Dragging all 4 bags and 2 cylinders in 100m stages I managed to bring them out about 500m.
I secured 2 bags and the cylinders and continued with 2 bags another 300m where I left one bag. This brought me to the 2 hour mark. The remaining bag containing the rebreather was brought all the way out.
The remaining gear could be out in one 2hr trip with a team of 3.
14th June Fergus River Cave
Duration: 2¾ Hours
More gear retrieval.
Brought all the stuff back to the last chamber in the crawls. Then carried on with the heavy dive bag and the comfort kit.
Left the comfort kit in Block Chamber and carried the dive bag out. So only 2 bags and 2 cylinders left to come out.
14th June Considine's Cave (South End)
CC & TB
TB underground CC surface. TB spent the first half of this session cleaning the walls of excess mud and any small stones etc that could, at a later date be a hazard to those working below. Whilst this was going on CC busied himself with a bit of routine maintenance including topping up the oil in the generator. As a test to how the system can work with only two people, twelve kibbles were raised. For the person on the top this is a very busy process but a bit of a drag for the person digging.
Hours 4 (1363), Southend (291), Kibbles, 12 (576), Nets, 7, (35)
18th June Considine's Cave (South End)
CC, TB and PC
Overcast: cool: small stream: The plan: dig. TB digging, PC unloading and barrowing CC winching. A steady pace lifted fifty kibbles and four nets within which were very large boulders. TB uncovered two small bones at the measured depth of 5.5 metres below working platform surface. There appears an increase of stone and boulders among the spoil perhaps the bulk of clay overburden is now passed? With the passing of the fine dry weather the barrow route planks need covering with mesh to maintain traction as muddy conditions underfoot inhibit pushing the barrow uphill. Spoil was deposited beyond the generator, rocks medium and small against the northern field wall, large in the main pile.
Hours 7 (1370), Southend (298), Kibbles, 50 (626), Nets, 4, (39)
18th June Fergus River cave
Jim, Cathal, Rowena and Michal Mosgala
Plan: Recover the 2 cylinders and 2 bags and make some pictures on the way.
Progress was quick and we reached block chamber in good time.
Cathal set up to make a picture in block chamber and the rest went in to the crawls to retrieve gear.
Upon return to block chamber Cathal took a few pictures of the rest of the team.
Jim made another picture in the area leading up to Bat chamber.
After this trip no more gear needs to come out of the cave, finally.
19th June Cliff Cave Stalagmite Update
On Thu, Jun 14, Email from Frank McDermott, University College Dublin.
Just to let you know that the stalagmite has arrived safely and is now in the lab for cutting. I'll send you some photos of its interior when available.
On Tue, Jun 19, Email from Frank McDermott, University College Dublin.
Subject: Re: Submarine Stalagmite collected.
I've now had the stalagmite from Fanore cut and photographed. It looks to be in good condition inside, and is nicely laminated, so hopefully I'll be able to get a date for its top and bottom.
Please see attached photo.
21st June Considine's Cave (South End)
TB, CC and PC
Bright: islands clearly visible; warm: small stream: horseflies: The Longest Day: The plan: dig. CC winching TB digging PC unloading and barrowing. Though PC arrived ½ hour late progress was swift, TB sending up kibbles and nets apace; to his later detriment. Each net contained a hefty to enormous boulder largest being ≥70kgs. Many of the kibbles contained boulders and cobbles, all produced from lowering the floor against the shoring; 11 pole sections now exposed. Clay deposited beyond the generator, stone along the north field wall “big flatties” at the Bunker. Perhaps the bottom of the dense clay stratigraphy has been reached? A thoroughly shagged out Team shuffled off to the Roadside for reviving pints. News of Grenville Blatherwick’s death received; a member who was very good to PC on joining PCN.
Hours 7 (1376), Southend (304), Kibbles, 50 (676), Nets, 13, (52)
23rd June CL005-160039 Souterrain & Poulawillin
Clear skies: temp ≥23°C: Dam hot: The plan; continue the souterrain project. Souterrains CL005-160039 and CL005-160045 are two of five recorded in the townland of Cragballyconoal near Kilcorney. Alas no entrances were found open but each site has hollow areas suggesting the line of a collapsed souterrain passage. Each souterrain is within a ruined stone ringfort, (cashel), both sites subject to extensive effects of cattle grazing.
The adjacent cave Poulawillin had been entered in the late 1990s by ML and PC. To refresh the memory PC sought the cave. Using a machete to thrash along the overgrown cliff face, through blackthorn briar and hazel, the individual managed to fall off a narrow ledge into the waiting arms of a hazel bush sustaining minor brushing to his ego. Scrambling to a position immediately below the estimated entrance location, well hidden by undergrowth, a gps reading was taken. Returning to the top of the cliff this location was sought traversing ankle wrecking terrain. Eventually a large scoop in the limestone was recognized as being the place where the ladder descended in the 1990s trip was previously secured. With time running out the trip was abandoned for tonight’s digging session. The location below cave entrance was recorded as ITM 524901 x 700319 the more relative cliff top location will be taken on return. A chance encounter with the landowner found PC granted permission to explore all his land thereabouts and that around Cahercommaun, some five hundred acres plus of beckoning limestone upland. The names of adjacent land owners wherein are located the remaining souterrains in the Cragballyconoal townland were obtained. Intend to return to Poulawillin to clear the foliage concealing the large cliff face entrance.
23rd June Considines Cave (South End)
18:00. Clear skies: Great visibility: Trickle. Midges: Horseflies: The plan: dig. CC winching TB digging PC unloading and barrowing. The spoil lifted was more stone than clay. Of the 38 kibbles raised 10 were clays and sediments, deposited beyond the generator, the remainder of stone and boulders sorted for type. The smaller, cobble like stones were deposited along the northern wall, those of a flatter profile chosen for the Bunker wall. The relative ease of digging the exposed loose stone has significantly increased the pace causing other associated dig operations to increase. Eleven nets were raised within which were some very large boulders two over 70kgs. Twelve sections of shoring have become exposed; these will soon need removing, the gantry and associated works repositioned. Experimentation with the number of turns on the capstan proved successful and informative. The speed of progress is impressive the time consumed repositioning the surface infrastructure and CC building the winch is all justified when considering the previous slog of hand hauling the kibbles in two stages to surface. This frenetic activity repeatedly caused the barrower’s thoughts to turn to the cool pastures of the Roadside and its fine ale. A new pint “Euphoria” may be here to stay; the Brewer explaining its beneficial effects to an enraptured team.
Hours 7 (1383), Southend (311), Kibbles, 38 (714), Nets, 11, (63)
A large boulder arrives at surface in the net to be barrowed away. Does the boulder remind you of anyone?
24th June Souterrain CL002-068002
Hot: Clear skies: Superb visibility: Very little haze: The plan: continue the survey. Attempted another surface shoot for the video requested by BK; JW had previously made a video of the entire trip but surface wind noise was just too severe. Re-located datums in the second chamber to extend this centre line through the drop-hole creep into the third, (final), chamber: a vertical offset to pass the creep will be required. Three discreet ink marks were made as references to position the laser level to project along the low passage. The flagstones used to construct the roof are huge; the largest some 2m x 1.3m x 0.2m, conservatively estimated at a little over one metric tonne. An aerial photo by NG shows the site as a quadrant. Another aerial view shows the outline of a sub-square enclosure, (ringfort); taken looking north.
25th June Considines Cave (South End)
TB, CC and PC
Hot: Stunning visibility, Islands and Connemara Mountains so clear: Trickle: Horseflies: Midges. The plan: Dig. TB digging CC winching PC unloading and barrowing. The small pieces of timber used for odds and sods were cleared from the main boulder pile for extra spoil space. Of the fifty three kibbles raised only ten were of clays and sediments the remainder washed stone and small boulders; something’s changing. Much clay remains at the very base of the hauling shaft but this is likely the result of the trampling involved in such a busy area. The thirteen nets raised included one huge boulder; ≥80kgs. JN, (adjacent landowner), arrived, fascinated at the progress and effort; impressed that the large open rift is being closed over with stable material. A lot more flat stones were deposited at the Bunker for further wall construction with smaller and odd shaped rocks placed along the northern field wall. To the Roadside for cool pints, grand music and loud visitors.
Hours 7 (1390), Southend (318), Kibbles, 53 (767), Nets, 13, (76)
The Arran Islands and the Mountains of Connemara from the parking area, Considine's Dig
27th June Green Holes Doolin (Hell Complex)
Dive Duration: 80min
Just a fun dive in the hell complex and shoot some video on the way. The weather was warm and the sea was flat calm so we decided to enter the water in hell’s kitchen. The carry-over was a sweaty affair. Cathal shot some video with the drone as Jim carried the bottles down in to the rift.
When Cathal entered the rift he slipped and made a spectacular fall on his back on to a boulders. Cathal seemed to be in one piece but he noticed his dive computer had fallen out of his dry suit pocket. Cathal started searching for it in the bottom of the rift between the boulders but the crashing waves didn’t help the affair. We decided to do the dive and search again after, when the tide would be lower.
The dive was nice; We ran out 2 reels +-250m and had a look down various tunnels. Shot some video with one helmet camera each. Upon return to the rift we searched between the boulders again but didn’t find the computer. An expensive dive trip for Cathal the replacement cost of the computer is +-800Euro.