October to December
1st October Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC and PC
100% cloud: mild: small stream: rain showers. The plan: dig. CC below PC up top. The extreme South End was worked on removing gravels, some clays and an increasing percentage of boulders. It appears the clay deposit may, just may, be coming to an end, at least for this layer, time will tell. The next session will remove the small amount of remaining deposits at this level and will also need lift out a large rectangular flagstone some 0.9m x 0.35m x 0.1m weighing around 70 kilos. Voice communication was problematic during periods of heavy rainfall upon the canopy. The "Winding Drum" wherein the hauling rope is payed into during operations rotates superbly meaning the twists created by the winch capstan in the rope are almost entirely removed. Steady progress lifted twenty nine kibbles and three very heavy nets to surface, though the platform and barrowing planks were like a skating rink. The foliage in the in the clay tipping area requires trimming, the weather canopy needs extending ,also several other miscellaneous maintenance tasks in need of service. To a very quiet Roadside; the Matchmaking festival just ending, next weekend is the LGBT festival; Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transsexual event.
Hours 5 (1530), Southend (480), Kibbles, 29 (1432), Nets, 3 (173) Total (1605)
4th October Considine’s Cave (South End)
PC & CC
A damp murky and misty night made a little bit better by having the luxury of changing in the House at the site. Thanks you Jonathan. CC digging with PC surface duties. First the large 70 kilo slab was removed by first by using the winch to drag it from the far South end to the hauling position with the aid of a sling. It was then lifted a short distance off the floor and the net placed around it, lowered and the net then attached to the hauling rope and so to the surface. A few kibbles of clay and rubble saw the full area of the floor now level at -7.6 metres. The rest of the session concentrated on lowering the floor at the South end to allow any flood water to sink here instead of flowing towards the shaft. A total of 22 kibbles and 4 nets raised. OAP's drinking session as it was Pats Birthday.
Hours 5 (1535), Southend (485), Kibbles, 22 (1454), Nets, 4 (177) Total (1631)
8th October Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC and PC
Cool: blustery: small stream: clear across to the Islands. The plan: dig. CC below PC up top. After a brief discussion CC returned to the south end to deepen the hollow created last session then began to work northward; twenty two kibbles and eight very, very heavy nets brought to surface. Eight of these kibbles were gravels, the remainder rock. Several bones recovered at around -8m from the south end; left for TB to enjoy upon his imminent return. The surfaces of the walls begin to exhibit subtle changes from small scalloping to a rougher surface. The clay deposit, which has been dug down from the surface finally appears to be at an end, the remaining thickness of clay floor below the hauling area, may now only be what CC has removed at the south end, so possibly only about 0.25m thick. As CC excavated, immediately beneath the clay, has been a layer of what is termed gravels; tiny grains to pebbles, (Pebble = 4 - 64mm, Cobble = 64 – 256mm, Boulder ≥ 256 mm). Beneath which are found D.B.B’s, (Dam Big Boulders). At end of play a large limestone boulder was exposed, conservatively measured as 0.9m x 0.3m x 0.3m, which weighs in around 200kgs. (Limestone = 2.611 metric tonnes per cubic/M); so that means its ‘eavy. Using mechanical advantage the winch could easily lift this lump; however a snapper would solve all associated issues of what to do with it once it’s brought to surface. The gravel spoil was placed across the clay spoil to create a less muddy surface. With only two diggers the number of lifts are reduced to average around twenty eight or so lifts, the increased presence of rock and gravels means the loads are significantly heavier; tonight’s loads are estimated at totaling around 950kgs, ( 0.9T). The large nets contained many boulders meaning increased walks to and from the deposition area at the wall. However the contents of each large net equals around four kibbles worth so time is reduced during the lifting procedure. The rock spoil was placed to increase the height of the wall bordering Mr. Garners field which was found, once the foliage was cleared, to be only 0.6m high. The signalling system worked well, though blustery conditions occasionally made voice comms difficult, several maintenance tasks remain outstanding: to the Roadside for very nice music and some fine pints.
Hours 5 (1540), Southend (490), Kibbles, 28 (1482), Nets, 8 (185) Total (1667)
25th October Considine's Cave (South End)
TB, CC and PC
Cool: Light breeze: Good visibility: Small stream. The plan: Dig. TB digging: CC winching: PC unloading and barrowing. TB dug northward developing a working face some one metre high exposing mostly compacted boulders and the occasional Bullion stone. The deep surface clay deposit appears to be passed, its total thickness an average of six metres, its bottom extent some eight metres below surface. Several more modern animal bone fragments were encountered likely small cow, or, perhaps a pony. The ease of digging boulders without resorting to tools swiftly out paced the surface support. Of the thirty two kibbles four were gravels and mud/clay, the remainder boulders; the eleven nets lifted ranged from dam heavy to the final huge non-limestone boulder estimated in excess of one hundred Kgs, this rock caused the generator to work hard evidenced by a significant chugging never previously experienced. Such boulders may now be recognized as requiring a 2:1 mechanical advantage to avoid excessive stress to the winching system. To a deserted Roadside for fine pints
Hours 7 (1547), Southend (497), Kibbles, 32 (1514), Nets, 11 (196) Total (1710)
27th October Boxhead Pot, Leck Fell
Sam Garad, Aaron Smith, Simon Hailday and David Gough
An early start collecting Sam enroute. Arrived at Inglesport for breakfast at 9:00 am followed by some retail therapy.
Travelled to Leck Fell parking at the further parking area near Lost John’s just after 10:00 am.
What a difference the height made, with a biting wind fingers soon became cold and useless trying to put a plastic suit on inside out so retired to the car to warm both suit and its intended occupant.
Meanwhile Aaron and Simon set off to rig Boxhead Pot. Having passed by Lost John’s and traversed part of the moor they couldn’t find the shakehole, returning to the car to look at a sketch of the location.
There are three shakeholes with shafts in close proximity. Lost Pot, which has been fenced under the Environmental Stewardship Scheme, has become blocked due to a boulder collapse. Boxhead which is in the next shakehole to the right defined by a grey plastic tube sticking above the shakehole base. And the shakehole above Boxhead which has a wooden trap door to ‘It’s a Cracker’. All the shafts join within a small area and are the beginning of a steady trip via Lyle Cavern into Lost John’s and The Iron Kiln, the dry way into Notts II.
Aoron and Simon located the correct shakehole on the second sorty and proceeded to rig the entrance pitch, after 2 rebelays and a deviation you land at the head of the second pitch. On the second pitch there is a choice of a direct hang or several rebelays to take you to a ledge about 15 m above the bottom of the pitch. Sam struggled with a rebelay on the second pitch and eventually decided to exit without getting to the ledge. A short pitch from the ledge and you are at the bottom of NPC Aven at the top of which Lost Pot and It’s A Cracker join, whilst moving under the ledge places you at the bottom of Boxhead.
From the ledge a hands and knees crawl leads to a junction. Turn right here and then left at the next junction to take you after passing a small stall and onto the first of two small pitches. These are crossed with care. Having safely negotiated the pitches, you soon enter the start of the Cresta Run, a keyhole shaped passage were the floor gradually recedes. The passage twists and turns and eventually reaches a point where you descend to the next parts of the trip to Lyle Cavern. At this point I said farewell to Aaron and Simon and headed out of the cave arriving at the surface after an hour and a half.
Aaron and Simon continued through to Lyle Cavern and got to the head of Lyle Cavern Pitch where you descend towards Lost Johns. At the far end of the same passage ‘Five Pitches’ and ‘Pete’s Climb’ were located. A later study of the survey showed they had found the way into the new dig with 140 m of awkward climbing into Notts II.
Dave Gough on the final pitch, Boxhead
Simon Haliday in BH with the connection to Tate Gallery and Lyle Cavern behind him at knee level
19m......me and Simon were 19m away from Lost John's. After close analysis it appears that we got to the head of the Lyle Cavern pitch in LJ. At the base of the pitch is a short section through to LJ main streamway. ...meanwhile at the far end of the same passage we located 'five pitches' ..'pete's climb' ..but although we were on top of it we didn't realise we had also found the way into the new dig with 140m of awkward climbing into Notts 2. ...So, all is good for a revisit; well done to Dave G and Sam for getting to the end of Cresta Run (DG) and half way down the big pitch (SG). Simon and myself ended up completing 75% of the BH to Notts 2 through trip ...we could have been out to the surface with a pitchless exit from Notts 2 but, because we love caving so much, we went back out of Boxhead and derigged 165m of ropes instead.
27th October S.U.I.C.R.O, Lisdoonvarna
The voluminous room/bar/restaurant, aka The Storehouse, adjoining the Roadside Bar was this year’s venue for the 2018 Irish Speleological Union – Irish Cave Rescue Conference, (S.U.I.C.R.O). Among the many talks PC gave two, one covering the numerous Panamánian expeditions, the other on the various ongoing Pegasus projects in Ireland, both well received. Later on the Team was approached and congratulated by various attendees for the skill, ingenuity and determination demonstrated in their pursuit of cave.
28th October Considine’s Cave
CC, PC, Pavil, Mihal, Daniel Stephen, plus five others of the Breifne Caving Club
Cold: clear: small stream. The Plan: prior to the S.U.I.C.R.O event CC offered friends of JW to show them around the dig. The members of Breifne Caving Club wanted to visit to obtain advice and knowledge on Pegasus digging methods and techniques. The Breifne CC work the area of Cavan and Fermanagh enjoying many sites which, offer great vertical potential. Two BCC members descended to -25m and two others to -7m. All enjoyed the visit commenting on the planning and structure of procedures designed around just two operators. Awaiting Pavil from -25m PC viewed the southern dig area, (brightly illuminated by a suspended 24v LED lamp), where TB worked on the 25th Oct. noting that at surface the rift is some 0.9m wide. As the rift walls descend they subtly flare outward where at -8.5m the width achieves 1.35m, an increase of some 0.45m, (18 inches); the prospect thrilling. Members of the BCC approached the Team in the Bar pressing drink in appreciation; nice.
29th October Considine’s Cave (South End)
N.B. For a better understanding of the Considine's Dig see the new explanatory sketches on the "Considine's Cave Dig, South End" Projects Page"
TB, CC and PC
100% cloud cover: cold northerly wind: light showers: dark by 18:00: small stream. The plan: Dig. PC set up an external 240v lamp to illuminate the platform. TB digging: CC winching: PC unloading and barrowing. With the temperature dropping by the hour the steady pace produced thirty five kibbles and nine nets. Meanwhile TB noted cavities beginning to appear among the boulder floor; small stones rattling away to some two metres below. This area of floor level was measured at some -8.5m; though beneath the shaft collar the floor is still -7.5m with around a foot of clay cover remaining. The extant one metre step, (working face), in the floor level makes for much easier removal of boulders; once again the ease of digging out paced the un-loading. The raised boulders used to continue increasing the height of the boundary wall with the adjacent field. Six kibbles of gravels and clays were among those raised. To the Roadside where the Team enjoyed a convivial evening with Lillian Romford, (BEC), Alan & Aileen Butcher, (Shepton MCC); nice, fun company and fine pints.
Hours 7 (1554), Southend (504), Kibbles, 35 (1549), Nets, 9 (205) Total (1754)
1st November Considine’s Cave (South End)
TB, CC and PC
Dark: clear sky: Mars clearly visible: cold breeze, small stream. The Plan: Dig. TB below, CC winching, PC unloading. Thirty five kibbles were raised of which six were gravels with some clay, and ten FBN’s, (‘effing Big Nets). One lift of such a net contains up five large boulders. PC is finding it increasingly difficult to hurl the boulders the three metre distance, and two metres up onto, the summit of the northern boundary wall. Concern was expressed regarding the thirty odd metres of fill estimated to remain down to the level of the “Plank”, or rather where best to deposit it to maintain a tidy landscape? An area in the western bushes could be used but means relocating the water tank. A vertical flute in the west wall has been a constant feature; TB noted a significant draught issuing from it tonight. The kibbles have been often conservatively estimated at 20Kgs; it appears they may actually be closer to 25/30Kgs. The deployment of carpet across the platform surface to the wall has removed the slipping issue particularly when carrying boulders. Maintenance is urgently required to various areas, possibly next Monday afternoon. To the Roadside for nice pints: the recent change in the law means the first warning in court for drinking and driving has now been replaced by an automatic ban; so no second chance.
Hours 7 (1561), Southend (511), Kibbles, 35 (1584), Nets, 10 (215) Total (1799)
3rd November Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC, TB and PC
Dark: Mild: 40% cloud cover: Light breeze: heavy rain showers: large stream: The Plan: Dig. TB below, CC winching, PC unloading. On arrival found no power from generator; diagnosis found the main power cable open circuit and a breaker tripped on the generator. Facing a no dig situation PC used a small knife to open the plug top, sever dodgy area of cable, re-make same: hooray power; intend to replace the plug adapter with alternate to avoid future creasing of power lead. The delay reduced productivity to thirty kibbles and thirteen large nets, of which four were clays and gravels; better than the initial expectation of none at all. TB has an almost level floor up to the shoring which is around the -8.5m level. One huge boulder was sent up utilizing a 2:1 system which was swiftly prepared and disassembled in a few minutes: this particular boulder estimated at ≥80kgs. The heavy rain helped to produce superb skating rink conditions; digging in such conditions without the weather canopy would be uncomfortable. Several large boulders were lifted and set along the path through the copse. To the Roadside where yesterday CC and TB enjoyed pints from the Landlord for their assistance with the recent S.U.I. conference. CC entertained Billy in the Bar with photos of the digs progress via the website.
Hours 8 (1569), Southend (519), Kibbles, 30 (1614), Nets, 13 (228) Total (1842)
5th November Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC, TB & PC
Bright: Cool breeze: Ground very wet: Large stream: The Plan: site maintenance. Weather canopy extension built to offer shelter to the unloader. New plug fitted to power supply cable. The recovered shoring poles were laid across the southern rift to enhance the existing covering of plastic pallets and concrete lintels. Water tank relocated. Gap cut through the undergrowth behind the winch shed along the northern wall to offer extra space for depositing debris. Outside light secured. Generator weather cover completed. Stone steps and path were created to access the generator through the muddy area. Bearings greased on the winch. TB cleared the remaining hump of debris to level the floor; packed spoil awaits lifting.
Hours 13 (1582), Southend (532), Kibbles, (1614), Nets, (228) Total (1842)
8th November Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC, TB and PC
Dark: Cold: Small stream: Ground wet: The Plan: maintenance & Dig. PC below, CC winching, TB was unloading. The pre-loaded kibbles and nets of the 5th Nov were cleared to surface to enable PC to access and remove the next section of exposed shoring, and reposition the “Gantry”. First, the signal button was relocated to within a half metre of the floor so TB could reach it again. Seven pieces of shoring were swiftly removed and the “Gantry” refitted. The remaining time was used to enlarge the hollow commenced by TB; it is now one metre square and about half that deep, most of the area within the “Narrows”. A total of twenty two kibbles and five nets finally lifted to surface. Prior to finishing the session the south rift was viewed from the “Gantry”; It is quite simply an impressive rift with its water worn features and wall decoration. Compared with the Northern side it really is the much larger, the more developed half of the site. To the Roadside for very nice pints
Hours 7 (1589), Southend (539), Kibbles, 22 (1636), Nets, 5 (233) Total (1869)
10th November Considine’s Cave (South End)
TB, CC and PC
Dark: Cool: Large stream; Ground very wet: Some light rain: The Plan: dig. TB below: CC winching, PC unloading and barrowing. TB continued deepening the excavation in the narrows to provide the option to dig either way, north or south, creating a metre high working face which has been found much easier and swifter to dig. Of the forty four kibbles eight were gravels, these were spread over the existing clay spoil to create a cleaner walking surface. Fourteen large nets were lifted containing some very big rocks. 8th Nov, CC had built up the existing low dry stone wall on the field side of the ever growing boulder pile; this level will be the controlling height of the pile, thereby avoiding an eyesore, and drawing comment. The edge of the boulder pile along the platform edge now requires consolidating upon which further stacking of spiol can take place. To the Roadside.
Hours 7 (1596), Southend (546), Kibbles, 44 (1680), Nets, 14 (247) Total (1927)
13th November Considine’s Cave (South End)
TB & CC
Maintenance day (again) with everything dripping wet and a very big stream. The 7 poles from the shoring which were removed on the 8th of November were placed along side the ones already forming a substantial cover for the open south rift. Several more are required before the cover is completed. The added extension to the weather canopy was completed and the whole of the working platform and the shaft top were pressure washed to try and reduce the slippery surface. Work started on the construction of a retaining wall in front of the boulder pile as the angle was such that the spoil would soon be falling back onto the working platform.
Hours 8 (1604), Southend (554), Kibbles, (1680), Nets, (247) Total (1927)
Also made the lost piece of rebar safe - not retrieved but now at the bottom of the old shaft!
15th November Considine’s Cave (South End)
TB, CC and PC
Dark: Chill: Large stream: Ground sodden: The Plan: Dig. TB below, CC winching, PC unloading and barrowing The pace was swift producing forty four kibbles and eighteen often very large nets, containing some very large boulders. Hooray for the winch otherwise the option would be lengthy delays lifting such lumps of rock. Of the kibbles six were gravels. TB has all but levelled north from the pit he created to the shoring: a measurement was made to check progress; -9.4m is now the rough present depth beneath of the hauling shaft. The area behind the wall erected around part of the platform was all but levelled; useful large stones lain aside for further wall construction. To an empty Roadside for drink
Hours 8 (1612), Southend (562), Kibbles, 44 (1724), Nets, 18 (265) Total (1989)
17th November Considine’s Cave (South End)
TB, CC and PC
Dark: Blustery: Large stream, Ground sodden. The Plan: Dig. CC winching, TB below and PC unloading and barrowing. A swift start; of the thirty six kibbles only five were gravels; nets numbered twenty two: tonight the Team lifted the 2000th load from the southern rift, this does not include the loads lifted from the northern half of the rift. The conservative assessment of a kibble is 20kg; that amounts to at least forty tonnes. The exposed section of the northern field wall is now at a suitable height so stones were thrown into the gap between the bushes and the hidden part of the wall going west. This huge, tidy pile of rock will now have further stone deposited to a maximum width of three metres; out to the side of the working platform. TB continued to level, and lower, the floor toward the shoring, exposing almost eleven sections of shoring. Holes are regularly appearing among increasing large sized boulders. This area directly beneath the hauling shaft approaches -10 metres, but to the south the level rises to -8.5 metres; TB departs next week so this area will be the focus from then on. The present, averaged floor level of around nine metres means there is only five metres of spoil to remove to arrive at the depth of the “Plank” ,(-14.5 metres). Either side of the narrows the walls continue to gentle widen downward. It was decided to extend the weather canopy around the timber work of the shaft to reduce rot from weathering. JN has very kindly installed outside lighting and sorted lighting in the changing room: read here utility room, of his new, forthcoming home. To the Roadside for pints: Happy Birthday Ken James.
Hours 7 (1619), Southend (569), Kibbles, 36 (1760), Nets, 22 (287) Total (2047)
18th November Diving at Hodge Close Quarry, Little Langdale, Cumbria.
Early start with Halliday Junior feeling under the weather so I decided on a trip up to Hodge Close to revisit the site where that well-known dive instructor Mr Walchester demonstrated the benefits of not servicing your gear to a newly qualified Malc Scothon all those years ago!!
A cracking morning with a fairly hard frost saw me up at Coniston before the traffic built up. The new wall down to the old dressing area makes a tight entrance but managed to get my transit through, don’t think I’d recommend it with a less robust vehicle though.
Usual contortions to get my dry suit zip closed then through the adit, 120m, in knee high water to gain access to the ladder. Water conditions in the quarry were atrocious, less than 1m vis, decent to 25m and struggled to find entrance to the tunnel system. Over shot a little to nearly 30m before a slow search of the eastern wall located the entrance.
Ran line into chamber 1, vis as expected, pretty good. Had a swim round chamber 1 before back on main line following a 2x2m passage to chamber 2 again in excellent vis, through to chamber 3 where a couple of blind passages were looked into before a return in diminishing vis but still good.
Total time to explore 24m levels was around 20min. Deco 2min at 9m, 11 at 6m. Added a further 5min for altitude. Recommendation nowadays is 200m, but Hodge always used to be considered an altitude dive at 150m. Considering temp and a solo carry back out seemed prudent. Total dive time 72min.
A great dive. If anyone planning a visit, care required of course but lines in good order. No line in from the main quarry to chamber 1. I dived twin 12’s on air if I’d planned it prob would have used nitrox and saved swimming round a very murky quarry for quite as long as I had to. Also, the climb back up ladder is not easy take care. Keep Safe.
19th November Considine’s Cave, (South End)
TB, CC and PC
Dark: Chill: Ground sodden: Small stream. The plan: Dig. CC winching, TB below and PC unloading and barrowing. TB continued to lower the area toward the shoring creating a slope from around the -10metre mark up to -8.5m at the southern end. Thirty seven kibbles, of which four were gravels, were lifted along with fifteen nets. Fourteen pieces of shoring are now exposed: to the Roadside for golden pints.
Hours 7 (1626), Southend (576), Kibbles, 37 (1797), Nets, 15 (302) Total (2099)
Condsidine's Dig. The boulder pile gets Bigger & Bigger and there is plenty you can't see!
Considine's Dig showing the new 'Banksman's Shelter at right
22nd November Considine’s Cave, (South End)
CC and PC
Dark: Cold, dry east wind: Small stream. The Plan: Dig. CC below PC winching, unloading and barrowing. CC levelled the area at the base of the hauling shaft which is now around -10m below the platform. In doing created an almost vertical working face some 1.5m high. Of the twenty two kibbles fourteen were gravels, almost each of the twelve nets were big. The draught issuing was enormous considered too great to pass through the small hole at the bottom of the main shaft, so must also be passing through the loose present boulder fill of the southern side. Gaps continue to appear among the boulder floor, so the volume estimated to be removed to reach the level of the “Plank” is much reduced. Changing was very pleasant JN having left on the heating in the new building to accommodate cold cavers; nice one JN: to the Roadside for pints. Discussion in the bar showed each had independently considered using the shaft dug to -26m as a spoil dump filling it up to the “Plank”, however both agreed it would be a shame to do so. It also transpired that each believe the dimensions of the shaft strongly suggest that its highly likely to continue below the present northern depth of -26m. Having said that Drunken Horse did heal up quite suddenly, though that appears to have been a pre-glacial development similar to Balcombe’s Pot in Coolagh.
Hours 5 (1631), Southend (581), Kibbles, 22 (1819), Nets, 12 (314) Total (2133)
25th November Souterrain CL005-027004
Bright sunny day: Cold. The underground part of the souterrain survey at Rathborney Church, Ballyvaghan, remained incomplete; previously abandoned when found to be flooded. Drove to site optimistic the recent, short dry spell would have reduced any accumulated water to below welly level, alas no. Unhappy the previous fix was slightly inaccurate a three point fix of the opening was constructed from the SW and NW internal corners of the graveyard enclosure and also from the NW corner of the church, where it abuts the northern boundary wall. These measurements were to a vertical survey pole which was secured against a roof lintel to protrude one metre above ground level, when placed upon the yellow peg datum inserted in the openings slope. From this fixed datum a laser level may be projected along the length of the souterrain passage and precise measurements recorded next time. Though the water was some 0.5m deep the use of the recently purchased Bosch GLM 50C laser measuring device allowed the basic dimensions to be recorded without entering the water. The passage is aligned along 119° Mg; the church aligned on 091°Mg. The dimensions of this souterrain closely match those of the souterrain on Finavarra and adjacent souterrains visited and surveyed by Cooke in the 1830s. It is curious that these five souterrains have such similar construction appearances; perhaps the result of locally based or imported specialist artisans. If this is the case then the area was likely controlled by a high status family able to afford such expense.
Souterrain entrance fix
From the NW corner of the enclosure 20.6 metres on a bearing of 139° Mg. From the SW corner of the enclosure 29 metres on a bearing of 041° Mg, from the NW corner of the church 38 metres ob a bearing of 261° Mg; (field note book No. 4).
26th November Considine’s Cave (South End)
PC & CC
Dry, but with a bitterly cold easterly. PC at surface CC digging. Steady progress made towards the South, keeping the floor level at around the -10 metre mark. The working face was around two metres high but became very unstable so the majority of the nights spoil was removed from the top of the pile. Two more digging sessions will easily see the floor levelled out. 26 kibbles & 11 nets was the evening total which is not bad for a team of two! Nice quiet Roadside Tavern; PC, CC & Billy the Barman.
Hours 6 (1637), Southend (587), Kibbles, 26 (1845), Nets, 11 (325) Total (2170)
1st December Pegasus Club AGM Magpie Cottage
2nd December Lancaster to Wretched Rabbit
Aaron, Nathan, Simon. Time surface to surface 2:40.
Arrived at bullpot farm to a lovely panoramic of the inside of a cloud. Located Aaron and Nathan in the farm, had a quick brew then Aaron let us know he’d volunteered us to repair the stile on the way to County Pot.
Aaron sorted the stuff out for said stile mending chores whilst Nathan and I got ready. For some strange reason we then took all the gear, Chainsaw, bar etc, we needed for the stile. Rope for Lancaster and Crap trap which Aaron felt would get lonely if we left it somewhere more sensible like at the car. Over fell, sorted stile then returned to car with tools, rope etc.
Now we can go caving, To Lancaster in persistent rain, Aaron rigged whilst we put harnesses on.
Dropped down main shaft without incident, then went to the crap trap to have a look. I wanted to reccy for a dive trip. Main drain out of bounds today, so we did the high level traverse to wretched rabbit.
Great trip a couple minor detours along the way but Aaron did a fine job of finding the way through. Picnic in the minarets before exit, catching another team just as we neared the exit.
Aaron was feeling a little warm on exit so to demonstrate his attachment to sanity decided to jump into the beck!!! Walk back to test out stile, Aaron and Nathan went to retrieve rope from Lancaster whilst I got changed and sat in a nice warm van watching the rain lash the windows.
Great day out, great company, great trip, what else can you say.
9th December Labertouche Granite Boulder Cave, Victoria, Australia
Mid-day Sunday 9th December, a warm overcast summer day brings me to "Labertouche Cave" just north east of Labertouche, Victoria, Australia. An unusual granite cave formed by boulders. The entrance is a 20 min walk from the car park (4x4 recommend but not necessary) through the forest leading to a split path, left is an SRT approach, right a normal climb through the boulders. I believe this is a through trip, but without any equipment I can't yet prove this.
Cave was a lot dryer than originally thought from the descriptions of walking in up a streamway (perhaps another entrance) however there is a small stream running through the cave after the initial entrance climb.
The cave must be popular due to signage and google location (including the national park named after it) and as such has reflective markers half guiding the way through. There are also signs informing people of the hazards and recorded group size and equipment required, such as a second torch and helmet. (this is seemingly unpopular with the VSC - the local, unsuccessfully contacted caving group - with comments in there sight as vandalism and disbelief with one group exiting with motorbike helmets which I'm not entirely sure how they fit through some sections with)
As expected the cave had many a creepy crawly's and an unsuspecting stick that I mistook for a snake not far into the entrance, and so did some spectacular quick reverse climbing as such. Total time underground was only half hour as I decided to turn round due to fears of getting lost in the boulders. A wise move as I struggled to find my way back to the entrance. Definitely need to make a return trip with more people and rope to guide the entrance series, and if possible some friends with SRT equipment.
Also a lot of very good off-roading tracks in the area, and would highly recommend a full weekend in the area.
9th December Considine’s Cave (South End)
Dark: cold NW wind: ground sodden: large stream: working platform scoured further by recent torrential rains: With TB and CC in the UK; PC had all but recovered from the Lurgi, however suffering from cabin fever. The plan: remove exposed shoring. Sent down the drill etc and used the lifeline to abseil. The entire floor has been washed clean of almost all mud deposits; the pipework noisy conveying both present stream volumes. Disassembled the Gantry; managing to remove eight pieces of shoring. All lengths stacked vertical below the shaft ready to haul out. Much phaffing about trying to reach the anchor system left some three metres above the present level, (-10m); for accessibility best to lower these anchors each time shoring is removed. Reassembled the entire anchor system and that of the Gantry; all complete. Drilled new hole in lower location for signal button. Ran the generator to provide lighting during task, likewise ran winch to avoid any component sticking from lack of use. Placed on standby so no Roadside.
Hours 2 (1639), Southend (589), Kibbles, (1845), Nets, (325) Total (2170)
10th December Considine’s Cave (South End)
Dark: cold NE wind: large stream: The plan: lift the shoring to surface. Let down thirty metres of a spare fifty metre rope to the bottom of the hauling shaft. Secured shoring pieces together in three groups, (2 x 3, & 1 x 2), at intervals of ten metres along the hauling rope using 3 x chest jammers. Time taken securing the pieces together with 6mm dive line to avoid their catching on the shaft collar during lifting Ascended, started winch, brought each group to surface without incident. This method meant only one load was on the winch at any one time and required one ladder climb.
Hours 2 (1641), Southend (591), Kibbles, (1845), Nets, (325) Total (2170)
12th December Malham Cove
Simon Halliday setting of into Malham
Photo: John N Cordingley
Looking down on flood entrance with Simon resurfacing
Photo: John N Cordingley
13th December Considine’s Cave (South End)
Dark: Cold: Easterly driven rain: Ground sodden: large stream. The Plan: dig. Secured lifeline for use with self lining gear: Gibbs ropewalker descending, Petzl cam ascending secured to chest loop. Of the eight kibbles raised one was gravels; one net lifted. One boulder uncovered estimated 105kgs; will require 2:1 pulley setup. Found large gaps among debris below boulders, which then collapsed. Multiple ascents kept the blood circulating on such a cold night. No Roadside.
Hours 2 (1643), Southend (593), Kibbles, 8(1853), Nets, 1(326) Total (2179)
15th December Considine’s Cave (South End)
Dusk: Storm Deirdre: Heavy rainfall: Ground awash: Huge stream off JN’s field, smaller off MC’s field: Pipework, almost submerged, produced thunderous roar: W/NW Force 6 gusting 8: The plan: Dig. Put a gallon in the generator. Set up an abseil rope off the tripod headstock to reduce effort getting down to the dig; placed small deviation on fixed ladder lifeline to keep it away from the narrow ladder rungs, when ascending. Cleared the clean washed boulders from the pile at the southern end, most quite large, some kibbles accepting only one at a time. Positioned the abseil line and its storage bag out of the hauling route: Loaded net with one large boulder; scampered back up: began to winch, realized something wrong, looked down shaft and observed had not connected hauling rope to net; twat. Descended, resolved issue began winching, again. Lifted ten kibbles and two nets; the large boulder, estimated at 105 kgs reappraised at 93kgs, was lifted effortlessly using a 2:1 mechanical advantage, the issue at surface getting it off the receiver into the barrow. Cleaned working platform: to the Roadside to drink with Billy to the memory of my friend Tony Oldham.
Hours 3 (1646), Southend (596), Kibbles, 10 (1863), Nets, 2 (328) Total (2191)
20th December Considine’s Cave, (South End)
JW, CC and PC
Dark: Cold: Ground sodden: Large stream: The Plan: Dig. JW below, CC winching, PC unloading & barrowing. Among the twenty seven kibbles were many large boulders; their increase in size becoming a common occurrence, though there are far more being removed from this side than ever was from the north side. Seventeen nets lifted, the majority too containing large boulders. The stone was graded, the larger and mid sized on to the main pile, the smaller onto the clay area to form a walking surface. The floor was levelled off around the -10m mark; JW then began to create the pit in the narrows. Delighted to find Tony Oldham not deceased, the caving community the target of a prank. The winter solstice.
Hours 6 (1652), Southend (602), Kibbles, 27 (1890), Nets, 17 (345) Total (2235)
22nd December Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC, TB and PC
Dark: Mild: Wet ground: Large stream. The plan: dig. PC carried down the pile of timber to extend the weather canopy. CC winching TB below and PC unloading and barrowing. TB continued to sink the area started by JW on the 20th December. This pit allows the creation of a one metre high working face in either direction all the easier to dig into. At -10.5m an empty vertical scoop began to appear in the east wall; described as 0.5m deep horizontally, two metres deep vertically and over a metre wide, just enterable if you were feeling suicidal. It will be difficult to avoid it filling with debris from above, but marks a significant widening of the rift at The Narrows. TB also described the floor easier to dig as it is less compacted; one boulder suddenly sinking 150mm whilst TB was standing upon it. Pit now 700mm deep, will need to clear towards the shaft next session to avoid collapse into the void. Of the 43 kibbles raised four were gravels, of the others, again the stone was graded for depositing in their appropriate, various areas. Sixteen nets were lifted some containing very large boulders. The next phase of depositing spoil will require the closing of access to the main pile so as to completely back fill this area with smaller stone. The area adjacent the north end of the rift, behind the winch shed will only be used if circumstances really demand. The cistern and washing area will be relocated, the area used for stacking being closer to the shaft, thereby reducing carrying distance. The gravels will still be deposited in the normal area, which though somewhat distant has the capacity for significant volume. To the Roadside for nice pints.
Hours 6 (1658), Southend (608), Kibbles, 43 (1933), Nets, 16 (361) Total (2294)
Happy Christmas Tony Boycott
24th December Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC, TB and PC
Overcast: Dull: Chill: Ground sodden, Large stream: The Plan: Maintenance. While CC built up the retaining wall enclosing the northern boulder pile. TB extended the northern stream pipework in preparation of expanding the boulder pile area. Meanwhile PC extended the weather covering around the tripod to shelter the timber work beneath. During a quiet moment TB descended to fill kibbles for lifting the next session. Later, in the Roadside, encountered MC, the landowner, who regaled the team of a subsidence in what appears to be sandy soil west of the dig adjacent the Castle on Jimmy Garners land; need go see. He also reminded of potential cave adjacent Dylan’s Bridge, (south of Williams Cross). Excellent pints were once again on the house; an excellent session.
Hours 9 (1667), Southend (617), Kibbles, (1933), Nets, (361) Total (2294)
25th December Pouldubh
TB & PC
Mild: Overcast: High stream: The plan was to do Poulnagrai however possible access issues meant a diplomatic change of plan. So had a leisurely trip from South entrance to the deep section and back. The place really has a superbly sculpted streamway. No Bar, alas.
27th December Considine’s Cave (South End)
TB, CC and PC
Dark: Mild: Ground wet: Small stream: The plan: dig. TB below, PC up top, CC winching. Fifty two kibbles were raised to surface of which five were gravels; the eleven nets lifted contained some quite large rocks. Rocks of ½ to ¾ of a cubic foot are appearing regularly. The floor area from the shoring to the bottom of the narrows is pretty much level, (≈ -10.6m), with nine pieces of shoring now exposed; the area toward the south end is next for removal. The white inside surface of the recent weather canopy extension reflects light from the 240v lamp on the tripod back onto the working platform; a useful, unexpected bonus.
Hours 7 (1674), Southend (624), Kibbles, 52 (1985), Nets, 11 (372) Total (2357)
29th December Prospecting trip Mill Close Mine
A chance discussion with JNC led me to look into Millclose mine a little further the lure of an extremely deep flooded shaft/workings, no one apparently having dived, certainly not in recent memory, and a bit of natural curiosity got me to digging a little deeper.
This is an extremely extensive system, much too large to discuss in a trip report but after consulting the oracle, looking into some assorted text Andy, Sam and myself met at Darley Dale for a reccy.
The plan was to enter Yatestoop Sough and see how far we could penetrate the mine from that end. A drive around the area of Enthoven’s yard left us with no doubt that our presence on their land would not be welcome and being unsure of exactly where the sough tail was it was decide to have a look at Watt’s shaft instead.
An impressive structure with equally impressive cap. Examination left us with the impression that the grill could be removed but proximity to the footpath etc would mean you would most certainly need official permission before entering here.
A chance encounter with a local land owner gave a little insight into Cambridge Wood, across the valley. A walk around said wood saw us emerge out of the top to a very impressive house, converted out of an old reservoir!! Sorry no photo. Later reading showed there are more workings further over here but we did not investigate at this time, retracing our steps back along the public FP, a shaft was found while poking around in likely looking spots, Well capped and well camouflaged under a large amount of leaf litter. We were left in no doubt that this hadn’t been opened for some time.
Hard to see on the photo but the pipework underneath is a fiberglass type composite. This is relevant to later reading.
Fastened by a large Allen bolt, a return is planned to descend and investigate further. Continuing walking in the local vicinity we found one more, worthy of a look see. But prob a little exposed, maybe requiring permission
All in all a productive day getting a feel for the area. Returning home and further reading leaves me in little doubt that the fiberglass shaft is Shale shaft used for extensive exploration back in the 90’s
Obviously a massive and rarely visited system. The chance of potentially the peaks deepest cave dive and a lot of old man stuff, Very tempting.
I have started the ball rolling trying to get in contact with PDMHS via JNC to see if/what further info can be gained before a revisit in the near future.
29th December Considine’s Cave (South End)
TB, CC and PC
Dark: Foggy: Mild: No wind: Large stream. The plan: dig. Depth of hauling shaft measured at -10.7m. TB below, PC up top, CC winching; the steady pace of digging continued as the entire floor yet remains loosely compact; a small quantity of muddy gravels have reappeared. Of forty six kibbles raised four were gravels, the twelve nets lifted supplied large, suitable shaped stones for the next area of walling. Moisture from mist and fog created a superb skating rink right across the platform; hooray for the strips of carpet. Twelve/thirteen poles of shoring are now exposed, around half will be recovered next session. At sessions finish depth, now some -11m, means the hauling shaft floor is about three and a half-ish metres above the level of the “Plank”. The remainder of the dig floor slopes up toward the south end.
Hours 7 (1681), Southend (631), Kibbles, 46, (2031), Nets, 12 (384) Total (2415)
31st December Malham Cove
Did a bit more photo work above frog airbell, nothing conclusive I’m afraid, think its going to need bolting to be definitive.
31st December Considine’s Cave (South End)
TB, CC, and PC
Last of the Year: 09:30: No wind: Mild: Medium sized stream: The plan: maintenance. Whilst PC removed eight pieces of shoring and refitted the “Gantry” CC began to erect the drystone perimeter wall to contain the increasing boulder pile. While below, PC loaded also one net and eight kibbles ready for lifting next session. There remain some twenty sections of shoring to remove down to the “Plank”, (-14,5m). The raised pieces of shoring were laid across the surface covering the south end. The final, dangerous, opening adjacent the hauling framework now securely closed against loose, falling debris. Cistern moved to new prepared position adjacent the platform and west tripod leg, the associated pipework adjusted; minor amount required to the wash tub to complete installation. Generator oil checked and topped up. Dead pallets were laid among the gravel spoil area ready for burial. TB worked the winch; completing his training, now a level I operator.
Hours 9 (1690), Southend (640), Kibbles, , (2031), Nets, (384) Total (2415)
Rainfall for the Doolin area as measured by myself for the year 2018 = 99.95 inches or 253.87cm.