July to September
1st July Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC and PC
Bright: 40% cloud: Small stream: Midges: The Plan: Maintenance. The platform and shaft collar areas were swept clean cleared of accumulating pieces of gravel, mud dust and pebbles. The free hanging underground floodlight was lowered a metre to just below the R.S.J. The minor issue with the signal and phone system was found to be battery contact corrosion; repaired. Generator oil was checked and found very low; previously checked 4th May; suggest every 12th session or thirty run hours; fueled to ¾ full. CC descended to complete the staging floor and secure the “Plank” through to the northern shaft; photos taken by CC. Depths measured to Staging from Platform level at -14.25m, and to an almost level shaft floor at -16m. The existing rope exchanged for elimination purposes, and cleaning, its replacement tested lifting a heavy net; result exactly as previously experienced. Conclusion, the drum has become polished since its introduction on 7th October 2017. CC suggests securing low profile “ribs” to the drum circumference replicating raised areas often seen on conventional capstan winches. These “ribs” should allow the return to normal winching using only one or, at most two turns on the capstan without introducing excessive wear to the hauling rope. A number of other tasks remain outstanding, but drink became priority: to a busy Roadside for a very nice pint.
Hours 5 (2077), Southend (1027), Kibbles 0 (3395), Nets 3 (682), Total 4075
2nd July Spinney Level, aka Saxon Mine, Via Gellia
Malc Scothon & Paul Wheeldon
Return Visit to Spinney Level with Paul, first vist 22/02/19.
It was not until the end of June of the same year,that Paul asked me if we could do a return trip. He was now down to only 5 tablets a day plus his Monday top-up of a further 8.So his rattle was less noisy! Besides that he had got some warmer gear.
The aim was to get him to the end of the level. We wouldn’t attempt to climb into the upper series with him.
Progress was slow. Water levels had not reduced due to the excessive rain we had in summer. More important though, it passed without incident.
Once we had reached the end of the level, just over 100metres, we started to work our way back, looking for what has been noted in the guides as Saxon wording. Albeit 18th c graffiti carved into the wall,It was discretely tucked under a small overhang on the lower right hand wall. This is situated close to the junction where you pop under a large boulder to start the rope climb into the upper series. Known as the Anglo Saxon mine because it has these 3 words inscribed on the wall:
There’s no record as to why they were put there. Whilst there’s the derivative meaning of Pingle describing an enclosure. There maybe an ulterior reason , close by, within the parishes of Middleton and Wirksworth, the Census(s) for that period record people with the surname Pingle, some were noted as landowner’s. These choice words may have reflected the author(s) opinion of a landowner/mine owner or other.
The trip lasted for just over an hour.
The mine is well worth a return visit just to see the pretties. Access to them is protected by constant high levels of water, and at the minimum waist height wading beyond the calcited choke which creates a natural dam. Hopefully, this deterrent will continue to keep the vandals out.
Called into the Rising Sun at Middleton by Wirksworth afterwards.
4th July Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC and PC
Bright: 60% cloud: small stream: Visibility ≥35Nm: The Plan: investigate rope slippage on the capstan. CC considered several approaches; the highly polished surface indicative of increasing rope slippage. Noted as reduced were the raised areas surrounding the spot welding: further examination suggested reinstating such regular blunted, high points by centre punching the circumference; a process which may perhaps require regular attention? To fill the remaining session PC disappeared up hill into the tall grass to install a small cistern into the field ditch to improve the water supply to the cleaning cistern on the working platform; needs completing. The pair then attended to the boulder pile, CC climbing into the north field to reinstate, and elevate the short section of the low, elderly wall; while the summit of the pile was rearranged, preparing the area to receive even more spoil without looking too untidy: to the Roadside.
Hours 4 (2081), Southend (1031), Kibbles 0 (3395), Nets 0 (682), Total 4075
6th July Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC and PC
100% cloud: Midges: Barely a breath of air: Very small stream: Visibility ≤17Nm: The Plan: Dig. Discussions considered available options regarding the extensive rope slippage. One, that CC centre punch the capstan circumference to mimic its original surface condition; such rope slippage means digging stops until the issue is addressed. CC digging: PC winching; unloading and barrowing. CC began working from the hauling way north toward, and beneath the fixed ladder clearing away accumulated, compacted gravels. Deep joy experienced as hauling commenced the rope slippage absent; quite the relief: plans afoot to redesign the capstan surface. Of the twenty one loads raised two were heavy nets. Of the nineteen kibbles, nine were clay and gravels; said clays and gravels were laid between the dry stone bulwark and the winch shed preparing a barrow way accessing the next spoil area northeast of the winch shed. Generator registers ½ full.
To the Roadside for celebratory pints: Happy Birthday Cheg.
Hours 4(2085), Southend (1035), Kibbles 19 (3412), Nets 2 (684), Total 4096
8th July Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC and PC
15% cloud cover: Warm: Very small stream: Visibility ≥35Nm: The Plan: Dig. A weary team arrived having earlier worked the day heaving rocks about at separate events. CC digging: PC winching; unloading and barrowing. Initial euphoria evaporated as hauling experienced issues regarding the amount of pressure required to tension the rope; whilst no slip occurred this was due to applying a lot of pull on the hauling line; resumed using a third turn on the capstan, (never a good idea), to maintain production for the session. Far below CC worked away extracting large boulders and removing compacted gravel deposits; hence the reduced number of loads lifted. Of the twenty two lifts seven were huge nets, of the fifteen kibbles six were gravels. Knackered headed for the comfort of the Roadside and pints: Bliss.
Hours 4 (2089), Southend (1039), Kibbles 15 (3427), Nets 7 (691), Total 4118
11th July Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC and PC
Cloud base 450 feet: Visibility only 100 metres, and that down slope: Very small stream: The Plan: address rope slippage on the capstan and maybe dig. Since the 8th July session CC had considered the options, deciding upon drilling the capstan circumference to insert eight low profile cross head bolts, (gutter bolts), as raised friction surfaces. Meanwhile PC continued work on the water supply from the new supply tank location to the existing water pipework; requires a fitting. CC digging, PC up top; the south end was lowered with the aim of working north and clearing out the western rift. The following hauling trials proved more than satisfactory; the effort of drawing the rope from the capstan much reduced, actually approaching the original hauling conditions. Depths of up to half a metre are present among the gaps in the boulder floor. In what remained of the session eleven loads were raised; three very large, heavy nets and eight kibbles, of which two were gravels: to the Roadside. The infrastructure complete, the site is ready for the return of Popeye; The Lung arrives soon after.
Hours 5 (2094), Southend (1044), Kibbles 8 (3435), Nets 3 (694), Total 4129.
12th July Clooncoose Cave
Mason, Angie, Josephine, Garrett, PC
The above students attending the Galway University archaeological summer school wanted to visit a souterrain, as time was pressing PC took them to see Clooncoose, an example of a cave altered to a early medieval refuge; the party delighted.
13th July Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC and PC
Stunning evening: Cloudless: Warm: Trickle: Visibility ≥35Nm. The Plan: Dig. CC digging: PC winching, loading and barrowing. Deep joy, the first decent digging session in almost a month; of the twenty eight loads six were large nets containing big boulders, of the twenty two kibbles four were gravels and one of shite. Hauling was delightful; almost all twists out of rope and very little pressure required to secure the rope around the capstan; superb. All spoil removed progressing north from the south end to almost level with the large western rift. Generator ≤¼ full; outstanding preparations are extend the tripod weather covering and lower roof of the winch shed. To the Roadside for pints; thoughts concerning the apparent reduced effects of the draught in the northern rift were discussed.
Hours 5 (2099), Southend (1049), Kibbles 22 (3457), Nets 6 (700), Total 4157.
13th - 14th July Brewery Shaft & Scaleburn Branch, Rampgill, Nenthead
S Halliday, A Walchester, N Bartlett & D McDonough (Craven PC)
After much talk about Brewery Shaft we finally managed to get a meet together and convened on the Car Park Saturday morning. SH and DM having travelled form Lancs and AW and NB from Derby.
SH ever prepared had made enquires as to the shaft’s location, even going as far as watching a video on YouTube. So was in no doubt as to which entrance, we should using.
So after a brief change and packing the rope we duly setoff. This really didn’t feel right and after not many minutes it became obvious, we were in the wrong mine!!! Retracing our steps back to daylight we reoriented ourselves and tried again.
This time entering Rampsgill (TBF they do look the same), we quickly arrived at brewery shaft. This impressive structure is around 100m deep but we had been unable to obtain the key for the very top so were rigging from about 30m lower.
SH Rigged backing the rope up to the substantial railings and tying into a rebelay immediately over the shaft edge. A steady decent admiring both the shaft and the remaining iron works, soon enough I reached the end of the rope, in sight of the btm of the shaft and tied on another and dropped the final 15m or so.
The btm of the shaft is a bit of a mess, with a lot of debris requiring some care, SH went for a bit of an explore whilst waiting for the rest of the party. All passed the knot without incident. None having done so in recent history this itself was a minor success.
Round the corner and we went for a look at the remaining engineering works (see photos) before going for a paddle toward Nentforce level. Meeting the wheel here no one really fancied getting much wetter so a retreat seemed sensible.
DM first up made short work of the 70m pitch. SH followed not finding it easy. The rope hangs in just the right place to stop you getting a rhythm going. A deviation higher up (but rigged to what?),would have brought the rope further into the shaft and made the whole pitch easier but you cant have everything.
For an explanation of the above photographs please follow the link at the end of this log
Soon all up and the rope re-bagged we returned to the van to dump rope and SRT kit before going for a bit of an explore of the the Rampsgill level. Luckily we had obtained a survey so with NB Navigating, voted in cos his eyes are younger than everyone else’s. we made our way through a good lump of what is easily accessible before it got a bit wet and crawly. Deciding that was enough for one day we again retired and made our way to the digs.
Really nice spot even had its own mine, AW provide the food and we kept its sensible and had a reasonably early night.
This meant we were up in good time and after a fry up was back at the mines for about 8:30. With a bit more of an idea where we were heading we made our way to Scaleburn mine and had a good root around both easily accessible levels. Some really cool stuff still in here and a real appreciation of what the old man achieved in what must have been arduous conditions, we spent a few hours covering most of what we had a survey for, but barely scratching the surface of what Nenthead has to offer.
Great weekend, great site, great company
15th July Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC and PC
Midges: Visibility ≥35Nm. Midges: 80% cloud cover: Midges: Trickle: Fuel PC: The Plan: maintenance. Various tasks were undertaken; improved weather sheet to roof of winch shed, extended weather canopy to protect the shaft top timber work from rainfall. Generator now half full. Oiled wheels of the Receiver, (rolling shaft cover), managed a little dry stone walling before being chewed to pieces; ran off swiftly to the Roadside. Popeye returns this Wednesday; James Cobbett arrives Friday night. JW kindly delivered the refurbished Hilti battery.
Hours 3 (2102), Southend (1052), Kibbles 0 (3457), Nets 0 (700), Total 4157.
16th July Clooncoose Cave
Katie, Lydia, Róisín, Josephine and PC
Another request, from other students at Caherconnell to visit this interesting cave adapted to include souterrain features.
18th July Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC, TB and PC
Midges: Visibility ≥35Nm. Midges: Small trickle: 60% cloud cover: Light breeze: The Plan: Dig. Popeye digging: CC winching: PC unloading and barrowing. The session started with securing the weather canopy extensions. Popeye continued CC’s progress, working northward. Of the twenty two kibbles raised two were gravels. The final lift was a huge boulder estimated ≥150kgs; a 2:1 mechanical advantage was successfully applied. At surface the monster was manhandled into the barrow and wheeled away with effort. One of the drive belts on the winch requires adjustment, it appears to be the source of the occasional “growling”: to the Roadside for pints.
Hours 7 (2109), Southend (1059), Kibbles 20 (3477), Nets 1 (701), Total 4178.
Looking down the Considine's dig from surface, with the present floor level at minus 16m. The platform is just visible at the right.
Photo James S Cobbett
20th July Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC, TB, JC and PC
Overcast: Small trickle: Visibility ≥35Nm. Mild: The Plan: adjust drive belt/s on winch and Dig. Whilst TB and JC trimmed the pathway of encroaching foliage, CC and PC stripped the winch and adjusted 1 x belt tension, in doing so noticed a pulley had a minor scuff mark; likely the source of the curious, occasional growling, after minor adjustment all well; unit reassembled, digging began. TB and JC digging CC winching: PC unloading and barrowing. Of the twenty eight lifts four were seriously heavy nets; of the twenty four kibbles two were gravels. JN presented the team with timber and heavy duty scaffold planks. JC impressed with the Considine Cave project: to the Roadside for pints: Happy Birthday Barry Sudell.
Hours 10 (2119), Southend (1069), Kibbles 24 (3501), Nets 4 (705), Total 4206.
The Roadside Tavern after digging with Pat Cronin, Cheg Chester, Tony Boycott and James S Cobbett
22nd July Considine's Cave (South End)
CC, TB and PC
Overcast: Mild: Visibility ≥30Nm: Small stream: Fuel TB: The Plan: Dig. CC winching: TB digging: PC unloading and barrowing. Set up was swift, with digging by 18:20. Yesterdays two inches of rain was evident; the new water line working well producing a good flow to each cistern. Popeye and JC had left several kibbles filled and ready to lift, such a head start proves useful. “Growling” emanated from the winch once more but disappeared; further work required to maintain the pulley 2mm distant from the chassis. CC brought along some scales to confirm the long estimated, average weight of each form of lift: A net = 68kgs, a kibble of stone = 30kgs a kibble of gravels, (Chatter) = 38 kgs. Of the forty three lifts three were nets, of the forty kibbles five were gravels. A lot of large boulders are dumped in the southern spoil area and require turning into a wall as soon as possible to clear the route. Using the assessed weights of each form of lift this session produced 1.5 tonnes; a superb session; a weary Team headed for a busy Roadside.
Hours 8 (2127), Southend (1077), Kibbles 40 (3541), Nets 3 (708), Total 4249.
A few of the larger stones lifted out in recent days, each one averaging around 60 to 70 kg
New extension to the spoil retaining wall. Will this need to grow as high as the one seen at distance?
25th July Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC, TB and PC
60% cloud cover: Bright spells: Visibility ≈25Nm: Wind Southeasterly, F3 gusting 5: Showers: Small stream: The Plan; Dig. PC arrived early to exchange the hauling rope with the previous one taken for washing. Meanwhile CC filled the gear box on the winch with grease as Popeye descended to fill kibbles dug directly beneath the hauling way. Amongst this the large boulders left in the west spoil area were used to extend the retaining wall for future spoil. Hauling commenced 19:00 a steady pace produce thirty kibbles of which nine were gravels; almost a tonne. There is now a gap of some three feet between the bottom of the fixed ladder and the floor. Another 0.6m of depth and the signal box will require lowering; the hose pipe too will need lengthening: to the Roadside for pints.
Hours 7 (2134), Southend (1084), Kibbles 30 (3571), Nets 0 (708), Total 4279.
27th July Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC, TB and PC
80% cloud cover: Light breeze: Visibility ≥35Nm. Small stream: Fuel CC: The Plan: Dig. CC winching: TB digging: PC unloading and barrowing. Digging took place from the hauling way through the narrow cleft into the northern shaft; within this confined area a small eastern crevice was cleared out of debris to avoid leaving possible future missiles which might harm diggers working below. Excavation, though awkward produced one net and thirty six kibbles, of which eight were gravels, (≈1.1 tonnes); the various piles of spoil increase. The signal box will soon require lowering. The ladder is now a metre off the floor, the aluminium ladder need be secured to it so Popeye can climb out. As a very large boulder was wheeled away in the barrow, significant sagging was noted of the pallet surface timbers; a length of timber has been placed to add support: to a busy Roadside.
Hours 7 (2141), Southend (1091), Kibbles 36 (3607), Nets 1 (701), Total 4316.
27th July Pegasus Open Dive Log, plus collection of Historical Berger slides.
Venue : Stoney Cove, Leicester
Andy Walchester & Malc.Scothon
Arrived about 11:45 and benefited from a parking spot close to the point of Dive entry.
Aim: Test, Adjust where necessary diving Equipment.
Single dive at 6.2 max depth for a duration of 50 minutes. Time was limited due to bad weather conditions causing limited vis. down to 2 metres. However, turned out to be an aid in testing whether we could maintain buddy contact which we did successfully.
We agreed a dive-plan and kept to it. Entering the ramp area, we initially checked each other’s gear for air leaks and then went off to the left towards the base of the clubhouse which sits on concrete pillars. We entered one window and exited another, turned round and headed towards the end of the shelf to the right of the ramp exploring the width of the shelf of the quarry as we went along.
Weight , Buoyancy and signals all looked good.
Air In. Air Out.
Andy.15lt 230. 150
Malc.12lt 210 130
Time Duration - In 12:40 Out 1:30 (50 minutes)
We limited it to 1 dive due to weather conditions.
Afterwards we went on to collect over 140 slides of one or both of the 1960s Pegasus’s Berger’s trips. Andy was to try and digitise them. Ironically they were found together with a projector for sale on a Trader’s car boot stall and rescued by a member of the public (David Byett of Spondon, Nr Derby) who had no association with caving/mining but recognised the historical value of them and went to great lengths to contact the club from notes etc on the slides. £20 from the club’s funds was paid to David, covering the cost he paid to the trader. Unfortunately the projector was broken and un-repairable.
Further details and viewing of slides rescued, are to be posted on the website at a future date by Cheg.
1st August Considine’s Cave (South End)
TB and PC
20% cloud cover Visibility excellent ≥40Nm: Small stream: The Plan: Dig. TB digging: PC winching, unloading and barrowing. The previous hauling rope, now cleaned, coils and handles very well. TB worked around the Southern End toward the western rift. Depth measurements were taken; the hollow created in the floor directly beneath the RSJ is -17m, directly below the hauling way it is -16.5m; from this depth it takes 100 seconds to bring a load to surface. Of the thirty two lifts three were nets, of the twenty nine kibbles four were gravels. Generator registers ¼ full. To the Roadside for the unexpected return of a tasty Black, and a very nice Gold.
Hours 5 (2146), Southend (1096), Kibbles 29 (3636), Nets 3 (712), Total 4348.
3rd August Considine’s Cave (South End)
TB, CC and PC
Overcast: Showers: Midges: Small stream: Visibility ≤20Nm. The Plan: Dig. CC winching: TB digging: PC unloading and barrowing. Popeye continued to work at the southern end lowering it to some 0.75m below the floor below the fixed ladder; this approaches -18m. A large flagstone, 0.9m x 0.7m x 0.1m, was pulled out the west rift causing the winch to move; fortunately it emerged before the effort was considered too much for the machinery to safely handle; it requires breaking up prior to lifting. The occurrence of small water worn, fluted pieces of limestone have lessened of late, whilst stream rounded cobbles have increased; or rather become more evident, their ratio being about one fist sized cobble every two kibbles of spoil. The western end of the main boulder pile has reached a height of seven feet-ish above the path this pile needs facing/securing with walling; the hollow area between this peak and the eastern end can now be filled; the overall height of the ridge between will be slightly increased above the present, this will consume another, estimated, twenty odd sessions of spoil. Following the rain midges emerged to make life truly grim. The three metre aluminium ladder was secured to the fixed ladder so Popeye can climb back to the surface. Of the forty three lifts three were nets, of the forty kibbles four were gravels; making a conservative weight raised this session of 1.4 tonnes; nice one Popeye. To a packed Roadside and strong drink, and midges
Hours 5 (2154), Southend (1104), Kibbles 40 (3676), Nets 3 (715), Total 4391.
5th August Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC, TB and PC
Torrential rain: Cloud base 900ft: Wind SW, F4 gusting 6: Large streams entering from north and south ends: Fuel PC. The Plan: Dig. CC winching: TB digging: PC unloading - barrowing. Within seconds of arriving at the bottom Popeye was drenched; overflow from the piped southern stream covered the entire rift end with a thin layer of water, much falling from the top of the rift onto the poor sod below. Noise of the rainfall on the canopy, the water running in the pipework and that cascading down the shaft made communications problematic. During operations CC and PC would often gazed down the shaft admiring Popeye’s ability to breathe in such conditions; from a safe stance, some fifty foot above him. Rain continued without interruption, so barrowing was also a wet task, as muddy spoil was deposited it was washing clean within minutes, such was the deluge. Of the thirty two lifts, two were nets; of the thirty kibbles six were gravels, (about a tonne raised): generator shows around ½ full; to the Roadside for a really excellent pint.
Hours 5 (2159), Southend (1109), Kibbles 30 (3706), Nets 2 (717), Total 4423.
6th August Cascade Cavern, The Hafod Estate, near Aberystwyth
ASM & LAS
This summer's Snowdon and outlying areas Pegasus expedition was to Cascade Cavern. 2 ish miles from Devil's Bridge near Aberystwyth. Park in the Hafod Estate main car park and follow the red route, 'The Gentleman's Walk'. There is first a 2km walk to the start of the 6km walk. We found the red route easily enough but then took the green route to the 'chain bridge' (see photos). Then back to red route and soon we headed up through the woods to Cascade Cavern. (See video). This cave appears to have been made when the waterfall is in flood and perhaps softer rock or shingle had been washed out. The whole of the river in a number of sections would made a good canyoning trip... wetsuit and gear for the waterfalls.
The Chain Bridge
Canyon type river
Good sport in high water
A little rain soon came and went then off to the 'tunnel' .. another cave but possibly man made.
Short cave in the woods
Then on to the waterfalls (Mossy Seat waterfalls). A section of forest track, followed by more woods and we arrived at the 'rustic bridge'. Then onto the ice house and a walk up back into the woods, passed highland cattle, up the yellow trail. (Or brown trail if you had a bit of a scar after meeting the long horned cattle).
The Rustic Bridge
Mossy Seat waterfall
A route of 6 miles in total and we landed back to the car. Cavers present.
7th August Pollclabber
This site has been closed by the owner some forty odd years ago following his belief that cavers responsible for the collapse of the retaining wall which supports the western end of the depression from erosion. July 1978 Charlie Self, (UBSS), asked the owner of the possibility of reopening; the answer was the same as stated eighteen months previous, no. Following a chance meeting the current owner responded positively to PC enquiring of the possibility of re opening the cave. An appointment is arranged to visit his place tomorrow; 17:00.
8th August Pollclabber
Pollclabber: 17:00. Met with current owners; explained all the implications of reopening the site; it is in their front garden, metres from their house. They raised one important issue, and will need careful consideration on their part; the place is also used by their family, with very young children. However, if this entrance isn’t permitted there is an adjacent depression which may access the stream sink into the downstream; they also own this field, though a farmer grazes it. Cavers and cavers alone will benefit from the reopening of this site.
The above image replicates, approximately, the U.B.S.S. survey to assess the practicalities of excavating another entrance. The yellow dots show Pollclabber entrance, by the cottage, and the depression noted in the adjacent field; the possible alternate site. The line of the canyon passage described is some ten metres from the field depression.
10th August Lancaster Hole
Exactly 2 months since my last trip into Lancaster. Recent focus being on preparations for Pozo, needing a cylinder for Spain and also interested in seeing what the main drain looked like after all the recent rain.
Changing in the van and a miserable walk across the fell encouraged me to rig quickly and get underground ASAP. Main shaft quite drippy which is unusual for here, made my way with care to CT. As always this time of year the high level stuff extremely slippery and a near miss reminding me to watch myself, it occurs to me that I don’t have a call out and Toni in Greece for a week I’d better be careful.
No drama’s on the way to the gear stash and the residue from previous drillings still present show that water hasn’t been up this high. Couldn’t resist the temptation to drop to the main drain.
Not safe to get off the rope, I estimate approx. 2/3m of water above normal levels. Quite cool for a bit of a look but seen considerably higher. Evidence of foam on the walls showing prob another 5m up in last couple of days.
Back to the gear and bagged a cylinder of trimix and a pair of boots then a very steady return to the surface, not sure if I’m unfit, tired or just old but def not feeling very strong today. Main pitch took an age and the bringing the bag up was purgatory. Weather didn’t disappoint and pissed it down all the way back to BPF
Total time underground 2hrs
10th August Considines Cave, (South End)
TB and PC
100% cloud cover: Visibility ≤20Nm: Large stream: Heavy showers: Field waterlogged: Fuel TB. The far wall of the southern rift was drenched with the overflow from its point of capture above. The Plan: Dig. TB digging: PC winching, unloading and barrowing. The battery drill, now charged, was lowered to TB who secured the signal box in its new, deeper, reachable location. Digging began. The depth of -17.5m, in the far south end, was continued toward the north; once leveled another survey plan of the shaft will be recorded as its shape has subtly changed; the protruding shape of the “Guillotine” has gradually disappeared into the rift walls. The huge sandstone flagstone broken up by Popeye was swiftly cleared beneath which was a very nice, elongated piece of sculpted limestone; which he covets. Throughout the cycle of showers, midges visited; repellent applied migrated from hand to rope creating an awful creak of the rope during hauling; it is fortunately fading. Of the twenty eight lifts, three were nets, of the twenty five kibbles six were gravels; around 900kgs: to the Roadside for a very nice pint and cracking music.
Hours 5 (2166), Southend (1116), Kibbles 25 (3731), Nets 3 (720), Total 4451.
12th August Considine’s Cave (South End)
TB and PC
80% cloud: Visibility ≥35Nm: Light showers: Good sized stream: Field waterlogged. The Plan: Dig. TB digging: PC winching, unloading and barrowing. Popeye continued to level the floor northward at -17.5m, up to the second fixed ladder. In this area, between both shafts the deposit is an amalgam of different clays. Directly within the kill zone of the hauling way progress was cautious and meticulous. Among the thirty one lifts was one net; unsurprising, twelve of the thirty kibbles were assorted clays and gravels. Generator just over ½ full: 1 x can of fuel present. Hose needs lowering, the wall line finishing. The ridge-line between the two spoil piles is almost completed: to the Roadside for pints.
Hours 5 (2171), Southend (1121), Kibbles 30 (3761), Nets 1 (721), Total 4482.
15th August Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC, TB and PC
100% cloud: Visibility ≤20Nm: Ground wet: Small stream: The Plan: Dig/Maintenance.
PC arrived early to set up. Whilst CC worked on the retaining walls of the boulder pile; the others took up positions. Popeye estimates three more sessions will level the floor to beneath the fixed ladder; this depth was confirmed as -17.5m. Work continued within the Kill Zone, the base of hauling way has become more clay than boulder; depth unknown. Part of this clay area was beneath the large flagstone recently removed; did this covering offer protection from the wash effect of the southern stream? Of the twenty four kibbles, sixteen were clays; the green - grey muck making its dread reappearance. CC raised part of the northern field wall to a respectable, vertical height which cattle shouldn’t be able to vault; doing so many boulders were re-positioned, sorted and the area then leveled allowing a significant increase in previous spoil deposition estimates. Generator ½ full: 1 x fuel present. Thought need be directed to covering the northern shaft. To the Roadside to enjoy pints, fine singing and some cracking concertina.
Hours 7 (2178), Southend (1128), Kibbles 24 (3785), Nets 0 (721), Total 4506.
17th August Enclosure Lisnanroum, Townland.
PC80% cloud: Sunny spells: Wind, W F4 gusting F6. The plan: continue survey of the site visited 31st August 2018, with Pete Eckford and Ken James. The large enclosure appears in fact two; separated by a party wall, curiously, the 25 inch map shows the walls as field boundaries. Neither enclosure is listed as archaeological. The smaller northern enclosure contains one souterrain in a state of collapse; the other souterrain is situated within the north/south party wall, its passage heading southward. The eventual unavailability of a promised total station meant other means sought to press on with the survey already a year behind.
Recently a Garmin Gpsmap 64s was used to record the obscured perimeter of the Ballynahown ringfort, CL004- 062000; the result encouraging, the same device was used today in concert with a Garmin Oregon 300. As readings were observed the gpsmap 64s regularly showed a further north location between 2 to 3 metres; as it has an aerial this was thought the more accurate reading and therefore that recorded. The shape of the enclosures on the 25 inch map shows two enclosed areas, the northern one that of a conventional square ringfort, contemporary with its circular contemporaries; the south enclosure is the anomaly. It is the southern enclosure however where short sections of the original walls are present; hidden among dense Hazel and Briar, averaging some 1.2 metres in width. When plotted on the archaeological site software the Oregon 300 appears the more accurate, as on both GPRS models easting readings were exactly on the mark of the original map. The majority of the recordings coincide with the original drawn walls; there is however a subtle differences of the walls between the 25 inch map image and the digital imagery, which possibly increases the errors. Several features were noted, and recorded; a possible form of animal pen located in the far four corners, and at least one small hut circle. Other remains suggest another small hut, but are unconfirmed. Both souterrains were traced along the surface; the underground survey is next. Survey data emailed to the landowner.
17th August Considine’s Cave (South End)
TB and PC
70% cloud: Humid: Wind SW F6 gusting 8: Small stream: The Plan: Dig. Popeye below: PC above. Hauling started 18:04, the digging still progressing across the base of the hauling way toward the cleft between north and south ends. With two present, from start of a lift to its return to the base of shaft takes an average of four minutes. This session demanded extra effort emptying the compacted mixture of clays and gravels from the kibbles. The floor is now level from the South End to beneath the fixed ladder, the bottom of which is some 1.4 metres above the floor. Of the thirty four kibbles raised, eighteen were full of the dreaded clays. Popeye cautiously observes the clay deposit may possibly be finished. Generator ¾ full: no spare fuel present. Hose pipe needs lowering. To the Roadside for a much needed pint: two weeks to the six weeks of Matchmaking Festival.
Hours 5 (2183), Southend (1133), Kibbles 34 (3819), Nets 0 (721), Total 4540.
19th August Considine's Cave (South End)
TB & CC
Slow working as digging in the danger zone, TB lowered the floor in the Narrows towards the north, until the floor collapsed by a foot just before the narrowing, now so narrow it is making life difficult to clear to the northern shaft as only one hand can be used at a time. Will need Cheg's Cheating sticks to fully clear the narrowing rift under the old Plank stacking area. Mud persists between E & W walls north of the comms box, but appears to be coming to an end! Of the 23 lifts, 12 were assorted shite. Petrol needed.
Sharp showers, autumn has come.
Hours 4 (2187), Southend (1137), Kibbles 23 (3842), Nets 0 (721), Total 4563.
22nd August Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC, TB and PC
Cloud base 500ft: Mild: Visibility ≥ 7Nm: Ground waterlogged: Large stream: The Plan: Dig. CC winching: TB digging: PC unloading and barrowing; no midges, delighted. Popeye has all but levelled the bottom, at -17.5m, from the south end into the 125mm cleft into the northern shaft. The dig floor has some clay remaining; optimistically this should end soon as it has within the cleft. Forty lifts were raised of which four were heavy nets, (max 95kgs); of the thirty six kibbles, ten were gravels and clays, (total 1.5 tonnes). Yesterday, 2 inches of rain was recorded by CC as heavy rain swept from the SW across much of the western coastline; explaining the well washed base of the dig floor and waiting kibbles. The end of the ladder, (second pitch), is now some 1.7m above the floor; the next is under construction. Lowered hose to its full length, (20m). Generator a little below ½: Dark at 21:30. Intend to produce another survey plan of the shaft to record its subtle changing shape. Popeye departs next week: to the Roadside for a refreshing pint.
Hours 7 (2194), Southend (1144), Kibbles 36 (3878), Nets 4 (725), Total 4603.
24th August Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC, TB and PC
100% cloud cover: Cloud base 1000ft: Mild: Visibility≤20Nm: Large stream: Ground less waterlogged. Medium stream: Fuel CC: The Plan: Dig. CC winching: TB digging: PC unloading and barrowing. Popeye began a trench across the narrows adjacent the signal box, below the RSJ, which is now some five metres above the floor. Of the forty lifts eight were nets and another eight were gravels and clays. Generator at ¼ full: To the Roadside, where the Doolin Harley Fest was repeating its successful annual fund raising extravaganza for the local Cancer Charity; 1st prize 1 x Harley Davidson Motorbike.
Hours 7 (2201), Southend (1151), Kibbles 32 (3910), Nets 8 (733), Total 4643.
25th August Souterrain CL009-022007
40% cloud: Sunny afternoon: Light SW breeze: Began the underground part of the survey, the present entrance is located within the party wall of the two enclosures: neither enclosure is recorded in the national archaeological database.
Carefully trimmed a gap between the briar growth in the eastern opening, also westward, within the line of the party wall, is another opening, its exposed, level dry stone walling would have supported roof flagstone lintels; a continuation of those remaining. Absence of lintels suggests their removal for building material. Little disturbance of this area of dry stone wall edging has taken place, suggesting this was a branch passage, or small chamber, not an entry from the surface, the eastern opening is therefore the most likely, original, point of entry. Among adjacent bushes in the eastern opening a linear hollow channel continues eastward, still in the line of the party wall, this suggests the passage continued for at least a further two metres; here may have been its original entrance. At the base of the present entrance slope, (east-west), is a large fallen lintel, (400kg) supporting the short tumble slope. On the left, (south), a low opening enters a chamber; this doorway is partly walled with dry stonework reducing it to some 2/3rds its original size. The souterrain is constructed in the form of a letter “T”, the vertical axis being the chamber, some 7m long x 1.5m wide x 1.5m high. This chamber is in very good condition; nine flagstone lintels of widths between 0.28m and 1.06m, comprize the roof. At the southern end of this chamber is another small opening, from which a passage led southward; collapsed, the hollow created since backfilled; indicated by the haphazard deposition of its present stone content. The original passage route beyond this collapse may be traced on the surface via several breaches of its roof noted curving gently to the east. The ground level of both enclosures has weathered significantly, the roof covering of the souterrain now clearly visible, prominent above present soil surface.
26th August Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC, TB and PC
100% cloud: Mild: Light shower: Visibility <7Nm: Medium stream: Ground drying: The Plan: Dig. CC winching: TB digging: PC unloading and barrowing. The trench was deepened around 0.3m and widened toward the north end. Of the thirty kibbles fourteen were gravels, which included a couple of clay. The southern section of the retaining wall is presently around 1.25m high, this will increase; throwing boulders over to the present ridgeline is awkward, so intend creating a broader summit area onto which debris can be thrown to ultimately become a neat field boundary wall, which when viewed from the northern field side will be around five feet high. The gap below the second ladder and the floor is around 2m. Generator is ¾ full: Popeye departs for five weeks: To the Roadside.
Hours 7 (2208), Southend (1150), Kibbles 30 (3940), Nets 0 (733), Total 4673
29th August Considine’s Cave (South End)
Pegasus Productions Present
A Night of Shite
Cast: Cheg Chester and Pat Cronin
Two adventurers search for a route into the underworld to look upon the magnificent treasures held therein; to gaze in wonder across the broad subterranean Coolagh River.
Unknown to them the Gods are angered at this invasion of their domain; in effort to dissuade interlopers trials are presented each demanding patience and effort. Tonight a Ball was arranged for their delight; an enormous Ball of Shite…
Of the twenty four kibbles raised twenty were an amalgam of clays and gravels, shite, a sticky amalgam which reluctantly left the kibble for the barrow.
The Roadside: the shagged out adventurers discuss their options; more drink??
Hours 7 (2213), Southend (1163), Kibbles 24 (3964), Nets 0 (733), Total 4697.
31st August Tony Jarratt’s 11th anniversary
31st August Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC and PC
Towering unstable air masses: Showers: Cloud 60%: Wind F4: Ground awash: Large stream: Four inches of rain recorded yesterday. The Plan: Dig. CC digging PC winching, unloading and barrowing. The floor is pretty much level at around -17.7m, which extends through the narrow “Cleft” into the northern shaft. When secured the next fixed ladder is likely to become an obstacle when excavating this area. Prior to securing this ladder the plan is to deepen the floor a further metre in the “Cleft” area to reduce the effort working around said ladder. This will create a north facing step which can then be dug southward this also means the bottom of the ladder will be a metre or so above that floor level. Digging in the “Cleft” meant a slow but steady pace; among twenty two lifts were one large net and twenty one kibbles, of which sixteen were clays and gravels. Yesterday CC visited the dig following the protracted rain event; video recorded. The signal box was removed for maintenance as it appears affected by moisture: second fixed ladder almost completed: generator around ½ full. Tonight is the first Saturday of the Matchmaking; search lights raking the sky announcing the annual frenzy; so, to the Kilshanny House.
Hours 5 (2218), Southend (1168), Kibbles 21 (3985), Nets 1 (734), Total 4719.
3rd September Pozo Azul
Rest day today. Been a pretty full on week so far. Culmination yesterday with 5hr10 dive in S2, on my new duel rb setup. Couple of dramas but nothing too drastic, unfortunately couldn’t find the cylinders I’d gone for but had to turn after 90min at -60m. Comp having a baby about the deco😂. Need to work on my scootering skills, took much too long to get there and then ran out of time. S1. Is about 700m dive which I’m beginning to forget about, back home that’s a massive dive on its own🤣 Photos by Pedro Gonzàlez, many thanks to him.
The entrance to Pozo Azul
Is there someone inside all of this high tech equipment?
Yesterday we didn't get out of things as we expected (add sound effect of disappointment to taste). The radiolocation with the Spanish beacon did not work and the attempt to get to the material in the second siphon to two kilometers either. A long wait in the bubble enlivened by the music of Alan, the songs of Emma and my artistic direction to make a few "thousands of photos". our mission to support Simon in the transport of material and help him with his deco bringing him hot food To Habitat. Today we will try again the radiolocation with the english beacon to see if there is luck. The only thing we made clear yesterday is that we are going to buy a trombone trombone. Don't ask because... it was a lot of waiting hours and the brain is upset 😂
Simon kitted out with new dual RB set
The airbell at the end of sump one, Spanish name meaning "The bubble"
2nd September Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC and PC
90% cloud: Large stream: Visibility <20Nm: Heavy showers: Ground remains awash. The Plan: Dig. CC digging PC winching, unloading and barrowing. While CC reconnected the serviced signal box to the shaft wiring, PC rotated the lifeline making use of the other end, prior to its washing. Once the signal box was secured below digging began. CC continued to work the face created below the fixed ladder heading south. Excavating the clay based deposit ensured a slow but steady pace. Among the eighteen lifts were seventeen kibbles of clays and gravels, the remainder were boulders, and one heavy net. Generator 1/8th full: Lifeline which passes through the platform floor needs re-routing to reduce friction: Next fixed ladder delivered to site: Dusk began to settle around 20:45: into a much quieter Roadside with very nice music.
NB. When CC opened the plastic box, which contains the signal loud speaker, a lot of water poured out. In the Bar discussion explored the source of this inundation; the equipment is mounted within a cut away 25 litre plastic container; similar in shape to the weather canopy of public telephones, and is presently nine metres above the very bottom of the dig where the stream sinks; (northern shaft limit -26.5m).
Historical; the flood of August 1950, (Caves of County Clare, 1981, p28)), saw much of Coolagh River Cave awash, trapped members of the U,B,S,S downstream of the tight, low bedding that was then the Polldonough South entrance.
During the flood of August 1967 water was observed to “fountain” from depressions along the normal dry river valley flooding the area adjacent to Ballynalacken Castle.
August 2013, Fraggle Rock experienced flooding between 30th July and the 1st, (photos). The above examples suggest it is quite possible that Considines flooded from below as the farther sections of the Coolagh River could not pass the volume; (roughly calculated, could possibly be around 12sq kilometres; this is worth measuring precisely).
By the 29th August some fourteen inches of rain had been recorded by CC. The rainfall over the 30th August recorded 4 inches, (100mm), which fell onto an already waterlogged landscape; so it simply, and very swiftly ran off: August could easily appear flood prone.
Hours 5 (2223), Southend (1173), Kibbles 17 (4002), Nets 1 (735), Total 4737.
5th September Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC and PC
90% cloud: Visibility <20Nm: Ground still very wet: Big stream: Fuel PC: The Plan: Dig. CC digging PC winching, unloading and barrowing. Minor adjustment to rope that closes off the lower shaft collar. This session would be a slow affair as CC would be digging across the base of the shaft; “Kill Zone”. As the third kibble was being winched up PC lost focus, the result was the laden kibble was pulled into the pulley mechanism in the very top of the Tripod, fearing the kibble could part with the rope he immediately opened the safety lock and backed off the tensioned rope still wrapped around the capstan. At this moment the forty kilogram kibble plummeted through the open shaft collar heading for Australia, stopping off briefly at Cheg. Realizing this unforgivable mistake the passing rope was successfully grabbed with the left hand whilst the right dropped the other end of the rope to activate the safety lock, (no-go-backo-scope); the kibble stopped abruptly at around -4m, having fallen six metres; CC was unaware of events above. The resultant rope burn appeared fortunately minor; the pain kept at bay by regular immersion in the washing barrel; normal surface activities became untenable by 20:00 so closed down the session. Of the eleven lifts was one very heavy net and ten kibbles among which were three of rock: weight around 400Kgs. Generator at ½ full: no spare fuel. Depth recorded at -18.7m. This level is about three metres above that of the “Pinch” in the northern shaft, immediately below this is a choked rift, not too wide but might be excavated to connect with the south end. To the Roadside for pints good music and caress a half pint of ice
Hours 4 (2227), Southend (1177), Kibbles 10 (4012), Nets 1 (736), Total 4748.
7th September Souterrain CL009-022007
12:30: 60% cloud, clearing: No wind: Warm. Somewhere around the junction of the entrance passage and chamber opening have managed to cock up the survey; satisfied the chamber survey is accurate; it’s the orientation of the entrance passage that feels wrong. When illustrated the passage angle seems to be trending too far toward northeast by some 15°. To improve the view of the surface positioned datum, (western survey pole), from the underground datum cut a narrow, (0.3m), gap through the hazel choking the western opening, and reinstated the eastern survey pole. Resurveyed both short passages off the western datum using tape and laser line, through to the eastern datum tying in the chamber survey; pleased thus far. The result should now show an accurate depiction of the souterrain. Also recorded the roof lintels above the junction area; the others, all except the one in the entrance area absent from site, likely utilized as building materials, (excellent for spanning doorways and windows). The lintels comprizing the chamber roof are mostly close together, only at one joint are stones used to fill a wider gap.
7th September Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC and PC
18:00: 5% cloud cover: Ground drying: Medium stream: Visibility >35Nm: The Plan: Dig CC digging PC winching, unloading and barrowing. CC resumed the slow process of digging across the “Kill Zone” gradually removing the amalgam. Of the twenty two lifts were three very heavy nets; among the nineteen kibbles were nine of the awful clay mess. Generator shows ½ full: no spare full. Approaching Lisdoonvarna surprized at the volume of cars heading into town: so to Kilshanny House for the best Guinness around.
Hours 5 (2232), Southend (1182), Kibbles 19 (4031), Nets 3 (739), Total 4770.
NB, on the 22nd July 2019 the average weights of nets, and kibble types of either gravels, clays or rocks were recorded; 1 x net = 68kgs, 1 x kibble of stone = 30kgs, 1 x kibble of gravels, (Chatter) = 38 kgs. When applying a weight of 30kgs to every single lift, (4770), including all nets, the total lifted from the South End is a very conservative 140 tonnes. If 68kg is used for the 739 nets then that totals 50 tonnes; 4031 kibbles, at 30kgs, a piece equates to 120 tonnes. Therefore, to date, some 170 metric tonnes have been dug, brought to surface and transported from the South End shaft alone.
12th September Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC and PC
Remnants of Storm Gabriel have passed: 10% cloud cover: Visibility >35Nm Mild: Large stream: Fuel CC. The Plan: Dig. CC digging PC winching, unloading and barrowing. PC arrived early, walking like a duck, nursing a groin injury, to re-position the lifeline system avoiding constricting the climber whilst getting on and off the top of the ladder. CC progressed the metre high working face south across the “Killing Zone”; now almost halfway to the south end. Of the twenty one lifts two were nets, nineteen were kibbles; five being rock the others amalgam and assorted awful clays; all brim full. These clays were deposited around the boundary walls of the western spoil area; the idea to raise this by a half metre then expand across to cover the area toward the stile avoiding too steep a barrow way. The rocks were placed at the west end of the boulder heap creating a steep face down to the present retaining wall height. The floor, at -18.7m, is some three metres below the bottom of the fixed ladder; the elderly aluminium ladder, with its collection of moving, screeching and groaning parts makes for interesting physical and mental acrobatics attempting to access said fixed ladder. The next fixed ladder is on site for installation, likely Saturday: “Gonzo’s” Hilti drill is now fully operational. Generator shows ¼ full; spare fuel on site. Estimated weight lifted 900kgs.
Hours 5 (2237), Southend (1187), Kibbles 19 (4050), Nets 2 (741), Total 4791.
NB. The recent, (€160), rebuild of Mark Lumley’s 36v Hilti drill battery by Battery World in Limerick caused concern when their advice “give it a full charge before use; to get it started”, appeared flawed. Initially charged for fourteen hours its use was planned for 8th August. Untested prior to this trip it was found flat: confusion. Charged a second time, (12 hours), left, then tested the following day the result was the same; flat as a dancer’s chest: dismay. It received a third charge, (12 hours), and left for twenty four. When it successfully drilled 9 x 16mm holes 150mm deep in tough concrete without a noticeable deterioration of charge or performance. Left uncharged for five days it drilled another seven 16mm, 150mm deep holes. Drilling the eighth, drill speed was noted to subtly decrease: delight. The Team now has a fine drill; no need for Popeye to cart his Hilti back and forth. Sincere thanks to Mark for gifting PC the drill and to Jim for arranging its journey to and from Limerick: result happiness, hooray.
14th September Lancaster Hole
Forecast for the coming week looking promising so I spent a few hours prepping Lancaster ready for resuming dive operations. Fingers crossed we get some conditions next week.
I had to meet JNC on the way up so a relatively lazy start for me, landed at BPF about 10. Tough carry but soon enough at dive base. Brought all gear down and readied for next week.
Had to do a bit of drystone walling to get the steps back serviceable but otherwise all ok.
1 x 7 of trimix 19/24 What was left from Pozo, my frugal nature means I couldn’t bin it.
1x7 of nitrox 75%
2x7’s of air.
1x2L of O2
Intend to dive the Chest mounted RB. Not 100% sure of dive plan as yet but I want to at least make some sort of a start on survey this super sump. No one has ever conducted a detailed survey and I feel that this may pay dividends? Also hoping to note the position of the change in water visibility. Is this due to the sump flushing? Or is there another way on?
The best laid plans and all that we’ll prob just wing it.
Hoping to get a bit of company next week, Kev Gannon and Dave Mc both interested and I’m hoping we might get Mr Walchester wet?
Easy trip out, Met Nottingham Uni at the main pitch. They were teaching 2 of the party to abseil!!!! On a 33m Pitch, is it any wonder there’s accidents? Gave a couple of limited comments and made myself scares before the shit hit the fan.
Beautiful day on the fell out for a little after 2.
Total time underground 4hrs
14th September Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC and PC
Dark at 20:40: 100%: cloud: Cloud base 800ft: Visibility ≤10Nm: Ground wet: The Plan: install the next fixed ladder. Each nursed dodgy limbs as they descended; the staging platform at -14m proving a practicable base from which to assist a suspended Cheg as he secured the next ladder; thoughts turned to the Hydraulic Shaft Dig in Smallclough as the aluminium ladder screeched with every minor movement. At the bottom of the shaft the pair took time to marvel at its shape, its size and depth achieved: it is without doubt a magnificent shaft. Measurements were taken for the stemple to complete securing the lower part of the ladder; installation Thursday. Holes were drilled in the east and west walls to accept the 16mm galvanized bolts securing the stemple. Two 14mm holes were drilled to accept the future descent of the signals box; CC suggests the signal system be moved into the opening of the south rift, being a reasonable distance from any potential missile. This is the third weekend of the Matchmaking. Long convoys of cars and buses sped to Lisdoonvarna for a piece of the action: to Kilshanny for a fine pint of Guinness.
Hours 4 (2241), Southend (1191), Kibbles 0 (4050), Nets 0 (741), Total 4791.
14th September Souterrain CL009-022007
10:30. 70% cloud: Wind W, F2 gusting 4. The Plan: survey the surface above the souterrain to obtain an accurate depth of ground cover over the roof lintels. Laden with kit loudly greeted by passerby; Martin McMahon, who leases the farmland. Lengthy exchange of pleasantries brought forth locations of other holes, and farmers amenable to an interested individual; delight. Waddled off with the warning; “Avoid the Bull as he can be a bit grumpy”. Set up tripods to establish a baseline along the same compass bearing as the underground survey. Its height differential obtained through a breach opening taken directly off the underground datum using a survey staff. Increasing wind strength became troublesome delaying measurement recording. The ground depth survey was then repeated along the east – west passage to confirm the depth of the floor surface of both openings. The landscape to the south of the souterrain chamber has a shallow sunken area beyond several breaches of the souterrain passage; the survey was extended to include this now inaccessible section.
19th September Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC and PC
An azure blue sky: Light breeze: Ground wet: Small stream: Crystal clear, visibility >35Nm: Dark around 20:30. The Plan: complete ladder installation. A later than normal start as CC had just returned from afar. CC below, PC up top; stemple pieces lowered to CC who swiftly assembled the prefabricated parts; minor difficulty when securing the bolts; the gap between the stemple and wall need be a minimum of 50mm, rather than the present 40mm, to allow insertion of grips to prevent the bolt stem turning as the nuts are tightened. Minor inconvenience experienced exiting as the first ladder rung is some 0.75m above the floor. Generator topped up, shows ½ full; no fuel on site. Walking back the transition of colours across the firmament was stunning; black to deep orange, to red to cream. In such clarity the Islands, Connemara, Venus and the Moon were supremely visible. In Lisdoonvarna nowhere to park; dashed back to catch CC, en-route and divert; couldn’t find him; returned to try find him in Lisdoonvarna during which endured a ball breaking twenty minutes trying to park/find CC/exit the town. This is the busiest year ever for the Matchmaking; the superb weather bringing the sex and dance starved from all over. Kilshanny next Saturday!
Hours 3 (2244), Southend (1194), Kibbles 0 (4050), Nets 0 (741), Total 4791.
21st September Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC and PC
100% low cloud: Increasing rain: Wind SE, F2: Visibility<20Nm: Small stream: The Plan: Dig. CC below PC up top. CC continued working southward; now over halfway across the floor surface below. A steady pace produced twenty four lifts, of which three were heavy nets; twenty one kibbles consisted of equal numbers of boulders and gravels, among which were three of the dreaded amalgam; after extensive, exhaustive research CC has identified the scientific, Latin name of this deposit; Shitus Shitus. The fixed ladder now goes to -18m; the eastern bolt fixing of the stemple may be replaced; the small west rift has faded, morphing into the wall, which now appears to be spreading outward; Generator ½ full; no fuel one site: Pitch black at 20:30. To the Kilshanny House: Happy birthday Jim Warny:
Hours 5 (2249), Southend (1199), Kibbles 21 (4071), Nets 3 (744), Total 4815.
21st September CL009-022006 Souterrain
Over cast: Threatening rain: Wind SE, F4 gusting 5: The Plan: begin recording the northern souterrain. The souterrain is located centrally within the northern enclosure, whilst it’s larger neighbour, (30 metres to the south), CL009-022007, is partly constructed within the boundary - party wall separating the enclosures; both are semi-subterranean in form built within artificial mounds, the northern mound summit is estimated at one metre above ground level surface. Cattle graze the mound, evidenced by hoof marking and chewed plants. This mound is constructed of large, irregular limestone blocks; several lay strewn about the obvious breach of the souterrain roof; one has fallen into the breached passage. One accessible limestone block, set in the top most coursing, on the west side of the breach, was conservatively measured at 3ft x 2ft x 1ft, (each measurement rounded down); at some 70kgs per cb/ft, it weighs an estimated 400kgs. The visible sections of walling, up to, and above the outside ground surface are built of well fitted, large, coursed limestone blocks; hazel and briar growth presently obscure an accurate assessment of the underground section, and the floor of the breached passage. Minimum trimming of foliage will allow for clearer access and recording. In the initial opening area of the underground passage smaller sized stones appear used in the passage walls; requires closer examination. Within the main breach area there is a slight increase of the passage width, an asymmetrical change suggests it once was a small chamber, (1.2m x 2m), perhaps a passing place or a prepared, defensive position. Beyond the obstructing fallen block, some 3.5 metres further on briers obscure the possible passage terminus; a small sunken area surrounds this point. Four metres to the SSE is the outer perimeter of tumble, suggestive of a possible hut circle; some five metres in diameter. Eleven metres beyond this, also heading SSE, is another small, possible hut circle, this one being some six metres in diameter. Other features exist within both these enclosures, identification required: a preliminary sketch was made of the souterrain mound area.
21st September Lancaster Hole
S Halliday, K Gannon & D McDonough
After last weeks effort to set up a dive and a week of dry weather the time to resume dive operations on this project has finally arrived.
With support form KG and DM we met at BPF at 9:00. SH arriving early had already moved one of the big bags over to Lancaster.
We made our way across the fell on a somewhat chilly morning and SH quickly rigged the pitch. Neither KG or DM had been down the CT before so SH led the way, care required on the slippery mud around the top of the CT.
Dropping to the main drain we made our way to dive base, retrieving the previously left cylinders, SH dressed the bottles and checked contents.
Today diving the new Chest Mounted RB but the setup broadly similar to my previous diving here. As previously a 7L of 75% O2 to be left at -4m and a further 7L staged in the metro. Visibility was pretty poor and after the wet summer the line into the bedding was found buried. This required a jump line running into the bedding plane before I was able to find the original line and retrieve from the flood debris. Winding in the jump line I set off on a steady swim into the system. The line has had a battering from the wet summer and progress was slow whilst this was sorted as best I could.
The dive line in the Metro was as expected with a few missing belays but the limit of my previous exploration was met after about an hour. At this point I came across Tony Seddon’s old line and the decision was taken to follow this rather than look at the ceiling in the previously discovered chamber. The line was followed to the end, the cave roughly fitting TS’s description in the sump index. At the end of his line, the reel was missing but depth, -35m, and descriptions lead me to believe I was at the terminus of the cave to date. Tying in a new line reel I followed the right hand wall to a distinctive dog leg. The passage is large with a floor of sand and gravel with very little to belay too. I found a decent flake belay not long before running out of line, but was unable to satisfactorily belay the end of the new line so had to bury it and hope for the best. Deco starting to accumulate and considering my bailout as being stretched I retreated trying to consolidate the line on my return through the Metro.
Deco started at -12m so I had a few mins of hang on the ramp before being able to take my time through the shallower bedding and burning off another stop. This left 20min at 4m which I did in the sump pool.
For the first time diving a neoprene suit in this sump and really feeling the benefit during the deco stops. Surfacing after a total dive time of 2Hrs 44mins.
For those interested the dive profile looks like
Surfacing with one comp still asking for another 10mins of deco, I played it safe and stayed on O2 whilst KG made a hugely welcome cup of tea,
Still over weighted for this setup I will take at least another 2kg of lead off for the next dive.
Both KG and DM assisted with the dekit and stowing gear before we made our way out. SH climbing out of Fall Pot to avoid waiting for the rope at the CT. Out into brilliant sunshine.
A hugely successful dive, Lancaster hole is now about 70m longer than before the dive and definitely heading in the right direction. This dive tested the bailout plan to its limit and for further exploration to be carried out safely further cylinders are going to be required.
This project is hugely testing but I feel we are heading in the right direction today moving into virgin cave. The project will continue but I need to readdress the dive logistics and feel I have reached the end of what I can realistically achieve in a single day. I will give this some serious consideration, but future dive operations will probably be at least 2 days in duration and possibly more. This by necessity may also be the end of my solo dive trips? The task of moving the gear although possible is getting significantly harder the further I progress.
Many thanks to KG and DM for the support
Total time underground 9hrs.
Happiness is an empty line reel
22nd September Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC and PC
Overcast: Light showers: Visibility <20Nm: Small stream: The Plan: Dig. PC re-hung both ropes which the winch operator operates to remotely open and close the shaft cover; he also assessed covering over the northern rift to prevent beasts falling in once the project is concluded. PC above CC below: CC continued to remove the 0.7m high working face; reaching a point some 2/3rd across the floor now levelled at -18.7 m. Having such an area, (a deep Pit), at the base of the Hauling way created appeal, offering containment for a plummeting load to land within; possibly increasing safety, albeit slightly for the digger patiently waiting in the southwest rift during hauling. The rift will be the new location for the communication system. Of the twenty-one lifts three were very heavy nets, one contained a beautiful limestone pendant; of the eighteen kibbles four were of Shitus Shitus, of which one was Shitus Shitus Maximus; the others were boulders, rocks and gravels. The return to surface requires effort, likewise depositing the spoil; both fairly shagged out, headed for drink at the Roadside; the impending weekend is the last of the Matchmaking festival for the year.
Hours 5 (2254), Southend (1204), Kibbles 18 (4089), Nets 3 (747), Total 4836.
28th September Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC and PC
Cloud base 1000ft: Visibility <2Nm: Ground awash: Large stream: Rain: Light breeze. Surface of work platform becoming like a skating rink: Rainfall, Friday recorded as 2.5 inches. The Plan: Dig. Normal service resumed. CC below: PC above. In fairly wet conditions CC creating a trench around the west side of the pile, sending up some very large boulders reducing this fill above -18.7m level significantly. Perhaps another two sessions may level the entire floor. PC wants to record a plan of the shaft at this depth. Of the twenty one lifts six were very heavy nets, including one boulder ≈90kgs. The fifteen kibbles consisted of seven rock, five gravels and two of the grim amalgam. Manhandling the big boulder PC felt a twang in his trouser region, him not wearing a belt suspected his back, later performing a series of limps and whimpers back to the truck. Maintenance required; the receiver wheels need lubricating. The slippery platform surface needs attention. Generator shows just below ¼ full; no fuel on site. Tonight is the final Saturday session of the Matchmaking: reportedly the most/best attended, ever. To the Kilshanny House, where CC showed PC the file created illustrating the 1997 audio recording of Jack Garahy, engine man at the Doolin Phosphate Mine.
Hours 5 (2259), Southend (1209), Kibbles 15 (4104), Nets 6 (753), Total 4857.
29th September Sulo Sulonen; The Flying Fin’s 46th Anniversary
The Flying Fin's headstone set in the church grounds at Peak Forest
30th September Considine’s Cave (South End)
CC and PC
Overcast: Heavy rain easing to fine: 3.4 inches of rain in the last 24 hours: Big stream: Ground flooded: Stream noise in both pipes thunderous: Southern end covered with running water: Fuel PC and CC. The Plan: Dig. Normal positions assumed. Noise of cascading water in the northern shaft and from both sets of pipework made for difficult communications. Of the twenty two lifts six were very big nets, most in excess of 100kgs, the sixteen kibbles consisted of boulders, and one DRY clay deposit. The large boulders were placed in the centre of the far spoil area. Some 2 to 3 cubic metres of debris remain to completely level the floor at -18.7m. Generator received five litres; showing ½ full at end of session; five litres spare on site. To the Roadside for a nice pint of Gold
Hours 5 (2264), Southend (1214), Kibbles 16 (4120), Nets 6 (759), Total 4879.