2021

July to September

3rd July     Cat’s hole, Cong


Jim Warny diving, Jay Conroy, Adam Seweryn and Tomek, Sherpa’s
Max Depth: 37m
Duration: 180min
Configuration: Sidewinder, 2 x 7l Ean32

Thanks to the help of Jay the gear was carried in 2 trips and deposited at the start of the sump. Adam arrived just in time to see me off and snap a few pictures.


Travel through the sumps was swift and after 45min I was ready to start in sump 8. The previous limit of exploration was at a restriction where gravel was sloping in from the far side. After tying in a line reel, I proceeded to pass the restriction; this required digging through the gravel. Once past the restriction I entered a large tunnel. I immediately noticed a rise in temperature (from 10degrees to 16degrees) and the visibility improved to 5m.


The passage ascended 20m and changed in nature (looking very similar to pigeon hole). I suspect I hit a junction beyond the restriction where the main flow from the lake seems to join the water coming from Ballymaclancy. The flow gradually increased as I progressed further in to the new passage. After reeling out +/- 200m and hitting a depth of 35m I tied off the reel and headed out (time 40min). 12 minutes decompression was needed before exiting sump 8. The return journey was fast and thankfully Jay joined me for the carry out.


Sump 8 is approximately 450m long now, making the gap between Cats and Pigeon roughly 250m. A return is planned asap.

Jim Warny
 

Cats Hole
Cats Hole
Sump one Cats Hole

Cat's Hole photos taken by Adam

Jim at the Entrance

Jay and Jim at the dive site

Setting off into sump one

Kitted up and ready to go

Jim Warny diving Cats Hole

3rd July     Considine’s Cave, (South End)

CC, PC
Cloud 10%: Midges: Warm, (17°C ish): Midges: Wind W, F1: Midges: Visibility <30Nm: Midges: Ground dry: Midges: Tiny stream; a beautiful evening and Midges. The Plan: Digging & Maintenance. CC descended to view progress and assess work required to install the next section of 2.3m fixed ladder. A small amount needs removing from present floor level to accommodate the length. Installing this ladder may impede ease of clearing the passage into the North Shaft, ("The Link"?). Preparations to secure the fish plates to the existing ladder need be made soon, before a lower floor surface puts this out of reach, working off the three metre builder’s ladder. Surfacing, into a cloud of Midges, CC commented, “there are holes in the floor, everywhere”. Decided to send up the filled six kibbles and one net, during hauling CC washed and cleaned out the adhered clays from all kibbles, increasing their holding capacity; ready for Monday, 18:00. Generator ½ full: CC fuel: Fuel on site.
Hours 3 (2863), Southend (1813), Kibbles 6 (5638), Nets 1 (896), Total lifts 6542

Pat Cronin

5th July     Considine’s Cave, (South End)

CC, PMcG, PC
Cloud 40%: Wind W, F2: Visibility<25Nm: Small stream: Ground drying: Midges: The Plan: Dig. CC winching: PMcG digging: PC unloading and barrowing, wall building. PMcG developed the working face he’d created at the south end, progressing toward the hauling way; some one metre deep and a little over one metre in front  of the south rift.  Further exposing the significant undercutting; origins of this formation are under discussion. The formation of “The Ribs” appears to reduce the floor area; yet the Main Shaft's square shape remains some nine square metres. The fill is of increasing loose compaction, moving easily under foot. The position, depth and shape of the present working face will, temporarily, require hauling to operate at an angle. This passes close to the RSJ supporting the three tonne “Guillotine”: though well secured, disturbance is not recommended. Thirty kibbles were produced and one net; the clays particularly sticky. A new section of drystone wall, behind the winch shed, is taking shape, the area behind filling with cobbles and boulders;  clays and gravels are deposited  in as level a surface as possible to allow future ease of barrowing. PMcG joined the team 29th April, as of this session producing 296 kibbles and 26 nets in twelve sessions; conservatively 12.8 tonnes.  
Generator almost ½ full: Fuel on site. Foliage needs trimming to fully tip the barrow.
Hours 8 (2871), Southend (1821), Kibbles 30 (5668), Nets 1 (897), Total lifts 6573

Pat Cronin

10th July     Chrissies Cave, Loughrea

CC, PC
Cloud 90%: Humid, 17°C: Wind SE, F2: Visibility >20Nm: Ground soft. The Plan: Dig. On arrival expressed concern over young bullocks in the field, fearing the inquisitive may be at risk from the unfenced pot entrance. Michael Keating arrived kindly delivering a short builders ladder for the entrance. Mentioning concern over the bullocks, MK sorted out electric fence ribbon; later intending re-erect/position the existing fence posts around the hole. CC, JW & PC had previously assessed the potential location of passage entered in the 1970s; since when part of an adjacent earth wall has slumped obscuring any evidence where once it was. The survey, kindly supplied by Jeremy Boyle, original explorer, is immensely useful as to what was entered by his team.

CC cut away part of a buried roll of fence wire allowing PC to stack more spoil. Started trench five feet back from the possible passage location, in order to create enough room to dig all the easier as the tunnel progresses. Two hours of steady work moved about a tonne and a quarter, exposing a significant undercut descending toward the north. At one point, two metres of distance was visible down the inclined air gap between clay and roof. In the soft earth found what appeared to be a sorry pair of Long Johns.......? Also found, in an air space, an elderly Lilt bottle; this item suggests the route taken by the occasional flood water. Clearing up, CC suggested a pallet to close of the small opening into the steep undercut leading to the dig, at the base of the open pot; to prevent a young bullock from falling/entering this confined area. Eighty minute journey; superb session.

Pat Cronin

Chrissies Cave, Loughrea
Chrissies Cave, Loughrea

12th July    Considine’s Cave, (South End)

CC, PMcG, PC
18:00. Cloud 70%: Wind W, F2/3: Visibility <25Nm: Ground dry: Small stream: Midges. The Plan: Dig. PC trundled across one of four previously scrounged heavy duty pallets. CC winching: PMcG digging: PC unloading, barrowing. PMcG continued excavating the west wall northward toward the “The Ribs”. In this northwestern area of the main shaft, PMcG exposed a downward sloping section of wall, protruding 0.6m into the shaft. Adjacent boulders obscured an accurate assessment, but it’s believed the forward edge of the “tongue” resumes the vertical. The spoil removed here glutinous. Of the thirty kibbles raised just twelve were boulders: the two nets holding large boulders. Issues arose during barrowing; urgency required to create a sound barrow way at the rear of the winch shed and up into the western spoil area. Each decrease in available capacity as the approach slopes increase; the sessions effort produced a shagged out team. Generator ½ full: no fuel on site. Foliage in spoil areas need trimming to allow the barrow to be fully tipped. The next net raised will be the 900th, a conservative total weight of fifty four tonnes.
Hours 8 (2879), Southend (1829), Kibbles 30 (5698), Nets 2 (899), Total lifts 6605

Pat Cronin

 

16th July     Oughtdarra

PC, PMcG
Fog: Sunny spells: Visibility 100m to >20Nm:  Temp 25˚C. The Plan: record ITM for Lackinaska resurgences. Walked in from Poulsallagh, joined a little later by PMcG; took about an hour: delighting in the remoteness. Recorded the four resurgences, west to east and the adjacent sink. The elongated mound, from whence they appear, seems glacial in origin, To the north, up to the upper cliff face the uneven landscape is peppered with shallow gulleys, sinks and risings; today most being dry-ish. All seem to have a common source. Among talus from the upper cliff, a medium sized stream is visible beneath a large boulder, (circa 2.4m x 1.5m x 1m; adjacent us a small pile if capped spoil. To the left, west, of the spoil a narrow crevice accesses a cavity where digging has taken place; evidenced by capping and other unsuccessful, violent means. The passage ends at a small pool, through which a possible continuation may exist. To the left a small passage may also continue. PC and chest managed to join PMcG in the cavity, a return for PMcG to press on through the pool is in train. The immediate surface area was examined, but the presence of midges, horseflies etc. did not encourage close scrutiny. The volume of capped spoil suggests, if three men were present, a day’s work. Allowing for the fact Tratman used the average 2˚dip of the limestone beds when surveying, there is a vague possibility this resurgence may, at least partly, originate from Poulnagrai, or close to.

Meandering back to the truck encountered a shaft sectioned remnant, some three metres high by over one metre diameter. Near the promontory fort.

Pat Cronin
 

16th july 21 1.JPG
16th July 21 2.JPG

 

 

17th July     Chrissies Cave

CC, PC
Cloud 5%: Temperature >22˚C: Visibility 25Nm: Ground dry. Walking to the dig stopped by the land renter, a delightful, interested man; Brian Barratt. A cousin of his Father had been in the cave; plan to meet and debrief him, next week. The Plan: dig. Continued to lower the floor. Soon encountered clothing, refuse and plastic bags. Broken glass a nuisance; dropped the floor around 0.3m. Frustrated at the effort required digging through the crap began to reach beneath the undercut, hoping to follow the roof down rather than dig through glass and tough plastic sheet. Two hours of work produced a fraction of the spoil moved last week. MK and BB dropped by to see progress, described difficulties digging through crap. Some form of conveyance is required to move the spoil. MK gave permission to wander his farm and use what was required. By midday the temp was in the mid-20s; saw the bar, An Crush Nua, was open. Enjoyed the first pint since James Cobbett Junior’s microbrewery beer, consumed, 28th March 2019. Will attempt another digging session, if situation is untenable, will seek permission to open the Roadside Sink.

Pat Cronin

 

17th July     Pigeon hole


Arek Puc & Jim Warny
Max Depth: -32m
Duration: 200min

Configuration: 2x7l EAN32, Al40 EAN50, Al40 O2 and Sidewinder rebreather

The plan was to investigate the ascending part of the cave and see where the flow was lost on previous explorations.

We both used scooters to pass the deep point. With Jim in front taking advantage of Arek's strong scooter lights behind him he started checking the walls for leads. No leads were found until we hit the shadows on the far end where we staged the scooters and swam on.


Before reaching the Michal's lake Jim noted and marked some potential leads on the line. After surfacing in the lake Jim de kitted and explored the dry chamber past the unpassed restriction, this chamber ends in a dead end with the stream trickling out of a low bedding.

Kitting up in the liquid mud proved challenging and one of the rebreather hoses popped off in the process, luckily the mud did not penetrate into the rebreather. Arek was watching on from the water and hopefully has some nice video footage from the Battle in the mud bath.

Once back in the water the decision was made for Jim to check the marked leads, both leads did not result in to going passage and are oxbows. After this we surfaced in the second air bell and had a chat, agreeing to turn the dive.

On the way back Jim noticed another lead with what seemed to be clear water flowing in the shallows before reaching the scooters. Jim signalled Arek from a distance and tied in the line reel.


Descending in to a narrow stepped restriction required tilting sideways. Once through the restriction the flow was met in bedding passage that soon opened up into a sizable conduit. The passage was heading west straight towards cat's hole. After about 100m of line was laid, Arek caught up with Jim and took over the reel and continued.
Arek's excitement got the better of him as he had his first taste of the explorer’s elixir, but we soon ended up in a dead end. The decision was made to return to base after having laid 150m of line.


The new section has a noticeable flow in it, and it shouldn't be difficult to find the way on next time. The exit was swift with some high-speed kamikaze scootering by Jimbo.

Jim Warny
 

Jim Warny at the entrance to Pigeon Hole  ​

Jim Warny at the entrance to Pigeon Hole

Jim Warny and Arek Puc

Jim Warny and Arek Puc 'Ready, Willing & Able'

Dive Base, Pigeon Hole

Dive Base, Pigeon Hole

19th July     Considine’s Cave, (South End)

CC, PMcG, PC
13:45. Cloud 5%: Wind NW, F2: Visibility ≤25: Ground dry: Haze: Temp upper 20s: Tiny stream: Sweltering: The Plan: Dig. PMcG suggested a midday session, as unable to dig tonight. CC winching: PMcG digging: PC unloading and barrowing. PMcG continued to expose the western wall to “The Ribs”; doing so exposing an undercut. The debris is still glutinous, with large boulders, several awaiting a 2:1 lifting session. Thirty kibbles and the 901st net raised, only 99 to go to the 1000th. The barrow way works well: if the canopy is trimmed a little then spoil can be deposited up against the east boundary wall, and adjacent the generator shed. Generator ½ full: no fuel in site. Another pallet rolled to the dig; two on site, two more waiting on the track.
Hours 8 (2890), Southend (1840), Kibbles 30 (5728), Nets 2 (901), Total lifts 6637

Pat Cronin

19th July     Pigeon hole


Jim Warny and John Shmidt as Sherpa
Max Depth: -32m
Duration: 136min
Configuration: 2x7l EAN32, Al40 EAN50, Al40 O2 and Sidewinder rebreather

The plan was to investigate the end of the line in the section of cave found on the last dive.

The end of the line was reached in about 40min. Multiple attempts ended up fruitless to find ongoing passage.
The flow was not noticeable, maybe a dive in higher water conditions is needed to regain the flow.

Jim Warny
 

24th July     Chrissies Cave – Roadside Sink

PC
Cloudless, >25˚: Wind NE, F0/1: Ground dry: Visibility >20Nm: Haze: The Plan: Dig.
En-route rang Brian requesting a mobile number for John McCardle; an explorer of the cave. Among the chat explained as attending solo today, would it be possible to begin opening the sink adjacent the road as the choke in Chrissie’s cave was problematic; told “no problem, work away”. Encountered Michael Keating on site who had delivered the ladder, wandered over toward the rising; MK explaining the area has many flagstones set about, which were used to step on to draw water. MK also confirmed the questioned presence of an old mill, some 400 metres west, driven by a large stream, which is still thereabouts. Like Chrissies cave refuse was deposited to close off the road side sink to children. During the first visit CC removed several rusted sections of 45-gallon oil drums. Commenced digging; managed to dig around, and remove remaining metal sections. Decided to dig as close to the tree as possible, through what appeared to be “original” soil deposition. Looking at the area, around a metre above the sink, an open hole is present, it takes the overflow; also adjacent the tree is a horizontal section of bedrock; decided to cleave downward and square edges and face of the excavation. A few pieces of refuse found, though nothing as soul destroying as that in Chrissie’s. Cutting the face downward exposed several conduits within the soil. A little deeper, exposed two chunks of limestone either side of the hole; north and south, some metre apart, at right angles to each other. The proximity of all these features and the bedrock suggests this may well be an easier route into the cave; need take along a camera: delighted.

Pat Cronin

 

29th July     Considine’s Cave, (South End)

CC, PC
18:00. Cooler, ≈17˚C: Cloud 70%: Wind NW, F2: Visibility >30Nm: Ground damp: Small stream: The Plan: Dig. Trundled the final pallet to the dig; four on site. CC descended to view progress; removing a few small stones to inspect the boulder adjacent the “Tongue” exposed by PMcG. The emerging undercut appears ragged and sharp. Previously filled kibbles were sent to surface; eighteen in total. Next to the tree the summit of the boulder pile has been reached, ≈3m. This height should not draw too much attention or comment from the neighbours: growth of boundary foliage should assist. Discussed hauling route needed to pass “The Ribs” to land and lift loads from the main shaft; offset being 0.6m – 1.m: this needs sorting soon. Two bolts already fitted to suspend the control lines, yet as shaft depth increases this simple system may become unworkable. Discussed some form of chute situated just above “The Ribs”, with the ability to smoothly guide a full kibble or angular shaped net safely past this offset. Generator almost ½ full: no fuel on site. More trimming of foliage required; the temporarily light weight pallet needs replacement. Forgot to lift signal box above potential flood level.
Hours 5 (2895), Southend (1845), Kibbles 18 (5746), Nets 0 (901), Total lifts 6655

Pat Cronin

 

31st July     Roadside Sink, Tinageeragh, Loughrea


  See Video  

CC, PC
10:30. Cloud 70%: ≈18˚C: Wind NW, F2: Visibility >20Nm: Ground dry: Tiny stream: The Plan: Continue opening Roadside Sink. PC deepened the hole started last week, dumping spoil onto the stream pipe being installed by CC; reducing spoil handling to just the once. Had notified MK and BB, were digging today; both appeared, offering support. Talk turned to local based John McCardle; who explored Chrissies Cave in the mid/late 1970s. BB departed, swiftly returning with JM who spoke with clarity of his solo exploration. Of import is his description of the entrance area of Chrissies cave; a far less steep approach to the beginning of the crawling passage. Added to this, BB described how he rebuilt the adjacent wall owing to subsidence, this explains the present steep slope of the entrance. This soft, virtually stone free soil ultimately flowed down to cover the deposited refuse, recently exposed. It was reasoned the bags of refuse, exposed at the deepest point, may not require too many removed to uncover the entrance to the crawl…… well, that’s the theory. The Team felt JM’s description of his 1970s trip can be trusted; he had been a miner in Canada, used to maintaining his wits of surroundings underground. He also added that the adjacent road was pushed through in the 1930s, using hardcore from adjacent mounds, at this time a significant stream conduit was installed.

31st July 21.JPG

 

After two and a half hours digging, Roadside Sink was 0.8m by 1.2m and -1.5m, exposing several rounded boulders, and converging bedrock faces. The boulders appear on the same horizon, which may once have been the stream bed. Fortunately, the steady trickle of water soaked away, until the diggers position needed alter, choking the outlet. The pool level slowly rose to welly depth, remaining stable. BB and MK both described recent heavy rainfall in this area and its affect at this depression. Scrutiny of the sink, below the overflow and between the newly exposed limestone faces strongly suggest a rift entrance. Considering todays tiny stream, the Team intend remove the soil between the limestone faces starting at the overflow. Doing so will follow an obvious drainage route, reducing wet digging. The next visit will return to Chrissies Cave to remove more refuse bags; MK intends assist the Team with this. From An Crush Nua, which overlooks the dig, MK saw the Team changing; ringing the mobile MK insisted they visit the bar so he could buy them drink!

Pat Cronin

1st August     Considine’s Cave, (South End)

CC, Des McNally, Lenny Smith, PC
18:00: Cloud 60%: Wind NW, F2: Visibility >30Nm: Ground drying: Small stream: The Plan: Initially, assess hauling deviation installation. At PMcG’s birthday, last night, PC was approached by LS enquiring if he and DM could visit the dig; both accorded invite. On arrival at the bottom PC was surprized at the change in the shaft’s characteristics; the place requires photography to record these significant features, starting at around -24m. The undercut, exposed by PMcG, runs around the shaft circumference interrupted by “The Tongue”, “The Ribs”, the Southeast rift and the Southern rift. This horizontal undercut edge is a ragged, water worn affair, stepping back under the shaft wall between 0m to 0.5m. “The Gap” width between “The Ribs” reducing to 0.15m. Delightful of all is the Southern rift; the one metre of depth, recently removed, exposed a wider rift section, close to the shaft, if not for the 50˚ slope of collapsed debris, descent would be possible, even for normal chest sized people. The length of this wider section extends south some two metres; at the far base of the slope the floor appears silt; to be expected considering the oft flooding of this shaft when the underground Coolagh River backs up following protracted rainfall. Discussed with CC the installation of a temporary hauling deviation, that is until the floor is lowered a further one or so metres. Immediate benefits, reducing the effort expended by the digger, later, a better understanding of the shape of the shaft, contributing to a more appropriate, robust design. Looking down both rifts suggest a minimum, attainable depth of around -27/28m; this is around 5/6m short of Poul Eilbh pitch, which DM informs is thirty three metres. PC ascended leaving LS, to be joined by DM, both offering dig. However, only four kibbles were sent up, as PC was under time constraint this evening.
Hours 4 (2899), Southend (1849), Kibbles 4 (5750), Nets 0 (901), Total lifts 6659

Pat Cronin

1st August 21 1.JPG

Lenny Smith and Des McNally after adding 100kg to the spoil Heap

2nd August       Considine’s Cave, (South End)

CC, PC & PMcG
Cloud 60%: Wind NW, F2: Visibility <15Nm: Ground damp: Small stream: Midges: The Plan: Dig. PMcG digging, CC winching: PC unloading and barrowing. PMcG focused on levelling the floor. Beginning at the “Ribs”, working south around the shaft’s East wall. In front the southeast rift opening, a one-metre semi-circular rib of bedrock is emerging upward from out the floor; projecting from between the Southeast and Southern rifts, curving toward the shaft’s east wall. Similar to the “Ribs”, its peak too has jagged upward pointing teeth. Of the thirty-two lifts, two were nets; kibble content included eight of course gravels, all from the entrance area of the East Rift. The capacity of the two-metre-high boulder pile is reached. Boulder and gravel deposition will continue behind the foliage screen wall heading east behind the winch shed. The next fixed ladder requires no spoil removal to be installed. The deviation system need be installed, as further lowering of the floor will place the previously installed bolts out of reach of the vertically challenged, even using a three-metre ladder. Generator all but empty: no fuel on site. Ten full kibbles waiting. Various maintenance issues require attention.
Hours 8 (2907), Southend (1857), Kibbles 30 (5780), Nets 2 (903), Total lifts 6691

Pat Cronin

 

6th August     Considine’s Cave, (South End)

CC, PC
18:00. Cloud 100%: Rain: Wind NW, F6/7: Visibility <10Nm: Ground sodden: Large stream: The Plan: Maintenance. Recent emergence of a bedrock feature out of the floor surface urges installation the hauling deviation system. A bout of sciatica inhibited PC’s descent. So, both collars of the shaft were examined, as was the scaffolding framework, for possible alteration to accommodate the required vertical offset needed to land the kibble at ≈ -24m; missing troublesome, protruding bedrock forming the western “Rib”. PC positioned the hauling rope in the far NE corner of the upper collar, measured at 0.44m NE of the normal vertical line; this may put the kibble in front of the “Ribs”, it remains to be seen. Will run tests during Monday session. CC and PC brought fuel: Generator ½ full, fuel on site.
Hours 3 (2910), Southend (1860), Kibbles 0 (5780), Nets 0 (903), Total lifts 6691
Pat Cronin
 

7th August     Chrissie’s Cave and Roadside Sink, Tinageeragh.

PMcG, PC
Cloud 100%, base ≈600ft: Rain: Mist: Wind NW, F6/7: Visibility <15Nm: Ground damp: Eighty-minute drive. Called into MK’s farm to collect the short ladder and scrounge a kibble. Descended Chrissie’s Cave clearing the dig area; PMcG dragging up skids to the outside. PC decided to attempt moving the centre of the dig slightly eastward, to avoid extant refuse, as today’s digging showed little evidence of this dreaded presence on this side; so far, so good. Dropped the floor about 0.2m, exposing a grey clay deposit with an adjacent, moist gravelly layer. PMcG took over pushing the forefield along the fault line, about 0.6m, exposing a minor calcite wall decoration. Small pieces of plastic sheet dotted the route suggesting flow did once take place. A system for extracting spoil is desperately needed. PC divided the session between the two sites; maximizing available energy.

At Roadside Sink the stream was larger than last week by a factor of, at least five; sinking in the base of the hole. No surface evidence across the previous dumped spoil of any high stream flow: in particular the rainstorm of Thursday afternoon. Started digging around the north side, creating a shelf off which to more easily shovel debris collapsed from approaching the overflow hole above. The bedrock noted in the hole, down on the left, may not be such; perhaps just a larger boulder: perhaps the cave may have a bedding entrance. MK called to discuss progress, then headed off. Into An Crush Nua for a pint.

9th August

Returned missed call from Jeremy Bird, cousin of Brian Barrett. He explored the cave in the mid-1970s; he thinks 1974. He referred to it as Boyle’s cave; “Chrissie’s cave was adopted by PC, as Chrissie Boyle is the owner. So, the name will therefore be corrected to Boyles Cave. JB relates crawling over broken glass and dead sheep, through a short, low passage into larger passage; six metres high; daylight entered from what he thinks is the western sink. He believes a short rope was used to descend the short, (6ft), drop by his pal “Gerard”. At the bottom a small, muddy, crawling passage continues. At this point exploration was ceased. JB was a caver with NUI Galway Caving Club. He hopes to meet up with the Team, maybe next Saturday.

Pat Cronin

9th August     Considine’s Cave, (South End)

CC, PMcG, PC
18:00. Cloud, 90%, base 600ft: Wind W, F2/3: Visibility <25Nm: Ground dry: Small stream: The Plan: Dig. PMcG continued to excavate the vertical bedrock feature, which segregates the southeast rift from the main shaft floor. Dropping its interior floor some 0.6m, the feature’s wall assumes a near vertical plane, with vertical, low profile ribs. The shaft side of the feature demonstrates severe erosion, sharp, jagged vertical teeth suffuse its side and summit. A ten inch, (0.25m), gap bisects the feature, perhaps a stream affect. The length of the curving feature is some two metres. Mostly cobbles and course, wet gravel came from within this “enclosed” area, on the edge of the drop into the narrow southeast rift. Once again, a steady pace produced thirty well packed, heavy kibbles.

SF 3a.JPG

The feature now known as 'Pauls Pot'

Issues returning a kibble down the shaft, missing the “Ribs”, need addressing, swiftly. Pharting around offsetting the hauling with pulley and cord was only partly successful. Extensive discussions between CC and PC of workable deviations took place. Each, thus far is problematic. PC suggests trialing a sloping board, secured to a single horizontal bar, positioned just above the “Ribs”; it will capture the kibble on descent and allow it slide into position adjacent the digger, thus reducing effort recovering it. However, to avoid such an angled board directing a falling object toward said digger it should be moved into a vertical position during hauling operations.

Outstanding tasks; recording the southeast rift feature, a plan survey at around -24m, to also record the passage through to the North End, install the deviation board system. Generator ½ full: fuel on site.
Hours 8 (2918), Southend (1868), Kibbles 30 (5810), Nets 0 (903), Total lifts 6721

Pat Cronin

12th August     Considine’s Cave, (South End)

CC, PC
13:00. Cloud, 70%: Heavy showers: Wind SE, F4/5: Visibility <20Nm: Ground damp: Small stream: The Plan: Maintenance/Dig. PC descended to install the fixed ladder, the end of which is level with the passage floor connecting to the North End; around -24m: measurements taken so CC can prepare the scaffold tube stemple. Two 16mm holes are drilled. The centre of the hauling way is used as a datum on which the surveys are built; fortunately, this centre line was confirmed as still being within the “Gap”, between the “Ribs”. Using a laser level, datums either end of the N/S rift was established, at -22.5m. This depth will allow the plan survey to record the connecting passage into the North End. Took time to study the feature exposed by PMcG; curiously, this almost circular feature sits on the very edge of the narrow, vertical entrance to the Southeast rift. It is a truly wicked looking feature, covered in razor sharp teeth. Its interior is of loose fill; the present floor level of the shaft is just below its summit. It would be wise to empty the fill before the shaft floor is lowered any further, avoiding the feature becoming a serious obstacle; requiring scaling to dig. Prior to CC taking photos, PC washed mud from the walls, doing so brought attention to both the South and West walls of the shaft, each still extending outward. CC’s earlier comment “it’s become more cave like”, is apt. The walls below -24m are assuming severe water worn surfaces and still, steadily undercutting outward. The kibble deviation to bring it to the digger needs more work, in the meantime will trial a board secured in the “Gap”.  Inbetween photography and sending up waiting kibbles, CC examined the gap in the feature, removing a few small cobbles CC found the gap heals up some 0.3m further down. CC suggests the feature as “Paul’s Pot”. A very busy session with good results. Nine kibbles were raised, two waiting. Generator ¼ full: Fuel on site. Can’t help thinking the Southeast rift is a Red Herring; development remains along the fault, and down.
Hours 7 (2925), Southend (1875), Kibbles 9 (5819), Nets 0 (903), Total lifts 6730

Pat Cronin


 

14th August     Boyle’s Cave, Tinageeragh, (AKA Chrissie’s Cave).

PC
Cloud 100%: Rain, steady: Wind W, 2/3: Visibility 5Nm: Ground damp: Small stream at the Roadside sink, large one in the western sink. The Plan: Dig. Evened the lumps on the steep, slope between forefield and entrance. Continued the dig, cleared spoil previously left, lowering the floor a further 0.3m creating a trench 0.7m wide and 0.8m long. Four bottles removed, no other detritus encountered. Digging down into a grey clay layer, with small angular stones, looks glacial. Relocating spoil, a slow process: lean forward, load spade, lean back, make spoil on spade into a ball, cast up onto existing pile; repeat. BB and Jeremy Bird arrived; JB creator of the recent survey. Lengthy interrogation of JB ensued, focused on the position and dimensions of the entrance passage. JB and JM’s memories agree on the location of the present dig as correct, and the short distance into the large chamber. Exited to wander the field; shown the site of another collapse, long since filled, between the cave and the western sink, adjacent the wall. Previous visit noted the western sink with a large pool of water in the depression, sinking in the south side. Today the pool had gone, a small hole has opened on the NE side, into which the stream sank. JB described, on climbing the mud slope, daylight entered via a small hole; he believes this sink to be that location. The large size of the sink could produce a sizable slope of mud below. Ideally this project wants to be hit mob handed for a single session.

Pat Cronin

 

17th August     Considine’s Cave, (South End)

CC, PMcG, PC
Cloud 100%: Drizzle: Wind W, 3/4: Visibility 10Nm: Ground damp: Small stream. The Plan: Dig. CC winching: PMCG digging: PC unloading and barrowing. PMcG descended to begin clearing out the loosely compacted debris within “Paul’s Pot, in between sending up seven previously filled kibbles to free them for use in “Paul’s Pot”. PC descended to assist; together excavating this superbly formed pot, in something approaching a frenzy. Lowered the pot floor about 1.5m, (≈ -25.5m); through fist sized stones, large boulders and a course, silty, gritty deposit. As debris was removed a portion of fill was left in the Southeast rift to prevent debris falling into the new area; this area of deposition was/is cobbles cemented with a very fine clay silt. Removing some of this improved the view into the new bit; the suspected passage heading south was wishful thinking, it ends as a water worn radius of the joint. In the bottom of the new area is a 0.3m diameter hole; within, at a depth of around 0.5m, clean washed boulders are clearly visible. The 0.9m diameter of “Paul’s Pot” remains constant until around -25m when the pot’s west wall beings to gently curve toward the opening of the southeast rift. CC’s suggestion of using a Mk 4 kibble worked well within the confines of the pot, when lifted, decanted into normal kibbles; (3 Mk4’s = 1 kibble). Filling the kibbles with just gravels, and heaping up stones and boulders also worked well adding to the swiftness of excavation. The uneven base of the shaft is now strewn with thirteen packed kibbles and a pile of stone. Likely one session should clear it. The southeast rift wants another session to clear down the 1.5m to the “hole”; scrutiny of which shows the south wall of the SE rift curving slightly NW, and a 0.6m diameter boulder peeking from underneath its silt cover, forming one edge of the “hole”. There does appear to be a gap beneath the “hole”. Generator ½ full: no fuel on site. A very fine session: photos needed, rough sketch below.
Hours 7 (2935), Southend (1885), Kibbles 7 (5826), Nets 0 (903), Total lifts 6737

Pat Cronin
 

Pauls Pot.JPG

 

 

19th August     Considine’s Cave, (South End)

CC, PMcG, PC
Cloud 100%: Drizzle: Wind W, F2: Visibility 15Nm: Ground damp: Small stream. The Plan: remove accumulated spoil created the 17th Aug. CC winching: PMcG digging: PC unloading and barrowing. PMcG descended, landing among the debris field following Tuesdays session. Hauling began; as the original barrow bowl had finally worn out, the new one, donated by JM, was deployed. Making weighty barrow trundling a far easier task, as the previous barrow’s deformed/broken bowl acted as an excellent break upon the wheel; sheer bliss. The tempo of the session was constant, the winchman operating continuously as kibbles were raised, emptied and swiftly lowered. PMcG’s appointment meant wrapping up by 13:30, even so, thirty kibbles and six large nets were raised by a shagged-out team; virtually all spoil taken from “Paul’s Pot” is now on surface; some four kibbles worth of stones await. Between sending up the spoil, PMcG began to level off the main shaft floor surface, in preparation for the next session digging out “Paul’s Pot”. A superbly productive session. Generator almost ½ full: no fuel on site: PMcG paid for some twelve litres.
Hours 8 (2943), Southend (1893), Kibbles 30 (5856), Nets 6 (909), Total lifts 6773

Pat Cronin
 

August 27th 21 1.JPG

A fifty kilo pebble arrives at surface in the net

August 27th 21 2.JPG

Paul McGrath ready to descend for a two hour dig

23rd August     Considine’s Cave, (South End)

CC, PC
Cloud 20%: Haze: Wind W, F1: Visibility 30Nm: Ground damp: Small stream. The Plan: maintenance. PC descended to install an offset in the hauling system, to accommodate a vertical haul up the 0.9m diameter “Paul’s Pot”. Secured a 16mm ring bolt and 50mm pulley at about -23m, in the bulge above the “Gap” on the west wall. Installed a second belay, and 50mm pulley, in the south wall, at around -24m, allowing lifts to be landed through the gap in the sharp bedrock feature surrounding the top of “Paul’s Pot”; also added a length of tape to this pulley. When under load, the lift will align with the centre of the lower portion of the southeast rift. A further belay is required to fine tune the lift centrally up “Paul’s Pot”. Ascending the ladder, a painful affair, the injured arm, sustained last session, making troublesome climbing. Resting, at -5m, observed the main shaft’s dimensions appear to increase markedly around -14m: the rift at surface starting at some 0.8m wide; at -24m achieving some three metres square. Generator ¼ full: CC fuel.
Hours 3 (2946), Southend (1896), Kibbles 0 (5856), Nets 0 (909), Total lifts 6773

Pat Cronin

 

 

26th August     Carsington Pasture Cave, New Lid

DG & MSC

Aim- Replace Existing Entrance lid (Phase One).

Following our last visit on 26th June 2021, David had fabricated a new lid which in all tense and purposes was miles ahead in appearance, more secure and practical in ease of access. We arranged to meet at the gate to the Pasture around noon. Fortunately, the Farmer agreed for us to drive over to the cave using the well used track. David had the benefit of having a 4 wheel drive which we used ,as opposed to my Nissan Note!

CP 1.JPG

David Gough trying out his off-roading skills on CarsingtonPasture

CP 2.JPG

David with his new lid . Carsington Water in the background

We quickly stripped away the original lid which was now in a poor state ,albeit it had survived in excess of 20 years !
3 of the 4 poles that formed a rectangular frame across the top of the shaft were reclaimable. Armed with a suitable length of aluminium pole , it was installed using the existing foundation, making the frame ,when clamped together, solid  and unmovable. Next the lid was put onto the frame , the underside which had a surround skirt of metal was marked-up, drilled and clamped to the scaffold frame.

CP 3.JPG

Bottom of photo shows the badly rusted bar which had to be replaced

CP 4.JPG

New Frame and lid installed

CP 5.JPG

All that’s left to do is point up and stabilise the fixed ladder

At this point I would just like to say that the majority of the technical work was conducted by David and yours truly was the general dogsbody. The fabrication of the lid, made at home by David, allowed entry and exit for bats. It also allowed access to the underside of the lid ,for a person to undo the lock and withdraw the locking mechanism. A mechanism which wouldn’t look out of place in the London Mint!

CP 8.JPG

What was left of the wire rope that once time secured the top of the ladder in place

The lid was installed in 2 1/2 hours, leaving only the pointing up of the surrounding area of the lid to be done and stabilising the entrance ladder. The original lid was left in the entrance chamber, which could be used for retaining earthwork at the start of the climb down into Yorick chamber. We intend to return in September and complete the work, and ideally, before the Autumnal weather starts to creep in.


There was nothing left to do but head off to the ‘Rising Sun’ at Middleton by Wirksworth, for a pint and toast a job well done.

  Click Here for Phase Two

Malcolm Scothon

26th August     Considine’s Cave, (South End)

CC, PMcG, PC
Cloud 40%: Haze: Wind NW, F2: Visibility 25Nm: Ground drying: Small stream. The Plan: Dig. A recuperating PMcG continued to level the main shaft floor, this assists the preparation to clear out “Paul’s Pot”, where accumulated kibble may be stacked for winching up the main shaft. Both “The Ribs” and “The Gap” were gradually exposed “The Gap” continues downward, its parallel faces showing no immediate signs of narrowing. Some 1.5m below the present Hauling way floor, is a faint suggestion the eastern “Rib” may be undercutting back to the east. His recent chest infection did not impede PMcG producing thirty kibbles, ≈1.2 tonnes, containing gravel, boulders and glutinous silts. The short ladder needs redeployment, this time to access the main shaft floor from Hauling way. Generator near enough empty: fuel on site. Winch requires some minor maintenance. Outstanding; replace pallet, trim back foliage, barrowing planks need wire mesh, to reduce wheel spin. Hauling operations for “Paul’s Pot” ideally needs the telephone reinstated. Survey needs doing, three datums in place.
Hours 8 (2954), Southend (1904), Kibbles 30 (5886), Nets 0 (909), Total lifts 6803

Pat Cronin

30th August     Considine’s Cave, (South End)

CC, PMcG, PC
Cloud 100%: Wind NW, F2: Visibility 35Nm: Ground drying: Small stream. The Plan: Dig. The two-metre rigid ladder was lowered to ease access between the Hauling Way at ≈ -23m, and the shaft floor at ≈ -24.5m. While CC made minor adjustments to the winch drive belt, PMcG descended and continued leveling the floor, exposing the section of the West wall protruding into the shaft. This bulge like, gently sloping area has resumed near vertical; its surface, razor-sharp fluting. Between it and the West wall a 0.15m wide channel, sloping at 50˚ descends to south. The shaft floor is now all but level, ready for working on “Paul’s Pot”. Three nets, and Thirty kibbles, were raised; boulders and gravels. Once again, heavy clay continues, present around the entrance to the South rift. The impression from the exposed bedrock features is that the primary development will follow the fault down, despite the development of "Paul's Pot". The hauling system to accommodate the offset down “Paul’s Pot” is prepared. Generator topped full: CC supplied one can of fuel, PMcG two. One and a half cans on site. Briars becoming a pain.
Hours 8 (2962), Southend (1912), Kibbles 30 (5916), Nets 3 (912), Total lifts 6836

Pat Cronin

2nd September     Considine’s Cave, (South End)

CC, PC
Cloud 100%: Wind NW, F2: Visibility 25Nm: Ground drying: Small stream. The Plan: Survey and maintenance. PC installed a second belay for the offset hauling operations up “Paul’s Pot”. Fitted a turnbuckle to each bolt, creating a “Y” hang, adjusted each to align the haul so, when under load, a slim Mk 4 kibble may be hauled along the narrow rift. Happy with the alignment, the system; thirteen-metre length of rope, pulleys and krabs was recovered and sent to surface for storage. Meanwhile, CC inspected and cleaned out the water supply cistern, checked/topped the generator oil and trimmed encroaching foliage. Began the survey; all three datums, each previously installed at -22.5m, were double checked as being level using a laser level; fixed two datums with a yellow survey disc; the shaft’s central datum, (within “The Gap”), and todays, above “Paul’s Pot”. Extended the survey through the tight passage to fix it to the North End Shaft; delight. Relocated the lifeline return guideline to a 12mm pin fixed to “The Tongue”. As judging from the visible depth of the South Rift, the shaft floor may drop a further three metres, so it’s future position fixed in the entrance to the south rift would be in the way.  With the development of “Paul’s Pot and “The Tongue” the shaft’s floor area has significantly reduced. So, the volume of spoil requiring excavation decreases: depth may be achieved, swiftly.  Having said that, the south and east walls continue to undercut, outwards. An example of depth swiftly gained is the bolt, recently fitted for the offset hauling system, is now some three metres above the shaft floor, but can be reached from the “The Ribs”. Accurate depths to features were established using a tape deployed from the surface; Ladder/Hauling Way, -22.35m. The main shaft floor, -23.7m. The bottom of “Paul’s Pot”, -24.5m; the hole, visible in the southeast rift, is an estimated -26.25m. “Paul’s Pot” is ready to dig; if left for later on, staging may have to be erected around the bedrock feature to facilitate excavation, best to dig it out now. Generator ¾ full: 1.5 cans of fuel on site. A good session.
Hours 5 (2967), Southend (1917), Kibbles 0 (5916), Nets 0 (912), Total lifts 6836

Pat Cronin

2nd Sept 21.JPG

Considine's Cave at -22.5 metres © P.C.N.

4th September     Chrissie Boyle’s Cave


CC, PMcG, MK, PC
Cloud 60%: Wind NW, F2: Visibility 15Nm: Ground drying: Small stream. The Plan: Dig.
PC resumed digging, following the occasional item of washed in debris; clearing out clay, some rocks and bottles: glass and plastic. Progressed slowly along the confined, narrow passage. Removing a clump of plastic bottles, exposed a glimpse of darkness; delight, the shape of the rock echoing previous explorers’ description. Further clearance showed the darkness to be but a small oval development, seemingly in the topmost part of the rift. More excavation confirmed this; over the fifty years since the original 1970s exploration a significant amount of refuse has been dumped here cascading into the lower part of the depression, and the approach to the passage. Clays and silt from the adjacent, surface subsidence have indeed migrated into the cave, settling and obscuring entirely the entrance passage. Further to the comment that these three sites were filled to stop children entering, and that the dry-stone wall, adjacent the main entrance was rebuilt owing to collapse from ground subsidence by the present farmer suggest the latter may have happened some twenty years ago, thus refuse dumping could have continued until the 2000s. The way in is therefore some five feet below the level of the present passage, which follows the sloping roof. Today’s effort provides enough information, where to pursue this dig requires a small railway to remove spoil straight to the surface, from the confines of the entrance passage; there is no other realistic, efficiently practical option. It would also require a minimum of three to operate the dig. As other projects press, will call BB to request him consider use of one of his diggers to clear the larger, western sink. Wing co. NG did a fly past.

Pat Cronin

​​

4th Sept 21.JPG

Paul McGrath, Michael Keating & Pat Cronin at Boyle's Cave Dig

9th September     Considine’s Cave, (South End)  

CC, PC
18:00. Cloud 100%, base 500ft: Wind W, F2: Visibility 35Nm: Ground drying: Small stream. The Plan: Dig and Photography. CC descended to photograph the emerging bedrock features, specifically to record “Paul’s Pot”, and its development: though hampered good images were obtained, though the place needs JW, or CM; their skills and photographic kit. In preparation for digging “Paul’s Pot”, possibly Monday, sent all full kibbles to surface. Upon return, washed accumulating silt/mud from each. Eleven kibbles were raised, of boulders and course gravel/silt. Generator full: fuel on site. Winch requires minor adjustment. Ideally the lightweight pallet needs replacing. Replacement for lower illumination ready to install. All but dark by 20:30.
Hours 3 (2970), Southend (1920), Kibbles 11 (5927), Nets 0 (912), Total lifts 6847

Pat Cronin

9th Oct 21.JPG

'Pauls Pot' looking East

9th Oct 21 2.JPG

'Pauls Pot' looking South

11th September     Considine’s Cave, (South End) 

CC

09:30. A report by the junior winch operator on the previous digging session indicated that the tone of the winch had changed, emitting a sort of throbbing noise. This can sometimes be caused by one of the two 'V' belts becoming slack but on inspection the tensions were fine. The third pulley in the drive sequence unfortunately is not secured by a keyway,  only by a single  grub screw engaging onto a flat on the drive shaft. When under construction I realised that this may be a week spot in the drive so a hole was drilled through the pulley and drive shaft and a hardened pin inserted, held in place by two small locking collars on its ends. This pin is an interference fit and it was found that the grub screw was loose causing a small amount of radial movement in the pulley; it is believed that this may have been the problem (hopefully). The 40:1 gearbox grease level was checked but was found to only require a minimal top-up.

Hours 1 (2971), Southend (1921), Kibbles 11 (5927), Nets 0 (912), Total lifts 6847

Cheg Chester

13th September     Considine’s Cave, (South End)

CC, PMcG, PC
Cloud 100%, base 900ft: Rain: Wind W, F2: Visibility 25Nm: Ground damp: Small stream. The Plan: Dig. CC winching: PMcG and PC digging. PC descended and set up the offset hauling system, drilling a 14mm hole to relocate the signalling system adjacent the edge of “Paul’s Pot” for ease of operations, also reinstated the phone system. PMcG began to dig; depth gained swiftly down through the loose, wet gravels: boulders, 0.2m diameter, were regularly removed. Changing places with PC the floor was lowered to around -25.5m. Spoil removal expedited with a Mk 4 kibble; 0.2m in diameter; initially these were manhandled up the pot, as within reach of the digger above; it also avoided ridiculously short lifts for the winchman; the stretch in the rope during operations was very noticeable, and a pain in the circumstances. The remaining compacted plug of clay and boulders in the rift was removed allowing PMcG to wriggle into the southeast rift. North from the “Plug Hole”, (≈ -26.5m), a disappointingly thin, (0.1m), yet lofty rift, aligned ≈N/S, descends vertically for at least two metres, (≈-28.5m), it was not possible to see if it increases in size as it descends. As the floor in “Paul’s Pot”, and that through the rift was deepened, no clear indication of an increase in rift width was evident.

With all fourteen kibbles filled with gravels and clays, and a pile of boulders stacked ready to lift, PC climbed down the three-metre pot, to view the floor area at -25.5m; with further lowering, visible width achievable appears to be 0.45m. Directed the water jet around the walls of the rift to wash off mud; observed that both rift walls undercut by some 50mm, on either side: most encouraging. Looking up the southeast rift, it starts as a hairline crack, some five metres above the present level, -25.5m; here appears the first point where an “undercut” is obvious. When compared to the severe digging conditions in the Northern Shaft, though awkward too, it should be straightforward enough, providing hauling is unimpeded through the nurgly rift. It was also noted, what appears to be Chert nodules project around the rift walls: though on the same horizon they appear isolated, there seems to be no continuous bed. During hauling, a large kibble caught under a projection highlighting the subtle angle of the pot walls; to avoid future issues another 14mm hole was drilled to relocate the belay, in line with the Hauling Way pulley, yet further into the rift opening, to achieve a more vertical lift, away from the rough/nurgly walls. Overall, considering the number of factors in play, the hauling operations, signal system and preparation of spoil for removal to surface worked well; a good session. Generator over ½ full: fuel on site.
Hours 7 (2978), Southend (1928), Kibbles 0 (5927), Nets 0 (912), Total lifts 6847

Pat Cronin

16th September     Considine’s Cave, (South End)

CC, PC
Cloud 100%: Wind SW, F2: Visibility 20Nm: Ground damp: Medium stream. The Plan: remove spoil stacked on the 13th Sept. PC winching, unloading, barrowing: CC below. A steady pace raised nineteen kibbles; cobbles, clays and gravels, all from “Paul’s Pot”. A collection of boulders, left suspended in the south rift, as the main shaft floor has lowered, were released by CC using his “Cheating Sticks”. Minus these, the rift is even more impressive. To facilitate digging in the confined rift forming below “Paul’s Pot”, intend reintroduce the small diameter kibbles; of 6” pipe and half the length of the Mk 4’s, these take up less room and can be lifted easily by hand when full. Generator ½ full: fuel on site.
Hours 5 (2983), Southend (1933), Kibbles 19 (5946), Nets 0 (912), Total lifts 6866
Pat Cronin


 

23rd September     Considine’s Cave, (South End)

CC, MR, PC
Cloud 100%: Wind W, F2: Visibility 25Nm: Ground damp: Large stream. Dark by 20:15. The Plan: dig “Paul’s Pot”. CC surface support, MR and PC digging. First opportunity for MR to dig in the South End. MR dug out the loose, clean washed gravel in the base of the pot, moving forward into the slightly widening rift. Made easier, by deploying the smaller, shorter 6” diameter kibbles, raised by hand hauling. The subtle radius in the lower part of “Paul’s Pot” shallowed swiftly, becoming a solid floor some 0.5m wide; previously, noted left/right undercuts quickly became the waterworn radii of this rounded trench. A metre from the edge of the Pot, a step down in the solid floor was noticed, here silts and small cobbles were located. To achieve a little more room MR cleared several boulders stuck to the far wall; throughout the southeast rift, the floor was lowered to -26m. PC squeezed in to assess. Disappointingly, this small, vertical rift, which extends downward, does not develop otherwise from this cavity. Lower in this crevice the stream which sinks  in the North End, must enter, being on the same vertical jointing: likely, in high flow, it should be heard. At 50mm wide, this crevice is immature.

It would be worth clearing the final area of spoil to see how the southeast rift from “Paul’s Pot” forms with the cavity and crevice. Likely requiring two kibbles of spoil, maybe a half an hour effort would do this. The large boulder, awaiting raising, was prepared for taking a snapper, a 6mm pilot drilled to a depth of 225mm. However the 11mm drill would not comply. Without reading specs, part of the drill tip appeared/felt missing. Curious, as it was successfully used on the boulder in Halliday’s Hole, (needs surveying), earlier in the year: new drill bit required. Five kibbles of gravel stacked, adjacent, another pile of three kibbles worth of cobbles awaits.
Hours 7 (2990), Southend (1940), Kibbles 0 (5946), Nets 0 (912), Total lifts 6866
Pat Cronin


 

 

25th September     Carsington Pasture Cave. A New Lid

DG, MSC, KE, SG & AW

The aim was to finish off fitting the lid ,then concrete and cement - up. (Phase Two)

We were all set to meet-up at the usual place for 10:30. However, Sam had other ideas and used his management prerogative, to arrive an hour later. Early morning, it was light showers and some concern as to whether the work would be hindered, was soon dismissed, as the day brightened up. Once we were all there, we quickly made tracks over to the cave, using Dave and Kelvin’s 4 x 4 motors. Both motors were fully laden, especially when they included Me, Sam and Andy. Sam, felt he could get use to this lifestyle of being transported over moorland to cave systems, and recommended adopting this mode for future trips.
 

The new lid was removed from the frame and the only remaining steel pole, from the four, was replaced with an alloy one. This ensured there would be no further corrosion problems in the frame itself. The top of the rigid ladder was then braced to the frame, using both sling and a clamp system, devised by Dave.

Lid 5.JPG

The original scribed date of the old lid reinstated into the skirt of the new lid

Lid 7.JPG

The rigid iron ladder securely fixed in place with clamps and a backup sling

Whilst Malc and Dave stayed on the surface clamping the frame and installing a wooden skirt, to stop the  aggregate and cement mix falling down the shaft, Sam,Andy and Kelvin worked on the top of the climb down into Yorick. Much stabilising was required, replacing the rotten wood with the old alloy surface lid.


Whilst Kelvin finished the remedial work off, Sam and Andy descended into Yorick and further into what was originally St.Christopher’s passage, leading to the Old man’s Passage. On returning, they confirmed, the supporting timbers were well rotted and the taping off Malc had done previously, to restrict progress, was warranted. Due to limited time, no work was carried out in Flasid, however, we all agreed to return and continue digging in that area, in the not too distant future.
 

On return to the surface , with the exception of Sam, who had his supervisors hat on again, we all finished off mixing the cement for the skirt to the lid.


Once the lid was completed, the clean-up operation followed. The amount of mud you collect when you explore this small system is unbelievable.
 

Lid 6.JPG
Lid 8.JPG

Andy on the left, Kevin in the middle and Malc at right, preparing the last mix

The job nearly completed with the safety chain securing the lid against falling down the shaft

WhatsApp Image 2021-09-25 at 14.56.43.jpg

Maic Scothon has developed over the years his own interpretation of a camel toe

WhatsApp Image 2021-09-25 at 14.58.32 1.jpg

Health and safety. The man in the shaft is positioned to catch the man on the scaffold should he fall

Lid 3.JPG

Sam and Andy scrubbing each other down. They appeared to be enjoying themselves too much

Lid 4.JPG

The finished job. Well done to all involved

Before we vacated the sight, a herd of cows, who were originally at one end of the pasture, had now made their way over to explore the paintwork and wing mirrors of the 2 motors, with their rasped tongues. After some difficulty in encouraging them to move, we made a sharp exit. Not before Sam had misplaced his mobile phone and had to return to the area where the cows had returned, gingerly moving amongst them, searching the ground, in vain. Only for it to be found by Kelvin in his motor. It was noted that Kelvin did take his time to mention this, whilst he watched on being amused by Sam and his escapades with the cattle.


We ended the day at The Nelson pub in Middleton - by - Wirksworth.
Malcolm Scothon

 

25th September     Death's Head Hole

The Three Counties Traverse

ASM & NBA

For a full description of this trip    Click Here

27th September     Considine’s Cave, (South End)

CC, PMcG, PC
Cloud 100%: Heavy rain showers: Wind WSW, F4: Visibility <20Nm: Ground wet: large stream. The Plan: Dig. CC winching: PMcG digging: PC unloading and barrowing. Having all but concluded digging the Southeast rift PMcG returned to excavate the floor of the main shaft; starting between “Paul’s Pot” and the entry to the South Rift. Among the heavy silt deposits, a number of large boulders and angular cobbles were removed, exposing an extension of the circular vertical rib forming the opening to “Paul’s Pot”; this ridge of similar, sharp protrusions snakes into the shaft floor: where to? Good question. PC trialled a travel line from the tripod to the bolt above “Paul’s Pot”, which the kibbles will track along, following in an arc, delivering them to the digger. Though the present point of fixing below is not in the right place, as a quick test of its feasibility, it works; minor adjustments to follow. Unexpected bonuses of the travel line are; kibbles land next to the digger, so swiftly exchanged for full: seemingly a small amount of time, its a vastly significant reduction of the overall hauling period; CC noticed, particularly the absence of need to stop the kibble just above “The Gap”, for the digger to catch it, to guide it over the obstacle; only then allowing CC to resuming lowering it to the shaft floor. A second bonus is any swing of the kibble is cancelled, as at the start of hauling a full kibble, the travel line is always under tension: delight! Even with a late-ish start thirty kibbles and two nets were raised. Several large boulders await the 2:1 system. Nine kibbles full. Generator almost ¼ full: fuel on site. A cracking session.
Hours 7 (2997), Southend (1947), Kibbles 30 (5946), Nets 2 (912), Total lifts 6898

Pat Cronin

 

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