October to December
3rd October Considine’s Cave, (South End)
Cloud 80%: Heavy showers: Wind W, F6/7: Visibility <25Nm: Ground wet: large stream. The Plan: develop the travel line. The 6mm dive line, initially used to test out the idea of a travel line, was replaced with an 8mm plaited rope. After eyeing up potential locations, installed two 6mm ring bolts in the Eastern wall corner of the South rift. Adjustments to the length of the travel line length were made as CC repeatedly winched and lowered a full kibble up and down, placing the travel line under expected stresses and stretch. Adjusted line so it conveys the kibble a metre above “The Ribs”, sufficiently missing the RSJ, yet will land adjacent the digger. Finished drilling the Boulder in preparation for a snapper; the previous drilling issue found as simply being it’s a very hard rock; perhaps sandstone? PMcG’s observations are accurate; a branch of the bedrock feature extends into the shaft, perhaps to ultimately form a barrier, similar to “The Ribs”. Undercutting continues beneath the East and West walls, which form the South rift; suggesting the shaft will become inclined, with stepped features. If so, the kibble need be guided the last bit of distance by way of a shute, perhaps, to avoid lateral pressure from the Hauling rope during lifting. At surface, the travel line requires a jammer to facilitate deployment and adjustment. CC suggests using a counterweight to remove “slack”, constantly, from the travel line during operations, avoiding it twisting around the Hauling line. The lower area of the shaft remains heavy clay. The large surface stream made PC descend “Paul’s Pot” to listen for water in the cleft; a distant chuckling could be heard; this is likely the stream from the North End. Generator ½ full: no fuel on site. Between 08:30 and 11:00, 28mm fell. Heavy rain showers continued until.15:30.
Hours 3 (3007), Southend (1957), Kibbles 30 (6006), Nets 0 (914), Total lifts 6928
4th October Considine’s Cave, (South End)
Cheg Chester, Paul McGrath
13:00. Cloud 95%: Heavy rain: Wind W, F3/4: Visibility <20Nm: Ground underwater: Large stream. The Plan: Dig. PC arrived early to set up shop and install the surface jammer on the travel line. CC winching: PMcG digging: PC unloading and barrowing. PMcG climbed into the shaft, full of spray and cascading water overflowing the pipework attempting convey it from the southern stream inlet. PMcG began digging north, exposing the bedrock feature, producing thirty kibbles of cobbles and heavy clays. The Rib that began to snake out into the shaft, fortunately ends within a foot or so. Throughout PC fettled the linkage between the hauling hook and the travel line fitting a 50mm pulley to reduce wear; twisting remains minimal. Meanwhile, far below in the misty shaft PMcG used the lower jammer to make adjustments to precisely land the kibble near him. Overall, the travel line system appears a success, saving time and effort. By placed his head into the southern rift PMcG could hear the low rumble of a stream from below: nice. Generator ½ full: no fuel on site. Toward the end of the week, more heavy rain expected.
Hours 7 (3007), Southend (1957), Kibbles 30 (6006), Nets 0 (914), Total lifts 6928
Between 08:30 and 11:00, 28mm fell. Heavy rain showers continued until.15:30
4th October Poll an Eidhneáin; AKA Doolin Cave, AKA Brown’s cave
Martyn Farr, Rachael Smith & PC
17:00. PC arranged with John Brown for an after-hours visit to facilitate MF and RS take photos. A pleasant two and a half hours.
6th October Crag Cave, Co. Kerry
Martyn Farr, Rachael Smith & PC
Cloud 100%: Rain: Wind W, F2: Departed Doolin 08:30, arrived 10:49. Steady trip via the Limerick tunnel. Met Donal Ganey, owner; Caroline assistant and others. Had minor issues orientating selves, due to cluttered survey. Eventually located grotto, the primary project. Exited to rain. Swift change, presented with dinner and gifts by Margaret Ganey and her son Donal and wife Lisa. Over long chat, invited to return and stop with them; Donal asked PC return, to look at archaeological Ogham feature and recently uncovered hole; a potential souterrain. Invited to cave there anytime. Departed 19:00, Doolin 21:20.
9th October Annual Reunion & AGM
11th October Considine’s Cave, (South End)
12:30. Cloud 95%: Wind W, F1/2: Mild: Visibility <15Nm: Ground wet: Large stream. The Plan: Dig. A brief discussion favoured removing the accumulated boulders, which would soon hamper digging. Set up the 2:1 system, after initial phaffing about. Utilizing the travel line, pleasantly surprized the 2:1 system did not twist during lifting: another unforeseen bonus. Five lifts were made, the largest boulder ≈100kgs, being a 50kg lift. Though the winch made no sign of effort, 100kg should be considered the maximum; at 2:1 being some twelve kg more than a full kibble. Returning the net to the bottom, found only four metres spare of the seventy-metre rope; after being doubled for the 2:1 and taken round the capstan. Another three metres of depth and a longer rope is needed. Prior to finishing PMcG descended “Paul’s Pot” to dig some of the remaining gravels and cobbles. It will be interesting to see how the rift morphs into the open narrow cleft as the confined space still offers some developing features. No water flowing to either washing cistern; cleaned filter and reservoir of sediment; both now working well. PMcG cleared out cobbles and stones from the washing cistern. Generator just ½ full: no fuel on site.
Hours 4 (3011), Southend (1951), Kibbles 0 (6006), Nets 5 (919), Total lifts 6933
16th October P8
ASM & SG
We met after lunch as AS had been having a late breakfast with his brother and SJG was with his oldest daughter's new car. Perryfoot car park at 1.45pm and we were all geared up. Chocolate treat was packed and an extra rope in case we went up or down somewhere higher or lower than the first pitch. No other cavers in sight, unusual for a Saturday. Nice steady scramble down the entrance series and only abseiled half of the first pitch and then traversed round and over the newly (This year) rigged traverse over a number of drops to a new area (yo me and Sam) where a scramble, large passage and steady descent takes you to the main stream way, mud chamber, old man's rift and the main sump 1. Plenty of pretties and we often forget how many there are. A break for snacks and then a bit of exploring.
Reception down here is crap
One place we visited was Stalagmite chamber (See above photos) and the passage back to the base on of the pitches. Easy exit and Sam tested out his new cows tail combo on returning to the traverse. Lovely afternoon and Aaron was back in Carlisle by 8pm.
16th October Aille River Cave, Co. Mayo
RS, JW, PMcG, MF, Una Donoghue & PC
Depression at ITM 506883 x 781070. Cloud 95%: Light rain predicted early afternoon: Ground, damp: The Plan: photography for forthcoming book. Caution required; this cave takes much of the significant, Partry Mountain catchment; response to even light rain is unknown. Departed Doolin, 0:7:50; picked up PMcG, Kilfenora 08:20, JW, Ennis 08:55. Met the others by the lake, 10:55, (ITM 506989 x 780828); located the end of the boreen from the road. Quick catchup, then swiftly to the cave. Descending the short scramble, below the depression entrance, enters the noisy river passage. Memory hazy of previous water levels, and route followed along flowing river passages. At the first junction MF and RS began the photo process; shouting above the noise level, needed by the Director. Inflated dingy, JW ferried all and kit to the next sandy shore. Portered dingy etc. to next section. Along this elevated section, passages take on a superb, rugged character; river noise increasing. Reached the point where the passage becomes a lofty, metre wide rift, taking the entire river; noise thunderous. From an elevated position MF set up, directing others to perform gymnastic contortions, to achieve the perfect lighting. JW and RS straddled the river, adopting the shape of a Wishbone. Moving the dingy along this narrow channel was a stressful affair, trying avoid the razor-sharp projections. Above the pool, where MF previously sustained injured, just before the main river passage; stopped for more photography. Immersions chilled the party, UD was unaffected, up to her neck stabilizing the dingy and holding the light to help achieve The Shot. MF happy, exited. During packing, part of the pool was illuminated, showing “dry land”, this was not the case previously; the water levels at that time estimated a foot higher. JW wants to dive here, PC suggests May, invited PMcG and UD to support. Here the Limestone is black, with calcite strings, less than a millimetre wide; a wonderful place. Reversed journey. Arrived Linnane’s, Kilfenora, 19:15 mentioned to PMcG had not been inside for years; he suggested a quick one; enjoyed a very fine pint of Guinness; should start using this place.
Aille River Cave, Co. Mayo. Photo: Martyn Farr
17th October Doolin River Cave
Martyn Farr, Rachel Smith
Cloud 90%: Wind SW, F2/3: Ground wet. The Plan: photography. Rigged the pot with ladder and lifeline; began the photography. Water level up 0.3m from normal; airspace some 0.7m. Upstream to the Aille cascade, much artistry took place. More photo taking returning along the bedding to Fisherstreet, recording the foam-covered roof; so recently flooded. The available 3mm wetsuit all but destroyed PC, severely chilling the kidneys.
18th October Considine’s Cave, (South End)
CC, PMcG, MF, RS, with BBA and MBA visiting
Visibility<20Nm: Dark 19:00: Cloud 100%: Wind S, 3/4: Ground Wet: Large stream: The Plan: Dig. CC winching: PMcG digging: PC unloading: MF – RS barrowing. PMcG worked hard, but steadily north, levelling the floor up to “The Ribs”. Depth at end of session 24.5m; this is estimated, as the top of the two-metre wooden ladder is now all but level with the -22.5m floor of the ladderway. Digging for PMcG was tougher tonight; the session called at twenty-five kibbles and a net. Nine kibbles await. Surprise from the visitors, as it appears the shaft is some ten metres deeper since BB and MB’s previous visit, 18th April 2019; MF and RS impressed too. A gap created by boulders protruding from the net, caused the travel line to become trapped inbetween, twisting around the hauling line, tightening like a prussik knot: noticed by slack suddenly appearing in the surface part of the travel line. The reduction of the floor area is allowing depth to be achieved swiftly; so, the travel line bolt fitted at -23m needs relocating; another shaft plan survey is also required. Generator ¼ full: no fuel on site. Photos taken by various.
Hours 9 (3020), Southend (1970) Kibbles 0 (6031), Nets 1 (920), Total lifts 6959
20th October Pouldubh
MF, RS, PC
Cloud 80%: Wind NW, F2/3: Ground sodden: The Plan: photography. MF delighted at the location, particularly South; a large waterfall tumbling into this sink. Steady trip with stops to set up and take photographs; emphasizing the beautiful, underrated streamway and its superb features. Much time spent at the cascade; results are seemingly excellent. All but five hours underground; out to a sunlit sky, nice.
21st October Shallee Lead/Silver Mine, Co. Tipperary.
MF, RS, PC
Cloud 10%: Wind NW, F2/3: Visibility infinite: Co. Further to suggesting include a mine, like Silvermines, in the forthcoming book, visited the site. Issues following tailing ponds drying out, allowing lead dust to be wind blown across the area, eventually dealt with by a ten million euro spend; treating and cleaning the area and enclosing the workings. Developing the mine as a tourist attraction have not, as yet, come to pass. The place is a wonderful example of mid-20th century mining. The industrial excavations of the 20th century appear to have removed traces of smaller 19th century workings. A number of mine buildings survive. Found the Cathedral, uphill from the Engine House, spent a lot of time photographing the place. Found an inclined passage, holed into from the main cavern, followed it to a superb maze of tramways and vast caverns, with small diameter shafts to surface. An incline, with rails in situ and an Ore bin were two superb features encountered. More must lurk in the dark awaiting enjoyment. NB and CC have visited the place; but do not know if they accessed these workings; if not must do, at the earliest. One hundred and fifty metres east of Shallee Cross, ITM 580521 x 671538, is a small pull in area. Here is the base of the track that leads uphill, the Engine house on the left. Straight on up the hill the track meets one coming from the left, going right, some fifty metres along an entire section of the green mesh fencing is missing. Entering here a narrow path through dense furze leads to the open cast; the workings are down to the right. On the right is the flooded workings, to the left the small hole, one metre diameter enters the shallow incline, fifty metres up a right turn enters a network of caverns and passages. Time constraints meant did not venture further afield; must return. Departed 18:30, Doolin 20:00. A dam fine trip.
Pillar and Stall on a massive scale, Shallee. Photo: Pat Cronin
22nd October Considine’s Cave, (South End)
MF, RS, PC
13:30: Cloud 100%, base 1000ft: Wind NW, F2: Visibility <25Nm: Ground awash: Large stream: The Plan: Photography. Before returning to Wales, MF and RS requested a visit, recording the results of the Team’s combined efforts; expressing their appreciation of the volume of spoil removed, natural features and simple technology enabling two to dig. The resultant images illuminate the shaft. Sent images on to Cheg for the Website. Generator a little under ¼ full: no fuel on site.
Hours 5 (3025), Southend (1975) Kibbles 0 (6031), Nets 0 (920), Total lifts 6959
Looking North from the dig floor showing the access ladder, The platform and the RSJ. Photo: Martyn Farr
The fully excavated 'Paul's Pot'. Photo: Martyn Farr
Looking South, taken from the platform at -14.5 metres showing the current dig floor area. Photo: Martyn Farr
'Paul's Pot' at the left of the dig floor. Photo: Martyn Farr
25th October Considine’s Cave, (South End)
CC, LS, PC
13:00. Cloud 80%: Wind NW, F3/4: Visibility <30Nm: Ground sodden; Medium stream: The Plan: Dig. CC winching: PC unloading: LS digging. Sent down the Hilti, to drill new, lower position for the Travel line bolt; almost two metres above the floor, now about a metre; readjusted length of Travel line. Though exposed to a very steep learning curve, LS did well: safe working operations alone are a lot to take in. Steady progress achieved sixteen kibbles, LS working along the east wall from "Paul's Pot" toward "The Ribs". First kibble up had projecting tails from the lifting rope knot; these managed to catch and wrap the Travel Line around the Hauling line; time lost attending to the issues. Previously overlooked monitoring deposition of spoil during the last session; the large pile of clays and cobbles was leveled as best as possible, but the route needs an improved barrow way route over the spoil to access the far end. PMcG fuel: generator ½ full: no fuel on site.
Hours 7 (3032), Southend (1982) Kibbles 16 (6047), Nets 0 (920), Total lifts 6975
1st November Considine’s Cave, (South End)
CC, PMcG, PC
13:00 Cloud 95%: Wind W, F2: Visibility 30Nm: Rain showers: Ground sodden: Medium stream: The Plan: Dig. PMcG digging, CC winching: PC unloading and barrowing. PMcG began to lower the floor in front the South Rift, producing clays, gravels, cobbles and boulders. The clay in this area of deposition appears to be lessening, becoming a form of gravel layer. On surface the clay is of a rich red/brown. A nice feature has appeared, on the outer perimeter wall of “Paul’s Pot”; some nice vertical fluting. During this session the 7000th load was raised: delighted. Travel line continues to work well, minor adjusts ensuring avoidance of colliding with “The Ribs”. Spoil deposition returned to the area behind the winch shed, to form a slope on which barrow boards can be placed, to access the rear of the area. As the dense foliage lessens it is apparent that a larger dumping area may be attainable, by some trimming of same. Generator all but ½ full: no fuel in site. Numerous maintenance tasks will soon need attention.
Hours 7 (3039), Southend (1989) Kibbles 30 (6077), Nets 0 (920), Total lifts 7005
6th November Aille River Cave – Pollnagacht
JW & PC
Overcast: Rain: Wind, F5/6: ground sodden. The plan: identify the owner of Pollalahan, with a view to pushing the place. Departed Doolin 08:50, arrived JW’s place 09:30. Called to the farmhouse. Spoke to the resident, obviously suspicious of PC’s enquiry for help, blatantly reluctant to pass on name or address of the landowner of Pollalahan. Stating the owner was away; won’t back for some time. Neither would he offer his name. Asked, PC wrote name and phone number; gave up as a lost cause. Drove to the vicinity of Aille River Cave; called to the home farm enquiring as to ownership of Pollalahan. Whilst PC spoke to Colm Mannion, (son), JW encountered the father. Both amenable, confirming their ownership of Aille River Cave, explaining the owner of Pollalahan was Andrew McTeague, met earlier by PC. CM spoke of cavers “popping up” from holes in the ground around the farm; taken with a pinch of salt…. Later studying the survey found an entrance, Pollnagacht, once offered access to the far reaches of Aille River Cave. So, truth in CM’s comment; likely these were Craven Pothole boys, exploring and surveying in 1968. Surface overlay places Pollnagacht almost within the farmyard. Back at JW’s produced a plan. Requiring four/five/six persons. Rig travel lines on the lakes, bolt the climb, explore the main river passage to locate the sump and to check the end of the main drain as its end does not seem to fit with the development. Two surveys exist…….
8th November Considine’s Cave, (South End)
CC & PC
Cloud base 1000ft: Wind WSW, F4: Visibility <10Nm: Ground sodden: Medium stream: The Plan: maintenance. Replaced the lightweight pallet, within the working platform, with a heavier type; the gap beneath, offering access to the shaft closed by a plastic pallet. Cleaned the increasingly slippery pallet surfaces. Generator engine oil checked, at half full, topped and run. Discussed a Friday session to prepare for consolidating the loose debris within “The Gap” by inserting rebar near -24.5m, in the main shaft, on which to build the ginging. Also, see if there’s sufficient depth to conduct another plan survey and to assess the installation of the next fixed ladder section. CC fuel: no fuel on site.
Hours 3 (3042), Southend (1992) Kibbles 0 (6077), Nets 0 (920), Total lifts 7005
9th November Mimitimbi River Caves and La Gruta, Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro, Panama
James Cobbett, Mike McMahon and Alex the Ni, set out to visit the Mimitimbe River Caves, which river flows from a Boulder Rucker at the end of a blind valley in the middle of Isla Colon, North to the sea a couple of miles away. The caves have big passages, and are short enuf that light from the entrances makes it unnecessary to use a cap lamp or torch.
We took a taxi from the main town, and drove up the one and only road past the hamlet of La Gruta, looking for an obvious entrance and track, leading to a substantial house after a couple of hundred yards, as per what we found in 2005. Though we should have found this within 500 yds of La Gruta, the vegetation had flourished right up to the road, with no significant tracks, or big houses, in the circa two miles beyond La Gruta. Though it would be possible to hire a water taxi to the beach and then walk up the Mimitimbi River valley, through the caves, we decided to visit La Gruta instead. Note also that the Rio Mimitimbe provides access to a number of other caves, including Cayman Cave, where I caught leptospirosis which put me in hospital for eight nites in 2007 (?).
La Gruta is Panama’s one and only show cave - bring your own lights and put one dollar in the box, but rarely visited. We explored the obvious cave only, which was enuf for some of us. For details see the 2005 (?) expedition report.
12th November Considine’s Cave, (South End)
13:00. Cloud base 500ft: Wind WNW, F4: Visibility 3Nm. Light showers: Ground awash: Large stream: The Plan: PMcG digging: PC winching, unloading and barrowing. PMcG continued to lower the floor, exposing the predicted, even feared narrowing of the shaft into rift formed along the fault. This predicted narrowing means depth swiftly achieved; the two-metre wooden ladder, from -22.5m just reaches the floor and is unstable: care required. Of the thirty kibbles most were of clays and gravels. This was deposited in the western area; boulders too were placed on the western end of the boulder pile. A tough enough session with developments not unexpected. Generator a little over ½ full: no fuel on site. Release of signal box overlooked to allow raising above potential flood levels.
Hours 6 (3048), Southend (1998) Kibbles 30 (6107), Nets 0 (920), Total lifts 7035
13th November Souterrain Cloo9-022007: Noughaval.
Cloud base 500ft: Visibility ¼Nm: Wind W, F2: Ground wet: The Plan: continue survey. Within the main chamber, set up the Bosch laser level to provide a vertical line from the point where roof lintels met the eastern drystone wall. Measurements were then taken from the joint of each boulder in the dry stonework, to the vertical laser line; process was conducted from floor to roof, repeated on the western wall: reproducing style, form and angle of the corbelling. In the context of a souterrain, corbelling allows builders create as wide a floor area as practicable, gradually narrowing the width as the wall heightens, this reduces the span, (length), of lintel required. From the collapsed, approach passage the entry to the main chamber is via a doorway; at some time, likely in recent times, the door was entirely closed by insertion of dry-stone walling. This has been breached, in part; the lower half remains in situ. Created a 1:20 scaled illustration of the interior view.
15th November Considine’s Cave, (South End)
Cloud 90%: Wind W, F2: Visibility >30Nm: Ground sodden: Medium stream. The Plan: Maintenance. Descended to assess situation and install bolts; PMcG reported development of Paul’s Pot and “The Tongue” in the west and east “corners” of the shaft, have formed a rift like channel some 0.6m wide, along the north-south joint. Among tasks, installed new location for signal box, adjacent southern rift. Three bolts from which to secure and adjust travel line. Installed two survey datums at -24m; present floor level is -24.7m. Tested new travel line location with full kibble. It misses the west wall in the forming rift and “The Ribs”. Lifeline return line also relocated to a lower point for ease of reach. The two-metre ladder is becoming awkward to use, being lower than the fixed ladder floor area, and the other side of “The Gap”. Reviewing matters, plan to fit eight rebar steps, drilled into the walls of “The Gap”, affording safer access past this rugged area; lifeline still required. Inspecting the walls, though the shaft has narrowed, the southern area continues to slope toward the south it seems it will become the roof of a sloping passage. The east wall adjacent “The Gap” continues down vertically. Hope springs eternal. Builder’s ladder repaired by CC. Some of the foliage in the spoil area behind the winch shed was cleared, but more required. Generator ½ full: no fuel on site.
Hours 4(3052), Southend (2002) Kibbles 0 (6107), Nets 0 (920), Total lifts 7035
24th November Princeton, Dartmoor.
NB & PC
Irish Ferries cancelled the booked ferry; (22nd Nov). Arrived Rosslare 06:00 to be informed the Stenaline ferry cancelled without notice; as still stuck in Fishguard. The only option of meeting with Nigel Burns, to travel north to Dublin, ferry to Holyhead. Extensive ill signed road diversions across North Wales and down the M5; a real ball ache. Eighteen hours later arrived NB’s place 00:35; chatted until 03:25, left Bristol 10:30. Arrived Beardown Farm, two miles outside Princetown, set up camp; NB showed the adjacent Devonport Leat, an 18th century drinking water source for Plymouth Docklands, captured from the moorland; superb engineering. Thirsty, headed to the Prince of Wales for their micro-brewery “Jail Ale”, excellent. Last tasty experience 1999?
25th November Eylesbarrow Tin Mine
NB & PC
Cloudless: Cold: Wind N, F4/6: Visibility >20Nm. Awoke surrounded by an inch of water; the tent works well; particularly the waterproof groundsheet. Made for the mine. NB relating his findings of this significant tin venture; many surface features remain spread over a wide area. Dartmoor enchanting, with these mine features, quite superb. Spent a cracking day as NB explained the mine’s infrastructure layout, whilst identifying other features to continue his study. possible sciatica giving hell; so painful, no bar. Northerly weather appears deteriorating.
26th November Fogou and Potato Caves.
NB & PC
Cloud 100%: Wind N, F8: Hail: Inch of snow: Temperature <0˚: Rain. Storm Arwen arrived 02:00. New tent and sleeping bag performed well; perhaps even better if tent had been erected correctly: supplemented sleeping bag’s comfort limit, in subzero conditions with a cosy blanket. Delighted the tent’s shape and lightweight construction survived the storm’s ferocity. From the description provided by NB, wanted to examine this potential Fogou’s, (souterrain’s), construction and materials. Fogous broadly considered Iron Age, believed contemporary with Scottish Earth Houses. Among his research NB discovered this intact, preserved Fogou within the county of Devon; a somewhat surprising fact, based on fogous more widely, historically reported as a unique Cornish feature. A nice walk up to the Fogou, SX56720 x 69770; observed many birds, Woodpecker etc. following the Devonport Leat. Both features adjacent the ruined 14th century farm of Leather Tor. The Fogou below the track, in front the farm in the bottom of the valley to the east. Further long the track, at the next subtle bend, heading Northeast, is a linear ten metre tunnel. Potato Cave (1) SX56726 x 69813; averaging two metres high and wide. Excavated through a course, granular deposit, (perhaps glacial?), the interior found dry, and dusty. After conducting another basic survey, carried on up the shallow valley to Potato Cave (2) SX57095 x 70333, adjacent the Tin Works. Similar passage shape and length, also excavated in similar ground to Potato Cave (1). Its substantial portal built with a level of security in mind. The 14th century farm and tin works offer two options of storage; secured food surplus at the settlement; valuable metal ingots from the tin works. NB kindly supplied the photographs.
6" map showing locations of the Fogou and Potato Caves
Fogou, Leather Tor Farm. Photo: Nigel Burns
Potato Cave No. 2. Photo: Nigel Burns
3rd December Considine’s Cave, (South End)
CC & PC
Cloud 100%: Wind SE, F2: Visibility 20Nm: Ground sodden: Small stream: The Plan: maintenance. To prepare for the next digging session PC descended to install rebar steps in “The Gap”, replacing the wooden ladder. Also, inserted two lengths of rebar on which CC will build ginging containing the unstable material within. Deployed hose to clear the gap between floor surface and walls, obtaining a view of what’s happening to the roof. A change of the roof angle is clearly visible; changing to about 45˚ about a half metre below the summit of the debris; about equal to the present floor level 0f -24.5 (ish). Other areas of the walls are seen to descend almost vertically below the floor surface. Ideally digging Monday afternoon should concentrate on clearing the area against the south rift. Leaving the floor at the base of “The Gap” of which Cheg can work. Generator content unknown.
Hours 2 (3054), Southend (2004) Kibbles 0 (6107), Nets 0 (920), Total lifts 7035
10th December Considine’s Cave, (South End)
CC, PMcG, PC
Cloud 100%: Wind SW, F2: Showers: Visibility 20Nm: Ground awash: Small stream. The Plan: Dig. Found Storm Barra had left the canopy ripped and tattered; requires repair. PMcG has some metal roofing sheets. CC winching, PMcG digging: PC unloading and barrowing. Impending insertion of ginging into “The Gap” required the adjacent floor to remain intact until ginging is competed. Therefore, digging focused on removing the clay and boulder area at the entrance to the South Rift; at end of session -25m was reached. The debris being removed is fairly dry. But, unfortunately sticks to the inside of the kibbles; so emptying such kibbles was tough. Requested PMcG squirt a small amount of water into kibbles as a release agent; very successful. Thirty kibbles and one net were raised. All spoil deposited in the western area. Surprized the winch shed and canopy escaped the storm so lightly. Generator ¼ full: no fuel on site.
Hours 6 (3060), Southend (2010) Kibbles 30 (6137), Nets 1 (921), Total lifts 7066
13th December Considine’s Cave, (South End)
Cheg Chester, Paul McGrath
Cloud 60%, clearing: Wind SSW, F2: Visibility >25Nm: Ground awash: Small stream: The Plan: Dig. CC winching: PMcG digging; PC unloading and barrowing. PMcG resumed digging in the south end, progressing, a small amount, into the subtly widening Southern Rift, expanding the face up to “The Tongue” and the thin limestone wall, which defines “Paul’s Pot”. The nature of the fill continues to alter; changing back to boulders and cobbles, the clay/silt appearing a little wetter. The wet hauling rope lost friction on the winch capstan, requiring extra effort to maintain tension. Depositing spoil was maintained in the western area. The spoil area behind the winch shed needs a new barrow way constructed through it, the foliage there needs trimming to increase the fill capacity. The session produced thirty kibbles and two nets. Generator running on fumes: no fuel on site. The water cisterns were empty, no water supply from the reservoir in the field; it had become choked with stream detritus. Tasks: check plumbing throughout. Trim foliage. Replace hauling hook. Service hauling hook ironmongery. Conduct plan survey at or about -24m. Ginging required in "The Gap". Witnessed a most beautiful sunset; mist forming in the valleys.
Hours 8 (3068), Southend (2018) Kibbles 30 (6167), Nets 2 (923), Total lifts 7098
27th December Considine’s Cave, (South End)
Cloud base 450ft: Wind N, F2: Visibility 100m: Ground awash: Large stream. The Plan: produce plan survey at -24m. Deployed a static line; used a Petzl ASAP lifelining device. Admired PMcG’s progress at the entrance to the South Rift; its floor about -25m. Set up a tape between the -24m datums: the northern datum requiring precise location, being a little south, and lower of the Hauling way Datum. Used laser level to accurately establish the lower datum’s offset; (0.43m horizontal). Choose a notch in the wall of “Paul’s Pot”; triangulating its position off the base line tape. From this notch took measurements of pot diameter to enable its representation too, at -24m. Delighted with the results; took a few photos with an Instamanic. Pausing on the “Staging” for a view of the shaft; noticed a dry area adjacent “Paul’s Pot”, ascending to -15m is a wedge shape, sloping, bone-dry surface, on both east and western walls. It appears that a decent draught was emerging from the narrow crevice in the back of “Paul’s Pot”. Fuel PC: generator ½ full: no fuel on site. During the previous session hauling was timed; from start of hauling to return of kibble to the dig face, takes three minutes and eight seconds. Canopy needs attention.
Hours 3 (3071), Southend (2021) Kibbles 0 (6167), Nets 0 (923), Total lifts 7098
28th December Pouldubh
PC & Emmet McNamara
Cloud 90%, base 800ft: Wind W, F2: Visibility<10Nm: Ground awash. The Plan: tourist trip. First for EMcN after thirty-five years. Impressive waterfall at South entrance; owing to EMcN’s time constraint, rather than go to the end showed the numerous aspects of cave’s development: deciding exit Pouldubh Middle entrance; showed the decorated area to an appreciative visitor. The large stream producing an impressive cascade; EMcN requested another trip.
31st December Considine’s Cave, (South End)
CC, LS, PMcG, PC
Cloud 95%: Wind SW, F4: Visibility <15Nm: Ground awash: medium stream. The Plan: Dig. CC winching: PMcG digging: LS & PC unloading and barrowing. Investigation of the lack of water supply to the cisterns suggested peat particles settled in the pipe. While LS stripped apart assemblage, digging began. PMcG continued removing spoil from the point entry to the South Rift, penetrating some 1.5m; exposing what appears to be a curvilinear edge, with a vertical face; more exposure required. This is formed before the South Rift narrows significantly; further suggesting resumption of a vertical route. The stiff, clay deposit, sheltered within the South Rift, required effort to remove: a tough session all round, yet PMcG produced thirty kibbles. The ginging of “The Gap” by CC needs be done next week, during which a new barrow run could be prepared for the spoil area behind the winch shed. Generator a little under ½ full: no fuel on site. The small spade has been damaged by PMcG’s productivity; needs welding. The cisterns water supply needs urgent attention. At -25m, Considine’s South End is eight metres short of Poul Eilbh recorded as, -33m, this needs checking.
Hours 12 (3083), Southend (2033) Kibbles 30 (6197), Nets 0 (923), Total lifts 7128
Rainfall for the Doolin area as measured by myself for the year 2021 = 89.8 inches or 228.1cm.