April to June
3rd April Considine's (South End)
Cloud 90%: Wind NE, F2: Visibility 20Nm: Ground drying: Tiny stream: The Plan: maintenance. CC had stripped the winch motor apart and found it sound in wind and limb. Carefully scraping the paint from the old capacitor PC exposed the date, Feb/69, and eventually found its rating; 288Mf. CC assemble three capacitors with a combined value of 153Mf; getting the unit to start. The motor has a very heavy, internal flywheel; CC believes this is what requires the large capacitor value. The present assembly needs replacing with appropriate contained, multiples, or a single capacitor. In the meantime, it will work, and allow digging to recommence. PC removed the three capacitors to fit into a container, for the moment. Delighted to resume digging tomorrow.
Hours 5 (3188), Southend (2138) Kibbles 0 (6382), Nets 0 (926), Total lifts 7316
4th April Considine's (South End)
CC, PMcG, PC
Cloud 100%, base 500ft: Wind W, F4, gusting F6: Visibility 0.2Nm: Ground damp: The Plan: Dig. CC winching: PMcG digging: PC unloading and barrowing. Fitted the tubular capacitor container; fired up the winch. Minor squeaks and a rattle or two emerged from the winch, but soon settled. This is a temporary fix whilst awaiting other capacitors. PMcG followed the shaft, at the base of “The Gap”, down to the northeast. The going was tough enough in the gradual, reducing passage size. Visible, over the gravel and cobble fill, appears to be the far wall of the rift, visible in “Paul’s Pot”. At -27.2m, a solid floor was exposed, still sloping northeast: the passage assuming a crawl/bedding, similar to that found in the North End at -26.5m. The plan is for two to dig this confined, awkward area, to make life easier, fill and stack kibbles, then raise on the next session. Dependent on what is found, work will resume at the far south end floor, presently at around -25m. Thirty kibbles were raised, of which nine were cobbles. The remainder silty gravels. Generator ½ full: no fuel one site.
Hours 10 (3198), Southend (2148) Kibbles 30 (6412), Nets 0 (926), Total lifts 7346
7th April Poulanionain (Doolin Show Cave)
NG, JB, CC, PC
Cloud 60%: Wind NW, F4: Ground damp: Had been asked by John Brown to solve the issue of lifting a kibble of clay up the entrance shaft. Suggested a counterbalance system. NG prepared the steel channel; securing same to the metal work in the shaft top required three pairs of hands. Set up the hauling rope and installed 25mm pulleys. Lateral metal work that is the frame of the steps, to the base of the shaft, ≈ -25m, occasionally protrudes, so 2 x ringbolts are required to distance the centre of lift ropes further out into the shaft, away from the horizontal RSJ’s; NG will source these in Galway. Photos; Cheg Chester.
Nuts removed ready to attach the steel channel
Pulley's and hauling rope in position (Knot is temporary)
PC, NG & JB Lifting the steel channel into place
Looking up the 80ft entrance shaft. (125 steps)
11th April Considine’s (South End)
Pete and Isha Mulholland, Jim and Roisin Dempster
Cloud 100%, base 1100ft. Wind NW, F3/4: Ground damp: No stream: The Plan: tourist visit. Most to -26m. PM, a geologist, provided insight to cave’s development. Requested could he supply a brief synopsis of his observations. Later conversation realized Roisin was Sheila Lunny’s, sister, a good pal, sister to Donal Lunny, (Planxty); it’s a small world.
Geological observations of the Dig
A large solution feature cutting down through carboniferous limestone that has been choked with glacial morraine. The rock can be described as an argillaceous wackestone with both bracciopod fossils (you're oyster) and cherty nodules. Silicious sponge remains. Of note were black discs the core's of which had calcite and pyrite mineralisation. The technical term for these nodules is geodes These have formed around a void in the sponge rich mud. The silica from the sponge has formed a chalcedony wall around a core that infilled through slow fluid flow with calcite crystals and pyrite crystals. It's the iron sulphide in the pyrite that makes the geode heavy. When the limestone was initially laid down it would have been in a backreef tropical lagoon. Not so far from a coastline that provided a source of clay fraction that makes this limestone grey in colour. Imagine modern great barrier reef inside the outer barriers.
The size of the fissure suggests it should connect with a stream passage at depth.
The fissure predates the glacial fill, so it is likely the cave first formed during one of the 5 interglacial periods the region has gone through. Photos: Cheg Chester.
A typical Clare 'Bullion Stone' or Geode (£1 coin for size)
Geode broken open to show the mineralised core
14th April Poulanionain
NG, JB, PC
Cloud 100%: Wind W, F2/3: Ground damp: The Plan: further develop the counter balance system. Fitted the bolts, which extended the centre point of the pulley suspension into the shaft by some 80mm. Kibbles were connected then hauled to assess the clearance from the metalwork. The additional distance of 80mm is not enough. Scrutinized belay structure locating the centre of the pulleys. Checked adjacent area; as further adjustment from here would require an individual hanging out into the -25m shaft; unacceptable for future maintenance. Brainstorming, relocated the entire suspension location to mount on top an adjacent box section RSJ, while doing so redesigned the pulley support structure, as a “T” frame. With the long section of the “T” resting along the RSJ, secured by brackets. Facilitating adjustment of the centre line of the pulleys into the shaft around a maximum of some 300mm, and able to be installed or serviced from within the “Safe” area. Later message from NG; the new support is prepared; will likely fit next Thursday. Celebrations are planned for the 70th anniversary of Poulanionain’s discovery, likely attended by Brian Varley (90); held this coming Spring Bank Holiday.
18th April Considine’s (South End)
CC, PMcG, PC
Cloud 60%. Wind NW, F2: Chill: Ground wet: Visibility 30Nm: Tiny stream: The Plan: Dig. CC surface: PMcG and PC digging. Before the Team arrived, PC got the water system working again, blowing out sediment. Also noting a pallet requires replacement. The floor, between “The Gap” and the vertical wall of “Paul’s Pot”, descends, becoming a sloping passage, gradually assuming the horizontal, to head off southeast; (“The Scoop”). Doing so, inhibits hauling kibbles from this point of excavation, which creeps beneath the eastern wall of the shaft. PMcG previously noted further digging would become increasingly difficult. Suggesting two work this development; one dig, one drag and stack kibbles for later hauling. A floor of bedrock was swiftly proven, extending into the minor rift; along this tiny area, reducing the height of this passage to around 300mm: a voice connection was made through here, with PMcG positioned at “The Crevice” beyond “Paul’s Pot”. A little disappointed, attention returned to the far South End; two more 8mm holes for ring bolts were drilled to relocate the Travel Line belay at a lower level. Looking south, down into the South Rift, a depth of some three metres is visible. Two further 14mm holes were drilled to accept the Signal Box. PC ascended, leaving PMcG to lower the floor from -25m; the spoil consisting of silty gravel and cobbles. Normal service swiftly resumed; CC winching: PMcG digging: PC unloading and barrowing. The session finished with raising twenty kibbles. PMcG created a working face, following the east wall down to about -26m. Generator close to empty: no fuel on site.
Hours 9 (3207), Southend (2157) Kibbles 20 (6432), Nets 0 (926), Total lifts 7366
21st April Poulanionain
G, JB, PC, CC
Cloud 80%: Wind NE, F3: Visibility 30Nm: Ground damp. The Plan: install the pulley support bracket. Further to the previous brainstorming, NG fabricated the channel steel support. As planned, it fitted snugly between roof lintels and metal frame, without having to reach out into the shaft to secure it. The irregularity of the RSJs, within the framework, can cause a swinging kibble to catch, so the final task should be to install a travel line for each counter balanced kibble follow away from the side of the metal framework. Secured to ringbolts drilled in the concrete rings at the base of the shaft, suspended, independently from the pulley support bracket. Prior to departure visited the original entrance, now choked by rockfall from the cliff. Photos: Cheg Chester.
NG & PC Lifting the new bracket into position
The new bracket clamped in position
Pulley's and hauling rope in position
Looking Down The Shaft from the hauling position
29th April Considine's (South End)
Maintenance. One of the pallets on the west side of the platform had succumbed to rot. It being on the route a fully laden barrow takes, it was essential it be changed before resuming digging. The old pallet was cut up in situ to enable easy removal and the new one slid into place whilst using a hydraulic jack to slightly raise the structure above. A few 100mm screw to hold it in place completed the job. Generator topped up to just over half, Fuel CC, no fuel on site! Oil needs checking! Photos: Cheg Chester.
Hours 2 (3209), Southend (2159) Kibbles 20 (6432), Nets 0 (926), Total lifts 7366
Awaiting your next log please. "Remember, if it's not written down it never happened"