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8th April     Considine's Cave, The Final Session

PMcG

This final visit marked the completion of the shaft capping, which included securing a safety chain to the entrance lid and contributing the last hour's work to an overall total of 3,512 hours.

Cheg Chester

Considines Cave Lid, Clare
Considines Cave Lid, Clare

22nd April     Poulbruíon

 

PC

14:00. Cloud 0%: Wind N, F2: Rain: Visibility 30Nm: Rain Gauge 0mm: Ground damp. The Plan: reassess and convey material. The third day of a sunny spell; caving in France was fine these few weeks, enjoyed temps of 26°C. Parked at Faunarooska Cross, encountered MQ. Long chat, ( an hour), catching up. Walked in with bolts etc. and two stemples. Secured the ladder, with a longer cord. Assessed exposed boulders, plan to step in the next stemple to avoid disturbing as much of the deposit as possible. Looked at the southern shoring intermediate stemple; cut too fine, needs a little cut off to access the nut. To Poulfantaiseach to check if memory correct, that a plastic pallet was left there. Transported pallet and two hauling ropes over to Poulbruíon; two skips remain at Poulbruíon. Central southern stemple needs securing, once cut to permit access to securing nut. Assessed the boulders, suggest “capping” projecting boulders to keep in line behind the proposed line of northern shoring. Next visit needs Popeye’s mini-grinder, Hilti, drill bits and remaining length of pole from the last order. More will need ordering to continue the southern shoring downwards. Walking back repaired two collapsed sections of wall.

Hours 2 (34).

Pat Cronin

27th April     Poulbruíon

 

CC, PC

10:00. Cloud 40%: Wind N, F2: Chill: Visibility 20Nm: Rain Gauge 1mm: Ground drying. The Plan: Dig. Walked in from the Cross, laden with 14lb sledge, Hilti, batteries, Popeye’s grinder, Gads and assorted tools. Set about the big boulder with the sledge, its thin beds permitting it fracture reasonably easily. Handed debris up to CC who began to build a retaining wall behind the southern shoring. Continued to remove further boulders of various sizes from the floor, noting many had fallen/landed ‘edge’ on the vertical; many upright flags. Further exposed the northern boulder face, confirming it being large boulders jammed together; again, many in the vertical plane. One large flag, supports another large boulder, pressing it against the west wall. Discussion decided to insert a stemple directly beneath the important Flag. A protruding boulder, against the east wall was stitch drilled then cleaved neatly using a Gad, (hardened steel wedge)  in a 16mm hole. West and east walls seen to continue vertically down; the east wall, just below the lower stemple steps inwards, (east),  about three inches, (75mm).  The layer of thick, sticky mud needs removing with a trowel to clean the area, and expose the many obscured boulders. A significant amount of rock and mud spoil removed, adding to either spoil area. With plenty of battery power remaining drilled 16mm holes for the two stemples to retain the northern exposure of boulders, likewise drilled the next stemple on the south side. CC took photos. PC has one stemple remaining from the two scaffold poles recently purchased. All the mesh has been used up, more needed. The planned Monday 13:00 session will need more poles, intend to purchase them Monday morning.                                   Hours 6 (40).

Pat Cronin

Poulbruíon Cave Dig Entrance, Clare

The entrance to Poulbru'ion looking north-west

29th April     Poulbruíon

 

CC, PMcG, PC

09:30. To Guerin’s for a galvanized scaffold pole; 1 x six metre length = 50 euro, (paid CC). Spoke to Noel the Pole, who granted permission to scrounge more 16mm bolts, from his place.

12:20. PMcG and roof rack to PC’s to pick up timber for working platform.

13:00. Cloud 95%, base 600ft: Wind W, F6/7: Chill: Threatening rain. Visibility 15Nm: Rain Gauge 12mm: Ground wet. The Plan: Dig. Walked in carrying  two long lengths of Toe ‘Popeye’ Boycott’s timber, three stemples with studs nuts, washers and assorted tools. The floor was cleared of mud exposing the rocks of various shapes and sizes. The two long lengths of timber placed across the shaft to receive the platform surface. The two stemples on the north side, and one stemple on the south were installed; two lengths of 12mm x 330mm rebar placed beneath the large flag, to offer more support from inevitable settling as the shaft deepens. The gap in the boulders, west side, could benefit from a lattice of rebar, on which to backfill the area. CC stacked rock spoil behind the southern shoring, while PMcG and PC took turns in the bottom. Successive boulders encountered and destroyed with the 14lb sledge. A lot of mud picked up, ‘balled’, and thrown out onto the north side; CC suggests some form of revetment, north and south sides, to contain said spoil. A small rectangular hole has appeared in the east wall of the shaft, seemingly on a fault/joint. A large upright boulder protrudes from the floor, a big one, the sledge may not be effective… The  fallen flags and boulders appear to slope toward the centre of the present shaft: imagination??? Lower stemple to the south side need be 1.34m.

A tripod need be fitted; depth gained today, best part of three feet; passing spoil out is becoming an issue for the vertically challenged. Floor remains boulders with differing clays.

Hours 9 (49).

Pat Cronin

Poulbruíon Cave Dig, Clare. fitting support stemples

Fitting support stemples to the north face of Poulbru'ion Dig

4th May     Cullaun V.

 

PMcG, PC

12:00. Cloud 100%: Wind W, F1/2: Cool: Visibility 25Nm: Rain Gauge 0mm: Ground wet. The Plan: Cave. PMcG picked up PC. In through entrance C5, on the Ballyvaghan Road. Steady trip along the very wet bedding, swiftly arriving at the dam and entrance, C5b, (fence entrance). Emerging noted the maturing forestry close up to the fence boundary. A potential issue in the event of a rescue. Continued down to the five metre pitch; spit fitted well over ten years back, still usable. PMcG descended announcing the ladder over two metres short; oops. Memory of this fine cave were crap; somewhat different to reality. PC decided avoid the low, wet beddings, having no wetsuit and feeling the cold. PMcG ventured in a short distance experiencing the foreboding atmosphere of flooding hereabouts. Needing to dig through the shale banks to progress. Fresh foam covering the roof relates to recent weather; rain, rain and more rain. Exiting, reaching the lowest ladder rung no real  issue, standing on PMcG’s shoulders; the dodgy hand a minor problem hanging on one handed. Steady trip out, PC now very cold opted  exit C5b and find a route through the forestry to the road, suggesting PMcG  return to entrance C5. Travelling from the C5b entrance, walk some ten/fifteen metres northeast and enter the trees, some twenty metres inside  a shallow drain is encountered heading northwest, distant daylight is visible. The route is not without sharp branches at eye level, as PC can testify. Emerging adjacent a pylon, cross the open area of thick grasses, continue northwest, a reasonably flat, mossy avenue extends to the far edge of this corridor of forestry. This route could swiftly be made useable for incident personnel. Waiting for PMcG at the original entrance, C5, he appeared from the northwest? Having managed to follow the passage to C5e. Swift change; into the Irish Arms for hot soup and a warm up. Nice trip.

Pat Cronin

5th May     Poulbruíon

 

PC

12:20 Cloud 20%: Wind NW, F2: Cool: Visibility 30Nm: Rain Gauge 0mm: Ground damp. The Plan: carry in tripod material. Departing Connemara Monday, so last minute visit to push on with the dig. Walked in with two eight foot lengths of scaffold pole recovered from Considine’s, and the Hilti. Climbed down and began drilling a 16mm hole through the huge upright slab, protruding like a tombstone from the floor. The idea being, once free, lift it using a rope through the hole. In the rush picked up the wrong battery, managed drill 2/3rd through; twat. On the surface began to explore the east side for a secure limestone on which to set the tripod legs; exposed several. The tripod will need some juggling, so extra hands required. Estimate two x two metre and two 1.2m odd, and a one metre pole would permit a tripod to be erected and secured; have already purchased scaffold clips. Alterations to the height of the tripod can be made as required. Installing the securing pins on which to set the tripod legs is what is most important at this stage. The depth of the hole is now an issue handling spoil. Back Wednesday so will carry more kit in likely next Friday.

Hours 2 (51)

Pat Cronin

Latest Log

10th May     Poulbruíon

 

PC

10:15. Cloud 10%: Wind E, F4: Temp 21°C: Visibility 20Nm: Rain Gauge 0mm: Ground drying. The Plan: carry in more tripod material. Hottest day this year, thus far. Conveyed scaffold tubing; two x two metre lengths, two x one metre lengths, one metre and a half length and two 4x2’s, a metre long. Deposited all on the east side of the dig. 16mm holes need drilling for 16mm pins, which will locate the scaffold hauling frame legs.  Next material - tool list: Hilti, 10mm drill bit, 16mm drill bit, four swivel clips, two 90s, two joining clips and the spanner. Need look for something to suspended the pulley from.

Hours 3 (54).

Pat Cronin

Awaiting your next log please. "Remember, if it's not written down it never happened"

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