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1st January     Poulfantaiseach



13:30. Cloud 100%; base 400ft: Wind E/SE, F3/4: Rain & Hail: Visibility 20m: Ground water logged: Large stream: Rain Gauge 5mm: The Plan: Attend unstable area in “Waiting Room”. Much of the 270m terrace area was running with water. Several sources flowing off the slope into the dig, in addition to the main stream. Drenched before reaching the wriggle. The area below the cascade into the “Waiting Room”, had suffered erosion; as previously feared. Began filling sandbags with eroded debris. Backpacked flat pieces of shale, into as many nooks as possible. The boulder had tipped over, having been undermined. Area cleared and boulder set up against the face. Three sandbags packed into the right, (looking out), of the boulder, and another to the left. Clearing the debris, also took the opportunity to dig out the floor approach to the crawl and back under the bedding, exposing the radius of the passage leading to the crawl. Keeping busy kept the cold at bay, until surfacing. Hail, rain and the northeasterly froze the digger. Every cattle hoof hole and hollow held water. Pluais Gabhar had a large stream; audible from the moorland. No leaves surviving on any bush. Returning to the Hilux took the opportunity to check the two calculated locations where the entrances to A1e and Pollapooka II were estimated to be. Found a little primrose. Delighted to see at the very rear area of the now nude bush, beneath a small overhang of limestone, the top of a vertical rift; the sound of falling water emerging from it. The other suspected area too had the noise of falling water. Need return with a GPSR and kit. Changing, encountered a walking club; scolded for caving without others to help in case of injury. Politely pointed out to the vocal female, that standing there, with all but tackle out, was the closest to danger experienced during the entire trip.

Pat Cronin

5th January     Considine’s Cave



10:00. Cloud 20%: Wind W, F1/2: Sunny: Visibility >30Nm: Ground sodden: Large stream: Rain Gauge 3mm: The Plan: Finish shaft grill, begin removing platform. Lifted a central pallet to access the shaft grill cover; PC climbed down to install a final piece of scaffold tube to close off and support the reinforcing mesh next to the northern stream pipe, sliding a vertical five foot pole over previously fitted 16mm galvanized bolt, secured to the western lateral scaffold pole, to support the span.  The area of the small hollow, down which flood events occasionally flow, was reduced to the minimum of gap, to prevent hunting  terriers plummeting to -20 odd metres. The remainder of the original telegraph pole shoring sections were manhandled down to PC, placing them on top of the mesh and scaffold grill, covering to where the entrance lid will be installed: lid size and design discussed. Rotten pallets of the working platform, were removed and cleared away. CC and PMcG then stripped the tripod infrastructure and weather canopy.  Several pieces of elderly scaffolding, gifted by JN, were also stripped leaving several important pieces in place whilst “The Receiver” and both upper and lower shaft collars, are cautiously dismantled. The weather, chill, was kind; achieving a lot of progress. Discussion to lower the headgear were inconclusive: quite the task. Best left until the shaft is covered. CC took photos. Canopy packed into bags for recycling. Delivery of outstanding scaffold tubing and another sheet of 200mm mesh, may not happen until next week. May nip down to Guerin’s again and cut enough tubing to create the grill over the next 1.2m section.  Likely, the next session at Considines may be next Friday. Cracking session.

Hours  10 (3465), Southend (2413), Kibbles 0 (6754), Nets 0 (929), Total lifts 7691

Pat Cronin


Looking North with the first of the poles in place


The cover directly over the North Shaft


Remains of the weather canopy over the south shaft


The tripod ready for disassembly 

8th January                          Lost Grotty, Dave, Gill.

12th January     Souterrain Project, CL003-004002 Newquay, CL003-006002 Ballyvelaghhan


11:00. Cloud 80%: Wind E, F1/2: Visibility 25Nm: Ground dry: Rain Gauge 0mm: The Plan: Seek permission. Met at Batty’s Kerin’s; last spoken to  pre-Covid. Explained project’s revised research design, requiring revisiting Souterrain CL002-068002 Rine. Immediately granted access to wherever required. Enquiring ownership of adjacent sites, informed Batty owned CL003-004002, Lissavorneen Cashel and Ronan Nolan owned CL003-006002 in Parkmore cashel. For the sites of Mortyclogh, speak with Declan Holland. Much more talk, tea and cáca. Tried to call on Carl Fahy, no cars present, not at home. Delighted having two potential sites on Batty’s land, reducing effort required establishing ownerships of other souterrains.

Pat Cronin

13th January     Souterrain; CL016-052003, Roughan

Róisín Nic Cnáimhín, Michael Killeen, PC

11:00. Cloud 90%: Wind NW, F1/2: Ground drying: Rain Gauge 0mm: The Plan: Meet MK. Arranged appointment MK, who had previously introduced himself at the Clooncoose cave talk at the X-PO.  At the talk MK announced he had a souterrain; requested permission to visit and survey it, with a view to possibly including it in the revised study parameters. Very pleasant hour discussing the thirty metre diameter stone built cashel and its environs. The dry stone rampart was once three metres thick, and likely, at least three metres high. The Cashel situated one hundred twenty metres southwest of the cattle crush, (ITM525250 x 692460), and one hundred metres due north of Fergus River Cave entrance. MK to enquire as to ownership of Souterrain CL017-013002, Leana townland, sixteen hundred metres northeast, bearing 056°. The Roughan Hill Tau Cross is some seventy metres north of the souterrain; near the road from Kilfenora Cathedral and the ecclesiastical centre of Ennis, seemingly indicating the boundary between secular and ecclesiastical land. Suggested Romanesque, locally influenced, c. 12th century. One of nine “Tau Crosses” recorded in Ireland; its form closely affiliated with St. Anthony and the Coptic Church.

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View west to Cashel and Fergus River Cave

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Cross of Lorraine, Kilinaboy Church

13:00. Róisín Nic Cnáimhín, PC. Visited the church at Kilinaboy, en-route to Carron. Still very much in use. Elevated above the adjacent road junction; it once had a Round Tower, of which a three metre stump remains. An important status feature of this Monastic site. The church believed a rebuild of an early, 13th century, construction.

14:00. Róisín Nic Cnáimhín, PC. To the quarried grave slabs located within Termon and Fahee North townlands, Carron; described by Nick Geh, who previously extracted an almost invisible inscription by experimentation with illumination. With this area of smooth, very flat limestone karst, grave slabs have been produced, the finished product facilitated by the natural smooth surface, perfect for receiving an inscription. Ease of manufacture made all the more possible by identifying the thin depth of limestone bedding. Seeming vary from 0.15 -0.25m. Several of the two metre by 0.9m grave slabs have been raised to knee height level, by packing limestone fragments beneath, creating a form of table. A comfortable height to use a hammer and chisel to dress the edge of the slab. Such available uniformity of bedding depth pertinent to the study.

Pat Cronin

15th January     Considine’s Cave



11:00. Cloud 80%: Wind N, F1/2: Visibility >30Nm: Ground sodden: Medium stream: Rain Gauge 0mm: The Plan: Continue installing shaft cover. Ferried down tools and six lengths of scaffold tubing. The “Receiver”, (upper shaft collar), was rolled away to the wall for further dismantling by CC. The section between the shaft collars and the remaining, middle, section of the working platform was cautiously removed. Positioned either side, PMcG and PC began dismantling the north half of “crawling way”, gradually exposed the Dark, Yawning Maw. As both able to use the remaining working platform as a handy work bench, the galvanized tubing was swiftly installed in two metre lengths. Reinforcing mesh, 0.2m x 0.2m, then lain on top. This area will likely be the site for the unlocked entrance lid. The area directly behind the shaft collar was checked; the area of previously installed shaft covering; courtesy of CC and TB. To meet up with this section will require a subtle change of direction. Prior to the longitudinal tubing installation, the west side requires digging/clearing out. Beyond the shaft collar a lateral tube will tie the two longitudinal extensions together. This frame will need three “feet” set down onto the limestone, to maintain the integrity of the frame; ideally set down onto positional pins, likely of 16mm galvanized steel bolts. The remaining sections of mesh should be enough to cover this next section. Selection of clips and a further nine sections of tubing are required. More crap carried up to the truck for recycling.

 Hours  7 (3472), Southend (2420), Kibbles 0 (6754), Nets 0 (929), Total lifts 7691

Pat Cronin

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Section between the ladderway and the hauling way

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What remains of the hauling way under the tripod

20th January     Souterrain CL016-052003, Cahermore Cashel CL016-052001, Roughan Td.



10:00. Cloud 100%: Wind SW, F4/6: Visibility 20Nm: Ground wet: Rain Gauge 6mm: The Plan: check souterrain access. National database give the souterrain as; ITM525145 x 692409. Taken from the twenty-five inch its, ITM 525141 x 692404? These contradicting references place the entrance some seven metres apart on a NEast axis. Inexplicable satellite reception hindered an accurate fix, errors presented, +/-10m; quite useless in a Cashel with an internal diameter of ≈30m. Originally the Cashel would be an imposing building, declaring its power over the lush pastures of the Fergus River valley; eastwards beyond Poulnaboe and west, to the Shannon estuary. The Cashel, (ITM 525135 x 692415), is eighty metres south of the R476, Corrofin-Kilfenora road; access via the Fergus River Cave cattle crush. Elevation estimated as 58/60metres OD. The Cashel wall in poor condition, much of the three metre wide and, likely,  three metre high rampart, long since robbed for building material, yet, much does remain.  Its outer perimeter colonized by Hazel and Blackthorn. The southern sector, built on a limestone terrace, added height to the walls, creating an increased, presence to any traveller approaching up the Fergus River valley. The northern quadrant, of the inner perimeter, is also foliated. So, surveying the inner and outer rampart faces will be problematic. The eastern facing gateway appears to have possibly been wider than present: robbed, destabilized walls causing some migration of the larger quoins, thus narrowing the gate passageway. The original floor of the gateway passage floor surface is visible and useable. It is likely this Gateway was built as a tunnel passageway, like Caherconnell.

Souterrain entrance lintel is visible, with open passage beneath. No timber pieces obstructing entry, previously reported by County archaeological field recorders. As vegetation has died back, ten minutes will clear the entry of briar and nettles. The circular wall outline enclosing the souterrain opening suggests a small building, (Hut?), compared with the adjacent much larger, square, (later), substantial foundations. Will attempt deploy the drone to view rampart perimeter among the vegetation.

Pat Cronin

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Showing the relationship between some of the sites features

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View  southwest from road

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View west of east gateway, once a tunnel into the cashel

27th January     Considine’s Cave



13:30. Cloud 100%: Wind N, F2/3: Visibility 30Nm: Ground sodden: Medium stream: Rain Gauge 0mm: The Plan: install grill frame around shaft collars. Arrived with seven lengths of tubing, clips, Hilti drill etc. PMcG began to clear the overburden on the west side to install, to extend the longitudinal scaffold supports. While PC sorted the west side; removing the shaft collar integral scaffold supports. To support the outer frame, three vertical pieces, (Legs), were secured, set down onto 16mm bolts drilled into the bedrock to maintain their position. With the outer frame finished, holes were punched through the pallet slats, forming the sides. Two metre lengths of tubing passed through, were secured in turn either side, gradually closing off the open shaft. A possible precarious working position over the shaft, easily resolved. Collar and other bits mostly dismantled; the remaining 4x2 frame on which the collar rested; needs removal. Discussed  best location for the lid. Place chosen was pretty much where the hauling way is. This takes advantage of a small ledge from which an explorer may pause preparing to descend. Two old lengths of scaffold were used to close off the proposed entrance position, another because PC calculated for a different arrangement than decided upon. Outstanding; more tubing required to complete the frame and more mesh. Lid framework, size and lid frame needs sorting. Hope to ask a pal with a quad bike, and borrow a light trailer from another, to do a few runs to bring the mountain of crap from the dig up to the car parking area. The field is too wet for the two tonne Hilux. Lowering the headframe, have decided to use a 2:1 with pulley and a descender fixed to the tree; CC can lower whilst the others pull it over its apex onto the working platform for disassembly. More crap carried up to the Hilux.

Hours  5 (3477), Southend (2425), Kibbles 0 (6754), Nets 0 (929), Total lifts 7691

Pat Cronin

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The outer framework in position waiting the removal of what remains of the hauling way collar. Photo: Paul McGrath

The final section of scaffold waiting for the entrance lid to be fitted. Photo: Paul McGrath

5th February     Considine’s Cave.



11:00. Cloud 100%: Wind NW, F3/4: Visibility 10Nm: Ground sodden: Medium stream: Rain Gauge 3mm: The Plan: install the shaft lid. PC prepared six one metre lengths of galvanized tube and one x two metre length. Along with the shaft lid, all conveyed to the dig. PC spoke with a pal, who will fix his Quadbike and assist running a lightweight trailer up and down the field carrying the remaining infrastructure bits and assorted dig detritus, end of February. While CC began carrying timber etc out to the waiting area in the field. PC positioned the lid; favouring PMcG’s suggestion to achieve as long an abseil as practicable. With the ‘Guillotine’ RSJ and lateral supports in mind, the final location is just to the south of the original Shaft Collar. The idea of a straight abseil considered visitors may use the galvanized scaffold tubes as belays. So, the lid frame fixings were extended across adjacent poles, tying the entire frame together; resulting in no flexing of available poles. A pole was positioned off centre of the lid to reduce the chances of the heavy lid falling through the gap; this pole may be adjusted further to aide ingress of big people… All scaffold clips were used, including several used previously. More mesh has to be fitted over the frame. A plastic pallet will provide a flat surface secured adjacent the lid. One clip left loose, needing a spanner, as the normal box spanner won’t fit into the gap. Cable ties, and more mesh required, likewise the rope kit to lower the tripod. Once the entrance grill is completed, the final section of the working platform can be removed, with all their supports.

Hours  6 (3483), Southend (2433), Kibbles 0 (6754), Nets 0 (929), Total lifts 7691

Pat Cronin

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The lid locked in position between scaffolding

10th February     Souterrain CL016-053003, Roughan.


Ruth Hollingsworth, PC

11:00. Cloud 85%: Wind NE, F2/3: Visibility 10Nm: Ground damp: Rain Gauge 2mm: The Plan: assess site for souterrain project. The entire rampart is ruinous, its southern, outer face obscured by Blackthorn and Hazel, so too the northern outer and inner rampart. There is no visible section of rampart interior face intact. Will have to estimate a central line around the rampart width to attempt record. Original rampart width appears to have been three metres Robbing for building material has created a wide slope of tumble extending into the Garth by some two metres. A vertical stone, possible door Jamb, adjacent the north side of the narrow entrance gap, suggests an original width, similar to Caherconnell. One large dislodged rock, (1.2m x 0.6m x 0.5m, = ≈ 750Kgs), has migrated, reducing the original gate passageway.  S0me outer sections of the southern rampart face are intact, though awkward to reach due to foliage. Prepared a concrete block, with secure survey point, as the a temporary survey datum. Set down adjacent the Northwest corner of the, probable, square building. Souterrain entrance open; RH swiftly wriggled in the low gap, whilst PC set up the Plane Table. Official ITM and actual ITM show an error of six metres east - four metres north. Decided to fix the souterrain entrance the Cashel entrance. Allowed an hour for GPSR to stabilize. Recorded the entrance as ITM 525139 x 692405. In contrast, National Database is ITM of 525145 x 692409. This ‘Official’ ITM position is 7.2m northeast, on 056° True; closer to the Cashel gateway. The original surveyor/s plotted a small circle on the 25 inch map, virtually coinciding with  Today’s recorded ITM.

The front lintel is visible, some 0.5m below the Garth surface. On returning from Holiday MK will enquire of ownership of the Leana souterrain.

Antiquarian, Thomas Westropp, (19th/20thC.), considered the souterrain to be inaccessible. Michael Killeen, Landowner, made a sketch of the souterrain as part of his diploma course, some ten years back. 

Pat Cronin

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Souterrain CL016-053003 Entrance fix

12th February Considine's Cave


13:00. Cloud 95%: Wind NW, F2/3: Visibility 20Nm: Ground sodden: Medium stream: Rain Gauge 2mm: The Plan: continue installing shaft grill cover. The main scaffold frame in place, worked on setting in place the telegraph pole - ex-shoring pieces upon the reinforcing mesh as a stable floor on which to walk. Showers came and went. Cleared the debris in front  “The Bunker” boulder pile, to tidy the place and check the status of the cover; all good. The plastic pallets remain secure on the galvanized RSJ’s. Intend secure the four pieces of timber shoring with galvanized metal work to adjacent stonework. Set the remaining plastic pallet in place as a stance for preparing descend the shaft; set among the timber covering. PMcG set to removing the timber framework on which sat the shaft collars. A difficult task, sawing the with the scaffolding in the way.  Tied to drawrope No. 1, all pieces eventually removed. The central scaffold tube in the manhole, was moved some four inches to facilitate entry of larger folk; it is on the cusp of the width of the lid. Therefore a chain will be secured to avoid losing the lid. Debris on the adjacent ledge cleared. Between multiple tasks CC stripped timbering apart conveying the bits etc. out to the waiting pile in the field. CC took photos. Suggested a method of lowering the headframe, which should avoid any impact to the scaffold grill cover. The end is really in sight to complete the closure process, securing the shaft from farmstock and the curious. 

Hours  9 (3492), Southend (2442), Kibbles 0 (6754), Nets 0 (929), Total lifts 7691

Pat Cronin

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Considine's Cave safety cover nearing completion

16th February     Souterrain CL003-004003, Finavarra.



Cloud 100%, base 500ft: Visibility 15Nm: Ground damp: Rain Guage 9mm. The Plan: assess Lissavorneen, an earthen Rath. Batty Kerin granting permission: used the right hand field to access the rath. Most noticeable is its elevated location, (+50m), offering uninterrupted 230 degrees of vision. Overlooking entry to both Muckinish Bay, south, and Aughinish Bay, north, anchorages, Of the two Muckinish offers the safer anchorage from all points of the compass. Both also offer safe access harvesting sea food for those attempting survive Bliain an Áir, 1740-1741 and An Gorta Mór, 1845-1852.  

Large ringforts surround the shoreline of Muckinish Bay, and at least two fifteenth century Castles.  Raising the thought, the attributes of Muckinish Bay would fit the requirements for an early port of trade, as described by Cunliffe. Possibly suppling the Bronze Age with copper from the Burren, along with cattle cereals and slaves? A Jeton coin, 13th–18thC, was recovered from Caherconnell. The Burren has ancient trackways accessing and crossing its interior. Three of these head south, from the Bay area, through the pastural valleys of Ballyvaghan and Beal an Clugga. To intercept the Ennis - Kilfenora, east - west trackway: the modern R476 seems to follow this closely.

Souterrain CL003-004003, covered with rocks. National dBase gives ITM 526534 x 711946.

Today recorded ITM 526533 x 711949, (error+/-3m); half hour for stabilization.

Rang Carl Fahy, encountered during the initial survey of Souterrain CL002-068002, Rine. CF previously mentioned a hole nearby, between two rocks, appearing to descend further. Met for tea and caca. Long productive chat: his antecedents have dwelt on Finavarra for at least four generations. CF knows all local landowners well; prepared to liaise to assist permissions. CF told of a recent collapse on Scanlon’s Island, the landowner offering him the chance to open it up! Pressed CF to arrange a visit to dig it out; island only accessible at low tide.

Pat Cronin

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Finavarra possible port

19th February     Considine’s Cave

13:00. Cloud 95%: Wind N, F2: Visibility 25Nm: Ground sodden: Medium stream: Rain Gauge 3mm: The Plan: secure timber flooring, drop headframe. Started with setting up a 2:1 system to drop the headframe. It took longer to set up the system than to lower it. CC and PMcG began to strip the frame apart, meanwhile PC attended to the far south end securing the timbering with galvanized banding. Covering the area with reinforcing mesh. Older scaffolding was used as fencing to close off the two approaches, the eastern closed off further using timber pallets as extra insurance. Two of the primary platform supports were lifted, leaving three beneath the remaining working platform. These remaining pallets will be used as further farmstock impediments, eventually rotting down, providing an environment for creepy crawlies, giving time for briars and blackthorn to recolonize the narrow pathways. More materials moved out into the field. Called into EMcN for update on the Quad-bike; requiring reassembly, assisting Wednesday. Am borrowing Andy Grindrod’s trailer. Potentially, will complete disassembling the infrastructure Saturday, for possible final clearance of material Monday afternoon. Team fairly shagged out.

Hours   10 (3502), Southend (2452), Kibbles 0 (6754), Nets 0 (929), Total lifts 7691

Pat Cronin

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Cheg lowering the headframe which was first erected  on September 8th 2016, 

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Cheg and Paul removing platform supports

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View SW of entrance lid and remaining platform.

24th February     Considine’s Cave



13:00. Cloud 80%: Wind W, F2: Visibility 20Nm: Ground sodden: Large stream: Rain Gauge 4mm: The Plan: complete shaft cover - clear site. Work began removing remaining working platform; pallets used to close off east and west approaches from farmstock. Timber designated for composting tided up. All five platform supports removed. The four metre telegraph pole, used to edge the pieces covering the shaft framework. To-ing and fro-ing all materials were conveyed to the field, ready for transporting up to the car park, thence, most likely to PC’s. Spent most of last Wednesday assisting EMcN assemble the quad; new battery required. Trailer previously arranged has been borrowed by Andy's neighbour; a real pain. CC and PMcG spent remaining time closing off small holes with suitable flat stones; the place is now secure. Discussed lid retainment; PMcG has stainless cable, which will most likely be fitted the same day a final abseil trip is planned. A really tough day, made all the better; Ireland 31, Wales 7.

Hours 9 (3511), Southend (2461), Kibbles 0 (6754), Nets 0 (929), Total lifts 7691 

Pat Cronin

26th February     Poulbruíon



14:00. Cloud 60%: Wind WNW, F3/4: Visibility 30Nm: Rain Gauge 0mm: The Plan: Change of plan. EMcN had called, the quad will not start; plan to assist him Wednesday. Considine’s left for now. To Poulbruíon. Took Hilti, laser level, tape and bolts. Delighted to be back actually digging again. Phaffed about in awful muddy conditions positioning stemple bolts, drilling 16mm holes, avoiding bedding joints, etc. Two fitted to the south side, two to the north at 800mm centres. It will be practical, if needed, to build a work platform off these four lateral support stemples. Some digging of the very muddy bottom and the north side exposed more roots, allowing the lower stemple bolts to the north side to be installed. West and East walls continue on down, looking solid. With all bolts in place, measured galvanized tubing, the four  lengths are = (1 x 1.72m, 1 x 1.43m, 1 x 1.41m, 1 x 1.33m). Tube was ordered from Guerin’s, a week back; can now cut to suit. Tools/kit required next visit: Bow saw, trimming saw, 2 x 16mm studs with nuts, tube locators, hammer, cold chisel, reinforcing mesh, ( 1 of 1.4m x 1m, 1 of 1.2m x 1m), cables ties and backing for the mesh. And our ancient, stolid builders ladder.               Hours 5.5, (16).

Pat Cronin

1st March     Happy Heather Hole - Poulbruíon



11:00. Cloud 100%: Wind N, F6: Bitter cold: Visibility 5Nm: Rain Gauge 11mm: Snow: Ground awash. The Plan: picked up galvanized tube from Guerin’s for stemples. Cut to pre- measured lengths; all four from one six metre length. Another to be delivered next week, sometime.

14:00. Weather deteriorating; wind increasing F8: heavy hail-snow showers. Circumstances compel delivering two concrete lintels to Pollantobar in preparation for lid installation.

Need clear task with MFJ, who already notified PC of another hole nearby. Carried the tubing up to Poulbruíon; realized had forgotten hammer, cold chisel and the two 16mm bolts, in the rush. Installed three of the stemples, their snug lengths making it a fiddle to insert the bolts into the holes. Both south side stemples fitted and the upper northern one. Have provisionally arranged with AG and JN to borrow their trailers for Monday; EMcN should also be on for it.

Hours 3, (19).

Pat Cronin

4th March     Considine’s Cave



11:00. Cloud 100%: Wind SE, F8: Rain: Dam Cold: Visibility 3Nm: Rain Gauge 2mm: Ground awash. The Plan: remove material, crap and digging kit from JN’s field to PC’s. Madcap morn; contacting/confirming personnel and various trailers – would be available. All fitted together at 13:30, just as the storm ripped across the open field. Multiple runs by EMcN on his quadbike swiftly ferried loads up to another trailer. Saving endless days carrying/dragging the kit, through sodden ground, uphill to the collecting point, outside JN’s place. His task completed, enquired if more assistance needed? Thanked EMcN profusely; pointing out no sense in three getting soaked for the next stage. Some hassle loading the trailer. More running about. Task finally completed; trailers returned, owners thanked. Perhaps one more visit is required, at least to secure the lid with stainless steel cable. Will likely create a snag list. But, am fairly sure that’s about it, done. PMcG related, whilst out walking, he’d encountered, at least one significant, undocumented sink.

Hours 10 (3523), Southend (2473), Kibbles 0 (6754), Nets 0 (929), Total lifts 7691 

Pat Cronin

March  2nd     Leadmines Farm, Elton

Nigel Burns, David Gough, Cheg Chester, Pete Forster Alan Steel, Paul Thompson

A partial reunion of the Mining section. Simon Redfern the occupier of Leadmines Farm, Elton had enquired if Nigel Burns would be interested in staying at the farm to look after his dog for a week whilst on holiday, also with an offer for others to accompany him. Offer accepted!

Pete and Alan produced many photographs of their mine exploration around Elton and Winster with added documentation and surveys. Discussions undertaken and tales of old retold, we retired to the Miners Standard at Winster to partake in a throat soothing experience. Thanks to a mixture of present day drink driving laws and age, this session was very mild in comparison to some we remembered from the past. One in particular when big John Cooper consumed at the very least fourteen pints of Marston's Pedigree between 7 and 11 and was back drinking steadily the following lunchtime.

Just before leaving the pub we were joined by Terry Worthington who we then accompanied to his house in Winster to view the shaft in his garden known as Boring Shaft situated on Harper Stanhope vein to gather information to appear in a forthcoming article on the website. A grid reference was obtained with the aid of David Goughs GPS.

Cheg Chester

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David Gough at Boring Shaft.  Photo:  Cheg Chester

3rd March      Alport, Broad Meadow & Guy Mine

David Gough, Nigel Burns & Cheg Chester
Walked to Alport via Youlgreave  to check out what are the remaining features of a system that once supplied water from the river Bradford to the water pressure engines in both Broad Meadow and Guy mines.

The site of the tunnel entrance which carried this water was quickly located but no open passage remains visible. It was open for approximately 10 metres in 1970 as shown on a survey by The Eccles Caving Club ( Detailed description of Broadmeadow Shale Gate ). Next we located the shaft that dropped onto the level, it being sunk to a lower horizon to allow the continuation of the level to pass under the road. The shaft is capped with a large pile of stones but it was not possible to determine if it is still open.

A quick walk back to Winster via Robin Hoods Stride, Dudwood Lane and Islington Lane to meet up with Sam Garrad and Andy Walchester in The Miners Standard. A good chat over a few pints!

Cheg Chester

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Directly in line with the footpath at the top of the bank lies the site of  the tunnel.

Photo:  Nigel Burns

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The covered shaft, sunk to a lower horizon to allow the level to pass under the road.

Photo:  Cheg Chester

4th March     Winster Pitts, Drummers Venture & Placket Lane

Nigel Burns & Cheg Chester
Walked over to the site of Winster Pitts and Drummers Venture Mine to plumb a shaft situated adjacent the boundary wall between the two sites. The shaft is covered with concrete railway sleepers placed very tightly together but we did manage to find a small gap to lower the plumb line through; Depth recorded as 28.1 metres.

Next, to locate a shaft opened and descended by The North Staffs Ming Club in the mid 1970's. The location of this shaft is on Placket Lane where the track splits and is situated between the two tracks, it is covered with three concrete railway sleepers but appears to have run-in. Then a look at the large shaft mound situated just inside the gate of Winster Burial Ground. There are a pile of rotting logs covering the shaft and it was considered unwise to try and determine if the shaft is open. Retired to The Miners Standard for well earned refreshment.

Cheg Chester

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Nigel Burns at the site of the shaft where Placket lane splits.

Photo:  Cheg Chester

5th March     Oddo Farm & Gratton Dale

Nigel Burns & Cheg Chester
Simon Redfern had arranged permission to access land southwest of Elton which is an SSSI, the whole site being covered by ancient mine working. A few shaft were located and recorded with GPS and photographs. 

Permission had also been arrange by Simon Redfern to visit a vast area of ancient workings, the land belonging to Oddo Farm, Elton. The scale of these has to be seen to be believed, with dams, buddles, shaft mounds, opencasts and pits everywhere, all covered in a carpet of short grazed grass which on a winters sunny day like today's brings out all of the features. When leaving the area we decided it would be easier to drop down into Gratton Dale. This we did down the very steep uneven terrain only to find when we got to the bottom that the normally small stream was a raging torrent with no way of crossing so we had to climb back to the top to continue.

Having been walking now for five plus hours it was back to the farm, The Miners Standard considered too far away for tired legs.

Cheg Chester

oddo landscape.JPG

The mining landscape west of Oddo Farm, Elton.

Photo:  Cheg Chester

11th March     Poulbruíon



13:00. Cloud 100%: Wind S, F2/3: Visibility 20Nm: Light rain: Rain Gauge 0mm: Ground damp. The Plan: complete northern shoring. Parked at the Cross; walked in: fifteen minutes.

Took along a length of reinforcing mesh, cable ties, plastic board, drill, hammer, chisel tape, ‘Popeye’s’ mini-grinder, plumbline etc. No spoil had slipped or moved; hooray. Installed the final stemple, for this level. Fitted mesh and back boards; all secured with cable ties. Aligned the southern stemples. Resumed digging; delight. Swiftly dropped the floor at least eighteen inches, (450mm). During which, found some small pieces of limestone, two alternate forms of heavy rock… sandstone? The prepared, northern,  shoring swallowed the spoil at the end of the shovel’s swing; really efficient moving of spoil. Lowered the entire floor exposing ‘an ‘ole’.. Obtaining visual of conduit running along the western wall. Adjacent this hole is a large, (250kgs), boulder. The floor appears to contain many other rocks. Perhaps need to consider fitting a platform to hauling the spoil to tip behind the increasing high shoring…? Curious selection of soils and sediments; light browns, greys, dark browns, black; a beige of granular form. Underfoot it is drier as depth is gained. Spoil packed on the south slope requires the shoring fitting asap. Forecast rain may compromise its ability to stay in place.   Hours 5, (24).

Pat Cronin

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Paul McGrath at Poulbruíon.  Photo:  Pat Cronin

15th March     Poulbruíon



10:00. Cloud 10%: Wind NW, F1/2: Visibility 35Nm:: Rain Gauge 9mm: Ground wet. The Plan: complete upper spoil shoring. Parked at the Cross. Walked in with mesh, ladder, power tools etc. Fitted mesh to the south side stemples, using CC’s pieces of plastic, set them behind to close off the gaps in the mesh . Cabled tied all in place. Weight of wet clay causing the mesh to bow in by two inches on the northern side. PMcG dug down to clear it from the mesh. The optimistic vertical distance of 800mm between the stemples is too great for wet spoil, with 6mm mesh; need fit a further stemple at 400mm, to reduce outward stresses. Will also fit same to the south side to avoid issue repetition. It will delay digging a session, but will be worth it in the long term. Working in the present quagmire, a ball ache, changed plan, with PMcG perched behind the shoring the work was swiftly completed. On the south side, the mesh base to the shoring had stones lain on the rebar lengths pushed horizontally into the existing heavy, firm clay, their ends resting upon the lower stemple; suggest this practice continues to perhaps aid drainage. With stone facing this side the clay can be deposited on the north side. Plan install both new stemples the next session.                                                   Hours 4, (28).


12:00. During recent wanderings PMcG encountered a fenced depression. Eager to show, went up to the upper terrace, headed south. The steep sided conical depression was one previously noted. But, of further note is the subsidence taking place, since the previous visit. Such movement was noted at two other sites. Orientated PMcG by heading further south toward Faunarooska. En-route showed various, numerous, previously unknown sites. Two are worth visiting as a Team for a session or two digging.

Pat Cronin

23rd March    Pouldubh North, (P.D.N.) – Pouldubh South.



10:00. Cloud 95%: Wind NW, F4/6: Chill: Hail showers: Visibility 15Nm: Rain Gauge 8mm: Ground wet. The Plan: through trip. Since the previous visit, deforestation – devastation has taken place; the surface trashed. So much so, was unable to find the normal Pouldubh North entrance. Wandered the area, no Larch trees remain to reference P.D.N. entrance. Found two holes, both unknown to either; both felt too far North. PMcG located a rift, closely resembling what PC was looking for. Exploration proved it was not P.D.N. The howling gale, suggested it was close to the open pot, some fifty odd metres south. PMcG climbed down to find this was also not P.D.N. At a loss PC attempted reconcile landscape  features with most recent trip memory. The nature of the landscape is one of significant disturbance; traversing presenting issues. The first hole was explored along very nice rift passage, progress made at various levels. PMcG progress along tight upper passage is estimated as being within ten or so metres of the open pot; to the south. The large track machine has laid waste to much of the surface within ten to fifteen metres of the boundary wall. It is possible that the shallow rift entrance to PDN is filled/covered/hidden by the detritus produced by deforestation. Chilled to the bone, from the streamway crawl, headed into the Irish Arms. Back at PMcG’s, poured over the guide and survey/s; no further clarity. The junction ITM is incorrect by some seventy five metres to the south. The only resolution is to visit the area specifically to reference those entrances remaining open, and review the curious hole found north of Pollderreen. Attempted plot ITM’s etc. to no avail.

Pat Cronin

Latest Log

24th March     Pouldubh North, (B1g).



11:00. Cloud 100%: Wind W, F4: Rain: Visibility 5Nm: Rain Gauge 7mm: Ground sodden. The Plan: Clarify the five metre pot description, to prove if Pollderreen, (B1j) or B1g. Swiftly changed in deteriorating weather. Straight to the pot, obtained map ref; ITM 513732 x 703792. Memory stated entry was via a sideways crawl for some distance… twenty – thirty metres, or so, potentially B1f? In the base of this pot, noted a narrow, low, sinuous, crawling passage approach from the north. More convinced this site is miss-described; actually B1g. Took off to complete a through trip. As previously intended yesterday. Handed over the GPS to PMcG as, whilst safely in the breast pocket it also jammed the owner in the narrow bits. Pleasant wander down this superb streamway, for a while traversing in the roof of the rift. Descended the climb into Main Drain, exiting South entrance. Took time to allow GPSR to stabilize, obtaining  two map references of B3 as only six satellites were visible to the unit; each showed tolerable error, beneath such dense tree cover. Checked each with the digital mapping, satisfied with results. Also established a map ref, at Middle entrance B3a ITM 513522 x 703281; showing published map ref to be some twenty four metres further west and fifteen metres further north: much closer to the edge of the forestry, which is certainly not the case. Intend check the northern site, fairly certain it is Pollderreen, to fix a map reference, sort description and survey. Can confirm that the shallow rift opening of B1f is no longer accessible; well  hidden beneath the extensive, deforestation vegetation surface. Cracking trip.

Pat Cronin

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Irish National Grid Reference Plotted

Correct ITMs 24 March 24.JPG

Pouldubh Correct ITM's

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