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The trials and tribulations during the quest to extend the known cave passages of Wookey Hole Cave, Mendip, Somerset.

The main protagonists, in no particular order, have been: Vince Simmonds, Jonathon Riley, Robin 'Tav' Taviner, Nick Hawkes, Graham 'Jake' Johnson, Mike Moxon, Paul 'Brockers' Brock, Duncan Price and Roz Simmonds. Others have lent a hand too, including Tom Chapman, Ray Deasy, Alex Gee, Pete 'Snablet' McNab, Pete Bolt, Claire Cohen, Pete Hall, Mandy Voysey, David Walker, Lee Hawkeswell, James Begley, Naomi Frazier, Estelle Sandford, Max Fisher, Adele Ward, Lee Smith, Chris Dubery, Connor Roe and the Belgians (seven members of the Cascade Caving Club).

6th May

digging 2021 Posted on 9 May 2021 10:05 am

Report by Tav:

Mike, Tav, Nick, Dunc, Jake

A larger team tonight and all were gainfully employed. Some rocks were moved from the approach slope to add to the spoil retaining wall in the pit while Dunc surveyed the previously unsurveyed passages in this part of the cave. Digging commenced with Mike burrowing his way up the slope beyond the U-Bend and kicking the spoil down to Tav who filled the buckets. These were passed to Nick in the narrow rift who manhandled them down the line to Dunc and Jake. Another solid night’s work with the usual 20-25 buckets worth of spoil removed. There’s a lot more room to manoeuvre now and as anticipated Mike reported that the digging was getting easier as digging progressed. Positions 2 and 3 remain particularly hot and sweaty. No draught to speak of tonight, anywhere. Out for another well-earned beer in the ravine.”

29th April

digging 2021 Posted on 4 May 2021 3:18 pm

Report by Tav:

Mike, Nick, Tav

Operation Continuing Enlargement
Arrived at the show cave to find a film crew in situ, where security directed us to park in the upper car park.Dragging Nick away from the make up and costume vans parked by the archway we proceeded to the dig in an orderly fashion. Suitable tooled up (new spafe and small crowbar), Nick dug, Mike shuttled and shuffled and Tav clambered up and down the pot to dispose of the spoil. Another 20-25 buckets were removed and by the close of play the passage had been satisfactorily enlarged. Nick confirmed cool air movement in the dig – despite there being no draught in Fuzzy Wuzzy. All very hot and sweaty work and realistically on the limit of what 3 diggers can achieve. As the next phase of operation requires someone digging on the far side of the U-Bend we ideally need 5 and even 6 or 7 can be gainfully employed moving rocks and disposing of spoil on the steep approach slope. A survey would be handy too, to establish its relationship (if any) with the foot of the big rift chamber. A useful night’s work and beer well earned.”


digging 2021 Posted on 4 May 2021 3:14 pm

Unfortunately, work commitments have prevented me from attending some following digging sessions. Work has started along the small passage downslope of ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy’ in LoH&G. The initial few trips were to open up access and make the spoil removal process a bit more efficient, it is not easy but workable. At present, there is a positive attitude.

8th April

digging 2021 Posted on 4 May 2021 3:12 pm

Vince, Jake, Nick, Tav, Duncan and Mike.

First trip of 2021 due to UK Government imposed lockdown, a reaction to the global covid pandemic.

Not so much of a digging trip but a ‘bimble’ just to get back into the swing of it. We had a look at a few potential dig-sites for future attention and stood around chatting about things relevant and not so relevant. As Jake commented “3 months is a long time without the opportunity to talk bollocks!”

It did not look as if anyone had been to ‘Land of Hope Glory’ since our last trip in 2020 pre-lockdown. It is still a warm trip up and down ‘20’ and, immensely enjoyable!

23rd December

digging 2020 Posted on 24 December 2020 7:19 am

It has been a while since the last visit to Wookey Hole for a variety of reasons including work and pandemic restrictions. There were two objectives for this late afternoon/evening trip: firstly, a chance for Roz and Tav to see the Wookey 24 streamway and, secondly, to rig a ladder up and over a dry route to bypass a swimming section streamway to reach Wookey 24 “camp”. This will enable easier access to more passages and opportunities for exploration beyond.

After recent persistent rain, the water levels in the streamway were much higher than our previous visit (29/10/20) and several metres above our heads the “bubble” ring was evidence that the water had been very much higher. There was plenty of wading and lots of steam generated (photos are a bit ‘blurry’).

Roz explores a section of Wookey 24
Wookey 24 ‘camp’

A message from Land of Hope & Glory!

Uncategorised Posted on 20 December 2020 8:13 am

Land of Hope and Glory

digging 2020 Posted on 9 December 2020 6:36 am

Mark Burkey’s wonderful portfolio of images taken 27th September 2020.

Wookey 20 to 24, the connection!

digging 2020 Posted on 11 November 2020 5:49 am

The expansion of the Wookey Hole showcave by a driven tunnel into Wookey 20 was completed in 2015. The tunnel allowed easy access to the cave passages beyond by ‘dry’ cavers, more specifically to ‘diggers’ eager to check out the potential leads. In late 2015, the regular diggers at Hallowe’en Rift were invited to take a look at a lead on the east side of the far reaches of Wookey 20. This route had been explored by divers, Tom Chapman and Keith Savory, in the 1990s to a low and too tight arch. There followed a period of expansion and induced rapid speleogenesis culminating in about 70m of gnarly passage gained and leading to another sump, named ‘23¾’, linking to the Sting Corner area in Wookey 24. Diving continues in this area.

In early August 2020, another project was set in motion by the regular team of Wookey Hole diggers in a small side passage off the route that leads down to sump 23¾. Following a collaboration between divers and diggers to establish a voice connection and pinpoint the best location, an intense digging effort of almost non-stop activity, finally, on the evening of October 29th 2020, a ‘non-diving dry’ route from Wookey 20 to Wookey 24 was completed by Vince Simmonds, Nick Hawkes, Duncan Price, Graham Johnson and Mike Moxon. The route, following the small side passage off the route to sump 23¾, connects to the recently discovered extension, Beginner’s Luck, above the streamway found by divers, Connor Roe, Duncan Price and Max Fisher, leads down a steep descent into the Wookey 24 stream passage. The route is physically demanding, especially on the return, and has some difficult, awkward climbs.

A few days later, the English government plunged everyone into a second lockdown and our activities were, somewhat curtailed. This also meant that several of the regular diggers, absent on the breakthrough, had not yet passed the connection to Wookey 24. We are still in lockdown!

Subsequently, a disappointing and blatant “poacher’s” trip to the connection has occurred. Video clips of the trip were posted, then removed, there was some negative feedback posted on various platforms along with a lot of bullshit and bollocks being uttered. It is categorically stated here that none of the participants involved on this “poacher’s” trip were, or have ever, been involved with any of the digging activities to make the connection to Wookey 24 or any of the other recent discoveries in Wookey 20 (Land of Hope and Glory) and any inferences of such is just not true!

Update: There was a rapid response to this post, a dialogue ensued and an apology has been received. It still rankles, but the clock can’t be turned back and we need to move on rather than enter an endless cycle of recriminations and finger-wagging. A line has been drawn under it.

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