Blog Image


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 Callum Simmonds, 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).

Above: the banner image, 'Mud cones in Land of Hope & Glory' was taken by Mark Burkey.

7th October

digging 2021 Posted on 8 October 2021 8:54 am

Vince, Duncan, Nick, Tav, Jon, and Mike

My turn to dig (in Jake’s absence) aided by Duncan, I could see Nick’s light peering through the low section waiting for the next bucket. Then Jon, Tav and Mike occupying various positions leading to the spoil being dumped and the empty, cleaned buckets returned to the dig face.

Started the digging making more a bit more space (now able to stand up), at the dig face plenty of space to kneel comfortably and swing the mattock. Loosened a pile of sediment then scooped it into buckets passing back the filled buckets back to Duncan. The sediment consists of layered clay, silt, and sand with some infrequent cobble- and boulder-size lumps of calcite mineral, colour ranges from pale red brown to bright yellow. A stiff layer of clay seals less compacted layers of silt and/or sand. Good stuff to dig.

There was some comment/discussion regarding the air quality but, I was digging hard, and it was fine. Obviously, with the effort of hard, physical work as the evening progresses, temperature rises, there’s the chance some might run out of puff!

30th September

digging 2021 Posted on 1 October 2021 6:30 am

Note: 23/09/21 For one reason or another – there was no digging!

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

Tav digging, aided by Jake, I was tugging the skip along the passage, filled buckets were passed onto Duncan who, in turn, passed them to Nick, onto Mike who was in control of spoil disposal. It was a mellow evening’s digging with plenty of good humour and chatter.

Refreshments were enjoyed in the ravine, in the drizzle.

16th September

digging 2021 Posted on 17 September 2021 6:28 am

Note: Due to one thing or another, no digging took place 9th September.

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

A good turn-out this evening, plenty of people to get some digging done.

Jon and Tav at the digging end, me and Jake along the shuttle, Nick was supplying the filled buckets to the disposal team of Duncan and Mike.

To ease the flow of buckets we decided to install a skip from the digging end, through the low section, to the shuttle zone. It worked rather well and there is plenty of hauling rope to cope with forward progress.

A good steady session.

2nd September

digging 2021 Posted on 4 September 2021 7:18 pm

Vince, Jake, Tav, and Duncan.

Not a big enough team for digging (5 is the critical number) so some fettling and consolidation of walkways in the LoH&G and drainage works along the approach passage. All jobs that needed doing.

26th August

digging 2021 Posted on 27 August 2021 11:01 am

Vince, Jake, Jon, Tav, and Nick.

After missing the last couple of digging session’s, there was no stopping Nick he shot off up through the cave so he could be digging. Jon assisted clearing away the buckets (and filling a few too) to Tav, who passed them onto Jake. I was digging last session so to the back of the line and spoil disposal for me this evening. The filled buckets arrived at a good steady rate, were emptied, cleaned, and returned. Progress was made.

19th August

Vince, Roz, Duncan, Tav, and Jake.

My turn to dig, the filled buckets were cleared away by Duncan, to Roz, Tav and finally, Jake who emptied the contents, cleaned the bucket, and sent it back up the line to be filled again, ad infinitum!

Digging was a tad awkward in the barely shoulder-width passage, just about enough room to sit-up and swing the mattock. There is a small space to follow and, there seems to be some air movement. As always, it look’s good ahead. A steady session.

12th August

digging 2021 Posted on 13 August 2021 8:24 am

Vince, Roz, Jake, Nick, Tav, Jon, and Duncan.

It was surprisingly wet throughout the cave following recent rain, there was a flow of water down the cascade and Fuzzy Wuzzy had a puddle.

Jake and Nick upfront, I was shuttling buckets along the rift with Duncan, the rest of the team on spoil management. There was some air movement and, in spite, of arriving at the dig in a sweaty mess it did not take too long to cool down. More steady progress and there is a hole to follow, and it is draughting. It looks encouraging, hopefully, we will get a better look after the next digging session.

Jon (forefront) and Tav on spoil management. Photo by Roz
Duncan waits for the next bucket. Photo by Roz
Jake emerges from the rift after digging. Photo by Roz

5th August 2021

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

Tav digging assisted by Jake, me and Nick along the rift, Duncan, Jon, and Mike on spoil disposal. A steady session and progress made. There is a lump of calcite that will need to be dealt with sometime in the future.

29th July

digging 2021 Posted on 1 August 2021 8:09 am

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

Jon was upfront digging aided by Tav, Jake and Nick were shuttling the buckets backwards and forwards along the rift, me and Duncan were responsible for spoil disposal. I collected the full buckets from Nick, handing over an empty one, the filled bucket carried over to Duncan who proceeded to empty the contents onto the spoil heap, filling all available nooks and crannies. The sediment a mix of silt and sand with some lumps of calcite now and then. The buckets came and went at a good steady rate, a productive session.

22nd July

digging 2021 Posted on 25 July 2021 10:25 am

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

A strong team this evening. I was upfront digging with Jon and Callum the other side of the low point shuttling the filled buckets back to whoever, I don’t know who did what beyond Callum. All I can say is that the buckets kept coming back empty and we kept filling them.

Next »