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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 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.

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.

15th July

digging 2021 Posted on 19 July 2021 9:34 am

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

The full regular team turned out this evening so an easier spoil moving session ahead. Less people = more effort!

8th July

digging 2021 Posted on 10 July 2021 9:47 pm

Vince, Jon, Nick, Tav, and Mike.

A small team this evening so it was going to be harder work for someone. It was!

But, we coped and another productive evening was the result.

1st July

digging 2021 Posted on 2 July 2021 6:30 am

Vince, Nick, Tav, Jake, Duncan, Mike

Nick digging, I was filling the buckets with the loose sediment being produced, the filled buckets passed through the low section to Tav and Jake, who were shuttling to and fro along the narrow rift. Duncan and Mike were dealing with spoil disposal. Much of tonight’s effort was focused on the removal of some harder obstructions. Nick worked hard with the big bar and sledgehammer to reduce the obstructing material to manageable debris. One lump was rolled back to Tav and Jake providing them with a problem solving exercise – will the lump fit through the narrow rift? It did, eventually.

A productive and positive session.

24th June

digging 2021 Posted on 25 June 2021 8:18 am

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

Duncan and Mike’s turn to go upfront and dig; me and Nick did the shuttling along the rift, leaving Jake and Tav on spoil disposal and management. Nick decided that we should attempt to widen the rift a bit by knocking off some lumps and nobbles to gain a few millimetres over a small area. By the end of the session, Tav came up with a figure of “about 60 buckets”. It was time to leave Land of Hope & Glory.

Refreshments were enjoyed in the ravine.

17th June

digging 2021 Posted on 21 June 2021 8:33 am

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

Jon took Sarah on a tour of LoH&G, they later arrived at the dig after collecting the scattered digging tools from a variety of locations.

The rest of us continued with the digging, Jake and Tav upfront, Callum and Nick along the rift shuttling the full and emptied buckets back and fro. Me, Duncan, and Mike were on spoil disposal, Duncan in the dumping spot filling every nook and cranny with sediment. It was warm work, as ever, but there was plenty of banter and steady forward progress was being made.

Nobody was counting the number of buckets filled. Refreshments were enjoyed in the ravine following another productive digging session.

10th June

digging 2021 Posted on 11 June 2021 6:31 am

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

The cool draught beckoned as we opened the door leading into the cave, it was not cool for long. A warm trip to the dig.

There was plenty of space for spoil disposal, so we got to filling some of it! Nick was digging, I was clearing the filled bags and sporadic ‘rocks’ to Tav, along the rift to Mike and on to Jake and Duncan on spoil management. All of us were still warm. The thing about digging along a narrow, constricted passage is that following a good session the progress is clearly visible. The digging consists of compacted sediments and some mineral encrustation, this requires the application of ‘induced rapid mechanical erosion’.

The refreshments in the ravine this evening were well-earned. Bats were very active back and fro over the leat, a tawny owl calling in the trees.

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