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digwookeyhole

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,  Connor Roe, 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, Will (Nick's nephew) 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 November

digging 2022 Posted on 1 December 2022 4:10 pm

Report by Tav:

Tav, Nick, Connor, Alex Randall and Duncan

Due to various ailments and commitments this was the first digging trip for a while. Connor and Alex busied themselves with the untouched dig at the end of the narrow rift reached from the climb up opposite Fuzzy Wuzzy, opening up a small hole that needs chemical persuasion to pursue. This will probably connect eventually with the hole in the roof of Gas End. Meanwhile Nick and Tav inspected various options in and around the big rift before collecting the tools stashed there for transport either out or to a more useful place. Duncan took a rope to the 24 connection and then the whole team gathered up various broken tubs, old skips and broken and redundant tools which were cleaned and then mostly removed from the cave, thus making the place quite a bit tidier. The remaining tools and tubs were left near the Diamond Mine dig in readiness for a fresh assault on the Gas End continuation but the air in here is still very poor so it will have to wait until the summer draughty season, assuming we’re still allowed in of course. Jake’s ladder was removed from Gas End and stashed on the slope leading down to the Diamond Mine dig to await his spanners. The evening finished with a beer in the ravine.” 



4th October

digging 2022 Posted on 5 October 2022 4:32 pm

Vince, Connor, and Duncan

The three of us made our way to LoH&G, Connor lugging a sack full of stemples up to the top of ‘20’ to be used sometime later in ’24.’ Beyond Fuzzy Wuzzy, Duncan parted company and went off to do his own thing. Me and Connor continued through the ‘Hole in the Floor’ and beyond to the narrow rift at the end. The plan being to get Connor to squeeze through the constricted rift so an assessment might be made regarding its potential as a viable lead to follow. The upshot, he did it (I was impressed).

Connor’s description of what lies beyond the squeeze, “…after removing a few annoying items (helmet and belt), I made steady progress through the restriction. The passage continues along the narrow rift and follows the same direction for approximately 30-40m. A small opening in the floor leads to a drop down of about 3m, to a short ledge and down again, c.3m. The climbs were relatively spacious, c.1m wide. The floor below comprised of rocks and sand; it was saturated. A trickle of water was noted to the right when facing into the passage. Sadly however, there is nowhere to put spoil, and no significant other side passages were noted.”

The lack of spoil space and the massive effort to get there means this lead is not worth pursuing (at this time). But c.50m of passage gained is a positive result.



29th September

digging 2022 Posted on 2 October 2022 9:39 am

Vince, Steve Sharp and Dan (Steve’s daughter’s boyfriend)

Steve and Dan went for a tour around LoH&G while I set about clearing the debris from the rapidly induced speleogenesis. It was a small charge so not too much to remove. There was a large rock-flake to shift, and I was glad that Dan turned up to assist. The result was rather inconclusive, a bit more digging might give a glimpse of whether this lead is worth pursuing any further.



22nd September

digging 2022 Posted on 23 September 2022 9:55 am

Vince, Duncan, Nick, and Steve

Duncan, Nick, and Steve went to Edmonds Chamber to retreive a ‘boat.’ I went to ‘LoH&G’ to widen a constriction just beyond the ‘Hole in the Floor.’



15th September

digging 2022 Posted on 16 September 2022 10:11 am

Vince, Duncan, Nick, and Steve Sharp

I had decided to get re-acquainted with the passages leading off the ‘hole in the floor’, the aim to think about resuming activities here. Steve accompanied me on the trip. Disappointingly, it isn’t any drier along and some sections and is especially muddy on the approach to the narrow rift at the current end of the low crawl. Duncan and Nick went along to the current dig to complete survey and remove the bags of spoil that had been left there. Later, we all met near Fuzzy Wuzzy where the contents of the bags were emptied out onto the pathway. An earlier exit than normal. Refreshments taken in the ravine.



8th September

digging 2022 Posted on 10 September 2022 3:11 pm

Report by Tav (edited):

Diggers were Jake, Tav and Dunc. 

While Jake and Tav bagged up the large pile of gravel, Dunc set about updating the survey. With the gravel bagged, Jake thrutched his way up into the new chamber to confirm that it sadly doesn’t go anywhere, and that Connor must be very thin. Dunc came through to complete the survey before all three beat a hasty exit, returning to light drizzle and some very welcome refreshment.” 



6th September

digging 2022 Posted on 7 September 2022 10:00 am

Vince, Connor, and Duncan

What with one thing or another haven’t made it along to the digging sessions in LoH&G for quite some time (6 months) so was keen to have a look at the progress made following the constricted mineralised vein/passage. Met the others in the car park and we made our way to the entrance.

Duncan headed off towards Beginner’s Luck to retrieve a wire. Me and Connor set-off for the dig. At the dig, a climb up to an enticing space beyond a small hole, I almost squeezed through, Connor did. A small chamber, partially filled with sediment that requires removal before a better idea of potential is revealed. The air is definitely fresher in the upper section.

Back to the main task. Connor drilled a group of holes around the constriction, I was there for assistance and advise if required. The holes were duly filled, the ladder removed as we made our way back to a safe distance. Job done.

Met Duncan at the top of the climb and all exited the cave. Some took refreshments in the ravine. A successful evening. Unfortunately, I have a BCRA Council meeting on Thursday evening so will not be available to assist in the clearance works, maybe next week.



1st September

digging 2022 Posted on 3 September 2022 3:32 pm

Report by Tav:

Dunc, Jake, Tav

Last week’s work had had the desired effect, so the team set about removing the few remaining bits of loose residue that hadn’t been vapourised. Seven bags of mud and diamonds were quickly accumulated, and these were later transported up the slope and spread on the gravel path. More can now be seen of the way on ahead, which looks very tantalising. One or two more bangs will gain at least thin-man access to a small, heavily scalloped, mud-floored chamber. The first person up into it should be able to chisel downwards from above which will help open it up further and avoid the worst of the hard rain. There is a very strong draught, and the chamber may continue both downdip to the west and possibly directly upwards although the view remains too constricted to be certain. A closer inspection of the arch of doom was also undertaken and a consensus reached on the best way of dealing with it.”



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