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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,  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.

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.”

26th July

digging 2022 Posted on 29 July 2022 6:07 am

Report by Duncan:

Duncan, Nick, Tav

“Last week’s efforts had widened the approach and Duncan was able to squeeze into the new bit.  The drill and associated materials were passed though so that three holes could be drilled in the left hand wall (facing in) to remove the squeeze.  Nick and Tav hacked a lot of mud and loose stuff out of the approach – the bulge on the right hand wall further back will be the next target to enable the smooth passage of spoil.”

21st July

digging 2022 Posted on 23 July 2022 2:10 pm

Report by Duncan:

Connor, Tav, and Duncan – three holes drilled in left hand wall of initial squeeze into recent extension of the Diamond Mine dig.  Connor attempted to put some holes in the wall of the next pinch point but found the rock friable and it might be better to attack this with a chisel.  Holes filled and fired.  Meanwhile the Hawkes family (Nick, Jeremey & Tessa) toured LoH&G.  Early finish for drinks in the ravine.”

14th July

digging 2022 Posted on 17 July 2022 9:11 am

Report by Nick:

“Only Graham and Nick attended the weekly meet with various apologies of ‘enforced rest’ from a variety of unknown ‘conditions’ preventing others from joining.

Music along the footpath greeted our arrival although as we approached the entranced the tunes became sinister and disturbing so a quick change was made.

On arrival the cable was coiled and rubble removed revealing enough space (just) for us both to finally pass through to the new extension after some extra digging and drilling. The new ‘few metres’ 2 along and 2+ up, continues to have good scalloping and fresh but not breezy air. It’s not yet a comfortable access route. Further excavation from the far side may succeed in making it a flat entrance but probably a little extra assistance at the very beginning will be required. Ahead the way on may be up or straight ahead.

With no official time available beer o’clock arrived early. The normally happy mellow drinking spot was still a sombre scene as the dark music continued emerging from the evil plastic rocks. The sleeping owls had all left. We didn’t stay long.”

30th June

digging 2022 Posted on 2 July 2022 8:19 am

Report by Connor:

Connor, Duncan, Nick, and Tav

“All successfully make it through the prom event traffic, sadly no opportunities for giggling at teenagers trying to run and get dressed as we exited the cave. 

Duncan entered first clearing out and in inspecting the results of last weeks efforts. Chemical persuasion proved to do a good job. It had taken several inches off along the drill lines, turning most of it to dust! Connor was sent in to see if he could wiggle through, after some more chiselling and mud clearing victory was achieved. A small passage was entered of similar rock and scalloping. Straight ahead a 45 degree mud slop, that has clearly carried water continued for around 3 meters. In the roof a hole was spotted and after examining a draft could be felt from. Nick threw a long crowbar through, and enthusiasm found, more of the mud and rock was cleared. This was just enough for Nick to stick his head through to see the findings. Enlargement of the passage will be needed to allow work to commence on the two new leads.”

Tav did his own thing elsewhere.

23rd June

digging 2022 Posted on 25 June 2022 4:13 pm

Duncan and Nick with Tav and Jake

Work continues along the constricted mineral vein. The last application of chemically induced speleogenesis was cleared and the area worked at with hammer and chisel. Further persuasive techniques were applied this evening. Tav and Jake entertained themselves elsewhere.

7th June

digging 2022 Posted on 8 June 2022 11:20 am

Report by Duncan (edited)

“Duncan, and Nick with Wayne Starsmore, Claire Cohen, Connor Roe

Duncan & Nick went to clear the results of induced rapid speleogenesis, first, the wire was reeled in.  The bang had turned the calcite to gravel which was easy to clear.  More widening will be required though a go with a chisel first.  A hole in the floor a little way back down from the end was opened up with a view down a narrow rift.  This might be easier to reach by tunnelling under the false floor. The tourists joined in until the handle of the little pick broke.  Refreshments were taken in the ravine until it came on to rain so we drank up and went home.”

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