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Skullcap cave.

Progress Report. January 8th 1987.

Chris Proctor, myself and Pete Rose have been steadily digging in Skullcap Cave at Chudleigh, and a progress report is necessary whilst I remember to do it!

In late November we were digging in a steeply descending, metre diameter tube which was getting very awkward.  On the tenth of December we found our first airspace, which just seemed to be a pocket to one side of the passage.  However, on December 17th, we broke through into longer airspace and a passage continuation - we had reached the bottom of the tube.  Gravel, shale and flint in the floor beneath the mud seemed to confirm stream flow through the cave.  On the next trip we moved forward another two metres to a point where an arm could be stuck through into yet another airspace which appeared larger.  This was entered by Brian Johnson on January 3rd 1987 and turned out to be a passage going off into the distance, with a continuous foot or so of airspace.  Unfortunately the triangular passage shape precluded further progress until digging had lowered the floor.

Digging was recommenced on January 7 1987, assisted by Wendy Sampson and a small group from Rock House. Several hours were spent removing spoil before Pete Rose was let loose on the end.  After an hour or so's digging, Pete broke through into a small grotto.  Directly in front was a stalagmite bank, whilst a tiny aven could be seen to have been the source of the stal.  The way on is through the stal bank or under it and I fear it is doomed.

One can peer through to one side of it and the passage can be seen to continue in the same direction, i.e. into the hill.  I squeezed through and photographed the stalagmite flow for posterity, whilst Chris Proctor surveyed the cave to Grade 5.

Digging will continue, as there is a quite definitely discernible draught at the end.  The problem now is that we will have to start enlarging the approaches to the terminal stal bank.  Interested parties should contact Chris Proctor ( Exeter 58467), myself (Chard 4262), Pete Rose (Crediton 2284), or Brian Johnson (Ottery St. Mary 3212).

Would be diggers might also find it worthwhile calling at Rock House to see if anybody there is free to dig.  There are plenty of digging implements at the site.

Peter Gianvill