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Hunters' Lodge Inn Sink - The Latest News.

By Tony Jarratt

"Even a large flow, several million gallons per day, easily traverses passages impenetrable to man" - Willie Stanton, "Digging for Mendip Caves.”

Since the initial digging report in BB 511 work has continued here at a steady pace - a total of 70 banging trips being recorded to date.  The steeply dipping natural rift which takes the flood stream was joined after some 40ft (12m) from the base of the entrance shaft by a very low bedding plane passage at ceiling height on the western side.  Being more open than the rift this was followed by blasting out the floor to "Ben and Bev sized" dimensions for a distance of c.15ft (5m).  It has an attractively eroded ceiling with many tiny straws and curtains - most of which are proving to be surprisingly impervious to blast damage.  It is some 5ft (1.5m) wide and continues on into the distance with many more small but attractive formations visible ahead. Some fine fossils can be seen in the pleasantly water worn floor of "Pub Crawl", particularly at the first RH bend.

On the 15th of November Mad Phil surveyed the cave to a length of 59ft (l8m) and a depth of 29ft. (8.9m). This has since been increased to c.95ft (29m) length and c,39ft (l2m) depth. The current end is approximately 30ft (9m) south of the car park/field wall.

A minor breakthrough occurred on the 16th January when a 3ft (lm) deep rift in the floor of the bedding plane was forced down into some 7ft (2.1 m) of relatively open lower bedding plane passage with narrow open rifts below - one of which sucked in Adrian's lump hammer from a distance of 15ft away (sorry mate). (Ed. I was wondering where it was).  This passage has brought us back onto the line of Pub Crawl and if necessary the intervening rock could be blasted away to ease skip dragging.  Visitors should be warned that in the event of a rapid flash flood this lower bedding plane would not be a nice place to be - as was found out during a clearing trip on the 23rd January.  The bench between the shove ha'penny board and the fireplace being a far better alternative (depending on the time of day of course).

Work continues at this extremely promising site where a c.10ft deep rift in the floor is being enlarged to gain access to the Master Cave below.  In very cold surface conditions plumes of mist can be seen rising from the entrance shaft and the strong, and occasionally intermittent draught, has given rise to the theory that this is caused by the guides at Wookey Hole opening and closing the show cave door!

Spoil hauling in the entrance shaft has been made much easier thanks to the donation of a magnificent lightweight tripod by Paul Brock.  A variety of both mains and battery drills have been used underground and our favourite so far is the 110v.  Makita, unknowingly loaned by a discharged seaman's employers.  The cost so far of drill hire and explosives is about 490 pounds - just over 5 pound a foot.  This figure will obviously reduce drastically when the extensive system below is entered!

In advance of the future exploration party we have sent ahead a bit of Frank Jones to do the first through trip (and he thought his caving days were over!).

Footnote:

Jacquie Dors was delighted to report the comment of an elderly lady customer speaking to her husband in the car park - "Yer, I just seen someone climb out of the barbecue!”

More Diggers and Helpers

Phil Massey, Jake Johnson, Ben Wills, Fergus Taylor, Ray Deasy, Rich and James Witcombe, Phil Collett (SMCC), Ivan Hollis (SMCC), Stuart Sale, Malcolm Davies, Mike Willett, Andy Heath (CSS), Pete Hellier, Ian Matthews, Guy Munnings, Ben Holden, Roy Wyncoll, Mark "Shaggy"Howden, Helen Hunt, John Walsh, Rich Blake, Jake Baynes, Davey Lennard, Barry Hulatt, Bill Chadwick (Bracknell & District C.C.), and Frank Jones (part of, deceased).