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Caine Hill May 2011 to January 2012

By Stu Lindsay


With the Mendip Migration now behind us for 2011 , May 4th  saw Paul, Phil, Dave and Stu haul 70 bags up to Son of a Pitch while Trevor drilled holes in the End of Dig, The same team a week later was rather disappointed when the bang was called off. So Paul and Dave descended into the bowels to clear rock, whilst the rest got 82 bags to the surface. NigelTnT presented himself with the makings on the afternoon of the 15th. 14 lengths of cord were pre cut and Trev and Stu proceeded to the 2 dig faces. 2 pleasing booms, the rift one much louder, and a 30 min session of CHAPS, will hopefully provide plenty of work  for the next descent. Third week, 18th May, on the trot for the same team plus John, (available 1 week in 3) who joined Paul and Phil to sort out End of Dig debris. Trevor Dave and Stu hauled from First chamber to Son of a Pitch. With the year flying by,  25th saw Stu an hour or so early improving the End of Dig with caps. The End of Dig still follows the dip, about 20 degrees,  with a nicely water worn floor and the usual infil floor to ceiling which we get on any passage with a downward trend, horizontal has an air space above. Numerous swirl pockets dot progress, these pockets in the floors,walls and the roof are probably all that remains of isolated washed out mineral deposits. The usual evenings work was hauling by Trev and Stu whilst Paul and Phil dug the debris created earlier.

BB544-caines2Jake made his first visit for quite a while, June 1st when encouraged by Stu they dug solidly adding to the 20 bags dug previously and getting all to the First chamber. There now seems to be 2 ways forward, down to the left and in to the right. The right hand side is just body sized and leaves little room to dig, the “pit” to the left likewise, if not tighter….more bang!  5th of June saw DuncanB join Trev and Stu for a very energetic assault on the rock shelf. First Trev was bombarded with shrapnel as he dug below, then Stu had the odd kilo size lump land on him as he lay sideways underneath drilling the next shot holes. 12TH  June,  JakeB TrevH and Stu on a horribly wet and windy day cleared the rift, and the upper reaches were quite wet, usually May to October THE CAVE IS DRY !

15th June in accompaniment with NigelTnT Stu, along with Trev  set up the End of Dig with 5 length’s of 40g, even though plugged the holes were found to be filled with water…self tamping! Paul and Phil spent the evening filling bags at SoaP and getting 6 out. A very pleasing booooom !

Again on the 15th Stu just managed to persuade JakeB  to do a stint, his reluctance was due to a 15mile run the day before. The 2 hour session did manage to bag up most of the debris and left some choice exposed areas to be attacked by the crowbar next visit on the 22nd by Trev and Dave. On the 29th Trevor on his 212th visit, Stu on his 202nd   with a very pleasant evening saw Paul and Dave complete the  team and haul out 112 bags.

7th July saw a visit by PeteH, joining Trev and Stu the evening combined hole drilling and getting bags to Son of a Pitch. The central part of the End of Dig now needs to be modified as the Pit is proving difficult to negotiate! The roof solution hole seems to go in and drop, this would put it behind the central area! Being up to 30cms across, this tube is horizontal whilst the lower water worn floor is dipping and spreading out slightly to the pit and the right handside.13TH and Stu, drilling shot holes was joined by Jake after a couple of hours. Trev did likewise in the rift and when holes completed went into hauling mode. The grand finale was when Stu sent up a couple of “rockery stones”..circa 30kgs. 19TH  with little to do,  all the usual suspects totalling 6 turned up, so hauled the 2 big ones out then cleared the cave with 49 bags to the surface. The following evening saw NigelTnT join Trev and Stu now both newly licenced,  bang both ends with pleasing crumps, Lucy, Tim’s daughter doing the honours with her finger on the button.

Again August was quiet TrevH, JakeB, PhilC, JohnN and StuL appearing on the 31st when Rift clearing was the order of the day.

September and holidays done and dusted, the 7th saw Jake do a good job clearing up the cave of oddments and had a tidy up on the surface whilst Trev and Stu yet again drilled the Rift and End of Dig. 14TH collected the makings for the twin bangs, Stu EOD, Trev the Rift, which in the acompanyment of Jake were duly set,  and the sweet crumps sealed yet another successful venture. 4 days later Trev and Stu found the entrance to have a faint smell of the fumes, rewinding the firing wire they didn’t seem to get worse as we descended, in End of Dig the floor as expected had not reacted to well,  but the rest had done its stuff, a dozen bags and as many rocks the reward so far. The pit is bigger but not digger sized! However if the way on was clear it would be big enough even for me to progress. An early start on the 21st before being joined by Trevor saw capping the floor demoralising, like the bridge now some 6/7 metres back,  it just absorbs the shock or the hole finishes in mud or soft calcite/mineral. In the meantime Trev had cleared a lot of his bang debris and also had stuff still in situ that would need more effort, maybe next time more than just cord.. Trev did a solo on the 25th and the planned bang on the 28th was postponed so Jake Trev and StuL had a hauling session.

5th of October saw Ivan Elliot make his first visit, and was put to good use by helping Trev and Jake clear all the bags from the rift to First Chamber whilst Stu drilled holes in EOD. Using perinite for a change  the 9th saw Trev, Stu and a rather “nervous” Ivan fill the holes at EOD before Trev departed to do the rift whilst Stu finished off the EOD. C H A P S was employed for an hour on the 11th (first time the cave had NG fumes residing  for so long). The next day  would see a safe environment for JohnN, Trev, StuL and Ivan to clear the debris but instead they decided to   haul 64 loads out to the surface. The 19th was a disaster with Trev being late went to Lockes, so Trev went down and cleared EOD…..Bad news on the 26th Tim the landowner had been the victim of a heart attack, but was reported to be OK. Ivan and Jake did the rift whilst Trev and Stu assessed the EOD, looking grim, way on seems to have fizzled to a number of small tubes so will drill it and hit it hard with a couple sticks of Perinite, if this doesn’t open it up then the likihood is The Rift will once again be our main target..

Start of November saw JohN drilling a couple of the shot holes in E O D along with StuL, 6 in total should sort out the annoying little tubes one way or the other, Meanwhile Trev pulled down a lot of loose rock before his drilling concluded the session. The 13th was Stu and Ivan at EOD, Stu filling the holes with NG based chemical persuasion. It became apparent that the slowing down of the hole priming was due to the tamping rod sharpening into a point! However, the 6 holes were duly primed. Joined by Trev, who had done a similar operation in the rift bottom, all was tidied up and the 2 wires taken to the surface where boom boom heralded a successful venture. 23RD saw PaulB attend for a rare visit and assisted the clearance of the EOD with StuL…IT LOOKS BLEAK! Mean while TrevH and Ivan E managed to sort out the rift bottom and around 50 loads from both sites found their way to First Chamber, a good night and 2 ½ hours labour! Last day of the month and JakeB clearing the rift now a real live prospect, whilst StuL tidied up the last of the debris in looking to be a daunting prospect with micro holes seemingly the way on!!!!

3rd of December and another year almost gone. Trevor and Jake went down the rift and continued with progress whilst Stu did a capping session in a vain hope of expanding the EOD potential..a lost cause…I think so at the moment. Leaving an extremely dry cave into a real blowy night, the coldest so far was quite invigorating. 2 weeks later in the first snow of winter Trev and Stu  gave the last rights to the EOD, amazingly the sloping water worn floor just stops, minute cracks and tiny holes seemingly the only way out of the small pit. All nooks and crannies checked, maybe a couple little tubes in the middle might succumb to desperate measures …the Rift rules!

2012 ONE WAY TO GO NOW….down the rift, the small tube/s that have had periodic chemical attention,  whilst the main effort centred on the End of Dig,  is our main hope now. First thing to change with the  prospect of large amounts of debris and mud was the rift hauling system. This was done with a new rope and hauling from the bottom by Trev and Stu at top on the 4th January. In no time at all we had 34 bags up and deposited at the growing stack in First chamber.11th was a busy session, bags were moved up to base of entrance shaft, Trev pulling,  also we moved bags from first chamber to Corner, Corner to SoaP, and as a finale before Stu’s birthday bash the 2 of us,  then got out the bags at base of entrance adding  16 to the pile. Hauling on the 18th saw Trev and Stu get 45-50 up from the First chamber. Double  our number on the 25th when joined by PhilC and JohnN who stacked at the SoaP before whizzing down to do a quick recce with Trevor into the rift bottom and were notably impressed!

First day of leap year February saw temp at -4 degrees or less,  it was nice to get below ground, Trev attacked the way on whilst Stu moved 20 -25 loads back from Rift to first chamber. A short trip on the 15th tidied up all the loose ends and Trev made final  preparations for chemical persuasives in the holes he drilled on the 12th. The 29th of February and just Trev and Stu to haul a few bags from First chamber to S oa P also noted a break in the C H A P S  pipe, this type of thing could have dire consequences if we descended after a pumping session assuming C H A P S had removed al the toxins!!

Pics… by StuL…. DaveB digging hard: Shot holes drilled and plugged ready:

The aftermath: Stats: Man hours……169 approx………bags ……. 315 poor!.......... Distance gained 5metres