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Monthly Notes No. 18

By “Wig”

Since the July floods a few B.E.C. members have switched their attention to Burrington – East Twin Swallet in particular.  At first a probe was made at the end of the Third Chamber but interest soon wavered.  A close inspection was made of the west wall through the main passage.  Small probes revealed little except a possible site between the 1st and 2nd Chambers.  This was dug for a short time by Keith Franklin, John Riley and Dave Irwin. There was sufficient found to encourage further digging at the site (permission being sought from the UBSS). Attention then switched outside to the stream bed made by the flood water lower down the valley.  Roy Bennett, Keith Franklin and others attacked a site leading to an open (?) but very tight rift.  Soon interest lapsed and Keith’s attention switched to the old MNRC dig on the opposite side of the valley.  Further notes on the sites will appear in MN in the future.

EAST TWIN SURVEY ‘Wig’ has produced a new survey of East twin Swallet to CRG Grade 6 c-d – a small scale reduction will appear in the B.B. shortly.  Sidcot Swallet, previously only surveyed to CRG Grade 4 ( Barrington – Caves of Mendip) by Stride Brothers (1944), is to be resurveyed in the near future.

Levelling Burrington!  No! the bulldozers weren’t called in, though I’ve no doubt that Bill Smart could have called them from Costains quite easily if he so wished.  To obtain accurate levels of the Burrington caves a line was taken from Ellick House to several entrances.  This was carried out in two ‘trips’ one of 2 hours on a Saturday evening and the other a nine hour trip on the following day.  The line was tied into the entrance of Avelines.

A full list of O.D. levels will appear in a later issue of the B.B. but here are some to be getting along with:-

Spider Hole 572.24ft.
East Twin swallet 470.61ft.  ( Barrington 520ft and UBSS Proc. 600ft.)
Avelines Hole 324.82ft.  ( Barrington 380ft.)
Trat’s Crack 528.69ft.

S. Wales – Roy Bennett has commenced digging another site near the first backfilled earlier in the year. Looks interesting – might go through the pundits don’t think so!

ST. CUTHBERT’S – Dining Room Dig.

Since late April work has been carried out at the digging site above the Dining Room.  Digging takes place on Tuesday evenings, although there has been some work carried out on weekends on odd occasions.  With the establishing of a regular digging team (basically John Riley, Dave Turner, Bob Craig, ‘Wig’ and others from Bath, Bristol and Bridgwater)  work has progresses at a good steady rate.  The first problem that had to be overcome was to enlarge the dig to a workable size. The small rabbit burrowing technique had outlived its usefulness and so all the dug passage was opened up to a walk through tunnel.  Corners of the passage were removed and the floor lowered by some 4ft. – more in places until bedrock was reached.

The spoil tipping has presented little problem; all of it being thrown down into the Dining Room. There will, however, come a time when the dump will be impracticable – what then?  At the moment the spoil heap slopes up beyond the climbs to the entrance of the dig, the foot of the cone has covered the cement table and is slowly creeping to the entrance and on to the streamway!

Digging continued along the top passage for over 25ft. and later another site at the entrance to the ‘Upper Passage’ was dug.  This lower site attracted a few weeks attention as there were two pointers indicating that the main flow of water had entered this lower passage.  The first was the apparent multi-directional flow of the water at the ‘T’ junction and secondly, the late discovery of vadose markings at the top of the slope in the upper passage.

Both indicated that the upper passage was an inlet.  Digging at the Arch revealed another passage, possibly running parallel with the upper passage.  To date insufficient digging has taken place to confirm its direction.  If this is the way on it will no doubt be a very long term project and our only hope is that the roof of these passage will lift soon. However all is not lost as there are at least two more choked passages in the dig and a return to the upper may well pay dividends even though the water seems to have flowed in towards the cave – time will tell.  At the moment the digging team is still prepared to do battle with site!

Change of C.C.C. Secretary.

At the last C.C.C. Committee meeting Tim (Hodgoon) Hodgson resigned as its secretary and has been replaced by Tony Knibbs (M.C.G.).