• Hello From Descent

    The publication date for issue 289 is the 10th of December, meaning subscribers should receive their copies during the week leading up to that date. It is also available from caving suppliers such as Inglesport and Starless River, or from our new website

    New Descent board here:

A new cave on Mendips - The Last White Rabbit Hole (Tuska's Last)

mikekushy

Active member
Many of you may have heard about this dig going on, or even seen it passing by. The site is next to a public walkway and roadside,so even if kept quiet it wouldn't go unnoticed...The land it is on however is private! The landowner has been kind enough to allow us to dig here, their request is that the site is visited by none other than the known digging team and anyone assisting them...If this is ignored the site could be shut down! One of the most promising mendip digs currently I believe and massive potential for a great system to be dicovered and enjoyed by all, also the potential to reveal alot more about the hydrology of the area. Anyone ignoring these pleas could be ruining it for alot of people. Of course if you want to get involveddo the just thing and contact the diggers..we're open to having as much help as we can get.

The aim of this post is not to 'show off' but to provide you with an up to date account of the going ons.

Happy digging and bear in mind what we do this for, to find caves and get people caving :D

I want to keep this short and to the point as much as possible:

Whilst digging with the ATLAS team at Rock Farm I expressed some intrest in Crosse Swallet, Rich Witcombe pointed me in Tuska's direction as he'd look at this in the past also. Tuska was able to provide me contact details for the landowner. Things were looking good until the landowner became unwell, I didn't want to bother the fmaily anymore. This is when Tuska asked me if I wanted to dig 'Tuska's Last/The Last', it was the last concrete pipe shaft he ever put in on mendips (2016). I'd heard about this site through Duncan Simey some years ago, and instantly it felt meant to be..It was on! There used to be a lake in the field when the depression was there, this reportedly whirlpooled into the nether world. The neighbours close by have reported hearing a large volume of water deep under there house in very wet weather. The site is also on a dry valley with alot of fault action, with the pipes put in about 15ft from the cliff edge, where the dip and strike meet.

From here on I'll just ply you with pictures and videos with brief descriptions:

IMG_1486.JPG

Tuska figuring out the best place to start digging down.
A07711A9-86EC-4F60-9809-D0DF9150937F.jpeg

Dave Speed in the digger made hole.
IMG_20211111_145158.jpg

Recovering the dig December 2021
IMG_20211111_133804.jpg

The 15ft of pipe was capped with 4 sleepers, Wayne S in picture
received_7222855081088154.jpeg

Setting up the winch and frame, Mike and Tuska
received_636130307709944.jpeg

Connecting the ladder and frame to the pipes.
received_302736821961186.jpeg

All set up and ready to winch
received_303255048414701.jpeg

Probaly about 10ft below the pipes. Using only plug and feathers and cementing down through the boulders, always had a draught from the start. Photo took by Chris Williams.
received_515740556776176.jpeg

Lovely waterworn rock
20220418_134422.jpg

18/04/22 Quite alot of spoil coming out now, modifications made to frame as our new neighbours had a tendancy to move the winch about.

That's my limit for photos, I'll continue the thread...
 

mikekushy

Active member
IMG_0706.JPG

The shaft bottomed out at 12m deep, from here it looked to dangerous to continue downwards, so we were forced to go horizontal into a slot slightly higher up. After a good couple of months engineering and stabilsing we progressed southwards. Geoff Newton in picture 31/07/22.
IMG_0721.JPG
IMG_0715.JPG
IMG_0724.JPG

07/08/22 We got into our first bit of open space, even had some nice stal about. The breakdown chmaber was about 3m long and wide and was made up of what looks like collapsed bedding or cliff.
IMG_0841.JPG

29/08/22 Spoil stack getting bigger. Jess Eades, Rob Harper, Martyn Grayson, MIke Kushy and John Cooper.
IMG_0851.JPG

01/09/22 We dug though 2 more slightly smaller chambers, then headed into a clean washed breakdwon area, where the boulders got alot bigger and the gaps bigger still. I can't tell who's in the picture but they are in the breakdwon area, there is an 8ft climb down under the muddy boulder in the floor which is the route on now.
P9281253.JPG

29/09/22 MK in the chamber at the bottom of the 8ft climb, the next dug way on is just above his left shoulder. Photo courtesy of MIke Wise.
P9281265.JPG

29/09/22 MK in the next chamber again, which was entered after a collapse higher up. Breaking the way back into the previous chamber to allow a safer connection. Photo courtesy of Mike Wise.
IMG20221012163653.jpg

12/10/22 JC in the final squeeze which enters a passage with a solid bedding ceiling and a solid wall, about 2m wide and 2m high, looking forwards to a blockage about 5m ahead (we've called this Golden Key chamber).
PA191296.JPG

21/10/22 Things have really started getting interesting. After passing through the blockage in Golden Key we entered bedding passage proper. Courtenay James, MIke Kushy and John Cooper in shot. This is the top of the bedding. Photo by Mike Wise.

tbc...
 

mikekushy

Active member
PA191274.JPG

PA191363.JPG

JC opening up the clcite constriction midway down the bedding. Also some nice stal about.
PA191261.JPG

More bedding.
312351394_199983729053816_295781417137850550_n.jpg

312520440_199983785720477_4575859393393795645_n.jpg

Some pretties about. MIke Wise in photo.
311704151_199983495720506_9116357985045491131_n.jpg

The muddy dig at the bottom of the bedding, the next breakthrough point...more like a medip dig now.
312569634_199983852387137_4057334078950162284_n.jpg

312465625_199983802387142_3555076082492397819_n.jpg

312473533_199983645720491_673996327472831816_n.jpg

We also found a boulder chamber just after the calcite constriction (mid way down the bedding). It feels to head back in under the entrance shaft and has signs of sink development. The first picture is of Mike Wise in the prime dig site in the boulder chamber (at it's lowest point). Feels like deep drops around here, we'll have to tread carefully.

So that's it for now, we've had a couple of dig sessions at the bottom of the bedding, in the mud. 14 hours digging and it hasn't gone yet, but I will keep this thread updated.

We're also working on getting all our photos, videos and logbook onto a blog. All the people involved in the dig will be mentioned there, I don't want to risk naming everyone in case I miss some...but everyone is very appreciated and well done to all involved and the support given.

Also you should be able to see my album on Facebook, even if you're not on it I believe??? : https://www.facebook.com/media/set?vanity=100071265700481&set=a.158948169824039

Also a youtube account: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC59jlPv0o9mjpLuwzyFnjEg

All the best and happy digging Mike Kushy and team.
 

Pegasus

Administrator
Staff member
Fabulous post, thanks so much and best of luck in finding loads of new cave. Looking forward to hearing about it :):dig::dig::dig:
 

PeteHall

Moderator
Looking like a proper cave there Kushy! (y)

Is it possible to add the survey, or will that jeopardise next year's J-Rat entry?

Keep on diggin'
 

mikekushy

Active member
Na all good. Can add the plan up to date, still yet to survey the corners of some of the bedding passage and the boulder chamber:
IMG-20221026-WA0000.jpg


IMG-20221026-WA0001.jpg


The red cross is the final squeeze, just before Golden Key chamber, the blue line is where the boulder chamber comes in/goes and the green mark is the muddy pit. Still drawing up the elevation and will have the boulder chamber surveyed soon.
 

Mark

Well-known member
Its great to see that some groups share exploration as its happening, (thats what the Eldon do)

I get that some some sites have to remain secret for all sorts of reasons, (back in the day you never let on where you were digging).

Keep up the good work, I hope it gives more
 

mikekushy

Active member

Made a little video this Wednesday 26th to show the draught at the muddy pit. Mike wise, Mike Waterworth in the video, with me filming some.

Also a photo of a sandstone cobble about 12" long:
PA261385.JPG

Can anyone identify this fossil we found? About an inch long!:
PA261384.JPG
 

Elaine

Active member
Wow, We (as the Templeton team) dug there for several weeks the first time it was opened about 7 years ago and I thought it was too fractured to ever be made safe. Well done.
 

alastairgott

Well-known member
I went down to mendip in the summer and helped some of the locals dig another cave and had a good root though their spoil heap of this wierd red conglomerate stuff. Some of those troublemakers in the photo by the entrance to The Last then brought a red rock from The Last home to Derbyshire with them and “presented” it to me. It sits pride of place by the kitchen sink.
 

Attachments

  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    144.3 KB · Views: 36

mikekushy

Active member
I went down to mendip in the summer and helped some of the locals dig another cave and had a good root though their spoil heap of this wierd red conglomerate stuff. Some of those troublemakers in the photo by the entrance to The Last then brought a red rock from The Last home to Derbyshire with them and “presented” it to me. It sits pride of place by the kitchen sink.
You're welcome to come and join us next time you're down this way 🙂
 
Top