• 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:

WIN A TRIPOD OR A QUADPOD - IDEAL FOR DIGGING!! THANK YOU SPANSET!

Fishes

New member
GarDouth said:
We'd had a "dig bike" for some time however we decided that we needed a more over-engineered option as we realised that, on the old bike, the only thing stopping the bucket falling back down was a flimsy old chain!

Mark II was developed (cobbled together) by one of our digging group. The new bike features a ratchet and break operated by the existing two bike break leavers. It's been invaluable to haul out all the sloppy mud in the North York Moors digs!

I'm liking the comfy chair rather than a bicycle seat. Nobody expects the comfy chair.............................
 

tomferry

Active member
Really impressed by the dig projects their all great ! So much more exciting than the ones I have done and have gave me many ideas  (y)
 

paul

Moderator
Fishes said:
Is that Water Bicycle Paul? Op Mole gave it that nickname after Jim Roberts tested out his rope climbing bicycle there in the 1990's.

The tradition, it seems, goes on.

I was in  a hurry earlier and didn't read you message properly. Nothing to do with Op Mole -  everything to do Orpheus and an old bike which was chopped up and put to good use in WICC.

 

Ed W

Member
The MCG Digging Team have been systematically exploring the caves and lead mines on Sandford Hill (Western Mendips) for the last six years.  In that time we have significantly extended Sandford Levvy as well as re-opened and greatly extended Pearl Mine.  This has been a very satisfying project, and has shed a great deal of light on mines for which there is an almost total absence of written records.  More details of the project can be found here; https://www.bigmarker.com/subbrit/in-the-dark-discovery-and-rediscovery-in-the-caves-and-mines-of-sandford-hill

The Pearl Mine dig involved emptying a 25m deep shaft of 45 years of backfill, nearly all of which was hauled up by faithful Eyore (aka Martin) walking across the hillside in training for his periodic arctic adventures, attached to the bucket by a rope to his sledge haling harness.  We also discovered (as I am sure others have) that the humble hauling bucket can benefit from a bit of thought.  In our case using the same 25 litre drums that many use, but cutting the bottom off and turning them upside down so that the integral handle can be used to aid emptying the super-glue like klatch onto the spoil heap.  A typical digging session would result in c1.5 tonnes of material hauled up the shaft.

There are still very many shafts to be explored on the hill, and we are currently working on Fern Mine (or at least will be returning as soon as the situation allows) - shown in the first picture below.  The rather nice green aluminium ladders were originally used on the launcher vehicles for the Army's Pheonix unmanned aircraft (second picture, you can see a ladder at the rear of the vehicle) and obtained when the system was retired, whilst the steel mesh was material left over from a film shot at Pinewood Studios.  The "pods" would be a very considerable aid to Fern Mine, and the other shafts (up to 30m deep), make life a whole lot easier for poor Eyore and make it all the more likely that we can achieve our dual aims of creating a significant through trip and finally find the mythical Gulf of Sandford Hill.

Thanks to Tom Harrison for the pic of Fern Mine
 

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Ed W

Member
Biff Frith was a stalwart of the MCG Diggers until his death in 2017, and he would always come up trumps with specialist equipment for our digs.  If we ran into a problem you could rely on him to create something special to overcome them.

For instance built two monorails for spoil extraction and they were installed in Carcass Cave (Axbridge Hill) and Battery Swallet.  The first photo shows Biff with the one in Carcass Cave, where much of the digging was done with an air powered chisel.  This of course required a compressor to operate, and for various reasons this could not be left on the hill.  Given that the hill is somewhat steep, and the compressor very heavy, Biff simply converted said compressor into a self-propelled unit, as shown in the second photo.  The final photo shows Biff and Whitelackington (for those who remember him on UK Caving) with the compressor and air chisel outside Carcass Cave.

We still miss Biff, and I ma pretty sure if he was still around we would have no need to enter this competition as he would have built us something comparable.  Alas none of the rest of us have his Scrapyard Challenge engineering skill so we could really do with winning one of these items!

Thanks to Bill Chadwick for the photos.
 

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mrodoc

Well-known member
I didn't make this, Cheg Chester did but I had completely forgotten about this really cool railway!
 

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christwigg

New member
The North York Moors Caving Club undertook an ambitious dig to re-enter a drainage level of the Rosedale Ironstone Mine during 2016.

Thanks to support from the local gamekeeper we were able to get a flying start with a JCB and chainsaws.
However the resulting knee deep quagmire required subsequent spoil removal via an aerial ropeway.
As entertaining as this was, it was simply too slow, so we soon reverted to a scaffolding railway with a miniature tub utilizing wheelbarrow wheels.
Sadly it wasn't to be and when the first floods of winter came the entire dig and all our equipment vanished into a large crater and the dig was abandoned.

https://youtu.be/PQcRlmka7vg
 

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Fishes

New member
paul said:
Fishes said:
Is that Water Bicycle Paul? Op Mole gave it that nickname after Jim Roberts tested out his rope climbing bicycle there in the 1990's.

The tradition, it seems, goes on.

I was in  a hurry earlier and didn't read you message properly. Nothing to do with Op Mole -  everything to do Orpheus and an old bike which was chopped up and put to good use in WICC.

I know the digging  winch is Orpheus. The OP Mole reference  is reference to Jim Roberts' amazing rope climbing bicycle that was tested on the entrance shaft. He did a demonstration and talk about it at the Pindale Cavers Fair in 1993. My favourite quote from his presentation was "It was horrendous, but it worked" which I remember being repeated several times.
 

zzzzzzed

Member
The YSS digging team have a number of projects that could usefully use either of the pods.  The Quadpod in particular would be useful for some projects.  One of the more promising looking sites hasn?t even been started yet because it would need something like the Quadpod to help clear the junk that was thrown down there generations ago.

When not in use we would store it at the YSS hut and make it available to any other club in the area.
 

Badlad

Administrator
Staff member
Many years ago Alum Pot was just a shallow shakehole - older cavers will remember this well.  The superhuman [subhuman] diggers of the Northern Cave Club embarked on a dig to see if it went anywhere.  As we progressed down it got bigger and bigger and we had to employ a massive kibble to make any progress at all.  Until a few years ago this was still visible near the sump. 

A tripod back then would have been a real help.

wl


Only hours left before this competition closes.
 

Eds

New member
I don't think they need a tripod but these people certainly put in a lot of effort and made a major discovery (even though they were trying not to).
https://www.tunneltalk.com/China-17Feb2021-Bridging-a-giant-karst-cave-and-underground-river-for-a-high-speed-rail-line.php
 

Fjell

Active member
Eds said:
I don't think they need a tripod but these people certainly put in a lot of effort and made a major discovery (even though they were trying not to).
https://www.tunneltalk.com/China-17Feb2021-Bridging-a-giant-karst-cave-and-underground-river-for-a-high-speed-rail-line.php

They back-filled it! None of this namby-pamby SSSI stuff, no sir.

?In July 2016, at about 2km from the portal and 60m below ground, a giant karst cave of 95m long x 230m wide x 50m-120m high was discovered (Fig 1). The deposits at the bottom of the cave are 30m-90m thick, with a scree slope of 30-40 degrees. At the lower side of the slope emerges a large underground river of 5m-15m wide that runs for 18km and has a flow of 70m3/sec in the rainy season.?

Shallow seismic, you know it makes sense.......
 

Wardy

Member
Dear all
Thank You for a selection of excellent entries and roll on the end of lockdown, so digging can commence in earnest.
I will have a re read and make sure I haven't missed anything then post the results asap.
Thanks again
Pete
 

Wardy

Member
Dear all
First prize for me goes to ................ The Old Ruminator / mrodoc as their applications seem to represent a team and are in the great tradition of mendip digging.
The ferret is a nice bit of tech in the camera and light yet married to a no expense spent set of wheels, but it was the web winch that caught my eye - I had a vision of easing a large block out of a choke with little effort, but breath held and tension that you could cut with a knife.
I have also really liked their approach over the years as the projects are so well documented with photo's, sharing the atmosphere and build up of a good project with us all.
I would suggest the Quadpod and Davits, but as first prize winners they can choose for me and I look forward to seeing some photo's of its new life in the south and here's to finding the Frozen Deeps big brother!

Second prize for me goes to the Matienzo application from Juan.
The image with perfect walling and young saplings sacrificed to the cause took me back to my first caving trip abroad to Matienzo in the early eighties. That trip hooked me and set me up for many years of digging and expeditions.
The fact that I am not alone in being introduced to the joys of exploration by Matienzo means that anything they win I am sure will be put to good use and hopefully in addition to saving trees it will convert many more budding explorers in the search for quality Spanish caves.

Other notable entries in no particular order.
I liked both the bicycle entries and did search around to see if I had another frame to send to the cause, but everything I had was in such poor condition compared to GarDouth's entry which is truly the work of a perfectionist and Paul's idea of adding what looked like an angling umbrella made me wonder if they were fishing for boulders.
I am a little worried that Ed still has the rocket launcher that the ladder came off and if so I would like to confirm that even in lockdown I will not be at work or at home or any other address in range!
As for entries of French mud mining, at least we know Leclused only lives the dream sometimes.

Thanks to you all and good luck once freedom returns
if you contact me or UKC then we can sort delivery or collection.
Pete and the Team at SpanSet
 

mrodoc

Well-known member
Thank you for choosing our group. We have a potential new project where one of these items will come in handy. By the way the bicycle winch concept was used to great and successful effect when opening up Rana Hole up in Sutherland about 15 years ago.
 

Leclused

Active member
Wardy said:
As for entries of French mud mining, at least we know Leclused only lives the dream sometimes.

Thanks to you all and good luck once freedom returns
if you contact me or UKC then we can sort delivery or collection.
Pete and the Team at SpanSet

Then I love to dream :) The following photo shows a small part of the underground Rigotte river behind the muddy connection dig. This system is currently in exploration and we found roughly 5.5km of passages and counting, 2/3 of the distance between sink and spring is explored. For the moment Covid 19 is blocking us from going back :(

There is a thread about this exploiration : https://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=26862.0  (in het last post you find a link to our blog where all reports can be found)

 

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mrodoc

Well-known member
Consulting with the team about whether we need a tripod or quadropod. Will get back to you shortly.
 

Leclused

Active member
mrodoc said:
That's a great find Leclused.

And we are also exploring an other system in the same village, the underground Vannon river, currently 1.9km.  But the focus for the moment is the Rigotte :) I think we still have several years to go to explore everything in that area. It's a very complex area with several underground rivers which have their springs all in the same village.
 
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