Beacon Slocker West

14th December 2002 

Digging team:  Chrissy, Graham, Andy, Jasper, Choppers and Sam.

Actually had a few hours digging.  First time in a few years, as normally I have to be the kid sitter.  Hacked away for three hours, made good headway - 52 skips hauled up.  Passage way still going. 

18th December:  Dug for an hour and retrieved a bag of clay for a pottery experiment.

28th December:  On top at first emptying skips, then dug for a couple of hours.  Found a rift that was mud filled to a couple of feet from the top.  Sound of running water can be heard.

  Me in the bottom passage

2nd January 03:  After loads of rain went to look at the entrance to find that it was full of water, with a stream running in.

Beacon East's stream was gushing and there was a large pool developing at the sink.

3rd January:  28 hours later...checked the water levels.  Not so much rain today, but snowing.  Level dropped a couple of feet, still a lot of water flowing in. 

Beacon East's pool was even higher.

Yesterday noticed a stream flowing down a long depression in the field west of the dig.  We investigated it and the stream was sinking noisily into a hole in the ground.  Found no mention of this stream on recent maps, but it is shown on pre-1900 map.

4th January:  18 hours later....water level dropped a few feet to the top of the top side passage.  Been a dry day, but still half the amount of water still flowing in off the hill.

5th January:  Slid a skip down the wooden ramp....the splash came from round the corner, the water probably has dropped the same distance as yesterday.  The stream flowing half the volume of yesterday.

9th January:  In the morning I walked up from home with friend.  She waited while I put some waterproofs on and looked to see if the cave was suitable for digging in the evening.  Glad to say that the water had drained away, leaving various new holes.  Emptied out the skips so as to give that water a chance to drain away too.

In the evening, as it was very cold and snowing the rest of the digging team decided not to come.  Graham and I went on our own.  We filled 26 skips.  Found a way on.

15th January:  Niall, Mandy, Jim, Graham and me.  Took it in turns to dig, the passage way goes on under a large slab of rock, slightly downhill.  Fill, still clay layer, gritty layer and pebbly gritty layer, with a small air space at top which water had been using.

22nd January:  Same team as last week.  Made passage deeper and wider.  About 2 meters in, the roof of the cave starts sloping downhill.  Looks wet and clear air space now.  Spent most of the evening pulling skips along the passage and hooking them on the the winch.  The stream was flowing a bit heavier than last week and I was grovelling in water and my waiting perch happened to be in the stream.  Wet bums!

29th January:  Carried on digging along and down for space to move.  Beginning to fill with water as we head down hill a little.  There is a constant dripping from various places in the roof.  Perhaps there is another layer of clay stopping the water from seeping through.  Graham poked the crow bar through the fill a full length in front.  The passage goes on!

5th February:  Stayed on surface hauling skips and dumping spoil.  Was coming up very watery...hum must be filling up with water.  Was hoping not to get too dirty but managed to slop a load up into my face, so at pub time I was just as diseased looking!  It was a frosty night and my belt froze and had difficulty undoing it!

12th March:  After a month of tramping round various springs, taking samples of water, to see where the water in Beacon East emerges....finally I managed to get back to digging.  As the bottom passage was flooded we decided to remove the rest of the blasted boulder (15th Feb) and the mud around it.  At least there is more room for stacking skips.  Dug all evening.

19th March:  Stayed on surface all evening pulling up and emptying skips.  Exhausting!  (34 skips)

26th March:  As I hadn't seen the dig face for a few weeks popped down to have a looks good when not flooded!  Dragged the full skips, that Niall had filled on his solo trip at the weekend, along the passage to Matt ready for pulling to the surface.  Then went back up to the surface and pulled and emptied the skips for the rest of the evening....exhausted again! (51 skips)