Wigmore Swallet
Success to Bolde Myners

Tony Jarratt (J. Rat)

From:- Belfry Bulletin No 357, January 1978

Following the initial report (B.B. No.356) the Company are pleased announce the success of their project. To continue the Tale from where we left off in September .....

At around 35ft. the initially loose ends of the rift begun to stabilise into a relatively solid vein of assorted iron ores and calcite. Various odd bits of steel ladder were begged, borrowed or stolen and welded together into one 30ft. length - creating some problems when transported to the site on the roof of Mr N's car (lucky there were no coppers about!) and installed in the shaft.

Banging continued, courtesy of Alan Thomas, and in early November, a rift was opened at the western side of the shaft. Though only 6" wide it appeared to be reasonably deep and draughting strongly with varying weather conditions. The vein material at the side of the rift was chemically removed to make it accessible.

On the 9th November, the dry clad diggers were to have mixed feelings when it was found that a small stream had begun to pour down the entrance shaft and disappear into the rift. Dubious surface work by persons unknown enlarged this trickle to a much more impressive size - much to the disgust of Steve, Pru and Jerry who were instantly 'drowned-ratted"! Co-incidentally, McAnus had joined the team.

Spurred on by the instant swallowing of the stream and its distant rumbling, the rift was dug for some 10ft., with Tom Temple and George Dixon(?) representing the R.N. contingent. During this time, much of the unstable back wall was faced with stone and cement 'ginging' as permanent shoring with an aesthetic touch. The late November/early December period saw a lull in excavations - partly due to the need for manpower on the Tyning's Reopening Dig (YOU ARE ALL WELCOME TO ASSIST) and it was not until 11th December that further serious work commenced. Bob X and Stuart Lindsey spent a day at the site, and the latter opened a small hole in the rift into which he poked his head - promptly receiving a nice piece of roof on the back of his neck. He hesitated!

The following day he returned, accompanied by Jane Kirby (MCG) and J. Rat. An hours clearing of boulders revealed a view into a sizable chamber. Stuart studied the roof, walls, floor and his beer-gut and hesitated again pausing only to poke in J. Rat with a forked vermin stick, in order to clear the loose stuff from the far side. A low crawl over sandy stream debris and underneath extremely loose vein material was passed into a roomy chamber. The roof of the crawl was gently tickled with a crowbar producing fine sound effects when some 1/2 ton of it fell in. After clearing this, the others came through and exploration continued. The chamber proved to be some 15ft. long by 4 - 8ft high and -12ft. at its widest. It is formed in a junction of the vein with various cross rifts and has a most unhealthy appearance of loose cherty blocks liberally stained with red ochre. There are several small, choked inlets. A small hole in the floor was gardened and Stu. descended a relatively solid rift some 12ft deep to a blockage of large boulders. Photographs were duly taken and the diggers exited for a celebratory pint. Snab and Anita joined them the folloing morning for a quiet trip and 'ginging' session and in the evening Backbone, Clare, Ross and Andy Sparrow arrived on a "Wednesday Night Sortie". More cementing was undertaken while the Bath contingent played with the boulders at the bottom of the 12ft. rift. Feverish cries from the depths soon revealed the success of their effort and all work stopped as Andy led the way through a nasty, loose eyehole into a 10ft water worn pot leading to a 15ft tight crawl. Still no limestone!

Length: c. 100ft; depth: c.65ft.

Page Created: 09-Dec-2009