Author Topic: '68 floods.  (Read 3321 times)

Rubber Duck

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'68 floods.
« on: September 30, 2007, 12:31:36 pm »
Are there any photo's anywhere on the net or that someones got that could post up of Swildons Hole durring the the 1968 floods?
I've searched on the net but it proved fruitless.

Offline graham

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Re: '68 floods.
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2007, 12:44:51 pm »
Ask Mrodoc, he was there!
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Offline tony from suffolk

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Re: '68 floods.
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2007, 12:46:50 pm »
Not too sure you'll find any during the floods, Rubber duck. Swildon's more or less filled to the roof & entrance depression was a pond!

We went down the week after & you could see bits of straw & other debris in the roof of the Old Grotto & the main streamway. The sheer power of the flood was just awesome; it completely changed much of the cave, in addition to finding a new bypass to the old "Forty". I'd say it was the most dramatic caving trip I ever did!

IIRC, a party wanted to go down on the morning just before the flood but old farmer Maine wouldn't let them...
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Rubber Duck

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Re: '68 floods.
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2007, 01:17:24 pm »
Not too sure you'll find any during the floods, Rubber duck. Swildon's more or less filled to the roof & entrance depression was a pond!

That's what I'd like to see, the water above the block house but couldn't find any photo's of it anywhere.

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: '68 floods.
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2007, 01:22:42 pm »
The booklet published by the Wessex Cave Club in 1970 by Hanwell and Newson contains a number of photos but none of Swildons entrance lake. The introduction concludes with the sentence "The full dossier on the flood, with further photographs and maps, may be consulted at the Department of Geography, University of Bristol...."

Offline graham

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Re: '68 floods.
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2007, 01:27:34 pm »
"The full dossier on the flood, with further photographs and maps, may be consulted at the Department of Geography, University of Bristol...."

'cos that's where Malcolm Newson was at the time. I doubt it's still there now, but if someone asks Gina nicely she might take a look.
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Offline whitelackington

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Re: '68 floods.
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2007, 08:41:32 am »
We could do with another "68 style flood"
Among others, Upper Flood Swallet was washed open.
Another flood hopefully could wash a second entrance open,
then slightly larger cavers could get into it :beer2:

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: '68 floods.
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2007, 09:36:06 am »
I don't think the residents and businesses of Cheddar would agree with you Mr WL.  :chair:

Floods can have adverse affects in caves too. How many digs might get totally blocked up with mud and rocks washed down from higher up in the caves?

Offline Elaine

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Re: '68 floods.
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2007, 09:37:21 am »
We could do with another "68 style flood"

Presumably without the deaths!
Or property destruction.   :blink:
Wot tiny writing!

Offline Gina

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Re: '68 floods.
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2007, 10:18:36 am »
I'll see what I can do  :-\

Offline Gina

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Re: '68 floods.
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2007, 10:24:39 am »
That was easyish, I've tracked it down and it's in the store, just got to get hold of it now...

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: '68 floods.
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2007, 10:28:45 am »
Very good. I thought you'd found another '68 style flood in the store, waiting to be activated!

Offline mrodoc

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Re: '68 floods.
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2007, 10:44:56 am »
I was there! I have two photographs taken just after the event but unfortunately not in the cave although I can remember how sections of Swildons 2 were scoured out.on a later visit. If anybody wants to know when I went in after the flood let me know and I will check my log. The photographs in question show the entrance depression with the trees smothered in hay and the other shows the washed out road at Velvet Bottom. I seem to recall hay hanging from the stal above the 20 as well.

My mate Pete Rose is disgruntled as we don't get a mention in the Swildons book as the last cavers to walk to the top of the old 40. I was 17 at the time and a trip was planned to Northwest Stream Passage (3 of us, Nick Chipchase me and Pete Rose). There were several storms before our arrival and the green flooded whilst we were in the pub. We decided it was unlikely to rain much more so went down the cave having paid farmer Main our shillings.  However we got the heebie jeebies on the way to the 40 and virtually ran out of the cave feeling a bit silly as the water levels hadn't got any higher and it wasn't raining. However if we had stayed down we would have drowned so a good decision. Apparently Farmer Main turned away some other cavers later in the day - wise move.

So now you know.

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: '68 floods.
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2007, 11:05:15 am »
I seem to recall hay hanging from the stal above the 20 as well.


That is mentioned in the Wessex publication - 'haylectites' I think they were dubbed.

Offline Gina

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Re: '68 floods.
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2007, 12:02:39 pm »
Very good. I thought you'd found another '68 style flood in the store, waiting to be activated!

 :clap2: :clap2:

I should have the book hopefully by the end of the week, Monday at the latest depending on how quick library services is. If I have it by the weekend and anyone is interested I'll bring it with me Saturday to the Wessex.

Offline tony from suffolk

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Re: '68 floods.
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2007, 02:31:15 pm »
I was there! I have two photographs taken just after the event but unfortunately not in the cave although I can remember how sections of Swildons 2 were scoured out.on a later visit. If anybody wants to know when I went in after the flood let me know and I will check my log. The photographs in question show the entrance depression with the trees smothered in hay and the other shows the washed out road at Velvet Bottom. I seem to recall hay hanging from the stal above the 20 as well.

My mate Pete Rose is disgruntled as we don't get a mention in the Swildons book as the last cavers to walk to the top of the old 40. I was 17 at the time and a trip was planned to Northwest Stream Passage (3 of us, Nick Chipchase me and Pete Rose). There were several storms before our arrival and the green flooded whilst we were in the pub. We decided it was unlikely to rain much more so went down the cave having paid farmer Main our shillings.  However we got the heebie jeebies on the way to the 40 and virtually ran out of the cave feeling a bit silly as the water levels hadn't got any higher and it wasn't raining. However if we had stayed down we would have drowned so a good decision. Apparently Farmer Main turned away some other cavers later in the day - wise move.

So now you know.

A lucky escape indeed mrdoc! Although I'm considerably older than you (I was 18 in '68) unlike yourself I didn't have the foresight or the discipline to keep a caving log, and as you know memory plays funny tricks over the years. Nevertheless certain events from the time stick in the mind.

Although it caused dreadful destruction of property and misery for the local people, nevertheless it was a very exciting time, with rumours abounding. One of the most persistent was that at Velvet Bottom, the destruction of part of the road had unearthed Roman gold coins and jewellery. This had us on our hands and knees sifting fruitlessly through the downvalley spoil-heap for a few hours!

The flood scoured out many parts of the Swildon's streamway; the Double Pots where bottomless (Well, you could jump in and sink down a fair way without touching the bottom anyway) and sump one was similarly deepened. I had a close call when I dived through because previously the guide rope emerged in Swildon's Two to lay over a bank some way back from the sump and was attached to a post round a corner on the right, IIRC. The Flood removed this bank and also washed out an undercut around the small chamber on the far side of the sump. As I pulled on the guide rope it slid across into this undercut and, after finding the sump much longer than I remembered, I fetched up underwater with my head jammed between the rocks, the rope disappearing into an inches-wide slot!

Disorientated, I let go of the rope and practically circumnavigated the chamber underwater beneath the undercut before finally finding the airspace. I would have taken this rather better if a so-called friend, who'd gone through before me, stood in the chest-deep water and watched me flounder around!
" Strange, I did exactly the same thing!" he told me. How I laughed!




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Offline mrodoc

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Re: '68 floods.
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2007, 03:38:44 pm »
That's scary!

 

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