UK Caving

WHERE THE CAVES ARE - The Caving Regions => Mendip => Cheddar Caving Club => Topic started by: Chris Lank on January 03, 2008, 07:02:30 am

Title: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on January 03, 2008, 07:02:30 am
Rod’s Pot
Wednesday 2nd January 2008
Rachel, Andy S & Chris L

This was just a short trip to satisfy our curiosity.  We made our way into to Hanging Boulder Chamber via the almost vertical tube at the bottom of the Main Chamber.

After having a bit of a climb around the chamber we decided to have a look at the rift above the tight exit climb in Hanging Boulder Chamber.  Being a mug, I was sent up high into the rift to see what could be found.  The whole area is quite unstable and leads to some more boulder ruckles and scree slopes that look ready to slip down onto the unwary caver.  There were tree roots growing through the final bolder ruckle, which leads me to believe the surface is quite near.

After climbing down again, I had a look at the lower level of the rift and found a potential new bit of tight passage on the left of the rift.  If it is new, I would propose to call it Contortion Corner.  I managed to get my upper body into it, but I needed to be smaller to get the rest of my body through the Z-bend.  Got stuck in the rift on the way out but managed to free myself after a short delay.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Sumpy on January 03, 2008, 12:22:30 pm
East Twin to Spar Pot
Wednesday 2nd Jan
Steve P, Kaz and Sumpy.

We all fancied a fairly easy trip as we all hadn't been for a few weeks! After making our way in to the builders yard with all that nice shiny scaffolding and and steel work we headed down the main chamber to the overhead monorail and then down the stepped shoring to the connection to Spar pot which is nice and muddy! Up through the loose boulder ruckle (watch your head) and then carried on down the main rift to all the nice crawly stuff. Missed large opening in the roof to the higher level. On further down the tubes and squeezes get tighter and tighter until they become uncomfortable. At that point we decided all those mince pies had taken their toll and turned around and headed out! A nice sporting little number and well worth a trip back.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on January 05, 2008, 05:57:56 pm
Read’s Cavern
Saturday 5th January 2008
Tim & Chris L

Just a quick trip to have a look into some of the interesting wet holes in the centre of the large main chamber (taking care to avoid the bits at the extremities).  Squeezed in and out of a few such holes.  Between us, attained one twisted knee and one bitten tongue.  Subsequently made a tactical retreat to avoid causing more injuries and upsetting any local fauna.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on January 06, 2008, 10:09:49 pm
Swildon’s Hole – Mud Sump
Sunday 6th January 2008
Ken & Chris L

We made our way through the Upper Series via Short Dry Way and successfully abseiled down the Twenty Foot Pot – noted that there was quite a bit of water flowing compared to recent trips.  I “took one for the team” and got well and truly baptised in the second of the Double Pots.  At Barnes’ Loop we took the Inclined Rift before making our way up to Tratman’s Temple.  After passing Blasted Boss we had a bit of a paddle and pontification at Mud Sump before turning back.  I really wanted to pass through Mud Sump but was not properly attired so decided not to do so.  I will be back…
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on January 17, 2008, 07:33:43 am
Sidcot Swallet
Wednesday 16th January 2008
Steve P, Sumpy, Tricia, Lucy, Dani, Brendan, Rachel, Andy S & Chris L

Upon entering the cave we split into two parties.  Rachel, Brendan and Andy aimed for Purgatory and the rest of us took a gentle stroll down towards Eden.

Two thirds of the Purgatory party actually made it into Purgatory for an interesting look around, with the unlucky one third of the party having legs that were just too long to get through the Z-bend.

The other group stopped briefly in Boulder Chamber for Fudge and Marshmallows being sliding down the Lobster Pot.  Upon reaching the entrance to Eden it was found to be too aquatic to allow Dani to enter, so a return will have to be made when it is a bit less wet.

After heading out of the cave we popped down to the pub for refreshments.

Dani has possession of the sweets:


I love my rock:


Let me out:

Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Dani on January 17, 2008, 10:48:31 am
Thanks to Chris for organising and supplying the treats! :thumbsup:  Although I think I may have to lay off them (and eating in general) if you think I'm going to fit through that hole!
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Sumpy on January 17, 2008, 01:47:48 pm
And what's wrong with a health plutonic relationship with a rock (or is it a platonic plutonic relationship?). I reckon that was your ploy, you have busted fingers to slow you down so you tempt us with copious amounts of fudge and marshmallows to hinder us up the lobster pot! What are you bringing on your 51st trip and 52nd, 53rd, 54th.......... Thx for the fab trip guys see you all soon in a cave beginning with A

Title: A Tribute to my Rock
Post by: Sumpy on January 17, 2008, 02:56:02 pm
I love my rock pop art!

Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Sumpy on January 24, 2008, 07:15:38 pm
Attborough Swallet
Wednesday 23rd January 2008
Steve P, Sumpy and Martin

Our first trip in the A-Z!
Found our way to the locked entrance quite easily and once opened found that someone has very nicely now put in a fixed ladder. At the bottom of the entrance there is a short crawl to the top of the 10mtr rift which also now has a fixed ladder (the book is now definitely out of date!). At the bottom of the rift there is more crawling until you reach the first large passage, Happy Mondays. From here we continued down the main stream way as it gets smaller and smaller finally getting into Cortham Hall. From here we took the bottom right ladder into the shower room to find the start of Nasty nasty squeeze which we all thought was a tad over-named. One nasty would have sufficed. We crawled through nasty nasty to the mud bank and found recent flood debris still attached to the ceiling! Here we turned to head back to Coltham Hall. Back in the hall we headed up to the top and struggled through the quick link passage, a small uphill muddy slippery tube, back into the happy mondays passage. We then climbed back up the 10mtr rift to find the entrance to the 1992 series, which is a very bold step over the rift to a slippy tube (maybe another day). Then back to Hunters for much merriment. Thanks guys for the pleasant trip.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: anfieldman on January 27, 2008, 08:31:50 pm
Swildons Hole 27th January

Mark W, Andy H & Barry H

We decided that with our Wassailing party the night before there was no better way to clear our heads than a Swildons trip. Barry & me RV'd with Andy at the green and proceeded to get ready at a leisurely pace.
Passing the stiles on the way we met a party coming back who informed us that it was very busy today. There wasn't that many vehicles parked on the corner though so we carried on. Whilst the water wasn't particularly high it was still coming in at a fair lick.
We proceeded down the short dry way and down past the forty and on to the twenty. Nobody there. Another party caught us up though so we whizzed down past all the usual like the double pots. We then climbed into Tratmans Temple and along through to St Pauls and the first mud sump. A quick look there then on to the Mud Sump. Our original intention was  to pass this and go on to Shatter Pot & Shatter Series beyond. We knew that we would not do this before our call out time so we turned back at Mud Sump even though others had kindly bailed it for us unintentionally.
So back by the same route we stumbled across a lost Turk at Barnes Loop. He had lost his party. He told us he had been one of two novices accompanied by three leaders. So, we couldn't just leave him there on his 3rd ever trip. So we took him with us back up the Twenty, etc to the exit. We thought it would be better if he stayed at the entrance to wait for them but he insisted on going back for a cup of tea to wait for them. Oh well.
If any of the leaders are reading this, I hope you did not have too much trouble locating him.
A very nice trip ending in clean oversuits for a change.
So, back to the pub for a pint & pork scratchings. Yum yum.

Thanks Andy & Barry for a great trip. Perhaps Shatter Series next time?

Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on January 31, 2008, 07:13:28 am
Swildon’s Hole – Upper Series
Wednesday 30th January 2008
Robin, Barry, Dani, Andy H, Chris L and guests (Tom & Will)

We took the Long Dry Pretty Way into the cave and strolled down to the 20’ Waterfall.  After turning around we took the Wet Way back out.  Dani and I popped into Butcombe Chamber via the Oxbows and the remainder continued up the Wet Way, through Kenney’s Dig, down Jacob’s Ladder and along Baptism Passage.  We regrouped in Showerbath Chamber before climbing up the waterfall rift at the back of the chamber (thus avoiding Showerbath) and exiting the cave.

It was noted that it was extremely “Brass Monkey’s” on the surface so we did not hang around as we zoomed back to the Barn.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on February 02, 2008, 06:44:09 pm
Aveline’s Hole
Saturday 2nd February 2008
Sam & Chris L

I have walked past Aveline’s Hole so many times; I thought it was about time to have a better look.  Usually I visit Burrington Combe in the dark, so it was nice to see the picturesque scenery.

We strolled down into the cave and noted the large passage size and the interesting patterns in the roof.  At the locked gate we had a bit of a look around before heading out.

After leaving the cave, we scrambled up the slope opposite to see if we could find any evidence of the other end of Aveline’s Hole.  Predictably, we do not find it, but we did find a small rock shelter higher up the valley.

On the way back to the car I managed to take a photograph of a goat up a tree; which is not something you see every day.

Rock of Ages:


Ceiling Patterns with Cave Spider (top right):


The way out:


Arboreal Goat:

Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: chriscastle46 on February 02, 2008, 10:50:45 pm
Aveline's Hole is a lot more interesting than that; it's Britain's oldest cemetery, a number of 9,000 year-old skeletons being found there in 1797. It also has a rare example of Mesolithic art (probably), a design is scratched on the wall towards the back and a grill has now been erected to draw attention to it so that people can smash the grill down to see what's there.
Goats up trees are a daily occurance in Cheddar Gorge; the British Primitives have been seen a good 3 metres up browsing away quite happily.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Sumpy on February 07, 2008, 08:35:59 pm
Axbridge Ochre Cavern
Wednesday 6th February 08
Andy H, Andy S, Chris L, Danny B, Martin, Rachel, Steve P, Sumpy and Guests (Laurence and Jim)

We all met up at the top of the road and then proceeded to climb up the long wooded hill to the large rift entrance. Carrying the triple extension ladder made it harder work! We walked down the entrance passage until the aven opened up above us and erected the ladder. At the top there is a short narrow section then a chimney up a three metre rift. From the top we climbed up above the boulder that the chain is fitted too, to make a nice round loop by dropping down between pretty stal flow into a small passage with waist high water in it in places! Back at the boulder, we then proceeded to climb over the three metre drop to a short passage the other side with nice formations in. At the end a nice pool with crystals in and debris from the ochre just beyond. The 10 of us then returned back down the ladders, packed them up, carried them out to find they were to come in useful again. About 10 metres from the entrance and about 3 metres up, heading out of the cutting, we found a small rock shelter that had been taken over by fire lighting badgers. Andy's prediction of the bong was correct too, the badgers had tried to drag it down a hole behind them but obviously couldn't manage it!!!
Cheers guys Sumpy.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: anfieldman on February 09, 2008, 05:57:04 pm
St Cuthbert’s Swallet 30th January 2008.

Chris C, Ken P, Steve P & Mark W

Sorry about the delay on this one. I had already written the entire report up whilst logged into the forum but when I clicked ‘submit’ I found out that I had timed out, losing all of the report! :furious:
Anyhow, here goes.
Ken P drove to my place so that we could reduce our carbon footprint and save the world by going to Mendipshire together. Due to incredibly low traffic we arrived at the Belfry early enough for a coffee and to watch some poor soul wheelbarrow in concrete blocks for the new workbench. I would have helped but I did not want to reduce my chances of scaling the entrance rift on the way out. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
Chris & Steve turned up about 20mins later and we quickly changed, ready for action.
So off we went down to the entrance and it was off with the lid and down the fixed ladder. A quick slide down the entrance rift and we then went via the old route down Wire Rift. We then went down more fixed ladders to Upper Mud Hall then a short climb up to the well decorated Pillar Chamber.
It was about this time that we all found out that Ken & Steve had never met!  :o I found this incredible. Ken & Steve then started to chat endlessly about sailing in general and in particular, Scotland. Chris did try his best to give a commentary on the places we were to visit but my ears were being bashed by talk of loch’s, whisky and haggis. Forgive me if there are mistakes in this report because of the aforementioned talk by the semen seaman.

Where was I? Oh yes, Pillar Chamber. From there we went down the deep trench (bloody sharp fossils and not many footholds) to the Kanchenjunga boulder in Boulder Chamber. Onward to Upper Traverse Chamber in which we viewed the massive K2 boulder.  8)
I cannot quite remember how we then got to Rabbit Warren, I presume through Harem Passage. I do remember us having to shuffle along a small ledge with about a twelve foot drop with commentary from Chris to the likes of ‘Don’t worry, you will be fine. If you fall backward from here you’re likely to break your back but it won’t happen’. Encouragement indeed. In the words of Graham Taylor ‘Did I not like that’ but I survived ‘Backbreak Traverse’ so we went onward passing the Second Stal bank to where the fine mud haemorrhoid formations lay. These bunches of grapes are the most unusual mud formations I have seen. I think we then went down Helictite Passage to view the pool at the end with the ‘soapflake’ formations floating on top. We also went on past the Tin Mine, down to the Plantation Stream.
More ‘so we set sail, spliced the main brace, cleared the decks, etc, etc’ and so I was still struggling to keep up with where we were. Mr C saying ‘Are you taking this all in you lot?’
Onwards and upwards past Octopus Chamber and down to The Vice. Sounds more difficult than it is. I like the way you think you are going to fall on your head as you go through. We also looked at the ‘decomposing’ stalagmites where the water chemistry has changed to strip calcite from them. Quite impressive.
During the rest of our trip we were treated to more squeezes and muddy slidey bits with impressive curtains, flows and other fine formations. Due to pressing time and the desire to sample the comfort of the Hunters we decided to go. How we got back to Upper Mud Hall I don’t know but we did, ok? It’s not my job to remember and I cannot help it if I had wee Jock McTavish and the Tartan navy behind me throughout the whole trip.
So we were back out in no time. Ably led by the walking St Cuthbert’s map that is Mr Castle.
Back to the Hunters to meet up with the Swildon’s section of ChCC and their trip with some newbie’s (welcome Will & Tom).
If any amendments are necessary Chris, then PM me.  ;D
Thanks Chris for a very interesting trip as per usual.

Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: chriscastle46 on February 09, 2008, 06:16:40 pm
You've got much of that completely wrong. Dear oh dear, do it again.
Bet you could sail around the Isles of Fughit and Ballochs though.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: chriscastle46 on February 09, 2008, 11:00:51 pm
I meant write the report again!
Very well, here's an outline of the trip.

It was the Rabbit Warren Extension Route

Old Route to Boulder Chamber and Upper Traverse Chamber. Climbed up to High Chamber. Down through the boulders to Catgut Rift. Across the sloping chamber, through Cross-Leg Squeeze and into T-Junction Chamber, past the big stal flow where a heavy gale blew us into Continuation Chamber, but tacking back we resumed course to The Vice and into shallow waters. I'm bored with the nautical references, no-one knows what I'm on about. Anyway, we climbed down Chain Chamber and were soon in Rabbit Warren, exiting via Everest Passage back to Boulder Chamber.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on February 16, 2008, 11:35:23 pm
GB Cave
Saturday 16th February 2008
Barry, Mark, & Chris L

It was bitterly cold but nevertheless it was a pleasant walk across the field to GB Cave.  We passed a few Exmoor ponies on the way, who did not seem much interested in our plans for the day.

After negotiating Mud Passage we entered the Gorge and strolled down to Main Chamber.  We popped over the Bridge and up White Passage before looping back down to reach the base of Ladder Dig.

The wall was climbed and we entered Ladder Dig.  Various cold, muddy puddles were crawled through before entering the boulder ruckle at the bottom of Great Chamber.

Barry pointed out a route up to Great Chamber and we made our way up.  When we reached Great Chamber it was a fantastic sight.  There were many pretties including flowstone, helictites, straws, curtains, columns and stals.  The chamber had a pretty good echo too.

We noticed that there were potential signs of movement at the bottom of Great Chamber, evidenced by gapped cracks in boulders, flowstone and even a column.

All the excitement made us quite knackered so we made our way back down to the base of ladder dig before climbing back up the Gorge via the Waterfall.

Mark looking awed:

Chris and the Helictites:

Straws on the Ceiling:

Fractured Column:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on February 23, 2008, 09:03:07 pm
Swildon’s Hole – Short Round Trip with Additions
Saturday 23rd February 2008
Rachel, Tim and Chris L

After meeting up at the barn, we decided to “push the boat out” and do the Short Round Trip, with a few additions for good measure.

We marched to the Twenty Foot Pot via the Short Dry Way and Rachel did a superb job of lifelining us down.  We made our way down the Swildon’s One streamway to Tratman’s Temple.  After climbing up to St Paul’s Series, we passed Blasted Boss and reached Mud Sump; the first of many sumps/ducks that we would need to pass.

After getting a good old fashioned soaking in the sump/duck, we marched onwards and heaved our bodies up Greasy Chimney into Paradise Regained.

At the end of Paradise Regained, we decided to take a detour down Blue Pencil Passage.  After all, it is only 2cm long on the survey!  Getting through was a good workout, comparable to entering Drunkard’s Hole.  At the end of the passage, we climbed down the chain and entered the Swildon’s Four streamway.

A short jaunt was taken to the downstream side of Sump III – which looked a bit miserable so say the least.  We then marched downstream through the attractive streamway to Sump IV.  I took the short trip through Sump IV to the other side.  It was not too long but I did “bottom out” and have to wriggle a bit to get through.  After a few quick breaths, I returned to Rachel and Tim.

The dreaded chain was climbed and we headed back up Blue Pencil Passage, which was somewhat easier on the return.  From there, we headed up Double Trouble Series and got wetted at various muddy-coloured ducks more times that I can remember.  Finally, we slid down The Landing into the Swildon’s Two streamway.  A short walk downstream took us to Sump II.

I took off my oversuit (leaving my wetsuit on!) and donned some dive weights and a neoprene hood before rolling about in the entrance of the sump to get accustomed to the cold water.  After a few deep breathes, I slid under and hauled on the rope.  Within a few pulls, I had left Sump II and found myself in good shape but alone in Great Bell.

The duck was passed into St John’s Bell (see photograph) and I found myself looking at the Sump III rope.  I poked around and found the entrance to the sump.  It seemed a long way down and there was plenty of mud too.  After a minute to gather my composure I again slid under and hauled on the rope.  This sump was tighter than Sump II and I found myself having to work quite hard to pull myself through the gap between floor and ceiling.  This was not helped by not having enough dive weights attached to my belt.  After a bit of effort I got through and found myself in the dark and in bad shape on the other side of the sump in the Swildon’s Three streamway.  My physical condition was good but the light had fall off my helmet due to thrashing around in the sump.

Fortunately, I was wearing a spare light around my neck.  As quickly as I was able to do so, I returned back through the sump, keeping my eyes open in the murk for my fallen light.  At one point I thought I had found it but the disturbed sediment and lack of air prevented me from grabbing it.  As I exited the sump I took about half a second to consider going back for the light, but decided that it was too risky given that I had only one light left.  The return through Sump II was uneventful but I was very relieved to find Rachel and Tim waiting for me on the other side.

We were all now quite cold and tired so after helping me dress we commenced our march back out of the cave.  On the way, we had the pleasure of passing Sump I, of which I made a complete and utter mess.

Our exit was completed by climbing up the Twenty Foot Pot and walking along the Short Dry Way.  A quick check of the clock revealed that we had spent almost six hours underground.

While getting changed in the barn afterwards I discovered that my underpants had gone missing.  This upset me greatly and after a search I discovered them in my caving bag (the one that Rachel, Tim and I had lugged around the cave for half a day).  Ha ha.  Needless to say, the underpants were looking a bit sad for their journey and could not be worn.

An excellent and epic trip!

Rachel and Tim in the streamway after the Twenty Foot Pot:

Chris entering Mud Sump:

The way to Blue Pencil Passage:

Rachel posing for the camera:

The way to back to Sump 2 from Sump 3:

Cave feature between Sumps 2 and 3:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Sumpy on February 24, 2008, 05:32:09 pm
Ashwick Grove Risings including Rock Face Rift, Clare's Crevice and Challenger Hole then on to Blake's Farm Swallet Hopeful Hole and Hopeful Too.
Wednesday 20th February 2008
Steve P and Sumpy

We made our way to Oakhill and then on to Blake's Farm to ask permission to access the caves, which was given. We decided to then drive to Ashwick Grove as Blake's Farm Swallet is a wet cave and did not want to get back into the car damp! We found a nice quiet road to park in and get changed. As we walked across the fields towards the woods of Ashwick Grove a low fog started to descend which made it harder to find the stile, we found it and then started the 10 minute walk down to the first cave which was Rock face Rift. A small 40 cm wide 3 - 4m deep rift situated 15m up the embankment at the bottom of a small cliff. We looked in saw the bottom decided it wasn't worth the trouble of just descending the 3m to then have to come out again. The next was Clare's Crevice which is a very small hole about 2m deep half way down the next cliff to the right of Rock face rift. it was way to small for either of us to get in. The last cave in the Grove we found was Challenger hole which is situated around the far side of the cliff that Clare's Crevice is in about 5m up from the footpath, this cave is about 4m deep and big enough to crawl most of the way in with out too much trouble. After these we wandered down the footpath to the stream to look for any signs of the resurgence. It was dark, we didn't! We walked back up to the car took off over-suits and then drove back to Blake's Farm parked the car and re-suited. Followed the public footpath to the woods then dropped down into the Blake's Farm Swallet depression only to find the entrance shaft completely filled with debris, it was completely impassable. We then headed up the muddy steep bank and down another muddy steep bank into the Hopeful depression, here we found both the Hopeful Hole dig which is now filled with old tyres, two old ladders, rocks and other rubbish.The Hopeful Too dig  was much better though. This 20m abandoned?? dig is a short 15m winding passage leading to a 2m pot with three small passages branching off which all dwindle to nothing. At least we can tick them off the list and found some where nice to walk the dogs!
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Sumpy on February 28, 2008, 01:00:35 pm
Aveline's Hole, Goatchurch Cavern and Trat's Crack?
Wednesday 27th Feb 2008
Chris L, Dani G, Lucy, Steve P, Trisha, Sumpy and Lucy's Guest Geoff.

We met at the car park got changed and made our way to Aveline's, that's another A done! Then walked up to Goatchurch. went in and followed the normal route down to the Water Chamber via Jacobs Ladder, there we met another party of 10 playing around in some of the smaller hole so we decided to head down to the Drainpipe. We explained to Geoff what lay ahead and he was up for it so all seven of of crawled through. Next we found that the group of 10 had dropped to eight but was following us down the drainpipe,we waited for half an hour for all of them to get through to make 15 of us in the chamber, nice and cosy. Back out to the Water chamber and a few dropped down to the small waterfall chamber. We then clambered back out, Lucy going back up Jacobs Ladder, and then all out of the tradesman's entrance. From here we walked back down to the road and checked the map to try and find Foxes Hole. we all traipsed up the road spent 15mins deciding it was a waist of time trying to find it in the dark so turned around a walked back to the cars. On the way back Dani spotted a foot path which lead up to Trat's Crack (I think), A sloping rift that goes down for 6mtrs and then ends in a muddy puddle. Thanks for the good trip everyone. Sumpy
At the end of the Drainpipe
The Photographer!
Techno Caver.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on March 02, 2008, 10:40:56 pm
Ogof Ffynnon Ddu (OFD) II
Sunday 2nd March 2008
Martin, Lucy & Chris L

As usual we fuelled up our bodies at Asda in Merthyr Tydfil and proceeded to SWCC to fill out the paperwork and collect the key.  After changing we made our way towards Top Entrance.  About half way to the entrance I discovered that I had left the key back at the hut.  Despite it clearly being Martin and Lucy’s fault for allowing me to forget the key, I jogged back and fetched it.

When I had recovered from all the excitement, we settled down to our task for the day, which was to navigate our way around the cave and learn some of its layout – without an established “expert”.  After various trips with other people leading, it fell to me to lead a small group at OFD2 for the first time.  Poor souls!

We jauntily made our way into the cave through the Top Entrance and waited for a few minutes for our eyes to adjust to the gloom.

The route to the Big Chamber Near the Entrance was found and we completed a short circuit through the chamber before finding the passage (not marked on the survey) that leads to the head of Gnome Passage.  As this passage is a large feature within the cave, we decided to walk its length to the boulder choke at the end.

When the end was reached, we retraced our steps and then made for the head of Chasm Passage.  From here, we climbed down into the streamway at Salubrious Passage.  We followed the water downstream before taking a short detour to look at The Trident and The Judge.

After a short breather, we continued and made our way to The Crossroads.  From here we headed to the top of the pitch that leads down to the stream at Maypole Inlet.  A short traverse away from the direction of Maypole Inlet led us to the passage that runs parallel with Selenite Tunnel.  We carefully squeezed up the passage for about 60m.

A quick right and a left took us to Shatter Pillar.  As this was Lucy’s first visit to OFD2, we had a quick look at the pretties in Selenite Tunnel, before retracing our steps and making our way out of the cave.

In summary, it was an excellent trip which we all thoroughly enjoyed.  Thanks Martin and Lucy for your good humour.

Ready for action at the Top Entrance:

Interesting ceiling near Top Entrance:


Not a Gnome:

Shatter Pillar:

Selenite Tunnel:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Misty on March 03, 2008, 11:08:32 pm
Well done guys- sorry we could not come in the end as my nan died Sunday morning. Glad you had fun Mark tried really hard at organising this for you last week so I thought I best mention he was sorry he could not come because of me.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on March 04, 2008, 07:14:47 am
Meg - I am very sorry to hear of your loss.

Mark - Thanks for taking the time to organise the trip.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on March 08, 2008, 08:39:05 pm
Rod’s Pot
Saturday 8th March 2008
Dani & Chris L

The objective of this trip was for Dani to have a go at pushing up the small tube (Contortion Corner) that I recently found in the rift at Hanging Boulder Chamber.

We trundled down the cave and made our way up the almost vertical tube at the Stal column in Main Chamber.  I had a nasty moment halfway up the tube when my wellie got wedged in a crack.  In retrieving the wellie and reattaching it to my foot, I came close to taking the extremely fast route back down the tube.

We reached Contortion Corner in Hanging Boulder Chamber and Dani shot straight up it.  I stayed back, aware from previous experience that I could not fit past the 90-degree bend.  As planned, Dani got past the 90-degree bend and was able to confirm that the tube takes a left turn and noted that it could be developed if the loose floor was dug out.  A few photographs were taken and we started to make made our way out.

On the way, we had a quick shufty at the old gravely way into Hanging Boulder Chamber.  We were able to crawl into it and reach the old tube that presumably leads up to Hanging Boulder Chamber.  Dani managed to squeeze up the tube and got as far as she could before it choked.  No matter how much I huffed and puffed, I could not fit up the entrance to the tube, so had to stay behind.

While lying in the crawl waiting for Dani’s return, I heard some rather ominous sounds of moving rock.  When Dani returned she confirmed that she had also heard the noises so we rather quickly made our way out.  The strange thing was that although we heard movement, we saw and felt no rock falls.  Given the previous collapse, the area may possibly be a bit unstable.

For old time’s sake, we had a quick peer into Purple Pot and reminisced over the “fun” we had digging it.

On our exit from the cave, we crawled up the small passage at the head of Main Chamber.  This comes out next to the twin 12m Pitches.  It is a tight but interesting crawl and we wondered if Contortion Corner eventually connects to this crawl or its smaller partner on the other side of the twin 12m Pitches.

Well done Dani for pushing further up Contortion Corner.

The way into Contortion Corner (ahead then right):

The way on:

Dani at our objective:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: anfieldman on March 08, 2008, 09:51:34 pm
Sounds like you had fun! It's no wonder you could not get into some of the squeezes with your previous exertions earlier in the day.  ;D
Looks like Dani invested in the same mega-expensive £6-99 spare lamp from Woolworths. Good buy and goodbye!

See you both soon.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on March 09, 2008, 04:28:21 pm
Swildon’s Hole – Upper Series
Sunday 9th March 2008
Tim & Chris L

This was a fun jaunt to some of the passages normally passed by when visiting the Upper Series.

We started off down the Long Dry Pretty Way.  At Boulder Chamber we made a short diversion through the upwards squeeze to New Grottoes.  After making our way out we visited the unnamed passage (right hand side) on the way to Old Grotto, before reaching Water Chamber.

At Water Chamber we crawled down the muddy Water Chamber Dig, as far as the small sump.  When we returned to Water Chamber, we met Andy S and Rachel, who were passing through with a group of clients.

Our next challenge was found at the base of Forty Foot Pot.  We huffed and puffed our way up a rather wet Rolling Thunder before it closed down.

A quick visit was taken to the Twenty Foot Pot.  On the way there we popped up the small rift passage on the left.

The return journey was taken mostly via the Wet Way.  Tim was feeling energetic and so took a diversion through Butcombe Chamber and the Oxbows, while I made my way sedately up the Wet Way.

Tim in the Long Dry Pretty Way:

Chris in New Grottoes:

Pretties in New Grottoes:

More Pretties in New Grottoes:

Yet more Pretties in New Grottoes:

Stal in unnamed passage off Long Dry Pretty Way:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: anfieldman on March 09, 2008, 07:16:16 pm
Dani at our objective:

Has Dani ordered the extra large Oldham style lamp or has she stolen a car headlight to use?  ;D
I'll bet that has a wicked beam on it!
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Sumpy on March 16, 2008, 03:51:01 pm
Badger Hole, Halloween Rift, Hyena Den and Rhinoceros Hole
Wednesday 12th March 2008
Gary, Steve and Kaz, Tricia, Sumpy

We all met in the Wookey Hole caves car park, got changed and headed up school hill to the horse field at the top. From here with the expert help of Gary we made our way along the boundary wall until we thought we were about in the right location above the first set of caves. We made our way over the wall and down the steep valley and found the first cave Rhinoceros Hole with ease. This is a very small cave about 5mtrs long with virtually nothing of interest to report. Next we found Hyena Den which was about 20mtrs north of Rhinoceros Hole. This cave has a huge entrance mouth which opens right next to the canal. the cave itself is about 50mtrs in length with one or two small side passages. After leaving the Den we headed back up the side of the valley and continued going north for another 40mtrs or so and the we found Badger Hole, this cave is close to 60mtrs in length with lots of side passages and old digs. It gets very close to ground level in the field above you can see tree roots dangling from the ceiling. The local youth have obviously made this home to their late night bonfires as their was old fire pits and a bag of fresh dry wood, paper and other lighting material. After getting back up to the field we had the long walk up the hill into the woods to find Halloween Rift. After 15mins of searching the woods and scrub Gary finally spotted the entrance. Lifting the lid we found a 5mtr shaft with two solid unfixed ladders. At the bottom of the shaft was a low passage 2foot high in its highest place that continued on for about 60mtrs. We made it about half way and gave up cos we thought the small chamber at the end probably wasn't worth the effort. Great trip thanks everyone.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Sumpy on March 21, 2008, 04:41:25 pm
Balch Cave and Conning Tower Cave
Wednesday 19th March 2008
Chris L, Dani G, Steve P, Tricia and Sumpy  (all names are correct this time (sorry Keith I mean Gary))

We all finally met up in the car park by the quarry after getting completely lost around the road diversions which in the end we didn't need to divert from!  We donned our subterranean babygros and headed in the general direction of the south face of the quarry. After not much searching we found a 1st locked entrance to Balch and then a little higher up the cliff face we found the 2nd entrance. Inside we were greeted by a rather nice (would have been much nicer before the quarrying) entrance chamber (erratic Passage) that gradually sloped down to a boulder choke. About half way down we found the squeeze, this was tight (funny that)and found it best if you kept far as possible to the left this was a great help for the larger members of our posse. After we all squeezed through we took it in turns to look down the impressive dig shaft. It’s quite deep! From here we headed right down a crawly tube to the crossroads, straight over and found some nice dried mud gower formations. You then bear to the right again over some puddles up some nice stal flow with a huge stal flow formation to the right. Drop down onto a pearl floor then headed up the higher passage to the right to emerge from a small boulder ruckle in the top right hand corner of the entrance chamber. Back out into the fresh air, well briefly any way. We found Conning Tower after about 10mins of looking not sure how we missed it on the first pass. The entrance is about a 5mtrs shaft leading to lots of mud then more mud a small boulder squeeze, then mud and mud again then a small slope down into the stream way. Here we turned around to go play in the mud once more. We like mud! We headed out of the muddy pointless hole back to the cars to change then off to the pub. Much fun was had by all. Oh and Chris’s eyes are bigger than his belly!! Sumpy

Roof in Erratic Passage, Balch's Cave:

Unnamed Backside in Balch's Cave:

Mud Patterns in Balch's Cave:

Tricia in Conning Tower Cave:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008 Waterwheel Swallet
Post by: Misty on March 23, 2008, 09:59:55 pm
Woke up to 2" of snow on Mendip. Chris, Trish, Sam, Mark, Martin and I myself made a swift change- no hanging about today all were glad to get in the shelter of the cave as quickly as possible. Did a little bit of litter picking although not much required- all was much as previous visit. Had a good two hours courtesy of William Stanton's engineering. Thanks to Chris for bringing his tackle (and not flashing it about like Mark did in the car park) and rigging the life line, also thanks to Sam for his help. All were glad of wetsuits and the new balaclava was really useful even if it did make me look like a munchkin.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Misty on March 24, 2008, 08:05:50 pm
Also forgot to mention- one of the highlights of the trip was looking for Marks wellie which he lost in the lake at the bottom of the big pitch :wall: Chris L was a real hero and helped to fish it out - The water was really cold due to melted snow. Several submergence's later and a strange foot groping experience had by Mark, Chris and myself we located the offending welly. I don't quite know how he would have got out with out it but it was one of the more memorable moments. Poor Chris got a bit of a headache from the cold I hope he has suitably recovered now. After all that Liverpool lost so I don't know what the rush to get out was all. Thanks to Chris for saving the day ! Even if Raffa did'nt.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on March 24, 2008, 10:27:53 pm
Bath Swallet & Rod’s Pot (Through Trip)
Monday 24th March 2008
Andy M & Chris L

This was intended as a gentle trip to Bath Swallet.

After abseiling down the 20m pitch, we had a poke around in Big Aven.  It looked interesting but a bit dangerous due to the hanging boulders above.  We then looked at the other end of the large phreatic tube and had a good crawl around in mud for a few minutes.

For old time’s sake, we popped down to Purple Passage and rolled around in some more mud.  Andy suggested we have a look at Purple Pot.  Once looking upwards it seemed a shame not to have a go at climbing it and completing a Bath-Rod’s Through Trip.

After much excitement, falling debris and some difficulty (on account of our short legs), we made it to the top.  We looked down and did not fancy going in the opposite direction without a handline - so there was no turning back.

A short time later, we exited Rod’s Pot, feeling chuffed with ourselves.

I then had the honour of again abseiling down Bath Swallet, retrieving our stowed harness gear before climbing out and feeling suitably knackered.

Andy abseiling down the 20m Pitch in Bath Swallet:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on March 29, 2008, 08:19:25 pm
Longwood Swallet
Saturday 29th March 2008
Mark & Meg W, Chris L, Rachel P & Andy P.

We donned out caving gear and marched off to the blockhouse looking very much like a party of gimps.

Our route into the cave took us down the entrance chimney, through the Letterbox squeeze, down the two Ten Foot Verticals, under the Showerbath and into Waterfall/Great Chamber.

We had some fun getting past the Waterfall.  I took a very unpleasant climb down the waterfall (not recommended), while the others traversed to the side before climbing down the side of the waterfall.

We then climbed up the muddy slope and headed into The Grotto.  A short trip down the 15 foot pitch was undertaken before commencing returning to the surface.

Thanks to Andy for performing rigging duties for us.  This was definitely a soggy trip.

Decorations in The Grotto:

Slimy Thing at 15 Foot Pitch:

Wet Cave Gimp:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Sumpy on March 31, 2008, 01:25:58 pm
Wednesday 26th March 2008
The next trip on the A to Z was planned to be Browne’s hole and Browne’s Grotto but as access is a problem we didn’t go.
But if we had gone we would have probably spent about 20mins in the woods looking for the entrance to Browne’s Hole. If we had gone in we would have first of all crawled around to the left and up into Tommys Dig with the supposed nice timber floor to the end found that there was nothing there, turned around and headed back down into the main entrance chamber. From here we would have got completely pointlessly soaked in a dirty deep puddle at the entrance of a 1mtr long tube to nowhere. Then we would have look up to the right and found Coronation chamber and at the end of this an old dig that broke through to the surface but has since been capped. From here we might have dropped back down onto the main passage way and followed the route which is supposed to be a series of tight and weaving, interconnected tubes. At the end of these there is supposedly some nice formation in two small higher chambers. At this point one of our group might have found the start of the 150mtr  long stream way tube and then they might of decided that lying on your back with only 50mm of air gap and doing it without a wetsuit might theoretically be a bad idea. Finally from this point we would have most probably found the connecting passage back into the main chamber and then exited to walk above the cave to find Browne’s Grotto. This is most likely a small cave with a 2.5mtr entrance pitch which would lead to a small crawl and then to a low 10mtr long chamber that closes down to an old dig at the end. Probably would have then headed back to the cars to get changed and then to the usual fine local hostilary. Thanks to everyone who turned up to our imaginary trip.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Sumpy on April 01, 2008, 08:25:50 pm
Just a quicky for everyone who is asking me what the access probs are for Brownes, Access is ok as its just off the public foot path, the cave is not locked. And DONT ask the landowner for permission to go down as it will not be granted. Something to do with if they give it, it makes them liable!?!?!  But it is ok to go down.
Sumpy ;)
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on April 03, 2008, 07:16:26 am
Fox’s Hole, Denny’s Hole, Scragg’s Hole, Sandy Cave, Supra-Sandy Hole and Picken’s Hole (Compton Bishop/Crook Peak)
Wednesday 2nd April 2008
Tricia, Martin, Steve P, Dani, Danny and Chris L

The first cave we found was Fox’s Hole, which is a rift in the floor next to the footpath.  We made a quick touchdown then quickly exited to avoid disturbing “certain sleeping things”.

Next door was Denny’s Hole.  We made our way in down the slippery slope into the main chamber.  After poking around for a bit we found the various ways on and explored.  There was a lot of rubbish in evidence, which is not surprising given the accessibility of this cave.  What was more surprising was that this is still quite a nice looking cave.  In the far reaches we found some pretty flow and attractive pools.

Our third visitation was to Scragg’s Hole.  This is down slope from Denny’s Hole and is not much more than a rock shelter.  On the way we passed another rock shelter than does not appear to be mentioned in “Mendip Underground” or “Mendip - The Complete Caves and a View of the Hills”.

The second phase of our evening was spent walking along the other side of the ridge through the undergrowth locating the remaining caves in the dark.

Sandy Cave was soon found.  Again, this predictably had a fair amount of rubbish in it.  Although small, it looks as if it has some potential for being extended.

Just behind it, we found Supra-Sandy Hole, which is very short and contained various dead things in different states of decomposition.  This looks like if might eventually connect up with the previous cave.  It also seems to be the wintering place for all of the Mendip midges.

Finally, we found our last cave of the evening – Picken’s Hole.  This was another small cave and contained any number of large spiders and not a lot of passage.

Steve exiting Fox’s Hole:

A pair of legs found in Denny’s Hole:

Pool in Denny’s Hole:

The crew next to Supra-Sandy Hole:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on April 06, 2008, 10:23:03 pm
Lionel’s Hole
Sunday 6th April 2008
Martin & Chris L

I have heard and read much about this cave and have wanted to visit for some time.  It is fair to say that it is both an interesting and challenging cave to visit.  Route finding is tough and its tight passages are hard work to say the least.

Our route took us from Boulder Chamber, into the Traverse and down into the streamway.

From the streamway onwards, we suffered for our interest and turned the air blue from cursing.  My favourite curse of the day was “**** me!  This is awful.”  These passages are definitely more suited to people like CaverA and Dani.

We took a muddy bath in Duck 1 (which is also a moderate squeeze).  At Duck 2 (which is a proper squeeze) poor Martin had a real battle to get through.  We combined our efforts and by applying my deadweight to the sole of Martin’s boots, he finally got through.

Upon reaching the cross rift in the streamway, we had a quick look-see towards Horrifice 1 before climbing up Bishop’s Bypass, which leads to Suicide Rift.

After Suicide Rift, the cave turns decidedly squalid.  I managed to trap a boot in a muddy gap.  It took 5-minutes of heaving to get it out again.  When I finally reached Horrifice 2, I decided on principle to pop through before heading back.  I really wished I hadn’t.  It took several attempts and some good old fashioned brute force to get me through it.  Once through, I could see some interesting holes upwards but did not have the energy to investigate.  The contortions and squeeze through Horrifice 2 were no easier on the return.

Back at Suicide Rift, we began the crawl back to civilisation.  Aware of the problems at Duck 2, Martin dug out some of the gravel to get through and it really helped.  Eventually, we reached the entrance.  Never has the sight of daylight coming through a cave entrance seemed so welcoming as it did on this trip.

Having satisfied our curiosity about this cave, we have agreed that we are in no particular hurry to return.  Until the next time of course.

Mahoosive Cave Spider:

The Traverse:

Hard going at Duck 2:

Unfriendly looking Boulders in Suicide Rift:

The way back through Horrifice 2:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on April 12, 2008, 11:29:28 pm
Symonds Yat Caves
Saturday 12th April 2008
Dani, Martin & Chris L

I fancied a fun day out and decided to make a return to the site of my first ever caving experience.  So, armed with a copy of “The Caves of the Forest of Dean” we headed off for Symonds Yat.  The scenery was amazing at the forest - both the cliffs and the view down to the River Wye.

C10 Complex (C10, C9, C8, C7) otherwise known as SYC No 15, 16, 17, 18:

We chose to make an exciting approach to C10 Complex, so abseiled down the cliff.  We entered through C7 entrance, had a bit of an explore in the low bedding plane, found C8 entrance and then headed for Boulder Chamber.  Discovered an unpleasant smell in Boulder Chamber, which turned out to be an extremely fresh turd so made a rather hasty exit, while trying not to puke.  Popped across to Buddha Chamber before heading into Keystone Chamber.  Found another turd; this one being somewhat less fresh than the previous one.  Sighted entrance C9 and headed out via entrance C10.  Met a group of kids coming into the cave – they variously thought we were (i) wax works dummies and (ii) builders (!).  We may need to have a rethink about our attire to avoid future misunderstandings.

SYC No 14 otherwise known as Doughnut Cave:

We had a quick crawl around this small cave and completed its mini round trip.

C3 otherwise known as Wye Rapids Cave or SYC No 13:

This was a fairly hard cave full of lots of tight crawly bits.  We reached the end of the survey and still there was more cave.  Interesting.  As time was pressing we did not make a completely full investigation, but this looked like a cave with plenty of potential.

C2 otherwise known as SYC No 12:

By now we were all feeling a bit knackered so we had a bit of a gentle potter around this cave.  I managed to find a squeeze that was almost at my limit.  We would like to go back sometime and thoroughly finish the exploration (particularly of the pretty bits and the link to C3).

A short “debriefing” session was held at the Saracen’s Head pub before departing back to Mendipshire.

Thanks to Dani and Martin for making this a fantastic day out.

Martin abseiling down to the C10 Complex:

View out of C10:

Look into my eyes and feel very sleepy:

A brief moment of rest outside C2:

Dani having far too much fun in C3:

Hard going in the squeeze at C2:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on April 20, 2008, 04:31:12 pm
Goatchurch Cavern
Sunday 20th April 2008
Martin, Chris (Guest), Peter (Guest) & Chris L

This was a short trip to give our guests (Chris and Peter) a taster of life underground.

We took the traditional route into the cave via the Old Entrance and down the Giant’s Stairs.  From there, we popped down Bloody Tight into Boulder Chamber.  A quick drop down the hole in the floor and we were in Water Chamber.  After inspecting the small waterfall, the Drainpipe was used for some crawling practice.

After climbing up the Coffin Lid, we took a visit to the Coal Chute before exiting through the New Entrance.

The Fantastic Three:

Chris returning through the Drainpipe:

Peter climbing the Coffin Lid:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on April 20, 2008, 04:33:09 pm
Lionel’s Hole
Sunday 20th April 2008
Chris L (solo)

The purpose of this visit was to have a crack at the round trip (in reverse) – having already done one half of the round trip on a previous visit.

Needless to say, I got confused by what I presume to be the Labyrinth.  I never made it to Suicide Rift but I did find some amazingly-sharp, suit-wrecking fossil shells in a rift that I somewhat pointlessly climbed.

The photo just about sums up this particular trip.

I will take some route-finding advice and have another go at a later date.

Grim-looking Tube:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Sumpy on April 22, 2008, 08:54:23 pm
Biddlecombe Swallet,Biddlecombe Rift Cave, Hazlenut Swallet, Beryl Swallet and Simonds Mine
Wednesday 16th April
Dani G, Martin, Steve P and Sumpy

We finally found each other and headed up to find the rift cave, after 10mins of looking we found the entrance and decided that Dani should go first. Very quickly Dani decided that it probably wasn't a good idea to go unless you could slide through your own letterbox! We turned around deciding that tat cave is just to small for anybody without super human abilities. Next we found Simonds Mine. We crawled in through a fairly small entrance and past a recently habited animal den and on through yet smaller passage until we were met with a short rift passage which seemed to go nowhere. Back on the main route we continued on until we where in a fair sized rift with obvious mining works. This rift was about 12 to 15mtrs in length with a 3mtr dry pot at the end. There was a small tube continuing on from this but looked as if it had collapsed 4mtrs along.Out we came and took the long stroll down valley to find the remaining three caves. First we found Hazlenut which has a 3mtr entrance chamber and then a strait flat out crawl for about 30mtrs with a dig at the end, thanks to Dani for finding that out for us hehe. After we left we looked for the other two caves which both turned out to be well and truly blocked! Thanks all for a great trip Sumpy
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on April 22, 2008, 09:31:53 pm
Swiss Valley Cave (Clevedon)
Tuesday 22nd April 2008
Chris L (solo)

After an earlier reconnaissance trip to locate this cave, I decided to kit up and have a go at it.

At the entrance there is a small chamber full of leaves and rubbish leading to a boulder ruckle.  Skirting down the right hand side of the ruckle leads to a low, tight squeeze, which I discovered leads absolutely nowhere.  The squeeze was a rather snug fit and reversing back through it took about 5-minutes longer than I found comfortable – it also took plenty of brute force and ignorance.

Climbing up through the ruckle leads to the rest of the cave.  It was interesting to see some evidence of flowstone on one wall, as the cave is now extremely dry.  A straight section of passage leads to an upwards tube/aven (8m high) that has been dug out.  This terminates in a mass of tree roots and loose soil/stones.

Prior to the upwards tube/aven is a cross rift.  The left hand side is too tight but an interesting void can be seen beyond the constriction.  The right hand rift leads on for about 20m before closing down.  The rocky floor in this area is a ruckle and looks like it could be easily be dug downwards.

There are a great number of extremely large cave spiders in residence in this cave.  If you suffer from arachnophobia then it might be best to give this cave a miss.

Entrance (complete with Cave Art):

Tight Squeeze to Nowhere:

The Way On (with Flowstone on right hand side):

Looking Upwards to Tree Roots in Tube/Aven:

The Cross Rift:

Cave Spider (this one is only a baby):
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on April 28, 2008, 10:21:55 pm
Ogof Draenen (Round Trip)
Sunday 27th April 2008
Rachel, Andy S, Martin & Chris L

Apologies for any factual inaccuracies contained in this account.  My poor brain has struggled to retain all the details of our route.

After a short walk through some fantastic Welsh scenery, we entered the cave through a small trap door.  We then crawled and slid down various low passages and a 4m pitch before reaching the rather large passage at Cairn Junction.

We then went past Wonderbra Bypass (interesting name) along Carpet Crawl before reaching the traverse at Indiana Highway.  After some interesting times in the traverse we reached Megadrive, which was surprisingly airy and peaceful.  At the end of Megadrive we found the Nunnery (with its floor Stal’s) and headed down the passage to the fixed ladder into The Arm’s Park.

A quick rest later and we continued on our journey by going along The Player’s Tunnel.  In turn, this led to St David’s Hall.  Along the way, we found some interesting crystalline deposits and stal on the roof.  At the end of St David’s Hall, we climbed the boulders to reach the Squirrel Rifts.

Although route finding is extremely intimidating in Squirrel Rifts, we were helped by the small cairns kindly left by others and a polished nature of the route – although there were several well polished wrong turns to contend with!

At this point my memory lets me down slightly.  I recall abseiling down a 10m pitch and reaching the Agent Blorenge Streamway, but there may well be some important details missing.  The streamway was extremely sporting and contained some hard traverses.  There was also a nice, bracing duck section requiring neck-high immersion in very chilly water.  After hacking downstream for what seemed like ages, we eventually reached the junction of Agent Blorenge Streamway and The Beyond A Choke Streamway.

Another quick rest later and we continued up The Beyond A Choke Streamway.  There were some strange deposits along most of the streamway that caught our attention (see separate posting for more details).  We walked for a very long time up the well decorated streamway before finally reaching Tea Junction.

A short walk up from Tea Junction and we reached Wonderbra Bypass.  I made this bit slightly more sporting for the others by inadvertently emptying my waterlogged wellies on the already slippery mud floor.  Sorry!

On passing through Wonderbra Bypass, we were once again reunited with Cairn Junction.  It only remained for us to head upwards through the entrance series and back to the world of daylight and clouds.

Thanks to Andy, Rachel and Martin for making this such a superb trip.

Picturesque walk to the entrance:

Crystals on the roof slab:

Wet Stal:

Martin in the Squirrel Rifts:

Andy in the Squirrel Rifts:

Rachel in the Agent Blorange Streamway:

Andy & Rachel restocking their energy supplies:

Dried up Pool next to The Beyond A Choke Streamway:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: mrodoc on April 29, 2008, 04:06:03 pm
I see you  blanked out the scary chokes in the main streamway. It's like crawling through a house of cards IMHO  :o
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on April 30, 2008, 07:27:57 am
Goatchurch Cavern
Tuesday 29th April 2008
Dani, Emily (Guest), Steve (Guest) and Chris L

After much cajoling, I finally managed to get my friends Emily and Steve on a caving trip.  I need not have worried about their reaction to being underground as they shot around Goatchurch Cavern with no problems at all.

We took the standard route in through the Old Entrance, down the Giants Staircase, along Bloody Tight and into Boulder Chamber.  In no time at all we had dropped down the tube into Water Chamber.  A short detour was taken to the grotto with the waterfall before heading down into the Drainpipe for a taster of crawling.  Our exit was via the Coffin Lid and Tradesman’s Entrance.

Thanks to Dani for technical assistance and acting as group porter.

Postscript to Ogof Draenen trip (above) - Yes the chokes are scary and yes I had blanked them out.  Martin and I had a short discussion about them at the time but decided not to dwell on them!
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: mrodoc on April 30, 2008, 12:30:55 pm
Is Dani contactable by PM. After chatting to Anfieldman and Misty it appears there is a site in Devon that she might be able to squeeze into - it's an ascending chimney in Skullcap Cave at Chudleigh which looks negotiable by a small but also competent caver.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Dani on May 01, 2008, 12:00:41 pm
Rods Pot to Bath Swallet
Wednesday 30th April
Andy S, Rachel, Tricia, Chris L, Barry, Robin, Dani + Dobbin

A first real outing for Cheddar's newest member Dobbin the SAP.  The plan was to start the survey for Rods to Bath through trip and to use our new piece of kit.  All gathered and ready to go, we set off with a plan to start in Rod's and see how far we got before it was time to go to the pub.

We took the right hand route down the cave to the pots, with various members taking turns at target practice, shouting out measurements to chief scribe Rachel.  We managed to survey down to purple passage before Barry and Robin decided that they were quite clean and didn't fancy getting muddy, so they exited back out of Rods.  The rest of us wanted to complete the through trip (even that delightful climb out of shower pot that I love so much), so descended purple pot and headed out, whilst Chris and Andy made a few final measurements.

All in all I think it was a fairly successful surveying trip (although I might be getting ahead of myself as we haven't seen the results of our measurements yet).  I think we've now started to suss out a system that works and have picked up a few ideas on ways to improve our surveying, which we can try out when we finish the Bath Swallet side of the survey.

Thanks to all for a fun trip.  I'm off to eat some pies so I can't fit into all the new small bits that everyone keeps finding  :tease:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Sumpy on May 02, 2008, 12:47:45 pm
Mmmmm Pies!
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on May 04, 2008, 06:50:03 pm
Mine's a Steak & Onion Pie please.

Swildon’s Hole – Black Hole Series
Sunday 4th May 2008
Judy, Martin, Rachel, Andy S & Chris L

A minor clothing shortage necessitated a quick dash to Cheddar by “somebody who shall remain nameless”.  We reconvened at the 20-foot Waterfall and headed on down to Sump 1.  After a quick bit of photography and repeated sumpings (with associated ice-cream headache), we found and entered the muddy Black Hole Series side passage.

The Black Hole itself was easily found and we had much fun climbing down and across the bold step (where long legs are a definite benefit).  We then continued along the small streamway passing Well Chamber, Sore Knees Creep and First Boulder Choke.  On the way we passed Helictite Wall and were suitably impressed with it and all of the numerous stal and flow forms in the area.  Just before the Second Boulder Choke we refuelled our engines before heading back.

Rachel at Sump 1:

Andy at Sump 1:

Judy at Sump 1 (and enjoying it):

Chris at Sump 1 (pretending to be a submarine):

Judy descending the Black Hole:

Helictite Wall:

Grotto near Sore Knees Creep:

4/5ths of the Team just before the Second Boulder Choke:

Judy heading back across the Black Hole:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Dani on May 09, 2008, 04:43:25 pm
Bath Swallet Surveying Trip
Wednesday 7th May
Andy S, Rachel, Dani + Muffin the Mule

A slightly depleted party this week headed down Bath Swallet (I managed to nearly strangle myself on my belt whilst abseiling down Shower Pot), we quickly made our way to Purple Passage.  We found our final survey point from last week, then worked our way back out of the cave, getting a good rhythm going and making fairly efficient progress.  A slight sticking point on our way back up Shower Pot, with the measure deciding it didn't want to go all the way back down to Andy (a disto would be really handy!) but other than that, no real problems.  We resurfaced just after 9 and speedily surveyed the surface to join back up with our start point at Rods Pot.  Now all we have to do is cross our fingers and hope that the measurements have been accurate! Watch this space!
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Andy Sparrow on May 09, 2008, 04:58:07 pm
Bath Swallet Surveying Trip
Wednesday 7th May
Andy S, Rachel, Dani + Muffin the Mule

A slightly depleted party this week headed down Bath Swallet (I managed to nearly strangle myself on my belt whilst abseiling down Shower Pot), we quickly made our way to Purple Passage.  We found our final survey point from last week, then worked our way back out of the cave, getting a good rhythm going and making fairly efficient progress.  A slight sticking point on our way back up Shower Pot, with the measure deciding it didn't want to go all the way back down to Andy (a disto would be really handy!) but other than that, no real problems.  We resurfaced just after 9 and speedily surveyed the surface to join back up with our start point at Rods Pot.  Now all we have to do is cross our fingers and hope that the measurements have been accurate! Watch this space!

Unfortunately the closed loop has an error of over 7% so something has gone amiss.  The line looks right until the last section above Shower Pot - there could be an error in the cave, or maybe it was the rather hurried surface legs.  Rach and I are hoping to go back tomorrow evening and resurvey the last section, and then to survey very accurately to Rods and Drunkards.  Any other sados out there with nothing else to do on a Saturday evening?
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Dani on May 19, 2008, 03:41:57 pm
Goatchurch Cavern
Wednesday 14th May 2008

Brendan, Steve P, Martin, Sumpy, Chris L, Lucy, Tricia, Dani, Rachel + Lesley (guest) + I think there were 11 of us (sorry to whoever I have forgotten) and Andy S a bit later on (he might be the person I've forgotten)

Going on the fact that I can't even remember who went, this might be a rather vague trip report, please feel free to berate/correct me. 

We certainly went in the top entrance and came out of the Tradesman's; where at both points I tried to take out Chris' ankles by losing my footing and sliding, rather than walking into the cave.  In between these two points, we split up with each group having a bit of a poke around in different sections of the cave.  Lesley went on a fairly traditional 'introduction to caving' trip with Rachel, Brendan, Tricia and Lucy and came out smiling, so I think she enjoyed it.  I completely failed to get the angle right to come out of the z-squeeze from the water chamber and then proceeded to prove Andy wrong when he said I wouldn't fit through F  :o -ing tight.  Chris meanwhile was ruining his future prospects by getting stuck into Hellish tight and the others were having a nose around at the bottom of the ladder dig.

Having recovered from the hysteria, we headed off for some refreshments (and ice!)

Thanks to all for a fun trip
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Sumpy on May 23, 2008, 03:41:32 pm
Wednesday 21st May 2008

Martin, Tricia and Sumpy

All met in the pull-in by the gate and hastily got changed and headed off across the field to the entrance. This being Tricia's first trip down GB we decided to do the tourist round trip. Ambled down to the Gorge where we found no water (not surprising really) and then walked along to the stall bridge, up and over to the Art Gallery where Martin stopped and noticed a large amount of helectights. Up white Passage and then decided to have a look up Extension Passage. Back down into Rift Chamber then up into Rhumba Alley which gets nice and tight at the end. Back on the route we made our way to the Hall to look out over the Main Chamber, unfortunately it was very foggy so the visibility wasn't that great. Then down the Oxbow to the little drop by the bottom of the Ladder Dig. We then made our way back up the waterfall and continued on up the Gorge and then back up to the block house. A nice trip that was enjoyed by all. Then of course back to the Pub for light refreshments.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on June 06, 2008, 08:32:54 pm
Cnoc Nan Uamh System – Hill of Caves (Assynt, Scotland)
Tuesday 20th May 2008
Ken, Andy P, Meg, Mark, Andy M & Chris L

Uamh an Tartair – Cave of Roaring:

After a walk through the fantastic Scottish scenery, we popped into Uamh an Tartair through the large dry entrance and made our way straight down the streamway and out of the resurgence at the surface collapse.  A short walk beneath the open sky took us into Uamh an Uisge (see below).

We re-entered the cave via the resurgence and split up to randomly explore its nether regions.  After various crawls, climbs and ducks, we eventually met up together in the large chamber containing a lake.

My highlight of the trip was crawling up a long phreatic tube towards a static sump.  The bottom of the tube was lined with soft, dry soil – this being absolute heaven on the knees (I wish there was more crawling like this in Mendip).  It ought to be compulsory in all caves.  When retracing our steps away from the sump, we could see that the soil contained thousands of wriggling earth worms. Strange!

Upon inspecting the survey later that night, we found we had visited The Grotto, Landslip Chamber and Sump 1.

Uamh an Uisge – Cave of Water:

The entrance to this cave is down The Waterslide – a stream-filled thrust plane that is similar in appearance to a bedding place.  At the very bottom of the cave we found a sump with lots of evidence of recent flooding.  The descent and ascent of The Waterslide would rate as quite sporting under high water conditions.  Luckily, we were spared the experience.  Upon exiting, we returned back to Uamh an Tartair (see above).

Strange looking people:

Fantastic views:

Entering the streamway in Uamh an Tartair:

Heading back towards the resurgence at Uamh an Tartair:

Formations at the Grotto:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on June 06, 2008, 08:34:23 pm
Lower Traligill Cave (Assynt, Scotland)
Tuesday 20th May 2008
Chris L

On the walk back to the car from Cnoc Nan Uamh System, I had a quick poke around Lower Traligill Cave.  The entrance is contained within a tight thrust plane containing a stream.  At the bottom, the stream sinks into rocks.  Another stream also joins at the bottom of the cave – this appears to be part of the main valley stream that has sunk further up the valley.

There was some fantastic limestone sponge on the ceiling (photographs didn’t come out though).  After a quick and lonely visit, I thrutched back to the entrance where I was met by a small man-made flood-pulse generated by my bored chums.

It was apparent that this cave would flood all the way to the entrance in the event of significant rains.  It would certainly not be a nice place to get stuck!

Entrance to Lower Traligill Cave:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on June 06, 2008, 08:35:49 pm
The Creag Nan Uamh Bone Caves (Assynt, Scotland)
Thursday 22nd May 2008
Andy M, Chris L

Yet again, the walk to the caves allowed us to experience the absolutely jaw-dropping Scottish scenery.  The steep climb up to the Bone Caves was also a rather laborious affair due to our heavy oversuits.  Our first objective for the day was to pay a visit to each of the four main Bone Caves.

On the path, we came across the resurgence for the valley stream.  It was remarkable for the fact that it looked just like a large shallow puddle – but with no apparent source and with a fast running stream exiting from one end.  Clearly the stream resurges from the floor of the puddle, but it does look odd.

On our arrival at the cliff, we visited in order - No 1 Badger Cave, No2 Reindeer Cave, No 3 Bone Cave and No 4 Foxes Den.

In Reindeer Cave we managed to do the extremely short round trip and in Bone Cave we went one better and did the extremely short through trip to Reindeer Cave.

After a short breather, we marched off to our next cave – further up the valley.

Yet more fantastic scenery:

The odd puddle (resurgence):

Attractive small-scale water feature in Bone Cave:

Completing the through trip from Reindeer Cave to Bone Cave:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on June 06, 2008, 08:37:15 pm
Allt Nan Uamh Stream Cave (Assynt, Scotland)
Thursday 22nd May 2008
Andy M, Chris L

After a short walk up the valley from the Bone Caves, we found the entrance to Allt Nan Uamh Stream Cave.  Having negotiated the small entrance area we found ourselves in the spacious Assembly Hall.  We strolled along the passage to Piccadilly, Oxford Street and up to Breakdown Cavern.

We then turned around and headed back to Piccadilly before reaching 1st Stream Chamber.  A left turn led us to Drip Chamber, where drips form the roof had cut a number of fine looking pockets in the mud floor.

Upon investigating one of the passages on the way back we found The Pit – this being a hole in the floor containing a stream. I popped down, had a poke around, found the sump and climbed up again (with assistance).

Back at the 1st Stream Chamber, we followed the meandering water upstream into the Rift Stream Series.  This was a tight but interesting area and eventually we were surprised to pop out into Oxford Street.

From there we made our way out of the cave before walking back to the car.

Drip pool and pockets in Drip Chamber:

Andy at the head of the Pit:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on June 06, 2008, 08:44:18 pm
Swildon’s Hole – Short Round Trip
Monday 26th May 2008
Tim & Chris L

We made our way down to the 20’ Waterfall via the Short Dry Way.  After getting the Ladder and Lifeline stuff out of the way, we continued down towards Tratman’s Temple.  From there we commenced the Short Round Trip in a clockwise direction.

There was not much to report, other than we made unscheduled visits to Websell’s Dig and the duck/sump at Caliper Pot – due to lack of familiarity with the route.

When diving through Sump 1, we had the dubious pleasure of surfacing in a thick layer of foam/scum that was tinged brown and had a distinctive bovine odour.  Lovely!

It was interesting to note that although the stream water level was high and quite torrential, the water levels in the various percolation ducks were relatively low.

Tim floating through one of the ducks:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on June 06, 2008, 08:45:22 pm
Swildon’s Hole – Short Round Trip
Saturday 31st May 2008
Martin & Chris L

I decided to repeat the recent Short Round Trip to improve my route finding, and managed to get around without reference to the survey.  As for previous trips, we undertook the trip in a clockwise direction.

The Mud Sump was lower than I have ever seen it, obviously as a result of somebody’s bailing.  However, in general, the percolation ducks were relatively high with the stream water level being much lower than the previous week.

The most interesting part of the trip was getting through the first of the Double Troubles.  When we arrived, we found the water level extremely high, to the point where the duck was a sump.  The siphon had also stopped and the layout of the duck looked unfamiliar.  I attempted to dive through and got myself up a blind tube, which was a bit unpleasant.  After extricating myself, we restarted the siphon and started bailing out the water.  Eventually, enough water was removed that I could see the correct route – the 90-degree bend to the left.  I floated through “sans-helmet” using my nose as a snorkel and was then able to guide Martin through using my light as a beacon.

To mix it up, this week we made an unscheduled trip to Vicarage Pot.  I immediately realised that I had taken a non-optimal route and headed back to the Landing, before dropping into the streamway and heading home.

Martin getting through the Mud Sump:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on June 08, 2008, 09:29:12 am
Swildon’s Hole – Oxbows & Lowbow
Saturday 7th June 2008
Chris L (solo)

I decided that it would be a useful exercise to explore the Oxbows & Lowbow – having previously only visited them in passing.

My odyssey started at the top of the Wet Way, where I took the key-hole shaped link to the top of Upper Oxbow.  From here I entered Butcombe Chamber.  There being no other people around, I took the opportunity to climb up in the “hanging deaths” and had a good poke around.  I looked really hard but could not find any pints of Butcombe anywhere!  Upon reaching the floor again, I headed out towards Oxbow Junction.

At Oxbow Junction, there were signs of interesting things up high so I climbed up through more “hanging deaths” but found the way on closed down.  I did see some nice looking fossils (see photo).  After descending, I followed the corrugated pipe down Lower Oxbow.  I didn’t want to be the clumsy so-and-so that broke it, so I only went a short distance to a pinch point before deciding that I was putting the pipe at risk.  (The remainder of the passage can be accessed later from the downstream end.)

Back at Oxbow Junction, I walked a short distance downstream and located Upper Oxbow.  This also contained a pipe but I decided that I could pass through the passage without risking the pipe – so I did.  Much heaving and grunting later I was back at the top of Upper Oxbow.  I then headed back up the key-hole shaped link to the Wet Way.

After a quick trundle downstream through the Well and the Lavatory Pan, I located the passage to Lower Oxbow/Lowbow.  The climb up to the passage from the Wet Way was technical and quite fun.  Crawling up Lower Oxbow, I completed my exploration of the missing passage and reached the pinch point where my earlier exploration had stopped.  Satisfied, I reversed and went back to the junction with Upper and Lower Lowbow.

I tackled Upper Lowbow first.  This required me to climb upwards into another rather unstable looking area.  There were plenty of signs that mammalian flying critters had spent some time here.  I was rewarded at the top by some unexpected pretties (see photo).  The way on was via a tight passage, which I attempted to take.  I reached a squeeze that annoyingly looked like it opened out into a small rift.  Unfortunately, I could not get my shoulders through the squeeze and being Billy-no-mates, I decided not to risk being stuck there for the rest of my life – so I retreated.

That left me only Lower Lowbow to explore.  I crawled a short distance up the passage and came to a muddy, rotten-looking puddle.  It contained some crustacean life, so I tried my best to minimise my impact on their puddle.  Just after the puddle, the passage options looked a bit dismal and squalid, so I decided that with my call-out time fast approaching, it was time to get back.

On the way out, I had a cold but exhilarating shower in the Wet Way and got my suit thoroughly cleaned up, ready to get dirty again on my next trip.

Fossils at top of Oxbow Junction:

Pretties at top of Upper Lowbow:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Dani on June 16, 2008, 09:07:49 pm
Ogof Ffynnon Ddu (OFD) II
Sunday 15th June 2008
Dani & Chris L

After being fleeced for an extortionate breakfast at the services on the way to OFD, we arrived bright and early at the SWCC cottage, finding several people out and about already.  A quick conflab as we picked up the keys to decide on our route for the day – OFD II and a route finding bimble round some of the upper series.

I’m not sure it’s a good sign for a caving trip if you’re wondering if you’re going the right way on the walk up to the entrance, but, it turned out we were.  I was then a very big brave girl and battled the enormous arachnid at the entrance, without its deathly fangs sinking in to me.  A few moments for our eyes to adjust and we headed on it
towards Chasm Passage, making fairly quick progress towards the Shakehole.  We both had a nose over the edge of the pitch and admired the formations in the passage ahead before retracing our steps down to Salubrious Passage.

Wandering down Salubrious, we deviated to look at the Judge and the Trident and followed this passage along until we got to the head of another pitch.  Parts of the passage were very reminiscent of Selenite Tunnel and again some nice formations ahead of us at the pitch.

Heading back to the Trident, we thought we ought to remind ourselves of the way down to Maypole Inlet and after this was successfully located, we had to do the obligatory trip to Selenite Tunnel.  By this time I was completely parched and in need of a drink, so I made the sherpa stop for refreshments, before I keeled over completely.  Thirst
quenched, we moved on to Shatter Pillar towards Cross Rift and, after a slight navigational issue, on to Moonlight Chamber.  Despite having done this route before, I couldn’t remember any of the usual features and don’t even remember seeing the formations in the chamber before.  I think old age is definitely getting to me, or else I’ve selectively deleted the memory after last time I came here.

Once again we retraced our steps back to Shatter Pillar and made our way to Edward’s Shortcut.  The traverse was fairly quickly negotiated, although note to Chris – take the bag off your back next time!  More ambling along took us to the climb up, which I, in my vertically challenged state, shot up like a monkey.  Feeling extremely chuffed with myself as I normally take an age and a leg up to climb out of there, we headed back into Gnome Passage.

We still had a bit of time before we were due out of the cave, so we thought we would cross the Big Chamber Near the Entrance and make our way to Cairn Chamber.  Our aim was slightly thwarted by a rather large drop down in the floor.  The getting down wouldn’t have been a problem (and was nearly very quick), but we couldn’t see any decent way to get back up again.  Deciding to leave this to another day, we headed back out into the sunshine.  Having spoken to someone back at the cottage, we should have gone towards the Labyrinth, but hindsight (or insight) is a wonderful thing.

A great trip, very satisfying and I think I have nearly learnt how to navigate my way out of the cave (until next time)!  Thanks to Chris for organising, being routefinder general, chauffeur and Sherpa!

Chris investigating small pool near entrance:

Roof features past Trident and Judge:

Taking a breather:

Crystals in a dried-up pool:

Dani in Selenite Tunnel:

Chris in Edward’s Shortcut:

More crystals in another dried-up pool:

On the way out:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on June 18, 2008, 07:30:36 am
Swildon’s Hole - Upper Series
Tuesday 17th June 2008
Dani, Emily (Guest), Steve (Guest) and Chris L

The purpose of this trip was to provide an evening’s entertainment to Emily and Steve.  Water levels were so low that we were able to have a good look at some of the various crustaceans living in the streamway, which I admit to not having noticed before.

Our tour of the Upper Series started along the Long Dry Pretty Way.  Upon reaching the Old Grotto we trundled down to Water Chamber, and on to the Old 40’ Waterfall.  Emily and Steve made short work of the climb down so we decided to have a look at the head of the 20’ Waterfall.

Our return route took us along the Wet Way, where we were able to show Emily and Steve the watery delights of the Lavatory Pan and the Well.

A fun trip was had by all.  Thanks to Sherpa Dani for lugging my bag around all evening.

Taking a breather:

Look into my light:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Dani on June 26, 2008, 07:46:54 pm
Bowery Corner Swallet
Wednesday 25th June 2008
Steve P, Sumpy, Tricia, Chris L, Sam and Dani

Is it a cave or is it a drain?  :shrug:

I think that pretty much sums up the trip, but for those who want a few more details, after about an hour of trying to find the entrance in the undergrowth (the grid ref in Mendip Underground isn't entirely accurate), Sam finally stumbled upon a promising sounding thud in the floor.  A machete would have been helpful to clear some of the brambles and nettles, but once cleared, we opened up the entrance to reveal the entrance shaft.  Sam headed down first to test out the ladder (the younger ones bounce better  ;)) followed by Tricia and myself with Steve, Chris and Sumpy bringing up the rear.  The initial passageway looked interesting, but this soon developed into a very long muddy crawl (not sure why I volunteered to investigate) which ended up at Jrat's dig, which has now silted up a bit.  Chris and Sam also came to have a look and poke around while Sumpy investigated the other branch (which turned out to be even muddier).  Very shortly after, we decided we'd had enough and crawled back out to the sunshine.

A quick wash in Swildons followed for some, while Steve and Sumpy went to be chased by farmers across a field (whatever floats your boat  ::)) in search of the lost cities of gold (or it might have been Bishop's Lot)
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on June 30, 2008, 06:58:10 am
Lionel’s Hole
Sunday 29th June 2008
Chris L and Sam (Guest)

We decided to again try and find the route through the boulder ruckle from Boulder Chamber towards Junction Chamber.  Despite our best endeavours at route finding in this most pleasant of caves, we always seemed to end up back at the Traverse.

Within the boulder ruckle, I found several unpleasant squeezes that got me quite well jammed – but fortunately I managed to extricate myself on each occasion.  There are also a number of loose boulders that add to the experience.

As I know the first half of the Round Trip route (from the Traverse to Suicide Rift), the plan for next time is to try and find a way through the boulder ruckle in the reverse direction and thus complete the Round Trip.  Can’t wait!
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on July 05, 2008, 11:36:22 pm
Lionel’s Hole – Round Trip
Saturday 5th July 2008
Chris L (solo)

At last the day had arrived!  I decided to have a crack at the Round Trip in the anti-clockwise direction.  As no one wanted to come out and play with me, I decided that I would have to do it on my own.

I passed through Boulder Chamber and along the Traverse.  From the top of the Traverse I dropped down into stream way.  At this point, I lay down and watched the stream for some time before deciding that it was safe to continue.  There was a lot of percolation water finding its way into the cave and the first duck was deeper and longer than I had previously seen it.

After passing the first duck I got to the nasty second duck.  This was tighter than I remembered it but I successfully got through, although I did get a proper soaking.  Note for the future – do not let large pointy rocks get rolled into and trapped against the sternum as it hurts!

After much “fun” crawling along the tight streamway I popped up Bishop’s Bypass and headed for Suicide Rift.  From there I headed back on the second leg of my Round Trip.

After a short trundle, I reached a high rift and climbed up it to investigate the way on into the dreaded boulder area.  Someone had left a usefully positioned handline that gave me a hint that I was on the right track.

After a few wrong turns in the dreaded boulders I found a likely looking way on through some fairly tight squeezes and dropped into Junction Chamber.  It looked extremely familiar to me and indeed it turned out that I had visited it on a previous occasion.

I was now almost certain that I had this route cracked and sure enough, as I slid down the muddy phreatic tube out of Junction Chamber I realised that I knew the way out.  This cheered me up no end as it meant that I would not have to re-trace my steps and exit via the tight streamway and even tighter ducks.

A few minutes later, I reappeared in Boulder Chamber and headed out of the cave with my mission completed.

Sorry there are no pictures but my shockproof and waterproof camera is no longer shockproof, waterproof or functional.

Thanks to Sam P, Martin, and Sam D-K for their previous assistance.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on July 06, 2008, 10:46:32 pm
Aveline’s Hole
Sunday 6th July 2008
Chris L, Chris H (guest) & Oscar (guest)

As we were in the area, we decided to pop into this cave for a quick look around.  There was not much to report.  We admired the fine steel gate and the even finer worm-type markings on the ceiling before walking out and onto our next cave.

Goatchurch Cavern
Sunday 6th July 2008
Chris L, Chris H (guest) & Oscar (guest)

After a pleasant stroll up the valley, we reached the cave.  Our route took us into the Old Entrance, down Giant’s Staircase, along Bloody Tight and into Boulder Chamber.  From here were dropped down into Water Chamber.  We were in no particular hurry, so took our trip at a leisurely pace.

Chris H and Oscar had a good look at the pretty waterfall in the floor.  As I still had some tender bits from yesterday’s efforts, I decided not to squeeze through with them.

Our route out of the cave took us up the Coffin Lid into Boulder Chamber and out via the Tradesmen’s Entrance.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Dani on July 13, 2008, 02:33:20 pm
Baredine Cave, Istria, Croatia

Sunday 6th July 2008
Dani + various other tourists

I'm not sure whether this really counts as a caving trip, as it was more of a tourist trundle, but I was underground, albeit for too short a time.  This is one of the few caves of the 1500 in the Istria region open to tourists, so I dragged my friends round as I was getting itchy wellies, not having been caving for a good few days.  The cave itself was pretty much vertical, descent and ascent being made infinitesimally easier by the installation of steps, something that I could definitely get used to.  The cave is decorated by numerous formations and terminates at a pool surrounded by stalactites, stalagmites, straws and curtains. (

An added bonus was the sight of a Proteus anguinus, which are native in the caves of this region. (

Chatting to the guide (who ran a commentary in Croatian, English, French, German and Russian, impressive) I found out he was a member of the local caving club and was invited to help out at their dig.  Unfortunately, I had to turn this down as we had other plans, but I did find out that digs the world over are quite similar - muddy!
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on July 20, 2008, 03:35:38 pm
Lionel’s Hole – Round Trip
Sunday 20th July 2008
Chris L (solo)

After a short work-related break from caving, I decided to go and practise my new found knowledge of Lionel’s Hole.  This time I undertook the Round Trip in the clockwise direction.  As a special treat I took my new waterproof camera and new oversuit to be wrecked.

I am afraid there was nothing much to report.  Route finding was easy and everything was where I remembered it.

I came across a number of small but interesting looking holes that need further investigation.  As this cave looks a bit like I imagine a Croatian cave would look like then I am going to start looking around for a good compact caver with Croatian experience, who can explore the interesting looking holes for me.  It sounds like a difficult task.

Every time I go through Duck No 2, it seems to get tighter and is harder to pass.  Today was no exception - even though I dug it out before passing through it.  I can only conclude that the hole in the rock is shrinking.  It obviously has nothing to do with my shoulders, chest or backside increasing in girth.

If the photographs make the cave look grotty and horrible then that would be because the cave is grotty and horrible.  Nevertheless, it is good fun.

Letterbox leading to Boulder Chamber:


Sandwich Boulder (the way on is underneath the boulder!):


The way on towards Suicide Rift:


Taking a breather at Suicide Rift:


Duck No 2 in the streamway:

Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Andy Sparrow on July 22, 2008, 07:43:36 pm

Andy S, Rachel, Chris C, Nicki (Castle's lodger), Mark, Megan, Barry, Danny B, Tricia, Sam, Neil, Judi, Robin (Rigiani junior), and Tim E.

After an interminable drive Rachel, myself, Chris and Nicki finally arrived at gate of Rowter Farm campsite and proceeded to drive straight past despite the the fact that Neil and Judi were waiting, after a long vigil, headlights shining like beacons to show us the way.  We turned around eventually and finally reached the dark, bleak and boggy field.  When the tent was up we gravitated towards the sound of drunken merriment that drifted across the otherwise silent campsite to find the masses assembled with a dangerously diverse selection of alcoholic beverages.  It was then that the skies opened and a deluge of rain beat down upon the tent and did not abate for several hours.

On Saturday morning we gathered at the Woodbine Cafe in Hope to ruminate over the plan.  Giant's Hole was intended but after the heavy rain this seemed doubtful.  We proceeded to the H&H caving shop for a browse and to pick the resident caver's brain.  'No problem, mate,' he assured, 'you'll be alright down there today.'   Thus it was that we assembled optimistically in the Giant's parking area just in time to meet three soggy returning cavers.  'Don't go down there, mate, it's desperate.  Mind you, Phil Brown at Caving Supplies said it would be.'   Memo to self - go to Caving Supplies in future for local knowledge. 

'We're off to Carlswark', announced Steve, leader of the soggy cavers.  That sounded like a good idea to me.  So we all piled back into the vehicles and off we went to Stoney Middleton where we encountered Steve again.  Steve took us (me, Rach, Castle, Tim and Danny) up to find Eyam Shaft Entrance while the rest of the crew set off to Gin Entrance.

This was my first trip into Carlswark and I suspect it will be my last. It's quite an interesting place, being a complex of phreatic passages, but it's all very stoopy and crawly.  We went off to some climb that led down to a sump and then retraced our steps back to a junction where we met the Gin Entrance party.  It was easy enough to find our way through to the other entrance and we met a couple of novice groups en-route. Not sure, to be honest, if this is a cave that is going turn people on to caving - it wouldn't be my first choice of a novice cave. 

We emerged into what was by then a very pleasant sunny afternoon after less than two hours underground.  It had been quite a fun little through trip even if the cave was a bit uninspiring.  We headed back to Eyam Shaft, said our goodbyes to Steve and his crew and waited for the others to emerge, which they did in due course. 

A quick wash and brush up back at the camp and then off we went, by foot, down to Castleton.  It was a very pleasant walk which only took half an hour and we were soon tucking into the carvery at the Naggs Head.  From here we went on the George and got ourselves a bit tiddly.  The walk back up the Winnats was enlivened by Rachel and Nicki playing hide and seek (a sure sign that Rach is a bit squiffy).  Eventually we got back to the tents for a final night-cap.

Sunday the weather was much improved and we set off again for Giant's Hole.  We were minus Tim (gone to report back to base), Sam (bruised elbow), and Tricia (tempted by showcaves).  We did try to split into two parties by inevitably ended up in one group of 11.  The round trip went very smoothly and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.  Biggest trip so far for Robin (aged 13) and Nicki who both coped with all the diverse obstacles very competently - even the final traverse and descent back to the streamway.  All done and dusted in under 3 hours.  A great trip which was much enjoyed.

All in all a very successful weekend, despite the initially horrible weather.  Did anyone get any photos?
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on July 31, 2008, 10:44:53 pm
Hunter’s Lodge Inn Sink
Wednesday 30th July 2008
Barry (Leader), Mark, Martin, Dani and Chris L

Firstly, an apology.  I don’t have a survey for this cave so I don’t know the names of any of the features.

After climbing down the shaft in the car park, we had a quick crawl and descent along the entrance series into a bedding plane chamber.

From here, we took a diversion through a hole in the floor and down a hand-lined rift.  The way on was along a tight phreatic tube.

I got half way along the tube and noticed some earthworms, which I thought was very interesting.  As I got my face nice and tight alongside the earthworms I noticed with some interest that they were in fact Leeches.  My body heat seemed to quite excite them so I carefully reversed back up the tube to escape their attentions.  Upon getting back to my chums I was politely asked to go back and get a photograph.  Although this seemed a little unfair, I thought that in the interests of scientific exploration that I would go back and do my duty.

After taking a photograph or two, I again reversed and this time came face to face with a rather miserable looking little toad.  Not wanting to hog all the fun with the wildlife, I let Dani rescue the toad in her camera container.  Happily the little chap was later safely released back at the surface.

After climbing back up and out of the hole in the floor, we continued our way further into the cave.  We dumped our kit at the head of the main rift and continued onwards in an upwards direction.

A number of attractive crystal pools were passed and shortly afterwards we came across some old reindeer bones.  Many of these bones were calcited, which made them look all the more impressive.  As (pub) time was pressing, we did not proceed to the terminal choke but retreated back to our kit at the main rift.

At the main rift, the double-ladder and lifeline was rigged and we proceeded to climb down the main rift (mostly in a controlled manner).  The rift was over 15m deep and one wall was entirely covered in flowstone.  At the bottom there was a small pool/sump to one side and a low passage to the other side.  A short crawl up the low passage led to a larger pool/sump, which we traversed over to reach dry land on the other side.  As (pub) time was now even more pressing, we decided to commence our exit manoeuvres.  Humping the tackle out of the cave through the upwards trending crawls was found to be a slightly monotonous but great form of exercise.

Verdict - fantastic cave!

Barry crawling in the entrance series:


Strange Troglodyte:


Friendly Wildlife:


Fossilised something:


Crystal Pool:


Ceiling decorations:


Calcited Bone:

Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: CaverA on August 05, 2008, 09:05:56 am
Cuevas Negro, Montanejos.
Sunday 3rd August, 2008

My girlfriend mentioned a day out with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law and my heart sank. The look on my face said it all, she then mentioned that there might be caves so if I wanted to take my pot I could take a look, if we found any. The journey was complicated by having to back track into Valencia to collect said in-laws.

But after an hour and half we had reached the mountain village of Montanejos, fighting for a parking space we were forced to walk a km in the increasing heat. Passing through a tunnel on route, an interesting hole appeared in which I promptly stuck my head in expressing that indeed it blows. I found myself then spending the next five minutes explaining what I meant by the term 'it blows, it goes'.


We spent most of the day by river, enjoying the sunshine before heading to km back to the car, only to find that my girlfriend had left her headlamps on resulting in a flat battery. After a half an hour debate we decided to push the car down the hill in order to start the car. After running it for half an hour while looking for a new parking place. We followed the well signposted trail to Cuevas Negro. 700m trek uphill, at 4pm in August with some heart stopping moments as we traversed a small gravel landslide, certain death on one side. Then last 100 metres were over very steep  loose material and then the entrance chamber opened up in front of us. Measuring an impressive 26m by 10 with a  cavity 2,200m2. We took a minute to catch our breath before I stuck my pot on and decided to take a look see.

Rock hoping down into the chamber I noted a few possible ways on, glad I had decided to bring my helmet this time. Sadly my flip flops were not that suitable on the loose ground however it was the coldest I've been since arriving in Spain. The notion that I might be able to cave in just a t-shirt and long trousers disappeared. We retreated to do some further research in the hope of finding a survey in the near future. (
The entrance chamber. (
Rock hoping down. (
Feeling the heat on exit. 

After a brief internet search very little information has been found. Turns out that it is an active dig site, the local castellon cavers were attempting to link to a master system with out success. If anybody has any information relating to this cave could they drop me a PM. All in all a good recce was carried out.

Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: anfieldman on August 05, 2008, 09:39:32 pm
Saturday 26th July.

Swildons Shatter Series by Barry Hulatt

 A group  of five Cheddar members (Barry Hulatt, Chris Lank, Martin Lee, Mark and Megan Whyte) and one visitor (Pete martin from ISSA) met up.
After some confusion about whether we were going to Shatter Cave or Shatter Series in Swildon's, our party eventually converged on Priddy Green. We made a rapid descent via the short dry way to the mud sump, being the first party in Swildon's that day. Dispensing with baling, we used the commodious two inch airspace to get through the sump and progressed to the top of Shatter Pot. Pete Martin, our visitor, ably rigged the ladder pitch (though someone seemed to have left a ladder in place).  We were hoping to get through to the Damp Link through Shatter passage, but progress was slowed by the ducks being full due to recent rain. We were halted at the Gower Pool duck (or was it a sump?) which despite syphoning didn't seem to get any lower. Due to the cold (yet it was one of the hottest days of the year outside) and the effects of the previous night on two of our group, we decided to turn around. We made it back to Priddy Green in time to recuperate and give thanks for all day opening. The sumps did for most of our best photos, but here are a few.

Barry having fun in St Paul's Series: (

Peter enjoying the thrills of the Mud Sump: (

Meg descending the ladder at Shatter Pot: (

Mark & Meg looking back at a rather dark Shatter Pot: (

The Patented Handy Climbing Aid: (
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on August 24, 2008, 02:58:36 pm
Ogof Draenen (Beyond A Choke Streamway)
Saturday 23rd August 2008
Andy M, Fumie (guest), Dani & Chris L

After a worrying few minutes dealing with the locked gate, we crawled through the gloopy mud puddle at the entrance.  Our route to Cairn Junction took us via the contortions of Spare Rib.  From there we made our way towards Tea Junction via WonderBra Bypass and headed downstream past White Arch Passage and Gilwern Passage.

The remainder of our journey took us along the Beyond a Choke streamway, through the cascades and through a number of chokes.  We eventually passed the Agent Blorenge inlet and carried on towards the Rifleman’s Chamber.  Wading through the deep water was both tiring and chilling, so someway short of Rifleman’s Chamber we made the decision to turnaround and head back.  I estimate that we were probably only halfway towards Rifleman’s Chamber when we turned back.

The return route was uneventful and we were greeted at the surface by a small Bank Holiday Weekend rain shower.  A return trip to Rifleman’s Chamber will be made at some time in the future.

Scaffolded Shaft in Entrance Series:

Andy started to wish that he had laminated the survey and directions:

Fumie passing through WonderBra bypass:

Dani yomping in the Beyond A Choke streamway:

Rhinoceros-shaped feature downstream from Agent Blorenge Inlet:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on August 24, 2008, 03:17:43 pm
Read’s Cavern
Sunday 24th August 2008
Chris H, Tricia & Chris L

We entered the cave along the stream and proceeded in an East direction to the end of the main chamber.  After crawling through a small hole we reached an attractive small grotto containing lots of flowstone.  We had a bit of a crawl/climb and undertook a mini-round trip in the grotto.  From the main chamber we then dropped down an adjacent hole in the floor and explored further through the boulder ruckle.  Having exhausted a number of possible passages/crawls, we returned to the main chamber.

At the West end of the main chamber, we climbed down and into an interesting boulder chamber.  High at one end of the boulder chamber we found a way on and slid down a rock to enter a small low chamber containing some attractive gour pools and other decorations.  On our return to the boulder chamber we had a good look around and were impressed by an area of red ceiling and a collection of crystals inside a Geode.

A fun trip was had by all.

Tricia climbing up in the grotto:

Chris L squeezing through a boulder ruckle:

Chris H admiring the gour pools:

Red Ceiling:

Geode Crystals:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on August 28, 2008, 06:35:54 am
East Twin Swallet
Wednesday 27th August 2008
Chris H, Martin & Chris L

After quickly popping down to the dig face at the bottom of the main part of the cave we made our way into Spar Pot Series for a good look around.

It was immediately apparent that Spar Pot Series has a completely different nature to the rest of the cave.  The main part of the cave is spacious while Spar Pot Series is a series of relatively tight rifts/joints interlinked with phreatic tubes.  Towards the lower reaches it is also very maze-like and has several closely packed levels.

There are excellent examples of fossil shells and also a couple of honeycomb features that look a bit like coral.

Time was against us so we were unable to explore its full extents but this would be an excellent place to spend a day exploring.

Entrance to cave:

Fossils in Spar Pot Series:

Climbing down a small pitch in Spar Pot Series:

Honeycomb feature in Spar Pot Series:

Continuation of Phreatic Tube towards end of Spar Pot Series:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on August 31, 2008, 04:05:40 pm
Ogof Draenen (Rifleman’s Chamber)
Sunday 31st August 2008
Chris L

Having nothing much to do today; I decided to close-out some unfinished business and visit Rifleman’s Chamber.

The standard route was taken (Entrance Series to Cairn Junction, down Wonderbra Bypass and along the Beyond A Choke streamway).  There was not much to note of interest, with the exception of an unhappy looking mini-Toad sitting on a bank of shingle someway past the Agent Blorenge Inlet.  I popped him into my e+LITE container and carried on.

Rifleman’s Chamber was quite impressive and had some gloopy sinking mud that made a really good attempt at stealing my boots off me.  The chamber is quite out of keeping with the rest of the cave and it will be interesting one day to see what lies beyond.  Toad and I had a quick look around followed by a bite to eat before heading back up the streamway and home.

For future reference, when caving on economy mode it takes 60 minutes to reach Agent Blorenge Inlet and a further 40 minutes to reach Rifleman’s Chamber.

Me in Rifleman’s Chamber:

Shiny Things in Rifleman’s Chamber:

The previous visitor to Rifleman’s Chamber:

Toad enjoys his freedom after the journey of a lifetime:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on September 04, 2008, 06:58:48 am
East Twin Swallet (Spar Pot Series)
Wednesday 3rd September 2008
Chris H, Barry, Dani & Chris L

After last week’s trip to this cave, we decided to re-visit it and have a really good look at the maze of passages, tubes and rifts towards the bottom of Spar Pot Series.

We had great fun getting ourselves through all manner of tight obstacles.  Again, it was interesting to see how much was happening in such a small area.

There was a good mix of phreatic tubes, small vadose canyons and areas of breakdown (that looked fairly unstable).  We found more good fossils, including some Coral and the more usual shells.

We also came across a small streamway that meandered its way around several of the passages before being swallowed up by the floor.  There was also evidence of a dry streamway that has recently run with a fair bit of water.

Crawling back up a tube:

Fossil Coral (possibly):

A tempting way on:

New Wellies:

Another interesting place:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Andy Sparrow on September 12, 2008, 07:48:00 am
Gouffre Berger 
Andy S and Rachel.

Monday 25th August
10.00 am
Rachel and I are walking through the streets of Lans en Vercors musing on which caves, pre-rigged for the speleo-congress, we should do.  "I'm not doing the Berger," I tell her with certainty, "been there, done that, not going back.  It was hard work back in '95 when I was aged a mere 41.  Had my last trip down there.  And besides you've only ever done one biggish SRT pitch and there's over 600 feet of prusiking to get up the entrance series. That's it and all about it, my final word, and there's nothing you can do to make me change my mind.  And don't look at me like that.."
10.30 am
We book to go down the Berger.

Wednesday 27th August
We are booked to enter the cave at 1300 hrs.  We are aiming to reach the Hall of the Thirteen at -500 metres.  We spend the morning packing our bags - food, brew kit, spare sweaters, two lightweight survival bags and one heavy duty double.  We are equipped to bivi if we have to, with adequate food supplies for a long trip.   It is a glorious hot and sunny day as we walk from La Moliere enjoying the vista of Alpine peaks.  The wood is cooler and pleasant and delivers us, after 50 minutes, to the Gouffre Berger.  There is much activity at the entrance as cavers prepare to descend but we change quickly and get ahead of the queue.  The short entrance pitch takes us to the top of Puit Ruiz (27m) where Rachel sinks slowly towards the cluster of carbide lamps warmly illuminating the bottom of the shaft.   We meet a group returning from the bottom who have been on the go for over 24 hours are wearily anticipating their beds.  Shuffling past them we descend the short 'Holiday Slides' to the dark chasm of Cairn Shaft. All the big pitches are double rigged and we are able to descend together the 25 metres or so to the lofty hall below.

Then the Meanders begin, tall and winding with greasy scalloped ridges offering scant footholds as the rift below grows deeper and more sinuous.  The more threatening holes are well protected with traverse lines and we are soon in the solid passage leading to Garby's Shaft (38m).  We abseil together into this echoing void which is as fine a piece of vertical architecture as you will ever see.  More meanders follow to the head of Gontards Shaft, a narrower descent to begin with this time, but soon opening into an elegant oval.  The short relay pitches were easily passed and we found ourselves contemplating a traverse line above the dark gulf of Aldo's.  I took the far rope, reached by an aid traverse and left the easier access option to Rachel.  The still pool and clean rock that make a floor of this shaft testify to the flood waters that can crash down here to make the way impassable.

We emerged into the Great Gallery of the Starless River, a huge passage extending into expanses of drakness.  The water was low and murmured along busily across the floors of creamy moonmilk.  We stopped for lunch beside a large stalagmite and watched a group of cavers approach from the depths like a constellation of tiny stars.  We exchanged our 'bonjours' and continued our journey into a swamp of mud the explanation of which presented itself in the form of the beached inflatable dinghy that indicated we had traversed the bed of Lake Cadoux. 

The Bourgin Hall begins here with a path winding between disordered ranks of enormous stalagmites before emerging into the vastness of the Grand Eboulis - The Great Rubble Heap.  A trail of reflectors led us across this wilderness of chaos and then steeply down and down towards the rushing of distant water.  A 10 metre abseil returned us to the streamway and then two further short descents led us deeper and into another expanding chamber.      From here the path continued downwards until we reached a level terrace strewn with old detritus that has obviously been used as a camp in some time past.  We passed Greg Brock (BEC) and his companion returning from the depths and found ourselves at last looking out into a huge cavity with the natural architecture of a cathedral nave – The Hall of the Thirteen.   

The path weaves between tall pillars leaning drunkenly to form an elegant portal which admits us to an expanse of huge gour pools.   We thread our way along the narrow rims across the great hall. Then, in the distance, the most renowned group of stalagmites in Europe reveal themselves.  They are finely proportioned, rising as perfect columns to tapering cones that stand several metres tall.  They stand in a cluster on the banks of the largest gourpool, like a forest set in stone. 

Admiring the magnificent Hall of the Thirteen (Salle des Trieze)

We look at the continuing passage wistfully but resist the temptation to continue deeper and our journey back begins.   It’s long slog back up the steep slopes and the boulder strewn ‘eboulis’.  Eventually we clip our jammers onto the two ropes at Aldo’s and the real work begins.

One pitch follows another and after ten hours underground we arrive at the base of Cairn Shaft.  From here it’s vertical all the way, about 80 metres in total.  We climb the pitches together, cowstails connected, developing our routine.  I climb until the cowstails are tight, then rest, while Rachel takes her turn to prusik.  Her turn, my turn, her turn, my turn.  You do four, I do four.   She is very tired at the top of the last big pitch but manages her four prusiks and then an awkward rig at the top. 

Finally, after eleven and a half hours, we reach the mild fragrant air of the forest.  We only take a short rest before beginning the long trek, which takes us over an hour and half in our weary state.  I peel off my wetsuit socks (which were not needed in the dry conditions) to discover my feet weeping feet rubbed raw – a small price to pay for such an incredible trip.

Rachel wants to go back and go deeper but I have said no!  But she can be very persuasive…

Andy Sparrow
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: anfieldman on September 13, 2008, 12:04:40 pm
Bloody good write-up Andy. Thoroughly enjoyed that.
Can you email me the canyoning photo's so that I can write that up please?
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on September 14, 2008, 08:34:10 pm
Rhino Rift
Sunday 14th September 2008
Judy, Rachel & Chris L

Having yesterday attended the 10th Anniversary Birthday Bash for the Cheddar Caving Club, the three of us decided to further celebrate by paying a visit to Rhino Rift.  This would also be an excellent opportunity to hone our SRT skills.

We were fortunate that the pitches had already been rigged by the kind people at Wessex Caving Club (many thanks).

After the usual crawl to the head of the 1st pitch we commenced our descent into the bowels of the earth.  In other words, we started abseiling down.

Progress was good and before long we passed the 2nd pitch and found ourselves at the foot of the 3rd pitch having negotiated a number of deviations and re-belays on the way – all of which were well rigged and easy to pass.

After the obligatory group photograph at the bottom, we prussiked back up the pitches.  Needless to say we put our Pantin’s to good use.  Again, as the various deviations and re-belays were well rigged, they were easy to pass.

Judy at the bottom of the 1st pitch:

Team photo at the base of the 3rd pitch:

Rachel escapes:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on September 15, 2008, 06:33:08 am
GB Cave
Sunday 7th September 2008
Barry, Mark, Steve W, Chris H & Chris L

This was just a quick tourist trip to look at some of the pretties in the cave.  We took the Devil’s Elbow route towards the Gorge.  After First Grotto, and at the Upper Grotto, we were fortunate to see some small Helictites.  As we crawled further we passed Devil’s Elbow itself, which was wet but not too wet.

At the Gorge, we passed under the Bridge and then at the Waterfall rigged a handline for our return later.  We then retraced our steps and headed over the Bridge before taking the easy Traverse towards White Passage.  At the Traverse there were larger Helictites, which were duly photographed.

After ascending up White Passage we investigated the West Extension before coming back to Rift Chamber and the Loop.  This led us to the climb down into Main Chamber.  It was then obligatory to have a look at the Terminal Sump just past Ladder Dig, which we did.

After climbing back up the Waterfall, we made our egress via Mud Passage, which it had to be said was lacking a certain amount of mud.

Helictites in Upper Grotto:

Devil’s Elbow:

Helictites at the Traverse:

Small Waterfall at White Passage:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on September 22, 2008, 06:39:31 am
Hunter’s Hole
Sunday 21st September 2008
Andy P, Mark, Ken & Chris L

Not a lot to report.  Andy P kindly rigged up several routes on Ledge Pitch/Sago Pot/Main Pitch and we practised SRT - happily abseiling down and prussiking up for a couple of hours.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Andy Hebden on September 25, 2008, 08:28:40 pm
Banwell Caves
24th September

A cast of many met at 7 to pay a visit to this interesting site.  First we went to the bone cave.  After taking in the bone stacks of the main chamber we wriggled on down into the Baker extension, taking in the Ruby Chamber and on down into the Galleries with a general poke around all permitted areas.

After the bone cave we took a torch lit walk up to the stalactite cave. We went down, and down, and down into this impressive cave stopping for a photo opportunity at the bishops chair.  With some huffing and puffing we squeezed on into the Great chamber, again the scale was impressive.  A rocky (and loose!) clamber down to the bottom this chamber was followed by another pause for breath before the ascent.

All retired to the Whistling Duck in Banwell (not quite the Hunters)  for a well urned pint.

Photos to follow.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on September 25, 2008, 08:35:33 pm
Banwell Caves (photos)

Drippy stuff in Banwell Bone Cavern:


Knobbly stuff in Banwell Bone Cavern:


General Whitby in the Bishop's Chair, Banwell Stalactite Cavern:


Boulder Slope in Banwell Stalactite Cavern:

Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: chriscastle46 on September 26, 2008, 06:13:45 pm
An easy-ish trip not far into the cave but a good grovel around. From Big Chamber we took the passage over the Mini Traverses to Arête Chamber, then exited on the left to a passage supposedly leading to the Chasm. This seemed correct as there was a traverse over a pool, as described to me by Andy S, then came a bit of an awkward climb up where some needed a rope, followed by a very slippery descent which we thought we would not be able to ascend if we were wrong, so we returned to Arête Chamber. Later we found that we were in the right passage, but never mind.


 We traversed around the gurt hole in the floor, which at least one member of the party did not like at all, then on down to Salubrious Passage. I know the way here OK, but can never make head or tail out of it on the survey.
After a look at the Trident and Judge it was down the interesting Selenite Tunnel to Shatter Pillar and back via Cross Rift and the step over Maypole Inlet and back up Salubrious and up to the start of Gnome Passage where a spontaneous and temporary reversal of the Earth's magnetic field caused me to go in the wrong direction in a part of the cave I know well, much to my embarrassment.

( left the usual way via the Brickyard, but stopped to take some photos in the Entrance Passage, ignored by many cavers.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: chriscastle46 on September 26, 2008, 06:30:33 pm
This last post got sent by mistake, before I'd finished it, I don't know how, but I can't be arsed to do the whole thing again.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: chriscastle46 on September 26, 2008, 06:54:50 pm
I tried to modify the post, but apparently you only get about 5 seconds to do this, not at all clear in the instructions.
It really seems an awful lot of flaffing about to post a report with pictures.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Judi Durber on October 04, 2008, 12:04:42 am
Sorry it is late and out of sequence.

Vercors  22nd August to  30th August 2008

The Scialet du Trisou Friday 21nd August 2008

Cookie (Dave Cooke), Neil Rigiani, Judi Durber, Alan & Will.

Friday morning woke with ice on the tents and a resolve to get some rope practice in before taking to the big rigged caves. This meant finding a cave with a few short pitches & rigging it ourselves. Which of course meant sitting round drinking beer, eating good food, telling stories while looking through the caving guide books.  Then more story telling while the tackle was sorted and bagged. So the 11 o’clock start became a late afternoon start.

We had chosen a cave that was on a single track road that wound itself round the side of the mountain.  The road had been closed while being resurfaced as it was going to be the alternative route for the Bourne Gorge while that was closed. So the debate was would it be open, how far down would we get before being stopped. We figured they would probably not be working overnight and it had to open Monday morning so we thought we should get through. We all pilled into Cookies truck and where probably the first vehicle along the road.  The surface was lovely and new but they had hardly widened it only filling in the edges with hardcore that although rolled looked a tad soft and could easily slip down the side of the mountain.

We parked up and then the hunt was on for the entrance.  There where some wonderful sink holes down through the woods but of course the entrance was where we had stated looking 20 minutes before.

Cookie, followed by Neil did the rigging. The first traverse was more of a hand line down the entrance slope from a tree. Then a scramble climb before going across to the first pitch.  A lovely straight 18 meter pitch but a bit close to the side in places, the rock being scalloped and ridged like a waterfall.  Next we went down into a lovely meander, quite steep in places.  The edges were sharp and the corners almost doubling back on themselves getting tighter and wrigglier.  As time was getting on Alan & Will decided to go back so there wasn’t a wait on the way out.  Cookie & Neil came to the head of the next pitch which was a bit exposed. Neil investigated down under a bit while Cookie traverse round a corner over the top before jamming himself in and deciding which of the spits to use from the wide variety shot into the rock, then when he chose one it wouldn’t work. They were everywhere even where it was completely unnecessary to have one (or several.) This was the longest pitch at 21 meters down to a ledge before the last 6 meters.

Cookie Neil & I got to the bottom wiggled through a slot before dropping down into a small stream-way.  Upstream soon got very narrow but down opened out into a huge tall passageway.  A great cascade of flow stone down one side before you clambered through to another great chamber where the side was black rock. We turned back, Cookie going up first showing me how smooth prusiking can be done. I followed adjusting and fine tuning my kit on the way. I will get a new chest harness, I will get a new chest harness …
Cookie was on the last pitch when we heard loud bangs.  The chamber did echo but I thought Alan & Will must be banging the bags around a bit to make that much noise.  As Cookie got near the top though he suddenly heard rushing sounds, water, and as he discovered tree debris shot all over him and showered down on me.  What was a dry pitch suddenly turned into a waterfall. After the initial rush not to much thank goodness. I got up ok and went on out while Neil de-rigged.

Outside was a deluge and we quickly got soaked changing.  The loud bangs hadn’t been the bags but lightening almost overhead. With a very steamed up car, some rocks already over the road and running with water it made for an interesting journey home. It had been a fine trip, nice friendly cave & good bit of SRT practice.

The Gournier Sunday 23rd August 2008
Biff (John Biffin), Young Biff (George Biffin aged 4), Cookie, Neil, Judi, Andy Sparrow, Rachael Pane, Meg & Mark Whyte.

The Gournier is at the bottom of the Bourne Gorge (Gorges de la Bourne) next to the Chornache show cave ( ( 

Cookie, Neil & I had driven down the gorge 2 days earlier by Ian to visit THE ultimate cave supplies shop, Expe.  An empty warehouse with a counter where you have to look at a catalogue and ask for an item before you can stroke, try, purr, argue with all the other cavers there over its merit before buying and then decamping to the town for a relaxed coffee & beer watching the locals jumping into the river below us.

On the Saturday we descended half way down the gorge to see the spectacle of people whizzing across the valley on the world record longest SRT traverse: The "Tyrolienne Pierrot Rias" (TPR) of 1150m long and 250m gradient. Speeds of 70 kph were reached and I was rather concerned as to how they were going to stop. I need not have worried as they came to a gentle halt some way before the end and had to be pulled in to get off. Cookie, Neil & I had climbed up the side of the cliff, teetering along ledges, climbing vines to gain height beating off the eagles circling round. (We sweated up a nice wooded path stopping occasionally to admire the view.)
We were rewarded with the excitement of the people waiting, one guy used gaffer tape to hold a dodgy helmet on his head, and another taped a camera to his helmet.  There weren’t many females doing it. The places had been booked previously but a Russian waited all afternoon and was rewarded with the last place of the day. Yards & yards of rope lay coiled on the floor before it threaded back & forth through, we were told a Petzle stop and several pulleys and I am sure it was finally all just hooked onto a tree. Looking at the rope I lined up the camera to take a photo only to have it dip out of view as the person started across the valley, whooping and disappearing to a tiny dot. (

The road down the Bourne Gorge was due to be closed for maintenance (it was slipping into the valley) on the Monday which would mean a very tortuous detour, so Sunday we decided to do the cave instead of trying and get a place on the Tyrolienne.

So several cars drew up in the car park of the Chornache. We spotted other cavers straight away and from the accent found a friendly pair from Yorkshire. A boat is needed for this trip which they didn’t have so we agreed to share.  Being midday it was baking hot and not wanting to strip off and frighten the tourists we carried boat, ropes, wet-suites to the cave entrance only to discover a gaggle of tourists watching several parties of cavers change and cross the lake on a flotilla of boats I’m sure we were the most efficient crossing.

From the climb out of the ‘dingy’ you where straight onto a 2 meter climb where there was a couple of rungs and a hand line to a shelf that led to a traverse round the edge of the lake.  Half way across the traverse Biff & Biff junior sat waiting for the ‘big uns’ to teeter along the slack line, round a lovely curtain and then up a slippery slope mumbling nervously. So a great opportunity for a sea shanty, well a little ditty about a pirate ship to try and encourage everyone along. My singing was so bad Biff junior decided to go back so we left them and swung up into the first great chamber. I was so engrossed in the size of the place it took a while to realise that I was in the middle of Gower Pools.  One after the other several meters across. I was treading all round the edge, ahhgg, no. I stopped suddenly looking for the tape. Where was I supposed to tread? Where was the bit that had been sacrificed to save the rest? Nothing, not a sign. There was no obvious damage either. (I didn’t inspect too close) The edges taking our weight and I was told to keep tramping on.  There was so many, you had no choice but keep going round the edges and then we were on into the next section and into the next.  Huge, huge caverns, bolder floors, some small then great big hunks that took some climbing dodging the holes in-between.  Then suddenly a chamber full of Stalagmites.  Not your slim columns or dumpy forms choosing to look like male anatomy but fantastic great big majestic columns, one after the other, glistening white, reaching high over our heads.  Then walls of calcite running from floor to ceiling. 

On we tromped and tromped and tromped. Then, a huge hunk of rock had fallen from the ceiling (well all the boulders had at one time or another) but this one was different, several tongs of calcite had run down the rock to form columns over 2 meters long.  When the rock had broken off it had rolled so the columns where now horizontal, nose height.  Was this the origin of a photo I had seen often displayed in one of the huts? Photo, photo.  Andy got out the camera but as with the stalls they are so huge we did not have enough light to illuminate it all in one go as a tabloid.  So a movie had to be made with direction from Andy, start at my feet, the lights were ran first up me then over the stall. Amazing. On again, through a bolder ruckle, down through holes and eventually into the stream way.

Small, very similar to Upper Long Churn we moved up stream.  We immediately met another group trying to straddle the stream & keep their feet dry, but this is why we were wearing the wet suites. After sweating through all the caverns to get there we could finally cool down. Not a lot of water to start with but it soon got deeper & wider, one pool falling into another, meandering bends and deep, cavities.  The passages where beautiful, pristine with crystal clear water that changed from a milky to royal blue. No mud, no leaf debris, but with quite a strong current, cold and unknown depth in places.  The passage then widened with steep sides with a waterfall dropping into the pool. All along the wall to the top of the fall large steel staples had been inserted like on a via ferrata. The stretch between some was a tad large (I think I only ever saw tall long legged Frenchmen caving) and Meg slipped but was saved by her cows tails. After recovering she decided she had gone far enough & would wait for our return. On we went the next obstacle was a bigger traverse up a wall and round over the next fall. More stream way, more swimming, climbing and then a traverse with just a hand line over an exposed slippery slope.  I called it a day at this point while Rachael, Andy, Mark, Neil & Cookie went on. 

The 2 Yorkshire lads where met returning at this point & as they would be out first agreed to collect Meg and go out with her.  The party was not long before they all returned.  The end had been not far up the passage after more climbing to a final traverse where they had turned back.  So it was back the way we had come.  A bit of a search to agree the point we left the stream (lots of cairns about to show you the way) and lots of walking back to the lake. The traverse round the lake was empty that was until a lone French man came, looked at the ropes, took all the knots out of the hand line & grumbled at me for not having the correct kit.  Apparently they have long slack lines so that they can abseil down using ‘stops’. When he got to the lake he just jumped in swam round the edge and stomped off to the car park. I rowed majestically back across the lake.  It was a glorious evening with the blue sky turning pink as the last rays of sun set as we drove back up the gorge. Fantastic.

Tricky Soof to St Glass                   (Fond Du Trou Qui Souffle to Les Saints De Glace) (TQS)
Biff, Cookie, Neil, Judi, Pete Martin, Mark Whyte
Wednesday 27th August 2008

A couple of days before Menacer had regaled her tales of shooting through this cave in 5 hrs and that included going down a 50m pitch they weren’t supposed to do so had to come back up again !! So I was not going to go down there in a hurry, then we bumped into Cookie & Biff who had just booked the trip so Neil, Pete & I decided to try & get in on the same day. 

Wednesday morning dawned with the usual mist clearing to a glorious warm sunny morning.  We made sure we had plenty of sandwiches with us as unlike Andy & Rachael who were getting ready for THE BERGER, we didn’t go for the big cooked breakfast just several mugs of tea. (Big mistake on both parts)
TQS was within walking distance of the camp site so we drove to the entrance. Mark by now had also decided to join us so the party of 6 arrived to see a group before us disappearing down the gap in the tarmac where there is a short railing separating cars from the hole which is on a very sharp bend and was discovered when they where repairing the road.

We bimbled on in, the entrance reminding me of GB entrance, & very quickly coming to our first pitch which was not long & easy enough for the first go at getting on & off ropes.  Another bimble and then we found a few more ropes.  Now I would like to introduce you to our cave guide handed out to everyone who books the trips at the congress.  It is in English at least most of the words are but they have not always put them in the normal order to make a sentence.  So we had ‘continues by a gallery slightly declive and drained by a small torrent’.  Small & torrent I don’t think should go together but as I hardly saw any stream-way in this system I did wonder if we were in the right place.  More traversing and some bold steps over deep gaps, we then found another rope or at least Biff, Pete & Neil had and gone down.  Was this the 50m pitch not to go down.  So back to the description, ‘ This gallery arrives on a very beautiful pit (30m) where is waterfalling the torrent’  or ‘follow the banister to avoid the gutter’  or ‘follow the racking ... on the right ... where the wind is real’. It was windy, but if you followed the track on the right you came to the top of the same pitch.
The 3 boys by this time had all prusiked back up and we had been joined by a group of French cavers also coming up & an English contingent going down who all agreed that this was the correct rope so off down we all went ... again, no torrent to be seen.
So next was ‘take a meandric look’, ok so we meandered to the next set of ropes that were a lot more interesting, they had rigged the pitches with pairs of rope.  I went down with only a deviation and Neil was on the other rope with a re-belay. A short traverse, they like slack ropes, then Neil & I race to the bottom of the next pitch before another with a deviation.  Mark traversed down to the deviation but couldn’t quite reach it as he had gone round the wrong side of the hole and had to climb back up to start from the top.

By now my lovely new stop was black as the ropes oozed gunk as you went down them. We had also gained a Frenchman, Giles (although all through the trip I thought we had gained some-one called Jill).  At six foot tall he had asked to join us as there was a squeeze further on and his fellow cavers could not get through or they were going too fast for him. Neil was not quite sure as he can’t speak French & Giles couldn’t speak English. Brill at least we have some-one who knows the way.

 We stopped somewhere for a chocolate stop and the boys ALL WENT FOR A PEE. Hang on a minute that’s not fare, I am wrapped up like some bondage babe in a bad cave movie, full kit including chest harness and belay belt. It was going to take me some time to get out of it and if I do have to pee in a cave I want it to be in running water. One cavern ran into the next with no formations that I can remember but several large bolder floors.  We stopped several times to make sure we were together.  Giles had a problem with his light, a ‘stinky’ throwing out a feeble yellow flicker.  Neil pulled out one of his gadgets and pipes where cut, clips where screwed, containers banged, holes blown ... and it still didn’t work that well.  Another group of Frenchmen stomped on through. We thought we had lost Giles to that group as we were travelling rather slowly, but when we moved on again there he was waiting in the darkness in a chamber where a small water fall created a pool, oh for a pee, but everyone crowded round while Giles used it to clean out his container and pipes again. He carried a huge ruc-sack dedicated to the working of the stinky, but still no significant light.

We then entered a crawl which like all crawls starts with a puddle just to get you nicely damp, this led into a muddy tunnel low enough to ensure you had to belly crawled through, coating you and kit in thick mud. On & on over a sometimes smooth calcite floor, mainly low enough to stop you being on all fours, I was starting to think it could beat DYO’s ‘Long Crawl’ when we all suddenly stopped. Lying flat out wondering what was going on in front I realised we were at the squeeze. Biff, Giles & Neil seemed to skip through with no problems so I thought it would be a doddle.  Now when people talk of a squeeze you always have previous squeezes in mind.  A cave this size I was expecting something like the ‘Cheese Press’ in Long Churn not ‘Tim’s Tunnel’ in Pridhamsleigh.  Pete who was in front of me knew he was not going to get through with all his kit on so shuffle back, harness off, try again. No, so with me tugging, off comes over-suite and even with his furry rucking up over his bum got through. I was well impressed. So my turn AND I GOT STUCK.  It was my harness over my hips, couldn’t be me, I haven’t got a big bum! (wish I had had a pee though) So taking Pete’s example, slowly, slowly, left foot push an inch at a time I was through. Mark & Cookie seemed to have no problems.  So what next ‘a small ventilated attic window gives access to ... wide, areal slippery and intersected by pits’.  Well they weren’t wrong. Long slack traverse lines, ‘must remember to stay below them’, ‘gosh I need to pee’. High over a meandering passage they went on and on and on, I need to pee. No stream & no ledges until it came to a point where I could not concentrate any longer. I think we were enough ahead of the following group to pull this off but at that point I didn’t really care. I had to pee. So Neil performed the ultimate task of unbuckling, de-robing and hanging onto me while I straddled the traverse and peeeeed. Bliss oh bliss. I could enjoy the trip so much better. (Someone told me after the ‘heshee’ is the thing to carry, so lookout boys, a novice aimer is about!). 

see below I have exceeded the number of words
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Judi Durber on October 04, 2008, 12:08:06 am
Continuation of Vercors August 2008 Tricky Soof to St Glass                   

More traverse and more traverse until we get to a bolder strewn floor that should have been ‘it end with a spectacular decent’. Mmm can’t remember that. On through large caverns ‘sometimes necessary insurance’  to Gallery of Marmite’ (galerie des marmites) Cookie said it was a minefield of large round water filled holes intersected with gloopy mud. So we back tracked & took the left bypass where the holes where just big & sometimes deep. Lovely scalloped pools in a high passageway. We go on through large caverns, the boys in front are just small lights in the distance and you are left wondering , ‘how do you get there’. Eventually a huge space where the precious cargo I have been carrying with lighter is used up by Biff. So we start the ‘up’ with a simple pitch to start with.  Then a hand line up a dry muddy slope.  At the top 2 dry passages.  We are looking for ‘We shall set to the right at the top to find a brook which we are going to go back up’. So we turn right up a dry stream way.  Up & up. I am a bit suspicious as some of the climbs although do-able are not roped and if this is the way on they would have been.  A red & white tape in a passage then another dangling above a climb down to a stream.  I point to the  red & white tape and say to Giles oui or no.  He does not know, neither I discover, does he know the way. He has never been in the cave before.  He is an experienced caver & is part of the Burger de-rigging team but has not been to TQS before.  So Cookie goes off down-stream, Neil traverses over the top, Biff & Giles take a side passage off to the cellars. Cookies & Neil’s passages both  get too tight so they go back to the top of the last hand line and after  sometime, Neil sits down and suddenly discovers a reflective arrow and another and another, they all point to a passage up over his right shoulder.  We regroup and tromp on down a passage with ‘real wind’  that leads to a narrow meandering dry ‘we find the torrent’  stream-way with steep climbs. I for one are defiantly flagging at this point, energy sapped and are glad for dry passages.  It opens up into large bolder strewn caverns.  Mark leads up, having to do a re-belay mid air to a shelf.  Biff tries to help me but I almost pull him back down the pitch. The next rope leaves you hanging in mid air and I do an ungainly scramble onto a bolder. There is an ‘abundant enlarged meander’ with 2 more pitches then ‘we get a foothold in a small room in which we find a small gallery giving onto the exit’.  The air changed and leaf debris increased and then we are walking out into warm air under a dark star filled sky.  The night forest almost deafening you with the sound of crickets we followed the narrow path back to the cars 200 METERS AWAY. 11 hours underground and we had only gone 200 meters, would I like to see the survey.  Giles produced a crate of beer, a wonderful end to a good workout on an extended assault course.

Friday 29th Aug  Cookie, Neil & Judi 
High Ropes adventure. 

See the photo’s for the trip report.  Neil was the main camera man until I ducked out on the second red run. (
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on October 05, 2008, 09:51:06 pm
Swildon’s Hole
Sunday 5th October 2008
Chris L

My plan was to go to the 20’ Waterfall and reconnoitre a safe solo route for descending and ascending without using a ladder and lifeline.  Due to the recent rains, the cave was quite wet and the water fair thundered down the waterfall.  I had special fun passing the Wet Way inlet just after Water Chamber.  Visibility was zero and I had to use my backside to feel the way.  If it sounds bizarre then that’s because it was.

I didn’t really achieve too much and was just thinking about heading out when Chris Jewell climbed up the waterfall on his way out.  While he rigged another party’s minimalist equipment (ladder, sans lifeline), significant damage was found on the ladder.  After a quick discussion we decided to charge down towards Mud Sump and Shatter Pot to find the other party and warn them that their ladder was kaput.  They were intercepted at St Paul’s Series.  Job done, we headed out and after a further bit of incidental excitement involving losing the other party’s ladder and a forty-five minute search, we exited the cave.

Special mention should be made of the Old 40’ Waterfall, which was especially interesting on the way out due to the heavy water flow.

All in all, my afternoon was quite successful as Chris Jewell kindly took the time to point out the route for free-climbing up the 20’ Waterfall.  Thanks Chris.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on October 09, 2008, 07:03:09 am
Swildon’s Hole
Wednesday 8th October 2008
Danny, Steve B (Guest), Dani & Chris L

Not much to report.  We took a leisurely stroll down to Sump 1 via the Short Dry Way, stopping off to look at Tratman’s Temple.  Water levels were much lower than at the weekend, which made for easy caving.  It was bit chilly changing in the Barn, though so winter must be coming along.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on October 13, 2008, 07:01:39 am
Ogof Draenen
Saturday 11th October 2008
Tim, Martin & Chris L

After making our way through the Entrance Series to Cairn Junction, we nipped down Wonderbra Bypass and came out under the rock bridge in Beyond a Choke Streamway.  I have never taken the longer route to this location so as an experiment we then walked back up the streamway to Cairn Junction, passing variously over and through a massive breakdown choke.

Back at Cairn Junction we headed left towards the sound of falling water.  We found a small but noisy waterfall inlet dropping into the passage.  Further on there were a couple of very large chokes and the bottom of Big Bang Pitch.  We also passed through a fantastic dried and cracked mud surface that would not have looked out of place on the set off Star Wars.  After a short while, we came upon a streamway entering from the left.  It looked quite interesting so we walked up it for a number of minutes until it got a bit low.  On the way we found some small white insects (a bit like Earwigs) living on a rock.  Unfortunately I had forgotten my camera so there are no photographs!  We turned around and retraced our steps down the streamway.  On returning to the main passage, we turned left and very quickly reached the end of this route.  But it was a fantastic end.  We unexpectedly came upon a tapped off grotto full of pretties.  I remembered that I had forgotten my camera and gave myself a good telling off.

We headed back to Cairn Junction again and onto one more exploration.  After dragging ourselves along Carpet Crawl we came out into White Passage.  I turned right and quickly headed off to Tea Junction at the Beyond a Choke Streamway, just so I was happy that I knew where it was located.  We then made our way up White Arch Passage passing under the fabled Arch (most definitely Brown not White) and eventually into the large Lamb and Fox Chamber.  We located the high-level exit to Indiana Highway before heading back to the surface via Cairn Junction and the Entrance Series.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Misty on October 13, 2008, 01:00:59 pm
Waterwheel Swallet 12th October 2008

It was a beautiful sunny day - so we went underground.

Got completely delayed by the traffic diversions, horse boxes and tractors, fog, and fell runners – it was an expedition just in getting there. It turned out that today was the Mendip cross country run.  As the runners had only just started the race further down in Velvet Bottom it wasn’t so bad we thought.  We were only just able to get into the car park due to the numbers.  100’s had invaded our peaceful excursion.  Where did they come from? Why today? We asked, of course it had nothing to do with bad planning surely?  (But it was!) All hail to them they were as barmy as we are for getting up on a Sunday morning and putting themselves through torturous physical endurance.

Anyway we were here to do our bi-annual adopt a cave Waterwheel Swallet duties. To keep to restrictions we split into one group of 4 and one group of 3.  One group strictly did maintenance whilst the other group ladder and life lined down to the lower regions of the lake.  2 Mars Bar wrappers were found by Chris whilst looking for his newly invented knee pads. These are made from some denim patches sewed to his over suit and shin pads which are inserted between the two pieces of fabric. Unfortunately, due to a slight design flaw (that they float) and because they were open at the top which allowed the knee pads to escape, he found them some way further downstream. Some serious revisions to the design are required before he patents this idea but all hats off to him for trying.  We will also need to get some orange tape to replace a small section which was broken.  Anyway the maintenance team just did some routine checks and nothing of great mention worth noting.

Yvonne our newly adopted caver lass, adopted caving very well and impressing us all with her stead fast gritty determination to do her first ladder and get on with the cold and wet bits.  Big thanks to Chris L for rigging the ladder and life line and Danny for life lining the other team out.

As we exited we had a very serious discussion of the need to pee from the sound of running water. This discussion then turned to the likely hood of unsuspecting walkers/kids/runners thinking it would be a good place to pee down the gap for the lock at the manhole cover and what a surprise it would be to them to have a caver pop out. Or what a surprise it would be for the caver on the receiving end.  We also thought about what if some picnickers decided to set themselves up over the manhole.  We decided it was better to get out quick before this happened. We were lucky this time. 

We got out finding that our cars were parked at the finish line of the race for which the first of the runners were starting to cross. We changed with great difficulty as hundreds of runners came through the car park. We could not put them off with our pale white bodies.  We thought fondly about Chris Castle.  If only he was here to do his special towel trick………. At least then it might make them run the other way!  (Sorry Chris C but it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it)

Anyway thanks to Rachel P and Andy S who could not come caving today due to shop duties for supplying post caving cups of coffee and Danny G for making the most amazing chocolate cake with jam and icing.  It was a truly delicious end to the day.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Cap'n Chris on October 13, 2008, 02:14:32 pm
I can drop some orange conservation tape in at the shop in Cheddar for you if you wish.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: andymorgan on October 18, 2008, 06:21:15 pm
Tuesday 30th September
Buckner Cave, Indiana, USA
 We entered the cave via the large walk-in entrance into a big passage. In the wall of the passage there was a bit of a squeeze to a crawl-way that started as flat-out crawling in a low bedding plane. The roof gradually rose to allow crawling on hands on knees. The length of the crawl-way is about 200m, but easy as the floor is dry, smooth and sandy. However as I was wearing British caving kit – fleece and cordura oversuit, I was really hot at the end of it. At the end of the crawl there is large passage, and the standard route is a loop through very large passage, with the occasional bit of crawling in between. That wasn’t our route today – we were going to a less visited part of the cave. This seemed to involve mostly flat-out crawling, and hands and knees crawling. Unlike the entrance crawl this was wet and muddy with cobbles, and it was longer than the entrance crawl. There was a nice formation at the end of the crawl that made it worth it. Formations are rare in Indiana (at least from the caves I have seen), and this cave has been trashed. The local cavers have removed a lot of graffiti from the walls of this cave by sandblasting– before some bits were like the side of a railway line. Recently some people were caught in the act spraying new graffiti. They were successfully prosecuted, and received community service, including helping remove graffiti from the cave. Trip time, including waiting for pictures to be taken: 3.5 hours.
   I went earlier in the day for two and half hours, which I can’t write about online due to access restrictions. I can write it in the paper logbook wherever it is.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Sumpy on October 20, 2008, 08:37:02 pm
Thursday 9th Oct
Arachnid rift

Steve P, Tricia, Martin and Sumpy

After eventually finding the stupidly tight hole in cooks quarry in the dark, we rigged the ladder and Martin volunteered (by everyone else saying they did not want to go first) to descend into the gloom below. Well that's about where the trip finished Martin got in to shoulder depth and found it to tight to continue further. Then after 20 - 30mins of pulling we finally managed to help him out...

Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Sumpy on October 20, 2008, 08:55:45 pm
Wednesday 15th Oct
Coral Cave

Steve P, Kaz, Tricia, Martin, Dani, Chris L and Sumpy.

We found the cave easily and where surprised to find the lid unlocked! we rigged the ladder and life line and Dani proceeded to climb down into the cave first. At the bottom of the ladders we found a toad which was delighted to be rescued back to the surface where it will now be trying to find somewhere safe and warm to spend winter! Quite a lot of rubbish in there, everything from a bottle of Milk of Magnesia to an old rusted milk churn (notice the theme). From the entrance chamber we climbed up the very muddy slope to a small chamber at the end with the old abandoned dig at the bottom. Not a very big cave but worth the ladder and life line practice.
( looking for a new home.
( Churn
( how long shall i stand here???
( where they have gone.

Cheers Sumpy
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on November 02, 2008, 08:54:51 am
Swildon’s Hole – Short Round Trip
Saturday 1st November 2008
Steve P, Martin & Chris L

It was cold getting changed for this trip and by the time we got to the entrance we were even colder.  St Paul’s Series to Mud Sump was relatively hard going, which was due to bad air.  The Mud Sump itself was a bit too high for comfort but we passed through anyway.  On the other side, the air was noticeably better.  The Duck at the 1st of the Double Troubles was also high and it was with some difficulty that we found a way through.  It was not a pleasant experience.  The remaining Ducks were unpleasantly cold but easier to negotiate.  It was with some relief that we made our way down the Landing and headed back up the streamway.  We reached the surface, broke into our Yorkie rations (thanks Steve) and headed back to change into our warm clothes.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on November 03, 2008, 09:42:16 pm
Daren Cilau
Sunday 2nd November 2008
Chris L

This was my first trip to Daren Cilau and all through the car journey I worried that I would not be able to locate the cave entrance.  After changing in the car park I headed off to where I thought the cave entrance might be located, and by good fortune I found it first time.  I took this as a good omen.

The entrance itself looked unfeasibly small and as I wriggled into the opening crawl it looked even worse inside, plus it was miserably wet (which was not very enticing at all).  I pushed on and started my grim 550m crawl pushing my tackle bag along in front of me.  After a short time, I got a rhythm going and stopped noticing the cold water.  Nevertheless, the crawl seemed to go on for absolutely ages.  There were some good technical bits where my own brand of “brute force and ignorance” caving were of no use at all, and I had to think my way through.  Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime,I emerged into a larger passage.

A quick squint at the survey and I headed off in the direction of The Cascade.  On the way, I came to a large breakdown area.  While picking my through, I disturbed some rocks and they came sliding down on me, pinning my hand beneath.  I realised what was happening and threw my shoulder into the rocks and managed to bring things to a temporary standstill.  After retrieving my hand I rolled away and cleared the area in a bit of a hurry.  Afterwards, a bit more care was employed and I explored the Crystal Pool to the left and the start of Rift Passage to the right.  My chosen way on was straight ahead, behind the square boulder and down another crawl to The Cascade.

After dropping down between the calcited boulders, I emerged in Jigsaw Passage.  A pleasant stroll in and out of a small stream was enjoyed, punctuated only by The Wriggle (a minor squeeze).

Finally, I entered Big Chamber Nowhere Near the Entrance.  My hand was throbbing a bit so I decided to stop and eat lunch before heading back.  Unfortunately, the box containing my sandwiches had leaked water and I had to endure a thoroughly soggy sandwich, which it has to be said, was pretty awful.

Progress on the return route was tracked by counting down the 8 communication boxes along the entrance crawl.  By this time, my knees, elbows and forearms were already mighty sore from entering the cave.  The tackle bag seemed to develop a life of its own and took every opportunity to snag itself on sharp rocks, which got me extremely annoyed and hampered progress.  Eventually, I reached The Vice (another squeeze), near the entrance.  For some reason it seemed to take an age to get me through this obstacle but eventually I dragged my bruised carcass through.

Finally, the No 1 communication box was passed and I knew I was almost out.  As soon as I saw daylight filtering ahead of me, I shot through the last section of crawl like a man possessed and into the beautiful Welsh countryside.  Freedom at last!

I plan to go back and visit some of the pretties in the future, but it may be some time before my bruises heal and I forget just how much this trip hurt.

Typical section of passage in entrance crawl:


No 8 Communication Box at end of entrance crawl:


Helictites in Jigsaw Passage:

Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: anfieldman on November 03, 2008, 10:35:17 pm
You've just got no bloody patience at all have you??  ;)
I mention Darren and how great it would be and off you go on yer own.
Sounded like an excellent trip Chris.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Top Cat on November 04, 2008, 08:39:30 pm
26th April 2008
Rachel, Tim, Abi (aged 7) and Jack (aged 5)

OK, a little late (!) in posting this. Had forgotten to post it.

A couple of prospective club members had their first caving experience.

The smaller members of the group began by practising their caving skills in the old show cave to build confidence. Then we went down the Giants Steps and down the Midget Steps (how apt). Back along to the Dining Room and the Cracks of Doom squeeze (at least for two of us) through into the Boulder Chamber. Rachel rigged a hand line for the kids to help the descent of the Coffin Lid into the Water Chamber. Then lights off to see how dark it was, lights on to find the stream, and then chocolate and wine gums to provide energy for the climb up and out the Tradesman’s entrance.

One and a half hours of Dad feeling very proud! Many, many thanks to Rachel, she really made it memorable for Abi and Jack, who now want to try a wetter cave (Swildons Upper Series possibly). Give it a couple of years and they may be going places that even Dani can only dream about!

Top of the Midget Steps:

'De-rigging' the Coffin Lid:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Top Cat on November 04, 2008, 09:42:11 pm
Swildons ‘Shorter Round Trip’
3rd November 2008
Rachel, Tim, Abi (aged 8 ) and Jack (aged 6)

The half-term holidays provided the perfect opportunity to combine a shopping trip to (if Carlsberg did caving shops, this would be it) with the kids’ next caving adventure.

So after early Christmas shopping in Cheddar, we drove back over to Priddy, changed and made our way to the blockhouse. Jack’s entry to the cave was slightly more dramatic than necessary as his light hadn’t been switched on. Once this had been sorted, we made our way quickly to the head of Jacob’s Ladder, where Rachel rigged a rope for the return climb.

The kids then led the way into the Long Dry Way, and eventually, with a bit of help and support, into the Old Grotto. There, all the lights were turned off to allow Rachel to back-light some pretty curtain.

From there we splashed down the stream to the Water Chamber, and had a quick walk up the first few yards of the Wet Way. We then retraced our steps to the Old Grotto and then exited via the Short Dry Way (which should probably be called the ‘Short Dry (except for the pool at the start that Jack went up to his middle in) Way’. The kids ascended Jacob’s Ladder with the assistance of the rope, thus completing their first Swildons round trip.

Top end of Long Dry Way:

A leg-up on the way out:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on November 14, 2008, 07:06:58 am
Cuckoo Cleeves
Thursday 13th November 2008
Karen, Steve P & Chris L

It was a memorable yomp through the fog-bound Mendip fields before we located the depression.  The local cows took a keen interest in our activities.  As we dropped down the entrance pipe we saw a multitude of reflective eyes watching our progress from afar on the other side of the wall.  It was a strange feeling.  To add to the experience, there was a Gnome waiting for us on the lid of the cave entrance.

Once in the cave, we headed down towards the bottom along the vadose canyon.  Beyond flat roof chamber, the air was not great but it was passable.  At the bottom of the cave we had a bit of a look around before having a it down and a natter.

I had a go at the phreatic tube leading to the Green Lake but couldn’t find it in me to squeeze my frame through.  It does look feasible for me to get through so I will be making a further attempt, hopefully using a more compact caver to encourage me through.

Our return was anticipated by the waiting bovines who didn’t look entirely surprised to see us back in their field again.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: anfieldman on November 14, 2008, 11:16:45 pm
  It does look feasible for me to get through so I will be making a further attempt, hopefully using a more compact caver to encourage me through.

I don't mind accompanying you but you haven't even asked me yet Fat boy.  ;)
See you in the morning if you are well enough.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: anfieldman on November 16, 2008, 09:52:37 pm
15th November 2008

Mark Whyte, Martin Lee, Chris Lank, Steve Pointon, Robin Gray, Les Williams (leading) Andy Morse (leading)

A crappy, dreary day heralded our trip to this fine and exciting cave.
This was to be a joint Wessex CC / Cheddar CC trip as we had no leaders for this cave. After the promise of beer :beer2: the services of Les and Andy were gained. Some slight miscommunication meant that all of us bar Les and Andy were mooching around in the SWCC waiting to get started. :coffee:
The confused two eventually turned up one and three quarters of an hour after the meeting time explaining that we were supposed to meet at the Wessex to set off!
Fair play. They took it very well and we were all friends again. :hug:
So we took the very short drive down to the layby and proceeded to get cold and wet changing. We split into two groups, the first being ready before the rest went off ahead.
I was in the second group and was really looking forward to this as I had been on the trip earlier in the year.
We reached the entrance and clambered down the fixed ladders into the first section of passage. I wanted to remember as much as I could on this trip so that I could apply to be a leader myself. With Les guiding me we set off to meet the streamway. We soon came to the toastrack and walked up and over the impressive flowstone and through lovely gour pools. Some of us decided to try Les’s challenge of jumping across the ledges on the meanders of the streamway whilst the other group had gone along the bypass of this. Eventually we got to The Step. It was underwater but the level was just below the knees. ‘’Sporty’’ but not dangerous. So we started our battle against the water. It was pretty powerful and you had to be careful watching your step. Some of the ‘mantrap’ pots were like boiling cauldrons. Good job the scaffold bars are there!
The shape of the streamway and scalloping from the water are beautiful and it was difficult to concentrate fully on how you were walking. We passed a chain coming down from the left which was a route that can lead back round to Lowes Passage and the Flood Escape route. Past the shower that was coming out from the Waterfall Series.  We walked on and passed the normal Flood Escape route. Lowes chain had been replaced by knotted rope. We would soon be heading up that way. We went on to Boulder Chamber and did the usual jumping up and down on the Rocking Boulder. Then back down to the Flood Escape. Some climbed the rope (like me) and some decided to be daredevils and jump the void. We continued up Lowes Passage climbing steadily past boulder ruckles. Eventually we ended up in Roundabout Chamber with me giving the game away by telling everyone what the chamber was called before they had the chance of walking all the way round and out again. We bumped into the first group here eating their snack bars. We decided to join them for some nosh then off they went again.
We then ducked to the right and entered Rollover chamber where I rolled. Efficient but nausea inducing. The formations in the next little chamber were quite stunning. Lovely helictites and straws.
Onward into the Rawl Series heading for Pi chamber. We did have to be shown where to exit this and continue the journey. It’s quite easy to miss.
We got to the top of the Elephants Posterior (oh that’s polite) and slid down. Now it was time to clip on to some wire cable as we got to the top overlooking the streamway.  Climbing over a large boulder we then clipped in for the journey across Bolt Traverse. Not quite as hairy as the first time though but still thrilling. I then decided to ‘have a look’ at some of the other traverses and was absolutely not lost at all. Nope. Not me. I knew exactly where I was going all the time.
So onward up the meandering passages and up through the Dug Out.
This then leads back down to rejoin the way in. After a quick dip in Pluto’s Bath to clean our suits we then made our exit, catching up with the first group back at the cars. All in all a fantastic time. Our thanks go to the fabulous WCC leaders Les and Andy. So we then proceeded to drive like demons back to Mendipshire for the Ratfest in Priddy. Oh, and nobody fell over in the streamway. Robin absolutely definitely did not fall over.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on November 17, 2008, 09:00:57 pm
Longwood Swallet
Sunday 16th November 2008
Ken & Chris L

Not a lot to report.  The cave was a bit wet but quite exciting.  We descended down to the top of Swing Pitch via the Showerbath and Waterfall Chamber.  The traverse at the top of the waterfall was a nice little challenge which definitely required possession of a fully functioning caving head.  There was a lot of water flowing down Swing Pitch so we headed upstream towards Wet Chimney.  I reckon we got as far as the Drainpipe.  Neither of us felt overly motivated to get wet underpants so we decided to call it a day.  As always, we had great fun humping our bags back up the entrance crawl and rift.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on November 20, 2008, 08:32:53 am
Sidcot Swallet
Wednesday 19th November 2008
Nicky, Chris C, Tim, Chloé, Dani & Chris L

A gentle Wednesday evening trip saw us visit Sidcot Swallet again.  Some of us went down the Lobster Pot for a play only to find the puddle in front of Paradise smelling quite unpleasant (and not at all like paradise).  A certain amount of fun was had by one of our party passing back through the Tie Press (no names mentioned).  At the entrance, we found that the cave spiders were waiting for us in ambush but we bravely fought our way through without loss.

Chloé sliding down:


Tim after the Tie Press:

Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on November 21, 2008, 06:57:09 am
Hunter’s Hole
Thursday 20th November 2008
Ken & Chris L

The Entrance Shaft and Sago’s Pot were rigged.  At the bottom of Sago’s Pot we had a play with various bits of equipment (Shunt, Prusik Cord, 2:1 Footloop, Basic Ascender in lieu of Ascension Ascender) and methods (Prusiking, Reverse-Prusiking).

On returning to the bottom of the Entrance Shaft we did a bit of practise hauling (with a back-up lifeline) and experimented with various combinations of equipment (Stop, Pulleys, Pro-Traxion, Mini-Traxion) and methods (counter-balance, Z-rig).  It was quite interesting to note how uncomfortable the harness could be when suspended for long periods of time.

Thanks to Ken for an informative day out.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Top Cat on November 30, 2008, 11:30:11 pm
Ogof Craig a Ffynnon – Saturday 29th November
Megan, Neil R, Chris L, Ken P, Chris C, Nikky, Andy M and Tim.

Amazingly we all made it to parking spot on time, and were changed and in the cave by 11:15.

We made leisurely progress through the early chambers, admiring the straws on the way. The first choke was easily climbed using the fixed ladders, and then we splashed through the stream to the slightly more exposed second pitch – which one of the party (possibly called Tim) made a meal of.

The second choke proved more ‘interesting’, particularly for those taking part in the ‘who can haul the biggest, heaviest bag’ competition – the prize eventually going to Chris C.

Then on through Travertine Passage and finally to the Hall of the Mountain King – a vast, impressive void that made my camera flash feel utterly inadequate.

At this point, having paid homage to the Mountain King, the group divided – Nikky, Chris L, Chris C and Ken departed for the surface, leaving the others to press on along the 250m crawl (which Andy felt ‘wasn’t long enough’) to the Severn Tunnel and through the 3rd and 4th boulder chokes to the stunning climax that is Helictite Passage.

Neil and straws in one of the first chambers:

Helictite Passage:

Tim and some pretties:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on December 01, 2008, 06:50:09 am
A couple more photographs of Ogof Craig a Ffynnon.

Straws in roof:


Small pool in Hall of the Mountain King:


Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Dani on December 11, 2008, 09:43:12 am
Lionel's Hole
Wednesday 3rd December

Barry, Martin, Chris L, Dani, Sim and Ellie (in spirit)

I arrived to the great debate of the day, not the current state of the economy or who was going to win X factor, but now having turned up, were Ellie and Sim actually going to come caving.  Ellie, rather sensibly, opted to stay in the Burrington Inn with a nice hot cup of coffee whilst the rest of us risked frostbite getting changed.

Getting in to Lionel's was a welcome relief (not often you will hear that phrase) as it was toasty warm compared to outside.  We headed off to do the round trip, first crossing the traverse and heading down to the streamway.  The stream was more of a trickle, but still icy, as I did my bit for the team by heading through first, soaking up water as I went and dragging rocks and silt through to make it marginally bigger.  Steady progress was made through the crawly bits, with only slight assistance needed for the larger members of the party.  Once through to the chamber at the end, we had a short rest to catch our breath before carrying on out.  We encountered a slight hiatus in the boulder ruckle as I took the wrong route (no comments about women and directions thank you!), but Chris, Sim and Barry soon had us back on track and we were back to the entrance.  As we emerged in to the icy night, I was saved from a tarantula (I swear it was the size of my fist and was giving me a menacing look) by Chris and it was time to beat a hasty retreat back to the cars and to meet Ellie.

Thanks to all for a great trip.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Dani on December 11, 2008, 09:43:49 am
Swildon’s Upper Series
Wednesday 10th December

Tricia, Sam, Martin, Ellie, Chris L, Chloe, Dani

Another sub-zero evening, perfect weather for meandering round Swildon’s upper series.  True to her word, Ellie made it down the cave this week, having recovered from jet-lag / holiday readjustment.

Today’s trip was a route finding / familiarisation trip to allow some members of the club to gain confidence in navigating around the upper series.  Armed with surveys, the group was split up into pairs, with the less experienced member guiding their partner along the various routes down to the water chamber, noting some of the familiar landmarks on the way.  Paths were crossed at junctures throughout the evening, although I think I need to work on my hiding in the dark technique – wellies are a bit of a give away.  I think the trip was fairly successful, (at least no-one got lost, but there’s always next time) and I certainly enjoyed myself.  Once the others had a good soaking in the wet way, it was time to head for home to defrost.

Thanks to Chris for organising and all for taking part
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on December 14, 2008, 09:05:58 pm
Rod’s Pot – Bath Swallet Through Trip
Sunday 14th December 2008
Tricia, Sam D-K, Martin, Keith (guest), Anna (guest), David (guest), Jack (guest) & Chris L

It was a chilly day as we kitted-up and walked off to Rod’s Pot.  Bath Swallet was running at a reasonable rate (due to recent rain falls) as we passed by, heading for Rod’s Pot.

After successfully negotiating the twin pots in Rod’s Pot, the remainder of the party had a good look around in Main Chamber while I rigged Purple Pot with a ladder and rope.  Everyone easily made it down Purple Pot without any problem.  There was plenty of evidence of recent flooding at the bottom of Bath Swallet and the stream was still freely flowing in the area of Buddha Crawl.

We all climbed up towards and Shower Pot.  At this point, Sam and I then proceeded to rig the 20m climb while the others had a good look around.  Rigging was an interesting technical challenge and we thought long and hard before deciding to use the two ladders in the hardest vertical climbs and relying upon free-climbing for the easier bits.  Nevertheless, we ensured that each climber was suitably life-lined at all times.

With all the water coming down Shower Pot it was very wet and by the time we had all passed the climb with all the gear, we were all getting quite cold.

Despite the water, this was another really good trip that was enjoyed by all of us.  Many thanks to Keith, Anna, David and Jack for coming along, and well done on successfully dealing with the hard bits.
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Dani on December 26, 2008, 12:19:18 pm
Lionel’s Hole
Tuesday 23rd December

Mark, Andy M, Chris L, Dani

A trip intended to pre-empt some of the Christmas over-indulgence, we thought we would have a quick zoom around the round trip, before heading to the pub to share a festive drink with friends.

As we had recently done this trip, it was a good opportunity to show how little attention I had paid last time and demonstrate my complete lack of navigational ability by attempting to lead us round.  Just to confuse me, Chris thought it would be a good idea to do the reverse route and go in via the boulder ruckle and come out via the traverse.

It all started fairly promisingly, when I managed to take us slightly off route within the first 10 minutes, but once back on track, I seemed to have various flash-backs (I’m not sure whether this was some sort of post-traumatic stress symptom) and remembered where I was going.

During a brief moment of crawling fatigue, I took a breather and spotted this:


No, not over-indulgence on the Christmas port or hallucinations from too much nutmeg – formations in Lionel’s!!!  OK, they’re not up there with St Cuthberts (or even Goatchurch), but formations none the less.

After that brief respite, we headed down to the streamway.

Lying in a cold trickle of water, with your helmet stuck and face being exfoliated by gravel, is probably not the best time to realise that the duck is too high to get through, but that was the situation we found ourselves in.  Deciding that we were too lazy to try and clear it, we agreed to retrace our steps and head back out the way we came.  Note to self – I now know why trips tend to go via the traverse first.

On the plus side, retracing our steps was a good way to learn the route and I am now starting to link features of the cave together.  In fact, I might even venture to say I didn’t go wrong once on the way out (although I did have to check a couple of times).  Having made fairly short work of our exit, it was time to head back to the cars and the pub for some Christmas refreshment.

Thanks to all for a great start to Christmas celebrations and I look forward to caving with you all again in the New Year
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on December 26, 2008, 04:07:33 pm
(Posted on behalf of Tricia)

Swildon’s Hole Upper Series
Tuesday 23rd December 2008

Tricia, Sam D-K, Keith (guest), Anna (guest) and Jack (guest)

This was an opportunity for us (Tricia and Sam) to revise our route finding in Swildon’s Upper Series before the inevitable Xmas dinner. We were joined by Keith, Anna and Jack, who were as keen as usual but who had only ever entered the cave along the Wet Way.

We quickly slid and wiggled along the long dry way to the Old Grotto, with Tricia demonstrating the “hole-in-the-wall” and everyone appreciating the formations. We progressed to the Water Chamber and then to the eight foot drop-but where had the water gone from the rift??? There was not a drop falling on your head over the large slab. Some rocks had “fallen” and made a dam in the Water Chamber.

However we were soon down the drop and along to 20ft pot so everyone had their bearings. Once back in the Water Chamber it was time to get wet in the Lavatory Pan. We went out of the Wet Way along Kenny’s Dig and then down Jacob’s Ladder and along the short dry way, finally re-emerging along the long dry way (always good to see in reverse).

The evening finished at The Hunter’s with Irish music in the background and an offering of free sandwiches and mince pies. Our prospective new members all now have a membership form so I hope we will see them again. They have certainly depleted the equipment stocks from Rachel and Andy’s shop!
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on December 28, 2008, 09:53:49 pm
Goatchurch Cavern
Sunday 28th December 2008
Chris L, Chris H, Oscar (guest), Keith (guest), Anna (guest), David (guest), Jack (guest) & Mat (guest)

This post-Christmas trip was intended as a poke around in some of the less trodden ways of this popular cave.  We started off by having a good crawl around in the Maze area.  Various dead ends were found and duly checked out.  Various passages leading into Boulder Chamber were also suitably investigated.

We then entered Water Chamber where Keith effortlessly crawled up Hellish Tight without any clothing malfunctions, which is something that I am unable to do!  The excellent stabilisation work at the head of the Drainpipe was also admired and climbed down.  A crack team of cavers was then despatched into Dexion-Series for a look around, while the remainder of the team headed towards the exit.

Both parties recombined above the Coffin Lid and headed off for a bite to eat.

Chris H and Oscar in the Maze:

Not the way on (in the Maze):

Anna coming up the Coffin Lid:
Title: Re: Online Logbook 2008
Post by: Chris Lank on December 28, 2008, 10:02:52 pm
Lionel’s Hole
Sunday 28th December 2008
Chris L, Keith (guest), Anna (guest), David (guest) & Jack (guest)

Not satisfied with the trip earlier in the day, the team headed off for the joys of Lionel’s Hole.

Suspecting that the Round Trip was not feasible, we first went through the Traverse and dropped into the Streamway.  A couple of us decided to “take one for the team” and crawl through Duck 1 to see if Duck 2 was passable.  Sadly it was not, so we got wet for no particular reason.

After retracing our steps, we made our way into Boulder Chamber then descended through the floor into the boulder ruckle.  Without too much fuss, we found Junction Chamber.  Rather than take a pointless trip into the blocked Streamway via Sandwich Boulder and the unpleasant loose stuff, we elected to have a quick look around before heading back out via Boulder Chamber.

Interesting Moth near Entrance:
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