Online Logbook 2008

Chris Lank

New member
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.


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.

Chris Lank

New member
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.

Chris Lank

New member
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?

Chris Lank

New member
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:



New member
Thanks to Chris for organising and supplying the treats! (y)  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!


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



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.


New member
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?


Chris Lank

New member
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.

Chris Lank

New member
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:

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.


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.


New member
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! :mad:
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!  :eek: 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.  ;)
Thanks Chris for a very interesting trip as per usual.

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.
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.

Chris Lank

New member
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:

Chris Lank

New member
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:



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!