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Online Logbook 2008


New member
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.  (y)

Top Cat

New member
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:

Top Cat

New member
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 caveclimb.com (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:

Chris Lank

New member
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.


New member
Chris Lank said:
  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.


New member
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 :beer: 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.

Chris Lank

New member
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.

Chris Lank

New member
Sidcot Swallet
Wednesday 19th November 2008
Nicky, Chris C, Tim, Chlo?, 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.

Chlo? sliding down:


Tim after the Tie Press:


Chris Lank

New member
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.

Top Cat

New member
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:


New member
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.


New member
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

Chris Lank

New member
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.


New member
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

Chris Lank

New member
(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!

Chris Lank

New member
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:

Chris Lank

New member
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: