Online Logbook 2009

Chris Lank

New member
Pierre?s Pot ? Upper Series
Saturday 3rd January 2009
Martin, Chris L, Anna (guest), Keith (guest), Jack (guest), David (guest), Matt (guest), Cheryl (guest)

It was another freezing cold day as we changed into our caving gear. As a warm-up, we had a bit of a play in Pierre?s Pot. We took the various circuitous routes around the Upper Series and had a look at the Vertical Squeeze down to the Lower Series (which we all agreed looked very tight). Something tells me that we will be coming back to this in the future. Great fun was head sliding down the chimney at the top of climb. It was noticeable that a cold draft was blowing through the cave and it was this that contributed to the icy-covering on some of the exposed rocks.

Cheryl climbing down the entrance:
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Matt climbing up towards the top of the Chimney:
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Chris Lank

New member
East Twin Swallet ? Spar Pot Series
Saturday 3rd January 2009
Martin, Chris L, Anna (guest), Keith (guest), Jack (guest), David (guest), Matt (guest), Cheryl (guest)

After entering the cave, we quickly made our way down to the dig face for a quick look before heading off into Spar Pot Series.  We had a good look at the myriad of fossils around the boulder ruckle before crawling along the tight tube.  All of our guests successfully made it through the tight bits and into the terminal rift.  After a quick poke around, we retraced our steps back into the main part of East Twin Swallet and headed back towards the surface.

As we exited the cave, Keith proved that he can?t walk on water by humorously sinking into the smelly swamp outside of the cave.  The local Robin thought we were friendly enough and hung around us for ages but sadly none of us had any worms for him.

Example fossil:
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Chris Lank

New member
Goon?s Hole
Saturday 3rd January 2009
Keith (guest), David (guest), Chris L

Burrington Combe looked very picturesque as we walked down towards the car park.  As we looked back up the valley, we could see that the entrance to Lionel?s Hole was steaming as the warm moist air of the cave exited and met the cold dry air outside.

After passing Goon?s Cave on the way up the valley earlier in the day, Keith and David could not help their curiosity and had to have a closer inspection.

David and Keith headed down the tube with me bringing up the rear.  We passed some attractive mini-Icicles a few metres into the cave.  Being a bit tired after our earlier exertions, we chose not to go too far into the tight stuff and headed back out after a few minutes of exploring.

Keith at the entrance:
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Mini-Icicles:
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Chris Lank

New member
Ogof Draenen
Sunday 18th January 2009
Martin, Neil, Mark and Chris L

Not much to report.  As usual, we made our way through the Entrance Series to Cairn Junction.  After a quick hop across the treacherous muddy rocks we passed the entrance to Wonderbra Bypass before entering Carpet Crawl.  After a short climb down, we were in White Arch Passage.  From there we headed left under White Arch (still not very White) and into Lamb and Fox Chamber.  At the top of the chamber we entered the rift, which became Indiana Highway.  After some fun traversing, we reached the junction of Megadrive North and Megadrive.  We made a short trip up Megadrive for a few hundred yards before stopping for some nourishment.

The return route was similar except that for a bit of variety, most of the group headed down to Tea Junction and then through Wonderbra Bypass instead of Carpet Crawl.
 

Dani

New member
GB Cavern
Wednesday 21st January

Ellie, Sim, Sumpy, Karen, Frank, Dani, Tricia, Martin, Anna, Keith, Jack and David

Greeted in the layby with lashing rain and a rather biting wind we all quickly got changed and headed into the cave for some relative warmth.  The party split into two, one going on the usual trip down to the main chamber, over the bridge, along the gallery and down to the ladder dig and back up via the waterfall, whilst the other group had fun playing around with the devils elbow.  I think our GB virgins were quite impressed with the sheer size of the cave and the fantastic formations, so much so that I now think it might be one of their favourite Mendip caves.  The recent rain meant that we all had a good bracing wash in the waterfall on the way back up, where we were met by a different party on their way down (we wondered why they weren't waving back at us).  We got a slightly better response when we bumped into the others as they were crossing over the bridge and they had a further look around whilst we headed out.

A relatively short, but no less enjoyable trip, thanks to all for the company and Ellie and Sumpy for organising
 

Dani

New member
Goatchurch Cavern
Sunday 25th January 2009

Brendan, Chloe (guest), Bev, Dani, Martin

A nice beginners trip around Goatchurch for Chloe who hadn't been there before.  The usual forray around going down via the pixie steps to the water chamber and then through the drainpipe.  Various bits of side passage were explored before heading back up over the coffin lid and out the main entrance with a slight detour via the Tradesmans entrance.  I think both Bev and Chloe enjoyed it, tackling bits they hadn't done before and it was good to see the drainpipe open again (nice work - thanks to all who helped with that!).  I think there were sufficiently few spiders to tempt Chloe for another visit!
 

Bana

New member
Rod's Pot
Friday 23rd January 2009

Keith,Mat,Cher,David,Jack

How all Cavers should spend there Friday nights; This trip started off just going to be a nice stroll down to the Main Chamber. We quickly worked are way through the entrance, then slowly started to work our way over the top of the 12m pitches. David at the front, myself just behind, Mat, Cher and Jack following. This was the point when we all heard something metal falling from where we were and hitting the bottom of the pitches, then all we heard was David saying OOPS! He had dropped some of his equipment. We decided to drop a rope down one of the pitches. I made my way down to see if i could find what he had dropped. When i got to the bottom i found his equipment and decided to have a quick look around- yet another part to explore, but not having much time headed back and embraced the climb back up the pitch with Mat and David pulling me up from above. Finally we got on with are trip to the main chamber. When we got there we stopped for a rest and had a look around, we headed down to the Bear's pit for everyone to see. We then started to make our way into Bath Swallet, through the wet passage and up the very wet climb (nice stone work bye the way). Once up the top we had a brief look around and then started to make our way back. We dropped a rope down where we just climbed up, there was quite a bit of water going down there, and after this we quickly made are way back to the climb in Rod's and out the cave.

Overall very enjoyable trip with plenty of places to explore.

Oh one more thing keep an eye out next time your down Rod's and your working your way through the mud at the bottom of the drop on your way to the main chamber you might see the family of mud people and there pet sheep ;) made by me and Jack whilst waiting to do the climb .



written by keith.
 

Andy Sparrow

New member
Swildon's Practice Evacuation Wednesday 28th Jan

Andy S, Rachel, Barry, Danny B, Chris C, Nikki, Trisha, Judi, Matt, Cheryl, Keith, Anna

A good turn out for this session - well done folks.  We began by going through a briefing and short training session in the Old Grotto where we talked about hypothermia, exhaustion, and then demonstrated some simple hauling methods.  We split into two teams and went down to the Twenty where we hauled our 'victim' up the pitch.  The first team then continued evacuating to the Water Chamber where we swapped over and let the second team continue to the surface via the steep climb up into the Old Grotto.  It all seemed to go pretty well and now, hopefully, those present will feel more confident in a real-life situation.  All safely in the pub by 10.00pm.

Andy Sparrow
 

Bana

New member
Swildons
Sunday 25th January 2009

Keith, Anna, Jack, David, Cher and Matt

A bit of a random trip, where we all met up at the barn to get ready to hit the cold depths of Swildons. After a week of miserable damp weather, Swildons seemed to be roaring with the sound of water. After taking the plunge we were soaked through after minutes of entering the cave so being careful not to get wet wasn't on our agenda! So this is where we decided to follow the wet way to sump 1, with full intentions of going through. We made our way to the 20ft waterfall and rigged up our ladder and safety line and all got the chance to have a shower! (Anna nicely got her head held under the waterfall, whilst going down the ladder!) After we were down we then practically ran to the twin pots to jump in (as it was very flooded). We paused for a bit to take some photos and then headed down to sump one. As previously stated, we all had the intentions of going through sump 1 again, we decided that it was far to flooded and we were so wet through, that the climb back to civilization was the best option for us. Once back at the barn, we all agreed the best thing to do was to get changed and head home with the car heaters on full blast.

Yet another great trip to Swildons, i don't think this cave could ever get boring. Next time i think we'll hit the mud sumps.

Written by Anna
 
B

Brendan H

Guest
Brendan (leading), Bev, Dani, Martin, Chlo? (guest); callout: Sam

I see Dani has already done a write up for this trip, but I wanted to add my penny-worth -- sorry it's a bit late.

We met in the car park in Burrington Coombe, the one next to the cattle grid, and got changed in the wind and cold. There was a group of hikers there all togged out in their cosy winter gear, a reminder that caving gear is meant for the moderate temperatures encountered underground, and is not really warm enough for hanging around in a wintry wind-swept car park.

As there was a bat survey being conducted in the area that day, the conversation naturally moved onto the subject of spiders, creatures viewed with a certain lack of warm feelings by one member of the group. Reassurances were given that cave spiders, while indeed large, are not aggressive, and do not inhabit areas devoid of food and hence totally devoid of light, and that because of the shape of the entrance of Goatchurch cavern there was in any case a negligible risk of encountering any arachnid chums.

The familiar pleasant stroll took us across the strongly-flowing West Twin Brook, then up the side of the coombe to the entrance. We paused for a few moments, then ventured in, disappointed at the lack of spiders, but keeping our un-adjusted eyes peeled for the photophobic little chaps and chapesses, just in case.

The entrance series was not as slippery as it sometimes is, which was nice.

We made a cautious and descent of the Giant?s Staircase, and through the lovely Keyhole Passage into Drunkards Gallery, then there was a pause for there-and-back-again trips along Bloody Tight, the name of which is now misleadingly alarmist, as it is neither tight not bloody, having been dug out years ago, and wiped clean.

The subject of spiders seemed to have been forgotten by then, or perhaps it was just well suppressed. Brendan is training to be a counsellor, and was itching to ask ?And how do you feel?? every few minutes, just like with a client, but managed to resist the urge.

We negotiated the Pixie Steps, and slithered elegantly on our botties down to the Leap of Faith. Personally, I think the Leap of Faith has an over-dramatic name, and should be called the Bit Which One Does Not Want to Fall Through Possibly to One's Death but Which is Not That Difficult to Cross Unless One is Particularly Nervous or Clumsy. However, I accept that this alternate name would take up too much space on the printed survey, so for the sake of harmony in the caving community I am prepared to stick with calling it the Leap of Faith.

The sloping rift took us past the other end of Bloody Tight into the Boulder Chamber, where Brendan showed Beverley and Chlo? the seemingly impossible slit through which, on an earlier trip, a partly d?shabill?e Dani had squeezed into the Water Chamber below. If, dear reader, you have seen this minute crevice in the rocks, you will know that it looks too small even for cat, let alone a woman. Chlo? and Beverley were suitably impressed, and Dani basked in the adulation.

As we did not have a rope, the group temporarily split in two, with Martin and Dani free-climbing down Jacob?s Ladder, and Brendan, Beverley and Chlo? going via the Coffin-Lid Bypass, down to the Water Chamber; Dani came back the up to assist. There we had a good pong round. Beverley and Chlo? went to locate the points at which some of the waters of West Twin Brook enter and leave the chamber. Then in preparation for the Drainpipe, we had a go at a short tube which is slightly tighter than the Drainpipe but much shorter (about 8 feet if entered via side hole), as an aperitival sample of the real thing.

After that we ventured down the new approach to the Drainpipe, those who had been there before in wonder at the new masonry, and the skill and effort which it must have taken to produce it. A couple of previously useful hand-holds have been rendered redundant, and the Nutcracker promontory seems to have been removed or covered over.

After Brendan?s lurid pep talk for the benefit of the two who had not been through the Drainpipe, Dani went first, slowly, to reassure the person behind her. Chlo? went next, and Beverley after her. There was quite a lot of giggling, which is better the demented screams with which most of the adult population would greet the prospect of such an ordeal. Brendan was vividly reminded on his first attempt at the Drainpipe, which he flunked, and his second attempt, which required an extraordinary amount of support from the ever-patient Andy Hebden. The two first-timers on this trip just wriggled their way through with panache, so well done, Beverley and Chlo?. Brendan went next, and Martin solidly took the rear position, his supportive r?le for most of the trip.

We recovered our breath, then returned to the Water Chamber. Brendan took Beverley and Chlo? to the secret waterfall under the Water Chamber (not so secret, now), then we made our way back. There was quite a lot of assisted fun on the ever-tricky Coffin Lid, while Martin free-climbed Jacob?s Ladder and waited for the rest of us at the top. After the Pixie Steps there was a false sighting of our befanged eight-legged friend Meta menardi, but it turned out to be a trick of the light (or was it??).

We attempted to free climb the Tradesman?s Entrance by using the less exposed route on the left. Martin went ahead via the route on the right to lend a hand from above, but as we lacked a rope it proved necessary for the rest of the group to return to the surface via the Drunkard?s Gallery and the Giant?s Staircase.

As it was now time for our callout to alert the Old Bill and summon the lycra-suited superheroes of the MRO, Martin called him to say we were OK.

We were re-united at the main entrance.

As for spiders, nobody got chased, bitten, or cocooned for later, by any examples of Meta menardi, Brachypelma smithii, or Theraphosa blondi, but for a juicy video of what can happen, check out http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/10/061027-tarantula-video.html. Poor mouse!

Thanks to Sam for being the callout.

Thanks to Dani and Martin, without whose assistance underground the trip would not have been possible.

Well done Chlo? and Beverley for braving the Drainpipe.
 
N

Nix

Guest
Swildon's Hole
Sunday 1st Februry 2009

Chris C, Nicky & Bev

On a cold & rainy Februay morning the only sensible thing seemed to be to go down Swildon's for a quick play. We decided that we'd warm up down the Long Dry Pretty Way, a quick look around the Old Grotto so Bev could familiarise herself and then onto the Twenty. Bev showed off her new found confidence and flew down (and back up later) the Eight Foot Pitch and was pleased she recognised the way to the ladder pitch :) . It was here we turned back and went back the Short Dry Way and headed to the Hunter's to initiate Bev into the traditional apres cave activity.
 
N

Nix

Guest
St Cuthbert's Swallet
Thursday 12th February 2009

Chris C & Nicky

This was a trip to Rabbit Warren Extension. After wading through inches of snow we descended down the drainpipes and down the Entrance Rift, which was a little cold and wet. From there we went down the1st ladder into Arete Chamber and along the Wire Rift to the final fixed ladder into Lower Mud Hall and up into Pillar Chamber. We then climbed down to the top of the Boulder Chamber to Kanjanjunga (?), turned left and down to Upper Traverse Chamber. We then climbed up the boulders passing some pretty formations, to High Chamber and made our way to September Squeeze and down the hole into Catgut Rift which eventually led to Crossed Leg Squeeze which Chris says has 'shrunk' hmmmm. Now in T-Junction Chamber I was fascinated by the dissolving stalagtites, which I thought were amazing, they look spikey!! More pretties to come with an awesome stal flow. We then had a look at Continuation Chamber but decided it looked too wet so carried on to The Vice (surprisingly Chris managed to get through no probs). From here wemade our way to Chain Chamber where there was a 'phalactite' to be careful of...we had a little explore in Helectite Passage at the pretties then continued to two flat out squeezes and found ourselves in the Rabbit Warren. This was the point we made our way back to the entrance via the standard way, down the Second Stal Bank and down to the Streamway. I climbed Everest (if only the real one) to Boulder Chamber and then retraced our steps out. The Entrance Rift seemed even wetter and colder on the way back up which seemed a good incentive to get up fast! The Dam was overflowing on the snow when we got out so Chris waded into icy waters to open the gate valve (and fell in hahahaha). Cries of 'F*****g b*****ks' were heard :)  :LOL: .     
 
K

Keith

Guest
FishMonger's Swallet
Sunday 22nd February 2009

Keith & Mat

Today me and Mat decided we would do a spot of metal detecting Around some fields in Alveston.
We didn't get far into the field before being stopped and asked what we were up to from a young lad who works on the land. We soon got on to the conversation of the cave which we new was close to where we were. It so happened that He new where it was and had a key to get in as he is a member of a local caving club, and he soon offered us to go and have a look around with him. So we arranged to meet back up in 20 mins and left to get are caving gear.
When we got back we all walked across the field to a small stream and followed it along and soon got to the cave entrance, so once unlocked we started are way down the wet and tight drop. Once down this tight tube Passed the rusty scaffolding tubes holding back some boulders, we entered quite a big chamber.
We paused for a bit and admired all the pretty's above us , which was nice to see undamaged , and had a chat about the time team discovering human bones here, after this we continued down a very very wet and muddy passage which split , one way going to a stream passage and the other entering a boulder choke which was covered completely with mud  which had a large pool of water at the bottom, this is where they have continued to dig but it keeps getting more mud washed in,so we decided to start clearing the clay where the water runs down to try and stopped it getting choked up.
Once covered head to toe in wet mud we decided to work are way back up to the norm. We have now arrange to go back and check it out when it drys up a bit more and see if we can continue this awesome cave.

Overall a very muddy cave but very interesting and pretty.

Written by Keith.
 

Chris Lank

New member
Goatchurch Cavern ? Dexion Series
Sunday 22nd February 2009
Chris L

After an enforced absence of 5-weeks, I decided to ease myself back into caving by making a solo trip to an old favourite; Dexion Series.

I sped straight in via the Tradesman?s Entrance and very nearly slid all the way into Water Chamber (whoops!).  After regaining my footing, I gingerly made my way along the Pixie Steps, down the Coffin Lid and up the Drainpipe.

After various contortions and much sweating, I got through Dexion Series and into the Terminal Chamber.  I think the tight bits must have got smaller since I last visited because I found it quite hard work.  Both the digs were quickly examined before exiting by the same route.  Getting out was somewhat less energetic though.

Me in Terminal Chamber:
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Pretties in Terminal Chamber
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More Pretties in Terminal Chamber
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Mystery Cave Pig:
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Dani

New member
Tyning's Barrows Swallet
Wednesday 25th February 2009

Chris L, Chris C, Nicky, Keith, Jack, Tricia, Martin, Dani

Having read the description for this cave, I was prepared for a rather miserable trip round a grotty sharp cave, one of the 'done once never to be repeated' type visits.  However, once inside, I was pleasantly surprised.  Entrance pitches negotiated, the cave wasn't as sharp or crawly as I was expecting and Chris C and I set off to catch up the rest of the party that had carried on down the cave (absolutely nothing to do with our advancing age).  We finally met up at Pyramid Pot and deciding that we didn't really fancy the crawly bits further on, and having take rather longer than expected to actually get down the cave, we decided to return back up the cave.  This left us exploring Paton Place, White Dog Passage and Dragon Chamber coming back round to Sheep's Jaw and meeting up with the way out.  On this circuitous route out, we found that the cave had been struck by that rather annoying phenomenon of shrinking since certain members of the party last were there.  Slight attire adjustments allowed further progress to be made and we all headed back out of the cave.  Swifter progress was made on the way out and we were soon all coiling up kit to head back to the car.  I actually quite liked this cave and am looking forward to a repeat trip, so if you're thinking about going, don't be put off by the bad press, there are certainly worse places to spend a few hours on Mendip!

Thanks to Chris x 2 for rigging, life-lining and generally sorting the trip out and to everyone else for the great company.
 

Chris Lank

New member
I'd agree with that.  It is an interesting place that I will go to again.  Some photos:

The remains of a previous visitor (possibly):
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Crystals in the main streamway:
3311778743_83b51ef0cf.jpg
 

Dani

New member
St Cuthbert?s Swallet
Saturday 28th February 2009

Chris C, Andy S, Ken, Chris L, Dani

It was with some trepidation that I joined the boys on this trip, knowing their reputation for machismo and the occasional ?scenic detour?.  The whole trip began well, when Andy said he?d like to go ?to some holes in the roof?, followed by enthusiastic discussion as to where these holes might be and where they went to.  Having agreed on a vague route, we headed off and made fairly quick progress down the old route to the main chambers.  Once in the Main Chamber, Andy found the hole in the roof he had previously been to about 10 years ago (somewhere near Kanjanjunga), which with his long legs he managed to get up, whilst the rest of us gazed up, wondering where the footholds might be.  My footholds turned out to be Ken and Chris, with a good hoik up from above by Andy.  The others managed to form some sort of human pyramid and clambered up and joined us in the muddy squalor.  It was about this time I started muttering under my breath and repeating ?there?s no place like home?, unfortunately I didn?t have my ruby slippers with me, so there was no option but to carry on.  We continued along the muddy passage taking care not to fall down the holes in the floor, ending up in a small chamber.  No trip would be complete without those immortal words, ?I?d forgotten about this bit? a scrabble around found the route on and we ended up in Upper Long Chamber.  Finally, something pretty to look at, which began to make the trip a bit more worthwhile.  From here we headed down to Lower Long Chamber and then across the Slabs to have a quick look at Upper Curtain Chamber (lots more pretties) and then back to Long Chamber Extension, returning to the Main Chamber via Quarry Corner.  Here we were able to admire the holes we avoided falling down earlier in the trip, which I'm glad I Hadn't noticed on the way in.  Finally we headed back out, with a brief respite to put the world to rights and a shower in the streamway to wash our suits off.

Depsite my grumblings, ok, outright moaning, I had a very enjoyable trip.  Thanks to Chris C for leading and to the others for looking out for me, as ever.
 

Chris Lank

New member
Some photos from the trip to St Cuthbert's Swallet.

Upper Long Chamber:
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Andy being muddy:
3317934097_f31eac3de9.jpg


Dani emerging from a hole in the floor:
3317936295_85d4955d1b.jpg
 
A few additions. The holes in the roof bares bears little resemblence to the published survey and we emerged in Chandelier Chamber by mistake; Andy intended to come out in Quarry Passage.
We left Long Chamber Extension via Fracture Rift and Annex Chamber.
 
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