Online Logbook 2012

New Years Day - Swildons
Andy Morgan & me

It was good to see Andy on the green, I was late again, but there weren't too many cars (not like all along the Burrington road & in the woods, there were loads of walkers about.)

There was a stream but it didn't seem too dramatic. Andy was introduced to the Zig Zags having climbed over the top last time  :eek:  . We opted for Kenny's Dig then over The Well to slide across and drop down into the Oxbows. I was just confirming a bit of route finding but got it wrong as I thought we were past the Lavatory Pan so promptly had to get wet.  Andy S had kindly left us some kit so we trundled off to rig the pitch. It is always interesting when you get there and find it already rigged. You then have to make a judgement on the current rigging ?cos they are the ones who are going to have to swap out their kit & put yours in place. As often happens in Swildon?s (even if there are only 2 groups in you will always meet them on the pitch) the other party appeared so I had a chance to take time over getting the rigging right. (I was still not happy with it though  :mad:

We trundled on, taking some time through Barns Loop then on down to the sump which was not at all inviting. Piles of foam circled over the surface.  We didn?t stay too long & started back missing the climb up to Tratman?s so doubled back for a quick look. We then went steadily out. I found it rather tiring caving for three & half hours with wellies full of water. I thought the level had gone up a little but not as bad as I have seen it in previous years.
A good trip for the start of the year. Nice to get wet & clean my suit off. (I often wonder what damage, if any, I am doing by polluting the water with dirt from another caving area  :-\ )


New member
Yorkshire - 17-19th January​
Se?n & Steph​

Se?n finally gave in and jumped on a few trains to head up North on the Monday. That evening we had a good look at the OS Map and printed off the required surverys, although it was my plan that we would do most of the caves i did whilst i was studying at Craven College.

Tuesday morning came around, we packed up the car and set off on the 1 hour journey up to the 3 Peaks area. First calling in at the Helwith Inn to collect the key for the Bradford Pothole Club cottage. We got the key and dropped our stuff off at the cottage in Horton - in - Ribblesdale then headed over to Ingleton via Selside. 3 Mini Buses up the track at Selside and the lay by in Chapel - le - Dale was full!

Arriving in Ingleton, the first stop was Inglesport! Having finally bought most of my kit i just needed to hire a helmet from them. Se?n gave in and bought the Warmbac fleece suit and finally a kit bag .. he also had a good think about buying the Warmbac neoprene socks, but decided he was man enough to not bother.

So off we went, back towards the Ribblehead Viaduct and parked up in the lay by. We trundled across the frozen and icy moorland heading for the small outcrop of Limestone pavement. Se?n had to have a quick stop to see the goods trains passing over the viaduct..

Before we knew it, we were at the top entrance to Runscar. A nice simple cave which wouldn't take us long. I knew the main bit was down stream but wanted to check out the upper loop section. After a mere 5 minutes we were wriggling on our stomach with Se?n behind me huffing and puffing that in the mere 2 months since we were on the Mendips he had lost his fitness, but despite this we carried on taking a right up the stream which was rather cold then looped back round bringing us back to the entrance. We carried on down through the short streamway before popping back up, down to the next bit. and the next until we were on the final bit, we were intrigued by a small left turning - an inlet. Crawled and squeezed up it to come to the conclusion it was a dead end. Back in the main streamway we finally saw daylight to the left and right. I went right and Se?n went left, only for him to get a face full of foam and to turn back around to follow me. What a stunning view when you wriggle through to pop your head up to see Ingleborough in a haze. As we headed back towards the car we came across a group of 11, 8 small children excited and nervous, their screams as they went in and for the Instructor to say 'it will do them good, they just need to man up!'

So back at the car, we jumped straight in and headed over to Selside to do the Longchurns. Parked up behind Ingleborough Hall's bus and heading up the track, passing the group on their way back down. Walked straight up to the Upper Series and before we knew it were getting the rope out of the bag for Dr Bannisters. Was a reasonable amount of water going down so just wanted to be safe. Only had a short rope with us so set it up as a basic handline and left it in situ. Quickly made our way down to the Lower Churns and just knew it was time to stop following the water and take a right down the dry passage. Alas we were at Double Shuffle Pool, having done this twice before i was confident i could do the 'shuffle' but on this occasion the deep clear pool seemed more inviting.. SPLASH! Whilst Se?n had a good laugh i watched him easily get over it no problem. Next was Plank Pool, i was already wet so just slid straight in. We then made our way down to the Cheese Press (which we had both done before) so walked on round and opted for the short climb down. With a little help from Se?n i was down and we had a quick look down Dolly Tubs before heading back up the system and out into very little daylight. A quick walk back up to Dr Bannisters to retrieve the rope and a brisk walk (to warm up!) back to the car and that was the end of Day 1. The caving side anyway.. we finished the evening with a couple of pints :)  :beer:

Wednesday morning brought us rain. It had woken me up in the early hours but never the less i was optimistic about the planned caves - Birkwith, Old Ing and Red Moss Pot. Packing up our very dry gear from the drying room we were off again, passing the farm we had a look at the rivers and flow coming out of the Birkwith system... didn't look good, but as we got up the hill to the parking spot by the sheep we came across a mini bus. We took this as a good sign and went for it. First stop Birkwith. Much more water flowing out than i'd previously done it in. We debated what to do for a good 10 minutes, in the end i suggested that we should go through the first little squeeze and up the climb to get a feel for it whilst keeping an eye on the water level beneath us. Se?n was up the climb in seconds, me on the other hand.. i was so cold, my fingers and toes were numb from standing in the water and i just couldn't get up! Se?n came back down just to give my right foot a boost and i was up, but by this point i was disappointed in myself, cold and still had the water level on my mind. I climbed back down and we made a mutual decision that we called it a day on Birkwith. So off we trundled over the moor to Old Ing. Went down the main stream way and as we got to the junction with the inlet flowing into one, we turned right, the flow was getting very strong, trying to sweep us off our feet. We made yet another decision to turn around and head out. So last stop was Red Moss Pot. Damp survey of the Birkwith/Old Ing/Red Moss area in our hand we walked over 4 fields and finally found what we thought was the entrance. It was very obvious on the survey, due to the line of shake holes nearby. Although we had left the more detailed survey in the car..doh! The entrance itself was small but with the squashed ferns and flow we were confident we had the right place. I went in first, as soon as i was in i could go no further, apart from a very small squeeze which would have to be done feet first going backwards or entering head first it seemed impossible. I climbed out so that Se?n could have a look and he came back out looking as puzzled as me. had we got it wrong?! We walked around the field just in case we had missed anything but nothing came, so we walked on back to the car. On returning to the car we looked at the survey, in fact it did have 2 entrances, the second being easier and more accessible than the first we had found. How could anyone fit through it we do not know?! We got changed on the windy hill and decided not to be so disappointed about the day but to head back for a hot shower and then back over to Inglesport to use their climbing wall for an hour or so to build up my bouldering and climbing skills.

Thursday was quite mild, but fog lingered over the 3 Peaks. It had lightly rained in the night but not as much as the previous. The rivers were lower and better visibility and the forecast showed we had a few hours clear. With this is mind we decided on doing Great Douk & Sunset Hole. With the lay by empty we kitted up and started on the 5/8 mile walk to the entrance on the heavily used footpath to the summit of Ingleborough. Down into the trees, past the scaffold for the wet dig and up the slippery waterfall we went. With no survey, i went on memory after doing it back in 2007. The passage was long and got deeper as we went along, the features were nice to look at it and Se?n commented that these long stream passages were his cup of tea! We passed under the opening for Little Douk Pot and the memories all came flooding back. We continued taking the right hand ox bow and eventually the passage came to around 6ft in height. And by the looks of the debris above our heads it had recently flooded.. possibly the bad weather 2 weeks ago. We eventually then came to the junction. I knew it was left, but the temperature of the water and the fact that there was more water than last time was a little off putting. But off i went. Se?n wriggled on through behind me, pushing the bag as he went. it got smaller and smaller until i could no longer avoid getting my chest in the water.. brrrr! Was quite a shock but the end was in sight. A quick wiggle up in into the dry roof passage and then a left bringing us out at Middle Washfold. Quite odd popping up in the middle of the limestone pavement, but again amazing to see Ingleborough even closer. Pleased with the trip we had a look for Sunset Hole but with so many Pot Holes and other caves in the area it was quite hard and i couldn't remember where the entrance was. Instead we found some sort of entrance very near to Middle Washfold. The stream headed underground so we did too, but as i got in i saw about 5 spiders, taking a deep breath and crawling through the water more i carried on only to find loads more.. i'm not good with spiders and i had no idea where it would take us so i called back to Se?n that i was turning around, i couldn't handle the spiders!! Pleased with the trip through Great Douk we headed back over the moors towards the car. With the wind coming straight off Ingleborough, it started hailing. Se?n finally found a use for his suit hood!

We got back to the car, munched our way through our sandwiches and headed back to Inglesport for a well deserved hot chocolate with cream and to return the helmet, which i never had to change the batteries. We also had a quick look round Bernies, but didnt want to betray the lovely guys at Inglesport. After finally warming up we drove the road back to Horton in Ribblesdale one last time to enjoy a hot shower, clean up the cottage and to leave our money in the honesty box.

All in all, a good 3 days. Even if we didn't completely 'finish' some of the caves, we definitely put our navigation skills to the test. Big thanks to BPC & Inglesport!

We now look forward to heading back down to the Mendips in 2 weeks time :)

Steph & Se?n


Brendan H

New member
Brendan Hanley (leading), Stephanie Clegg, Se?n Tidey, Milo Deane (guest); callout: Rachel Sparrow

This was originally intended as a solo route-finding and poke-about, but then I invited Milo, the teenage son of my long-distance walking companion Bay Deane to join me, and then I decided it would be churlish not to advertise the trip on the club?s Google Group, so Steph and Se?n came along, too.

It was Steph?s and Se?n?s first trip to Goatchurch Cavern, believe it or not.

The four of us followed the usual route via the Giants Stairs to Drunkard?s Gallery and then through Bloody Tight to the Terrace, then the route-finding and poking about began as we split into two teams (me and Milo, Steph and Se?n) to find our way to the Dining Room and the foot of the Coal Chute.

The way to the Boulder Chamber was marked by Milo slipping through the two tubular squeezes  and then working his way back towards the rest of us as we negotiated the tight rift on the extreme left of the various routes to the Boulder Chamber. No-one got stuck.

I showed the impossibly small hole in the floor through which Danielle Gorman, Tricia Denning-Kendall (and possibly others) have passed into the Water Chamber below, then I rigged a hand-line and we took the more conventional, larger route down Jacob?s Ladder instead.

In the Water Chamber we had a look at where the stream enters and then leaves the chamber, and then at the little waterfall under the Water Chamber. By then it was time for Steph and Se?n to leave for the afternoon trip to sump 1 of Swildon?s Hole, so we made a mad dash via the Coffin Lid to the top of the Pixie Steps so that Steph and Se?n could find their way out safely, then Milo and I went back down via the Coffin Lid Bypass to the Drainpipe.

Remembering how I had flunked my first attempt at the Drainpipe and had to be coaxed  by the infinitely patient Andy Hebden on my second, successful, attempt, I was prepared to be really supportive of young Milo at this juncture, but when I had finished my rather laboured description of the Drainpipe and ways of moving through it, he cheerily asked me if he could go first, so off he went, completely untroubled.

In the car on the way to the trip, Milo and I had discussed the possible acoustic properties of the Drainpipe, so as he neared the chamber at the end, the experimenting began.  The first experiment was to create a single toneless boom to see what would happen: Milo thwacked the side of the Drainpipe with his leg, and we both listened to the echo from way behind us. It was rather spooky.

We left it there for a few minutes while we played about in the chamber at the end, trying out total darkness, and then trying out two sensory experiments in the darkness.

We waved our hands in front of our faces, which produced ghostly images in our minds? eye, the result of body telemetry displaying the hand?s position to the conscious mind.

We wanted to find out if we have any rudimentary echo-location facility. We used out voices to make short tone bursts, and listened to the sound coming back off the chamber walls. Of course, we had already seen the shape of the chamber before turning off our lights, so it was not a proper scientific test of anything, but there did seem to be a sense coming to us of the shape of the chamber around us.

Back in the Drainpipe, we experimented with trying to make the column of air to resonate, using our voices. We were easily able to make it resonate across its width by stimulating it with specific notes within the normal singing range of a bass voice ? it was uncanny to hear our voices amplified and confined in the tube. However, we were unable to make it resonate along its length, as neither of us can sing low enough ? I can just reach a C# two octaves below middle C (about 70Hz), but the fundamental resonant frequency is probably about 2? octaves lower than this, somewhere around G six octaves below middle C (about 12Hz) which is too low to sing and too low to hear as a note.

When I was about half way along, and Milo was a few feet behind me, we turned out our lights again and lay in the darkness, something I had not done before in the  Drainpipe. I felt less aware of the smallness of my surroundings, and quite comfortable (psychologically, I mean) and relaxed.

On the way out, Milo shimmied up Jacob?s Latter like a monkey, but I went up the Coffin Lid Bypass. We were able to spend ten minutes poking about in the Maze, and moved so far across and up that we must have been really close to the entrance gallery, but we could not find a way through. We left the Maze via the crawl that leads back towards Drunkard?s Gallery, then left the cave free climbing via the Tradesman?s Entrance.

Congratulations to Milo for moving about underground like an already-experienced caver, and for negotiating the Drainpipe with panache.

I am planning more experiments in the Drainpipe. I hope use drums for toneless pulses, human voices in dissonance to produce a 12Hz heterodyne (beat), and, if I can lay my hands on them, a set of bellows and a reed from an old organ pipe.

The Drainpipe resonance calculations are based on an 9?C air temperature, a 40? length, and the tube behaving as if open at both ends.
Wed 22nd Feb 2012 Swildons hole

Chris Castle, Tricia Denning-Kendall, Bill Moore, Nicky Dennis

This was Nicky's training trip to help Trish and Bill move more smoothly along traverses and consisted of proceeding along the Short Dry Way without touching the ground, an exercise which was extremely successful. If the people who passed us are reading this that is what we were doing, odd as it looked. We went up the Old 40 and the other three abseiled down to say they'd done it, I retrieved the rope.


New member
Wed 29th Feb
Singing River Mine

Myself, Darren, Rich, Sean, Steph, Judy.

Met at the square at 7pm, me a bit flustered having had one of those days. We trooped up to the entrance having chatted to the owner who was on her way out. Then ensued a massive faff with the key, which 6 months ago worked fine but now resolutley defied any attempt to unlock. Half an hour later we were packing up to go elsewhere when another group arrived with another key - this one worked. It turns out my key is about 1/2 mm too long on one tooth.

Laddered the entrance, some of us choosing to ab down for speed, and the "Swindon safecrackers" group followed with the intention of a bit of diving. This was the last we saw of them until we got out. We headed for 6ways chamber and the West end to see if there was any movement from my dig, which was inconclusive, and on the way Darren had a bit of a slip down a little climb. Not very far, about 2', but enough to make him wince and limp. But he is tough, and carried on.  Much crawling, thruching and "ooohhhh"ing went on in the meantime looking at shot holes, geodes, mineral deposits, diving pools etc.

We then headed upstream and with a bit of poking about, found ourselves on a ledge halfway up the stinking gulf - an impressive 70' shaft to the surface with a pool at the bottom. Climbing to the bottom looked possible, but not with a dodgy foot in the group, so we poked about more until we found gulf bypass which got us to the bottom. Then along the wobbly plank and into the lake at the East end. By now (2hrs later) Darrens foot was giving him hell so we headed out into the night. As we got to the surface the Swindon group reached the ladder so I belayed them out rather than faffing about resetting gear, By the time I had them all out Darren and Rich had gone.

A cracking trip - literally- I had a text from Darren today saying he had broken his foot! Get well soon mate and well done finishing the trip! :bow:
Photo's from  Wed 29th Feb
Singing River Mine
Burt, Darren, Rich, Sean, Steph, Judi.

The key was just NOT going to work  :cry:


Half way round I insisted on a photo call and didn't even manage to get them in the middle of the picture  :-[


Ok so I like rocks, someone had split this open so it wasn't covered in mud (the flash has taken most of the colour out though)


More rock


Good trip Thank you Burt  ;)


Andy Sparrow

Active member

11th March

Andy Sparrow, Neil Rigiani, Trisha DK, Chris Castle, Nicky Dennis

How wonderful to have the new access arrangements for OFD 1.  So much more fun to self navigate rather then follow a leader.  We romped gleefully into the promised land and without too much trouble located the lower end of the 'Airy Fairy' traverse.  This subterranean via ferrata provided excellent entertainment despite Trisha's sudden desire to grow longer legs.  From there it was up into the cavernous Rawl Series, and then down to the streamway via Lowes Passage. 

Our main objective was to navigate through the connection series to The Divers Pitch.  This proved fairly straightforward using the survey and but it still took us an hour or so to reach the Letterbox Chamber.  Neil, Nicky and Andy went through this entertaining orifice and soon arrived at the head of The Divers Pitch - a precarious stance with a bit of tat hanging out of the roof.  Clearly this was not the normal way down so we followed some well-worn descending passages instead.  We didn't find the way down - time was pressing - but we must have been close.

Our exit was fairly rapid now that we knew the way.  We romped down the OFD 1 streamway, where Trish had a sudden urge to go swimming, twice.

Out to sunny Spring afternoon after 4.5 hours underground. 

Andy Sparrow
Wed 28th March 2012 Gough's Cave.
Chris Castle, Nicky Dennis, Kay Chambers, Neil Turner, Steff Clegg, Brendan Hanley, Sean Tidey

A training evening. Kay and Neil made their first attempt at SRT, others revised their skills, some ladder practice was also done. Much time was of necessity spent putting on and taking off the kit (useful anyway), but it was  a successful training evening.
Friday 30th March 2012  Ogof Ffynnon Ddu 1
Chris Castle, Nicky Dennis, Kay Chambers, Neil Turner, plus Phil Hendy and Rich Hobbs (WCC).

This was a leisurely and shorter version of Andy's trip of 11/03.

We made our way down the main drag to the Toast Rack ladder thing, and after some routefinding problems got to the first bolt traverse, Airy Fairy. Kay didn't like the look of this, but, being a woman, got on with it. Phil did a lot of huffing and puffing, but he too, was OK. The next two via ferrata-type traverses were easier and we climbed up the boulders into the big stuff, starting with Pi Chamber. I've been here three times now and the Pi is decidedly unconvincing. It's supposed to be a figure in calcite.

On along Bridge Passage and the Rawl Series which is all, except a 20m or so crawl, very big. In Roundabout Chamber we climbed down boulders into Lowe's Passage and the rope climb down into the streamway. We turned upstream as Phil wanted to see the big logan stone at the start of the boulder ruckle leading to the connection; Nicky and Rich went through to view this pretty passage.

Return was staight along the streamway to the foot of the Toast Rack via the deep pool called Pluto's Bath and out.

A most enjoyable trip. Neil managed not to hurt himself and no-one fell in the streamway pools.

Brendan H

New member
Brendan Hanley (leading), Mile Deane (guest); callout: Rachel Sparrow

The trip was supposed to be to Goatchurch Cavern but everyone else was tucked up in bed or filing their Pok?mon cards in alphabetical order, so after waiting with Milo for 15 minutes in the car park, we went to Swildon?s Hole instead.

We changed on the green, preserving our modesty as local custom demands, paid our dues to the farmer, then set off to the cave, carrying not a conventional caving bag, but an Ortleib waterproof bag. ?And what was in that bag?? I hear you ask. Well, you will have to read right to the end of the next paragraph to find out.

There was a decent flow of water through the entrance in promise of a good splashy exit via the Wet Way later, but to start with we headed straight for the Pretty Way (the Long Dry Way). Between the top of Jacob?s Ladder and the turning for Kenny?s Dig we sat down, and this is where the mysterious bag came into its own, for within were three musical instruments and some sheet music.

We started with a rendition from memory of the catchy Jewish folk song Kuma Echa on my turquoise Yamaha descant recorder ? the confines of the passageway made a great performance space, concentrating and enriching the sounds. I played the song a few times, then Milo played something rather lovely that I had not heard before, a piece he improvised on the spot, perhaps the first piece of music to have been created in Swildon?s Hole.

We moved on through the lovely low sections and into the chamber which has a big boulder in the middle, where there was enough space to get out some sheet music. Our first piece was Four Seasons ? not the Classic FM favourite by teacher-of-top-totty Antonio Vivaldi, but an English folk song about the changing of the seasons. Milo had not played this before, so he was sight-reading, while I was trying to read the blurry notes through my contact lenses. We played a good few rounds in two-part harmony, with me on my Aulos treble recorder and Milo on my descant recorder after initially trying out his drop-dead cool xaphoon ? it gave a very rich and powerful sound but was too much against the baroque mellowness of the treble recorder.

When we had had enough of Four Seasons we had a crack at The Bells of Norwich, a cheery English folk song about the bustle of that city.

While we were working through our repertoire we heard another group of cavers somewhere around Jacobs Ladder, possibly Ian Burton?s group ? I hoped they could hear us, and wondered what the music sounded like after it had travelled through cave passages: was it coherent, scrambled, muffled, or what?

We packed up our music and put our instruments carefully away, and got on with some more conventional caving: forward along the Dry Way, up to the New Grottoes, going in and up further than I had ever been, then crawling via the streamway into the Old Grotto, then to the Water Chamber, then down the waterfall at the Old Forty Foot, then to the Twenty Foot for a quick peer over the edge (that?s ?peer?, with a ?r?, dear reader). On the way back we went into Roaring Thunder, further than I had ever been, well past the blue bucket, but by then we were only one hour from our call-out time, so it was time to head back.

We chose the Wet Way, enjoying the watery excitement of the Lavatory Pan and the Letter Box. After the Twelve Foot Well, where Milo?s mother had taken part in a real-life rescue in 2009, we turned right for the surface, but as we passed the turning for the Oxbows I felt a pang of conscience. Let me elaborate ? I know you love it when I elaborate, dear reader.

For the last four years I have had an uneasy relationship with the Oxbows. At first, in 2007 and 2008, I was fine with them, able to negotiate them in either direction without a second thought, but more recently it has all been a bit traumatic, especially in the direction from the Wet Way to Kenny?s Dig. As I am sure you have guessed, there has never actually been any real risk of me getting stuck there: it has all been in the mind. My pang of conscience on this trip arose from the knowledge that Milo would miss out on doing the Oxbows because of my inability to conquer my baseless fears, so I plucked up my courage, called him back, and we went into the Oxbows together, me first. About half way through, despite my best efforts, I got the jitters so I squeezed my arse into the crevice on the left while Milo slid over my knees and went all the way through. Once he had got there, with his encouragement, I followed him, gingerly moving the bag of musical instruments in front of me. I noticed to my amazement that the feature in which I had feared getting stuck, a wedge-shaped linear notch in the floor of the passage, existed only in my imagination, and not in reality at all. D?oh! Milo gave me a high five when I emerged into the chamber at the end.

Having triumphed thus, there seemed little point going back through the Oxbows, so thought I would spin out the adventure by going back to the Pretty Way via Kenny?s Dig, but I missed a turning, and after what seemed ages and quite a distance along and down, and with our call-out time only a few minutes away, we ended up back in the Wet Way downstream from the Letter Box, which was fine and did indeed spin out the adventure, but put us within 90 seconds of the call-out time when we eventually reached the surface. Fortunately, I had my mobile phone with me, in the music bag, so I was able to call Rachel straight away to tell her we had surfaced, even as her hand was hovering over the big red rescue button.

So, if you fancy having a musical adventure in Swildon?s Hole, go for it! Just keep everything dry and protected, and it will all be fine. If you would like to come along with me, just get in touch via the Cheddar Caving Club, and we can fix something up: I?m planning musical trips to Goatchurch Cavern and Swildon?s Hole in the next few months, and I might even bring a Turkish drum.

Brendan H

New member
It's at the bottom of the Old Forty Foot. Stand looking up the waterfall, and then turn to your left and look at the floor: there's a little hole with a stream flowing out of it -- Roaring Thunder is up there.

Brendan H

New member
to Aubrey & Elaine: Yes: Rolling Thunder, not Roaring Thunder

To Burt: "brilliantly bonkers": I take it as a compliment.
Saturday April 21st. 2012.  Croesor - Rhosydd Through Trip
Chris Castle, Nicky Dennis, Ian Burton, Ken Passant, Judi Duber, Clive (Cave & Crag).

Croesor and Rhosydd are two ajoining underground slate quarries in North Wales, near Blanau Ffestiniog. Our first challange, on the Friday night was to find the Cave & Crag cottage which is on the hillside above Tremadog and reached by a farm track which makes the track to Rod's look like a motorway. Not really the place for a Toyota Yaris.
The next morning we were up bright and late and drove to Croesor village. It's a longish walk from there to the entrance adit of Croesor.

It started of easily enough, up an incline past a big yellow pipe, through some large chambers to the first pitch, about 10m. It was pre-rigged, the rope looked new and in good nick, so we used it not needing the ropes we were carrying (at least Ken was). Another pitch followed, an awkward take-off but OK. This used rope protectors, it's rarely ascended. After this came a long series of big chambers, many of which were flooded. A series of wooden tramway bridges had been built over them which had partially or completely collapsed. Various strutures had been engineered to cross them which provided us with much fun. There was a monkey bridge, a suspension bridge and a zip wire which Burt crossed first using a technique which encouraged the rest of us to go more slowly. We had an awkward rope traverse at one point and a bridge known as the "Bridge of Death", a hotch-potch of rails, timber baulks, a good cable and ropes. Halfway across was a support from the roof which had to be passed, but by the time we were all across the best method had been developed.

A short way ahead was the "Chamber of Horrors" (the hyperbole was a little tiresome). This crossing was by boat! A canoe or dingy was in place with a hauling system to move it back and forth. It was big enough for two which sped things up. A slight problem was that you had to abseil into it. I cocked it up, but Burt held the boat steady and we all crossed OK. We all considered, as we crossed, that we were wearing fleece suits and SRT kits, the sides are sheer and impossible to climb out of, and the water is around 50m deep.

On the other side a short prussik and we were through the connection into Rhosydd quarry. We soon came to some interesting industrial archaeology: the bottem of a haulage incline. A wagon with turntables for handling the wagons was there, with a counterweight trolley half way up. This had originally passed underneath the slate wagon. Clive knew there was no way out at the top, but we went up anyway and saw the two big braking pulleys. We spent a while exploring the headings then descended and continued to pass a number of big openings to daylight. These went into the surface workings called the Twll, but we were heading further down to an adit called number 9 adit. Once there we could see daylight half a mile ahead and we were soon out after six and a half hours underground.

This was a most interesting trip and quite tiring. We were a long time because we we looked around a lot and general flaffing at the lake crossings were time consuming. These all had good cables installed, we know not by whom and they probably wish to remain anonymous but if they read this we are all most grateful for their work.

Finally, our heartfelt thanks are due to Clive our guide.



New member
some pics to go with Chris' report above:

The first of the long abseils

the second long abseil into a chamber of immense proportions - it defied belief how the roof was held up!

Clive at the bottom of the zipline

The ladder bridge

the "bridge of death" - this one made us all go a bit quiet as a plunge into the waters below would have meant an almost certain death. The walls were sheer, and the water very deep. Not an attractive proposition with a rope bag and full SRT kit on!

the boat crossing - we had brought a dinghy but this lot was in situ!-

Impressive winding machinery using a counterweight truck to lower mined rock to the railway below:

At the exit (Rosydd mine)

A brilliant trip which has all the elements of an adventure playground. Huge credit to those who took the time and effort to install the fixed aids, but don't let that lull you into any sense of security - don't even think about this trip unless you're happy with SRT and although all the aids were in place, we assumed they would not be so took full kit to rig the entire trip - 4 bags worth!