Online logbook 2013


New member
Daz, Rich and me

Unnamed mystery mine, Wiltshire

First non commercial trip of the year for me. We met in a pub car park, drove for a bit up the hill and parked in a darkened road. Entered the mine in total darkness and silence by crawling under a bit of wrinkly tin, then down a load of steps. There was no mabhinery left in this mine, just lots of very well preserved miner's  graffiti, and some excellent stone carvings. It was quite an extensive place which took us about 2 hours to get round - then we did it again looking for some of the group (there were 7 in total!) who had got left behind doing some mapping. Met a freindly local on the way out.

Needless to say, I can't reveal the name or whereabouts of this place, but in due course, it will become more accessible. At that time I may post some of the fab photos I took.
If you bribe me with  :beer: though I may tell you in person..... :ang:


New member
20th Jan

Box mines
Me, Andy & Rachel S, Nikki, Brendan, Sean

Went in the back door via the snowy woods and, as a couple of the group had not seen the cathederal, went straight there. Then headed North through some of the minor passages to Cliftworks passage, and along the tunnel to the door in at the far North - the one in someone's backyard. Back along and into the North of the mine, to crane country. Very impressive "displays" of tools, winching trucks and probablly the best preserved crane in the mine, complete with tongs and in-situ block of stone.

It was about 3 years since my last visit, and I was upset by the amount of modern graffiti that has spoilt the mine - especially in some places over the top of older 1890-1920's stuff. Why do these dopey chavs insist on doing this? I'd prefer more difficult access to the mine than see more spraypainted crap.

Thankfully, the more remote places of the mine have much less graffiti than the popular routes, and mercifully the tools / machinery are still well preserved. We then headed South on B11 passage until one of us wanted to go to the naughty stuff off the map. Up until now I had been diligently keeping my thumb on the map as we walked in an attempt to improve my underground navigation, and apart from one or two places I was quite chuffed with my accuracy. It's a very difficult place to nav in though, and I lost my place on the map though chatting and not keeping up with the progress. So after getting to a couple of blocked off doors with humming fans behind, and speculating about Bond style villians and luscious girls in bikinis lurking behind, we went back on the mapped areas.

Followed the B11 route all the way back through the central part of the mine, and it was getting to Pub o'clock, so we headed out, and Sean into a hail of snowballs.

Beer and pickled eggs in the quarrymans finished off a top trip.


New member
Sunday 27th January 2013

Swildons Hole

Rich, Darren, Steve, Steve's Son and Myself

The trip began with the usual meeting and greeting outside the barn on Priddy Green. We were all changed fairly quickly and walking across the muddy fields to the entrance, stopping to talk to a few cavers heading back  the water had apparently been near the metal pipe level but had dropped since. There had been a lot of snow melt this weekend and rain was forecast so it was set to be an exciting trip ! (If you like water)

We planned to get to sump 1 and back depending on how wet it was going to be...

Rich took the lead and led us down through the long dry way, then followed the stream to the twenty foot pitch where a couple of other ladders were waiting. Steve got our stuff out and did all the life-lining, before long I was descending the ladder. The others quickly followed and we got chatting to some other cavers whilst we waiting for Steve to climb down.

We headed into Barnes Loop and had a quick rest before carrying on down, we also popped up into Tratmans Temple quickly to point out the route into St Pauls and the other bits of the cave.

It wasn't long before we arrived at a very foamy sump 1, there weren't many takers but I thought sod it and went for it, quickly followed by Rich !
We had a quick chat the other side of the sump before heading back through and starting the climb out of the cave.

We were soon back on the right side of the numerous water obstacles and elected to take the short dry way out.

We surfaced to darkness, the odd flash of lightning and claps of thunder in the distance.

I think we were underground for about 3 hours ???

Sent from my BlackBerry 9900 using Tapatalk
Saturday 23rd February 2013.
Hunter's Hole

Chris Castle, Ken Passant, Nicky Dennis

Straight down the direct route, rigged by me, where we spent more time than intended or expected looking at this short cave. We didn't go down the dig at the end because as far as I know it doesn't go anywhere and was very muddy. Up-cave we spent a long time in the boulders, where there is more of interest than I realised. I doubt if many people spend much time there, but it is well worth a look.

Ken de-rigged while I waited outside, having been desperate for a leak, and nearly froze to death.


Tuesday 12th March 2013. Hunters Hole

Nicky Dennis, Chris Castle

Not a great trip to record but as no-one else is bothering to enter their trips I'll put it in.

This was a recce for Nicky who has a couple of professional trips coming up. I've not been here for several years, when I came on a club trip with that silly girl Claire who got hysterical over spiders. Nicky doesn't like spiders but armed herself with a stick to fight them off and was OK.

I'd been wondering if I'd be able to pass the Tie Press after recent adventures in squeezes but it was easy. In the Boulder Chamber we had a look at the short side passages including a decorated rift I'd never looked at before. Then to the Water Chamber and the Lobster Pot. Nicky tied a rope then descended to the end of the cave. She didn't want me to go down as there were only the two of us so I waited. She had a struggle getting out, being short. I've never led a novice group down here, I don't think it's suitable for some of the children we get nowadays. A ladder would be a great help.

Les W

Active member
graham said:

Are you sure you and Nicky were actually in Hunter's Hole?  :unsure:
Did you not hear Graham, Hunters Hole has been connected to Burrinton...  :tease:
How did that happen? It obviously wasn't my fault, couldn't have been. I think we were in Sidcot Swallet, at least I didn't notice any pitches but I may not have been concentrating.


New member
Location: Cuckoo Cleeves, Priddy

Present: Me, Darren, Tricia, Rachel and Sean

Map Reading: Joint

Equipment: 10m Ladder, Sling

We met at The Hunters for 7pm and proceeded east 1km looking for a lay by opposite some farm buildings. We soon found the lay by and parked up and changed for the cave. The entrance shaft  was relatively easy to find. The ladder was soon rigged and we all climbed down. We decided not to bother rigging a lifeline as it was too much faff. Once at the bottom we climbed down into a chamber and then proceeded straight on. We soon came to a stop as there was a pitch with no obvious way down (we didn't remember reading this in the guidebook). Sean proceeded to climb down and it was realised we would not be climbing down that way. I back tracked a little bit up the passage and climbed down a gap in the rock and then shuffled down a rift and soon joined Sean. The others quickly followed and we were all re united. We continued to head downwards around and between some awkward rocks and rifts and soon reached flat roof chamber where we stopped for a quick breather. We then followed the rift down and reached another chamber where it was full with bags of spoil from and dig that went down and round to the left. Straight ahead there was a crawl that looked very tight. We decided that was the way to the lake. We back tracked up the rift as the air was a little suspect here. Sean and I climbed up for a quick look in the bedding chamber but decided not to proceed as the air was not great. We were back up the cave in no time and were soon climbing up the ladder to the surface. We exited the cave at 9:15pm.


New member
Location: Waterwheel Swallet, Charterhouse
Present: Me, Darren, Tricia, Rachel, Nicky and Chris

We met at Charterhouse centre at 7pm and followed Rach to the cave entrance. We were changed and making our way to the cave entrance in no time. Once opened we climbed the steel rungs down the shaft into the cave. A right turn and a climb down later and we had reached some steps followed them down and then back up again and we found ourselves with a climb followed by a more challenging climb. Once the climb had been negotiated we stopped and admired the stals which were a mix of black and white the black being lead apparently. On we went and were soon at the first of the dams. Everyone climbed over the dam and I was last to do so but before I did I pulled the bung to make the next part of the trip a little more interesting. We followed the path round and climbed down into the first of the tunnels Darren was first followed by Tricia. It was then that the fun started Darren proceeded to crawl through the flooded tunnel to which I heard him back track saying "is it meant to be that deep, its covering my nose and mouth?" Tricia then replied "Let me take a look" short silence and a bit of splashing later and she said "I don't remember it being that deep". We had made the mistake of pulling the bung and then sitting down and talking for five minutes. Rachel quickly back tracked and re inserted the bung and the water levels slowly returned to normal. We were then joined by Chris and Nicky and we all made our way through the flooded tunnels to the top of the pitch leading to the lake. After some inventive rigging from Nicky, Chris life lined us down the ladder. Rach was first and I followed. I descended the ladder with ease and climbed down just before entering the lake and disconnected the line. I then climbed down into the lake and for some reason proceeded to swim like a child with a hybrid technique which consisted of doggy paddle and breast stroke! Once I had reached the dam Nicky, Rachel and I squeezed through the rift onto the false floor which then shuts down. We made our way back through the rift and were back to the lake in no time. Rach climbed the ladder followed by Darren and then it was Nicky's turn I watched as she traversed along the wall and onto the ladder without even touching the water (she had clearly done this before). I tried to copy but unsuccessfully and managed to fall in. We were soon all de rigged and swimming back through the tunnels and were at the entrance pitch. Where Darren and Nicky carried out a rescue with some frogs. We exited the cave at around 21:30. A good trip had by all (I think!)


New member
Otter Hole, 8/6/13

& guide Andy Clark

A much awaited trip to this fantastic cave. After the customary faff for breakfast on the run and then in the car park, we met Andy and set off down the long overgrown trek to the cave, all the time thinking of the tide times in the back of our minds.

Passing through the horrendous mud was like a nasty flashback to digging in Rod?s pot, but soon we arrived at the sump to find it was in the process of draining, issuing a series of gulps, gargles and belches ? or was that Ken?s breakfast choice??? We waited a while and watched it drain, but soon I grew impatient and sod it I thought, let?s go. So with about 4? left to drain before it became a duck, I went for it. All was going smoothly, I could see underwater, but I hadn?t counted on my floating BDH camera case which jammed in the narrow opening. Calmly and heroically I released it with minimum fuss. The others, however, waited for ages for the sump to drain. Meanwhile I got colder so went off for an explore and a sneaky chocolate munch.
Eventually they came through and we carried on. More mud and scrambling befell us so we felt like novices, but there is nowhere in this cave to simply stand and walk except for a couple of 20m ish sections. Lots of wriggling and grunting is the order of the otter.

Soon we were feeling hungry so a spot of lunch was eaten, and Ken, revealing his domestic OCD side, produced a toothbrush and floss and proceeded to polish his pearly whites ;). The other gentlemen and lady meanwhile enjoyed a pipe of tobacco and a recital on the harpsichord. Not.

Behold! In front of us were magnificent formations and so it was until the hall of the 30 where Nikki and I took great care and pain not to muddy the stal while taking photos. Andy, Ken and Cookie went on to the camp for a look about.

On the return trip many pics were taken with lots of vary techniques ? camera mounted flash, remote human slave flash and helmet lighting only ? varying but usually good results.

The return trip was equally arduous but seemingly shorter, until we passed the sump (empty this time) and I wriggled into a vadose trench. Lubricated by the mud, I slipped to the bottom of it, compressing my ribs and wrenching my shoulder. For a moment I thought I had cracked a rib, but thankfully not. It bloody hurt though! Eventually we saw daylight and unearthed our stashes of choccy and Vimto. Back up the very steep path to a welcome bath ? Unbeleivable!

Big thanks to Andy Clark, without whom, we would have had the added faff of navigation. Photos on the way, mate.

Sorry about the small size of the photos, it seems regardless of what I do with Imageshack the pics always end up this tiny.
Wed 17th July 2013.    Sludge Pit Hole
Chris Castle, Nicky Dennis, Trish Denning-Kendall, Sean Tidey, Andy Sparrow, Darren and Rich Thompson.

This was my first ever Mendip caving trip, from 1979 or 1980; I was taken down by a BEC member called Bucket Tilbury, with, I think, Bassett Wilton-Jones.  I'd never been back since until today.
The rather posh entrance soon led to the pitch provided with P-hangers. Once at the bottom Nicky investigated a hole and got covered in mud before we'd really started.
Andy had dug out his caving log from the 1970s and with that and the survey, we found our way around OK. We ignored the main way on, taking a turn to the left into a crawl which Andy had called Keyhole Rift. This eventually came out into a complex area with a passage Andy had described in his log as "very severe" but couldn't remember why. Most people took this way, not me as I have trouble with tight awkward passages nowadays. Those who did it pronounced it not severe at all.
We took a parallel passage called Tributary Passage to look at Skeleton Passage, another one I sat out along with Darren, before retracing our steps to the Maze area. There is a distinct phreatic passage here which may reward digging; it looks like a pre-existing passage.
We got into the Main Rift and went to the sump at the end of the cave, complete with crap from old attempts to dig here. Back to a junction to Aragonite Rift, where I was told there was a tight squeeze so again Darren and I wimped out, taking the main drag called Fault Passage back to the ladder. The survey does show other ways into Aragonite Rift, I'll have another look soon.
I think that's all correct, no doubt Andy will correct any errors when he gets back.
This a splendid cave, not very long but complex and sporting (i.e. tight) in places and potential to find more, not just at the sump. We all recommend this trip to the rest of the club.



New member
Not really a caving trip, but useful anyway -

Abseil rescue training, 7/10/13 Burrington
Me, Nikki D, Chris C, Steve W

we did:
  • releasable abseil rigging
    Lowering a casualty
    2:1 hauling up
    Protected Z rig hauling up
    Go to casualty and ab off

Then it got dark so we went home.
Gough?s Wednesday 25th September 13
Rich, Max, Sean, Steph , Trisha, Nicky, Chris, Andy, Rach & me.

We all finally congregated outside Gough?s having beaten road blocks & accidents. And were soon let into the concrete maze to view the cheese and handmade formations. As we were such a large group we split up with most of the girls going with Nicky for a reminiscent poke round all the nooks and crannies at the back of the cave. 

The rest of us peeled off left round the back of the water feature down into the flat out crawl past old dig sites that Andy knew well and thruched up to the top of the rift into Lloyds Hall.  Chris had rigged a rope that dropped you right over the lake.  I followed Andy down the rift being surprised that it did not feel as intimidation as I thought it might be.  I got down to the ?chock? stone fine and then down the ladder to the platform in time to see Max manoeuvre deftly across the lake to dry land. (Well a slippy mud bank.)

The water in fact was very low, at least 2 meters below normal levels and had exposed a tunnel going off on the other side of the lake. The intrepid Max didn?t take a lot of persuading to traverse round the side to investigate and encouraged generously by Andy, almost did a full immersion (don?t worry he likes getting wet, was Andy?s reply to my concern) to see what was at the end of the tunnel. (It just disappeared round the bend with the roof eventually lowering into the water.)

By the time he had got back I had followed Darren & Andy across the slippy, slimy plank to investigate the exposed mud banks and get close to the clear waters, peering into the depths to see what I could see.  Not a lot.  It?s too deep but is a lovely colour, almost inviting.  :doubt:

The girl?s party hadn?t arrived yet and they would have had problems fitting onto the small platform so we went back up and met them at the top.  At which point Andy lead us off to the back of the cave as my ?I should be able to find my way round at least part of the way? wasn?t really convincing enough. So we had a jolly run round (It is great fun) and were out & changed before the girls got back.  Sean having even made a brew. (Getting changed higher up in the car park it is very odd hearing a kettle whistling in an empty gorge next to the Owl?s hooting.) We were all out at 10:15 too late for the pub.

A good evening thanks to Chris.  ;)
A bit of a strange thing happened on this trip. The rope access supervisor had lent me 60m of semi-static rope to try, Beal I think, but it's still in the cave. I rigged it a week before the trip and on the night it was very difficult, or impossible for the lighter people, to abseil, as it had swollen. I suppose it isn't designed for caving.



New member
Nylon is hygroscopic - it absorbs water. Maybe the rope you had wasn't treated with a water repellant at manufacture, or the time it was in the cave simply led to a load of water being absorbed.

I can't explain, though, why when we soak a new rope to shrink it it stays shrunk when dried. I guess someone will explain.