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Online Logbook 2014

From MaxF
Thursday 2nd January 2014

Mangle Hole, Lionel's, East Twin Swallet, Read's Cavern  with Pete Hall​

With a trip planned in the evening to Mangle Hole, Pete Hall and myself decided to visit a few more caves during the day which we were not familiar with. First on the agenda was Lionel's Hole, I had visited before but around 2 years ago and we did the mini version of the round trip in there whilst Pete hadn't been in the cave.

I vaguely remembered where we should be heading once we were down the entrance section but it didn't take long before we resorted to looking at every obvious turning for the 'way on'. There was the sound of running water in most parts of the cave and after a bit of looking around we found a little climb down to a small section of streamway.

If this was the route to the rest of the stream way today was not the day to attempt it as the water was filling up much of the stream passage. After climbing back out of this little pot continued searching around more boulders/ chambers and found another route down to the stream way, again it didn't look like much progress could be made along if this was to be followed today. We again climbed out of this area and decided we should head back the way we came in, about a minute later we had lost the way we had come in so began searching for parts of the cave we recognized.

After a bit of searching we started to recognize areas and Pete had his Lionel's Epithany (i'm still waiting for mine). He traced a route back his way and i traced my route another way to the long narrow rift chamber. Along the way I found another climb down with the loud noise of water emanating from it so quickly climbed down to see what was down there. This was the 3rd bit of stream way we had found and again seemed impassible in today's conditions.

Instead of heading out the way we had come in 'we' felt confident we could close the loop of the mini round trip and head back to the entrance straight from the chamber above our 3rd visit to the stream way. My Lionel's epithany still hadn't arrive at this point so I have to give full credit to Pete for getting us out of the cave.

We left the cave after about 2 hours happy with what we had achieved and vowed to go back soon to see more of this fun maze.

East Twin Swallet was next on the list and as it was on the way back to the cars (mostly) we popped in for a quick visit. The amount of water pooling around the entrance was impressive, as was the first section of the cave climbing down amongst the maelstrom of white water.

The engineering works in this cave are seriously impressive, we were both in awe of the dam building and spoil transport systems in place. We climbed over various dams to the flooded dig at the end, the over head track visibly dispearing into the murk of the sump pool.

Having noted a passage on the way down we climbed back up to it and entered the Spar pot connection, some crawling and wriggling saw us at the point where a rift disapears down and to the right and a climb over some mud continues up into a narrow rift straight ahead (visible as a junction in the new MU survey). I stopped here as I was getting quite hungry at this point, Pete very keenly took his helmet off and pushed on in the rift for a bit further.

We were soon tucking into some hard earned lunch at the Burrington Inn pouring over a copy of Mendip Underground to see where we had been and what we had missed.

After our failed attempt at finding Read's Cavern a few weekends earlier we thought we better have another go. We had gone wrong in thinking Reads was the same side of the fence as the rest of the caves on the top of Burrington. Due to the amount of rain in the last few days there was no missing the stream and the entrance to Reads, a lively torrent was washing into the cave.

We climbed down the wet way and admired the size of the entrance chamber before swinging around to the right and finding the route down through some boulders. The rocks soon became very sharp and we adopted a very slow cautious approach to avoid damaging our oversuits. We were soon down the pitch and wriggling through the wind tunnel which was carrying a small stream. Meeting up with the main torrent of water again I followed it down a passage until it sumped in a little chamber. Quite wet by this point we decided to head out and get a cup of tea before the evening trip to Mangle Hole.

Mangle Hole

We met Sean & Steph at the Ski centre cafe, Steph sensibly left us to and after a bit more caving chat we headed back down to the car park and met PJ.

I very reluctantly put on wet gear (for the 2nd time of the day) and got ready to go back underground. None of us had visited the cave before and i think we all had the same impression of what to expect....

We had to spread out on the hillside to find the entrance as it was dark by this point. I was elected to rig the ropes through the cave, all of us opting for SRT over ladders.

I wriggled my way through the entrance rift which was full of horrible forest mud/ leafy stuff. I soon found myself on the rock bridge concious that the rope had been rubbing horribly the whole way through the entrance. At this point i was sure i had missed some bolts and the only one i could see was a single bolt along a traverse out over the next pitch/ slope.

Deciding that was the way I was going to head I traversed out to the single bolt, rope still rubbing horribly above me all the way up to the entrance. I rebelayed to this bolt and backed it up with a natural thread to the right of the bolt which seemed better than nothing as if this bolt failed the large amount of slack needed in the rope to reach this point would mean a massive fall for whoever happened to on it at the time.

I carried on down the slope to the next single bolt and rebelayed again concious of the not enough slack vs too much slack argument. One making passing the belay easy, the other meaning a large fall in the event of the single bolt failing.

After landing on the slope down to the next pitch i saw 2 bolts and thought a Y hang at last ! Traversing out to these bolts on the side of the 'Mangle Block' i rigged the last section and headed down to the muddy areas which make up the bottom of the section of the cave.

A small stream was flowing in the direction of the final chamber of the cave and we had a good look around the various muddy boulders in the area. Pj found the climb up which leads to the Aldermaston squeeze, it was quite full of water and mud and had a stream running into it...No one could be temped through today !

We started to exit the cave, Pete valiantly derigging and carrying 85 m of rope back through the entrance rift.
From Chris Castle
Sat 4th. Jan 2014       
Ogof Ffynnon Ddu 2

Chris Castle, Nicky Dennis, Max Fisher, Brendan Hanley,Trish Denning-Kendall, Steve White.
After a rendezvous at Asda, Merthyr Tydfil we went to the almost-deserted SWCC HQ at Penwyllt for a key and entered the cave at about 11.15. The plan was to make our way to Timo's Table and Bhowani Junction but naturally that didn't happen.

To start we had a look at Big Chamber, came out and blundered straight into White Arch Series which I'd done before, though naturally it wasn't my fault.

Once on the right path we took the usual route to Salubrious Passage and headed upstream, but after a while it was decided we were going too slowly and there would not be enough time for the OFD virgins to see the sights so we returned and visited the Trident and Judge, going on a bit, left up Swamp Creek where there is some more fine stal. Then up Selenite Tunnel where I suggested we took the Edward's Shortcut route as some people wanted a bit more of a challenge. This contains an exposed traverse and, near the end, a difficult climb, which Nicky and Max managed and I nearly did, but fell off,grabbing the rope I'd intended not to use which slowed me down and prevented any damage except to my dignity.
Back at the Brickyard it was decided that was enough for one day and we headed out, not before I slipped again, my fall luckily being broken by Trish who gave a girly shriek, not at all like her.

We didn't go far but had a good look around and Max took lots of photos. About 4.5 hours.



New member
Burrington bimble, 9/1/14

Me & Max

first off - Pierre's pot.
A fine little cave which I have'nt been in for yonks. We both looked at the squeeze to the lower levels, but Max, who is slimmer than I, declined, and then so did I. So we set off on a thorough exploration of the upper levels - and wow - there's actually loads more than we realised, with lots of little climbs and traverses into phreatic and fault passages. We were in there about 2 hours! Care was taken past lots of roosting furries.

Then on to East Twin Swallet, scene of a rescue incident for me many years ago - to exorcise some demons. Brilliant! it looks like a department of B&Q down there with so much building materiel, but nevertheless, if you need inspiration for what CAN be done in a dig, visit this cave. Monorails, ampitheatres of breeze blocks, water chutes, dams, scaffolding ladders - completley bonkers and I loved it.

Time was marching on but we went upstream to Dreadnought holes to see where the water might be going - alas, they had silted up. But a 20' length of 6" pipe, with an hour of fun dam building would direct the water into the holes and do the digging for you.
Now, where did I put that pipe......
Tynings Barrow Swallet

Chris C., Nicky Dennis, Burt, Max, Judi

The rigging of the Entrance Pitches left something to be desired. The first was OK, off the scaffold pipe, but I thought there were  some reasonable bolts for the second but I must have dreamed it. Just one old Spit which we had to use as Plan B, to join the ladders together as we always used to do, wouldn't work as they wouldn't join. Most of us abseiled and after some flaff we headed down. We didn't go to Dragon Chamber on this occasion but went straight on to the end. At Pyramid Pot we tied a rope to ab, and round about here some of us started to be a bit breathless and a couple had headaches. It wasn't too bad so we pressed on to the sump, a nostalgic visit for me as I used to dig there with the BEC in the early 80s.

The CO2 seemed worse, and I felt quite rough for a while, feeling very uncoordinated at Pyramid Pot and had to be given a leg up, most annoying as I used to be able to free climb it easily when I were a lad.

Once up Shit Hot we felt better. The girls had gone on ahead but we all met up at the Entrance Pitches and fumbled our way out.

Goatchurch Cavern!

Chris Castle, Nicky Dennis

A jolly for five members of Cheddar Caves' staff to the end of the Drainpipe.
A good time was had by all but I don't think we'll get any recruits from them!


cap n chris

Well-known member
It's not possible to get that far into the Goatchurch Master System and back in under a day. I think you're fibbing.


New member
Cap'n Chris said:
It's not possible to get that far into the Goatchurch Master System and back in under a day. I think you're fibbing.

Not according to the documentary I saw no.
Chris, you forget my superhuman capabilities. I got them all round in a few minutes, really it was nothing Superman couldn't have done.
When you have a moment I'll show you around Goatchurch, you'll like it.
Sunday 26th January 2014
Rod's Pot to Bath Swallet (sort of).
Chris Castle, Nicky Dennis, Andy and Rachel Sparrow, Trish Denning-Kendall, Ken Passant.

A foray into Bath convinced most people to go in via Rod's which we duly did. Nothing special, it was a bit wet and cold, and Shower Pot didn't look completely impassible so some insisted on climbing it, or at least the first, easiest bit. Andy managed to get to the top, but was faced with a nasty duck on the way out. The rest of us returned up Purple Passage and up Purple Pot, which was much easier to climb than I remembered. On the way out Ken managed to take a wrong turning and I was a bit surprised to see him emerging behind us, but no harm done.
I don't know, maybe I'm getting old but crawling flat out in cold water has lost some of its charm.


Brendan H

New member
Just a teeny correction-ette to the write-up of the trip to Tynings Barrow Swallet on 17th January 2014: I was there, too, puffing and panting with the rest of you (except Burt, who wasn't puffing or panting at all, and seemed sublimely indifferent to the whole excess CO2 vibe).

P8 (Jackpot)
20th August 2014​

Chris Castle, Nicky Dennis
A quick wet trip on what was supposed to be a climbing holiday to Stanage Edge. A few route-finding problems!

Brendan. Mea Culpa. How could I leave you out?



Active member
chriscastle46 said:
P8 (Jackpot)
20th August 2014​

Chris Castle, Nicky Dennis
A quick wet trip on what was supposed to be a climbing holiday to Stanage Edge. A few route-finding problems!

Brendan. Mea Culpa. How could I leave you out?


Route finding problems in P8?? its only two streamways with one linking passage! (unless a lot more has been discovered recently!) ;)

Monday 15th September 2014​

Chris Castle, Nicky Dennis, Ken Passant, Ken's nephew Simon and his two mates Brendan (with trousers) and Tony.

I don't know how we do it but once again we wandered into White Arch Series. I suppose it's because you have to bear left at the end of the entrance passage while the survey makes it look as if you go straight on. Anyway, once we'd sorted that out we took the trade route down the Corkscrew to  Salubrious Passage, and made a diversion to The Trident and Judge for Ken to take photos. On to The Crossroads and the climb down to Maypole Inlet, which we all did pretty well. Off upstream intending to get to Top Waterfall but we met deep water and certain people wimped out. I don't remember deep water here and I didn't have the survey for this bit. I can't see that we went wrong, I'm sure someone will tell us. A high-level route petered out.

Back to Maypole and decided not to go downstream as we were so slow, so out the way we came in.

Not a massive trip but Ken took lots of photos and all enjoyed themselves.

We had thought about doing the through trip but none of us knew the route properly. Just as well we didn't do it considering the cock-up we made of the way we did know! 
Tuesday 14th September 2014​
Little Neath River Cave

Same people as yesterday.

As soon as we got in the cave we were met with a strong smell of diesel. We pressed on very slowly as Ken took many photos and the stench got to us a bit, so much that when we got a bit beyond Bouncing Boulder Hall we turned back.
I, for one, felt a bit sick coming out along the Zig-Zags and so did Nicky, but we recovered in the fresh air.

It was really bad and I've posted it on UKCaving and informed the Cambrian CC Conservation Officer



New member
Sump 4 Swildons

Ken P, Rachel S, Burt

This should really be Ken's writeup but he doesn't do the forum regularly, so it's me.

A good but relatively uneventful trip to visit Swildons 3 and the top of sump 4, plus the bottom of sump 3 via the round trip ways and blue pencil passage.

I've done this trip a couple of times before and only had a minor struggle with the right angle bend in blue pencil, but this time got in a bit of a pickle, resulting in a good deal of grunting and thrutching. On the way back it seemed easy - why so?
I did have 2 attempts at one of the climbs in BP passage but put this down to lack of energy and a bit dizzy from standing up after a lot of crawling.

Ken had a new photography light which provided some amusement by him getting us to pose in the streamway, which was flowing with great gusto. Hopefully he will post the pictures up here.

Thanks to Ken & Rach for a good trip and saving me from doing lots of jobs at home!

tony from suffolk

Well-known member
Blue Pencil's a funny old passage. First time we did it (in 1967 or thereabouts) it had such a fearsome reputation that we went down it very carefully & when we popped out into Swildon's four we decided we didn't understand what all the fuss was about. So next time we went down it, we just tried rushing through. And it was a real pain! I seemed to get stuck everywhere.


Active member
tony from suffolk said:
Blue Pencil's a funny old passage. First time we did it (in 1967 or thereabouts) it had such a fearsome reputation that we went down it very carefully & when we popped out into Swildon's four we decided we didn't understand what all the fuss was about. So next time we went down it, we just tried rushing through. And it was a real pain! I seemed to get stuck everywhere.

Aah, well, good days, bad days, we all know how it is (y) :LOL: :LOL:

Must admit only done Blue Pencil twice, both times on the 'Butcombes Bounce', so cannot recall much, but no problems. :cry:
Ham Mine, Forest of Dean

Wed 19th November 2014​

Chris Castle, Nicky Dennis, John Crowsley (MCG), Sarah Crowsley, members of the RFDCC - farsunds of 'em!

About 18 people entered the mine and we were in a group of 10. We crawled, walked and climbed all over the place but being led and not having a survey I don't have a clue where we went, perhaps a RFDCC member will add to the post and tell us.
Wherever we went we had a good time and a good laugh!