who: Dave G, Scott W
when: Wednesday 8th January 2014
where: GB Link to photosGB bimble and Scott visits the art gallery
First wednesday trip of the new year - I was in a state of shock when on the night before there were 6 of us. Soon
the usual new year blues set in - arriving first despite leaving late after waiting at my home for 20 minutes and enduring the Bristol traffic. There was only myself and Scott. He planted a seed of doubt about a trip down Devil's elbow after the recent flood debris had caused a partial blockage of the streamway just before it joins the gorge.
We parked over at the farm and after a chat were offered undercover changing in the barn. Also we were pleased to hear of
their alternative parking for trips after 10. Not so pleased to hear of other cavers being rude to them. As we walked over the fields a group from mendip caving group were good enough to open the gate for us - but they were so fast they lost me in the entrance series when I was faffing with my light sabre. They headed straight for the ladder dig but had already returned before we reached the ladder dig. So we did not find out whether ladder dig was flooded.
Here is our route - down the entrance to the crawl and the usual pleasant route to the gorge. After which we backtracked
to take a look at the flood debris blocking the streamway from the Devil's elbow route. After which we went down the Gorge to the bridge, crossing it and took a look at the precarious climb up to the Art Gallery (actually up is easy but down requires more concentration). After which we did the loop and Oxbow to take a look at the bottom of the ladder dig.
Here is the stream way from Devil's Elbow at its confluence with the Gorge. The flood debris has dammed the streamway slightly and formed a pool several feet deep at the bottom. The forces a wettish crawl over some welly guzzling glutinous mud.
Luckily I was warned by Scott and avoided sacrificing a welly.
Here is some of the debris next to the dam
Here is a view from the far side of the wet crawl - taken from underneath a shower bath looking back towards Scott who stayed on the dry side of the crawl.
After this little investigation we headed down the Gorge to the Bridge and crossed over to the precarious climb upto the Art gallery (actually it is the climb down that is precarious). Scott bravely ascended and took a look whilst I stayed below
having been there before.
Scott at the top
Here is Scott climbing down
Here are some formations near the start of White passage
Some stalactites as we went down the loop
And more in the loop
We followed the oxbow to the bottom of the ladder dig. The recent rains had left a water mark, but this was well short
of the top of the ladder dig - in fact just under the first bolt. However since the other cavers were not up the ladder dig I expect the ladder dig is flooded. But we do not know for sure.
Here is another view showing the chain
We climbed the waterfall, Scott took a cold shower to clean his oversuit while I shivered after a short dip in the streamway; We continued up and under the Bridge - Here is some a video of the water coming down from the Bridge
We got changed in the luxury of the barn and made it over to the Hunters with plenty of time. We joined the Cheddar table
and chatted with Andy and Pete and a couple of others? Amiable end to the evening. It was nice to be underground
pity there were only the two of us.