Author Topic: Exploring the "Dream" Cave  (Read 769 times)

Offline Wardy

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Exploring the "Dream" Cave
« on: April 15, 2020, 09:51:31 pm »
With plenty of time on my hands what better than a quick doze in the garden.

I had hardly nodded off when I spotted a previously unexplored stream sink just a short walk from on from Swinsto. Who'd have dreamt it?
The stream was a little bigger than Swinsto and the water was quite a bit warmer. Initially it looked choked, but I weighed up the largest boulder carefully and with one good shove it rolled aside and I was in.
After a short wriggle it opened up to a standing height streamway in nice smooth white rock with the water racing off and the sound of a roar in front. Fortunately unlike other dream caves the noise turned out to be the stream falling down a pitch and not a tiger about to chase me back into reality!
The water cascaded down the pitch which was rigged just to the side off two great naturals - a thread and a large spike of rock just in reach. 15m metres later and I landed on a dry ledge looking into a continuing canyon.
The canyon descended steeply with a couple of sporting 2-3 metre climbs and after 50 metres I arrived at the top of another pitch. This one was larger and I could see another stream coming in on the far side from a nice looking tube - something for another day, but for now I wanted to see where this pitch lead.
Again a selection of fine natural belays gave a hang just next to the water, then as both streams merged I spotted a great deviation giving a clear hang to the bottom - What a pitch 45 metres, not too wet and nicely fluted walls.
The water ran away into a large pool with no apparent way on. Just as I was about to accept defeat I thought I could see a small passage 5 metres up the far wall. The first attempt to reach it failed as the climb was undercut, but traversing in from the side I grabbed a large hold and could then reach the lip of the passage.
Once in position I realised it wasn't a passage, but a window opening back out into the continuing streamway below. The roar of the combined streams together with a strong draught drew me on. I rigged my last 10 metre rope as a handline and was just able to reach the floor.
The continuing canyon was now 2m wide and about 4m high with the water flowing fast.
It continued down 3 spectacular cascades that were just free climbable with care into a large well decorated chamber with two obvious ways out - a high level tube that must be nearly 10 metres in diameter with lots of formations that has a continental feel about it plus the continuing sporting looking canyon with the stream.
Being alone and with no tackle, plus not entirely certain where the tiger was (no dream needs to turn into a nightmare unnecessarily!) I decided to make a hasty exit and see if I could get a last pint.
On the trip out I spotted a couple of other possible leads, but in no time was back at the entrance and it was ten fifty.
Amazing really that in all the years of caving in the Dales I had never realised there was such a great pub within 50 metres of Swinsto entrance, that lets you in in your caving gear. Even better the landlady knew my name and was handing me a drink - imagine my surprise when I took a big gulp only to find it was a cup of tea and I was sat in the garden at home.
Once the tea was drunk I settled back for an extra 20 winks to sort the survey notes (In dreams surveying is quick, warm and only requires one person, plus the notes are all legible and all the statistics are bigger than you guessed). Turns out the cave is now 150 metres deep and 300 metres long plus wide open.
What a dream, a new cave in such a well known location and to think I ran out of tackle and there are at least 5 going leads.
Anyone fancy a snooze to explore the next part?
I can't wait to see where it ties in, maybe someone has sufficient imagination to nap a dye trace or plot the survey on snoozex.
Good luck on the next push, I am so shattered after that pushing trip I am going to have to stay awake for a while to recover.

Offline Wardy

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Re: Exploring the "Dream" Cave
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2020, 06:54:37 pm »
I could feel my eyelids becoming heavier and heavier until I felt myself climbing out of Coviddale on my way to the entrance.
Walking up I decided on the name and Winks pot it is with the first pitch the appropriately name the 40.
When I arrived at the stream sink I spotted Badlad and the digging team all sat around, then I realised that the hopelessly tight rift heading off at the other side of the depression was their dig. How I had missed it I do not know, must have been half asleep.
Their dig was continuing nicely and after 3 years and 180 trips despite having made meagre progress they were optimistic that it would provide capping opportunities for a while yet.
When I pointed out my find they were really happy for me and pleased it had gone so easily, but preferred to continue capping and so left me to get on with the second pushing trip.
The Winks 40 passed without a blink of an eye and I was soon at the top of the second pitch. Looking across at the inlet in wonder I heard the familiar sound of the team firing a cap off and was reassured to know that they weren't wasting their time as a second entrance would be a great addition.
Once in the decorated chamber I decided I would look at one lead and leave the other for another day (or possible another forum member if anyone pirates digs in their sleep these days?).
The big tunnel did indeed prove to have a continental feel and wrapped around a nice stal boss was a racer snake patiently awaiting dinner - I was chuffed to spot it as they are quite a rare sight round Coviddale.
The tube continued well decorated and I carefully walked round some shallow pools full of cave pearls and ducked under a huge curtain.
After another few hundred meters I came round a corner to meet a large choke filling the whole passage. Being alone I was uneasy and almost woke with a jolt, but settling down again I searched and just as I was about to give up there it was - a small window in the boulders looking into blackness, just big enough to get through and once again I was off.
100 metres or so further on and I reached a junction, straight on continued larger, but left ascended slightly smaller. I took the inlet and shortly popped out of an obscure little opening on the surface. The location seemed familiar, but I couldn't place it, then a farmer wandered over and introduced himself. To be honest it felt like I was talking to one of the Wurzels and then I realised I had popped out in Mendip - The dream was turning into a nightmare.
How was I going to drag a gate down Winks pot, install it on my own and negotiate a complex access agreement plus sort the permits and the keys when I was asleep. What was worse politics even seems to creep into dreams if you let it.
So I wished the farmer well and hurried back to the entrance disappearing out of sight.
Back at the junction I took the other branch and soon arrived in a huge chamber. It was definitely out of this world. Far larger than Gaping Gill and definitely bigger than the Frozen Deep, so at least the fact that I had laid one debate to rest should make up for the earlier accidental lapse into politics. I wasn't quite sure I could claim it to be he largest chamber in the world, because it could be a passage and the complexity of assessing which is the largest passage in the world is not something I can do even in my dreams.
The river cascading in from the roof made an incredible sight and then flowed out the far side of the chamber into a steeply descending passage.
This looked like it would require some tackle and river taming.
Time to call it a night and get back to Coviddale for some open eye.
Scrambling out of the entrance I was re assured to see the capping team happily labouring and before I could blurt out the extent of the discoveries I just had to listen to the minutae of all 10 caps used and a detailed description of what they thought might go on round the next corner. Content that everything was just as it should be I yawned involuntarily and woke up.
 
 

Offline Wardy

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Re: Exploring the "Dream" Cave
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2020, 07:24:38 pm »
Having woken I looked across and realised the alarm had't gone off, so drifted off to consider the trip and the finds.
What was I to do about the chamber? Was the biggest chamber now in the Dales or Mendip and with the two entrances being so far apart how could  decide.
No one would accept a shared record.
Then it came to me, Wales is just off to the side when you travel from the Dales to Mendip.
So its official - the largest chamber in England is actually in Wales - makes sense to me and saves a lot of debate.
I was tempted to name the chamber, but even having lived in Wales for nearly 20 years there was no chance of me spelling it with my eyes shut, so it was left for another night.
Off goes the alarm and reality calls

Online Duck ditch

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Re: Exploring the "Dream" Cave
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2020, 08:16:10 pm »
Thanks for the invitation for a trip down Winks.  It’s a superb trip.
On the way back and at the near end of the chamber I Noticed a large slipped block that looked out of place.  It must have fallen out of the roof but the floor was shattered.  Sure enough a squeeze behind the boulder revealed a passage just below me.  A few rocks were removed to reveal a keyhole passage. 
The drought was tremendous.  After 50 metres a hole in the left wall gave access to a wide wet bedding plane.  It soon enlarged to walking size passage.  I should say wading sized passage.  A grill of stalactites descended to water level. Underneath I could feel matching stalagmites. 
Bad use of my ‘Petzl Stop’.  I managed to break the stalactite and duck under. The drought was so strong the water was rippling. 
Soaked through I stood waist deep in a small chamber festooned with helictites. To the right a wall of stal maybe 2 metres high.  I think this could be the wall of a Gour pool.  Above this I could just make out the tops of lots of straws.  I need to find a way up the blank wall to investigate the large dark space above.  I shouted.  The echo came back in 2 second waves.

Online Duck ditch

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Re: Exploring the "Dream" Cave
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2020, 10:05:37 am »
WINKS POT.
Squirm down through boulders to the stream passage.
A 15m pitch follows dropping into a sporting streamway.
After a couple of easy cascades are descended and 50 metres of passage you reach the head of the next pitch with a unexplored tube above it.
The pitch is a fine fluted free hanging 45m pitch that can be rigged away from the roaring stream.
The stream descends further into a deep pool however an awkward climb on the left leads to a window looking down into a separate streamway.
A 10m climb (rope required) reaches the streamway from the window. 
The canyon passage continues in fine style in a 2m wide 4m high passage. 
3 significant climb able cascades can be negotiated the last drops into a large well decorated (care) chamber. 
A huge phreatic tunnel needs entering above while the stream continues at the far end of the chamber.
Tackle
1st 15m .  18m rope plus sling
2nd 45m .  50m rope sling and deviation.
3rd 10m freeclimable 12m rope essential.

Online Duck ditch

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Re: Exploring the "Dream" Cave
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2020, 01:39:44 pm »
WINKS POT 1st extension.
From the first chamber (names please Wardy).  The huge phreatic tunnel can be reached easily via a staircase next to a huge curtain.
South is unexplored but the northern tunnel continues in grand style.  The rare dales racer snake can be seen here.  Do not disturb it’s habitat. 
The tunnel is well adorned with stal. Cave pearls festoon the pools along this passage. 
A huge curtain breaks up the passage.  Ducking under a further 100m of fine phreatic tunnel ends at a boulder ruckle.
A devious route can be found through the chaos leading to a further 100m of tunnel to a junction.
Left is an ascending passage to a surprising and disappointing exit.
Straight on is the main way on. 
This passage enters probably the largest chamber in the uk if not the world. Arguably this is a passage.
Attention is drawn to the awesome inlet tumbling out of the roof and descending into a intimidating and formidable passage.

Online Duck ditch

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Re: Exploring the "Dream" Cave
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2020, 08:19:41 pm »
I woke after my exploration with a tooth missing in the front of my mouth.  Bad use of the Petzl stop it must have been. 
Phew no-one stole my going lead up Tooth inlet. 
On the next dream trip I noticed a 1 metre high stal boss high on the left.  After several attempts I managed to lasso this with one of my superb special knots that Mark had showed me how to make.
A quick yank to see if it held my weight and then I climbed up the 2 metre stal wall. It was indeed a gour.  Wow in front of me was a deep gour pool but over it was hundreds of 2m long straws, each one of them just stopping short of the dark surface of the pool.
A narrow ledge allowed me to skirt this pool without damaging any of them.  Mesmerised it took me a while to take my eyes off them and to look up the white calcite slope.  A series of 1m high stalagmites were utilised to ascend above the pool for about 10m.  Here a gap between two large columns allowed me to enter a large void.   
I stood at the side of a large phreatic tunnel.  Upstream waterfalls tumbled down gours. Downstream just the same.  I chose to teeter on the edge of the gour in front to find out the width of the passage.  50m wide gours.
Time to retreat.
Back in the Cure Inn near Swinsto cave I gulped down several celebratory bottle of Corona.

Offline Wardy

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Re: Exploring the "Dream" Cave
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2020, 10:38:14 pm »
Lost a tooth you say
On my trip I lost a leg and my lamp went out.

Oh bo***cks just replied to the four potholers thread in my dream!

Also seem to be sailing very close to the Cracking Uo thread as well.

All I need is a proposal for the BCA AGM and I'll have the full set, but maybe that is a step too far even if you have lost the plot.



Offline Badlad

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Re: Exploring the "Dream" Cave
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2020, 09:17:44 am »
What grade is this cave?  Not sure I'd be up for it.

Offline Alex

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Re: Exploring the "Dream" Cave
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2020, 09:25:01 am »
Lucky you my dreams end just as I am putting my SRT kit on. I never did explore that 70m deep mine shaft under the sportshall.
Anything I say is represents my own opinion and not that of a any club/organisation that I am a member of (unless its good of course)

Offline Badlad

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Re: Exploring the "Dream" Cave
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2020, 10:09:44 am »
Agree, I had a dream that I was digging with the usual gang in a shopping centre.  It had been at the weekend and no one was there.  I returned solo to continue on the Monday only to find the place busy and full of working abseilers in high vis, etc.  Luckily they managed to sneak me in but I can't remember what happened to the dig. 

Online Duck ditch

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Re: Exploring the "Dream" Cave
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2020, 08:27:06 pm »
Losing sense of reality now.  Instead of pushing my 50meter wide going passage Badlad persuaded me to look at his dig in the next shake hole to Wink. 
A squalid flat out crawl to a scaffolded and boarded up pitch dig.  It was really tight squeezing between the poles. At one point I could see past the planks.  There was a superb fluted shaft. I wondered why.  Eventually I couldn’t go any further due to buckets.
Underneath the buckets badlad was capping a perfectly reasonable sized passage and filling it up with rubble.
Back in the Cure Inn Wardy was trying to get a wrought Iron gate he had made through the entrance to the pot. 
Meanwhile I had tossed and turned so much that my sheets had knotted into a perfect bowline. Something I could never achieve underground.

Offline Wardy

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Re: Exploring the "Dream" Cave
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2020, 07:32:59 pm »
Oh no how dozy am I?
I completely forgot to sort the cave description, left it to someone else, then missed out the naming of most of the passages and never graded it.
As I see it the problem with a cave as arduous as Winks is that if you do not grade it carefully an inexperienced caver could easily sleepwalk into a serious situation.
So having thought carefully and in spite of the surveyed length appearing technically quite short any trip where you can enter in the Dales and come out in Mendips needs a tough grade.
We must also consider the consequences of those doing a through trip and getting caught with the wrong attitude at either end which would make rescue difficult. Also the question of which rescue team would carry out any rescue may be contentious. I would have to conclude therefore that the chances of rescue from the Mendips by CRO would be unlikely as would a Dales rescue by Mendip cave Rescue.
In short you would be on your own and the grade has to be a UK first Grade 5.5
Try a trip, have the experience and decide for yourselves.

Offline Wardy

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Re: Exploring the "Dream" Cave
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2020, 07:55:36 pm »
Hi Alex
Not quite sure where the Sports Hall is in Winks, maybe I missed it between the first and second pitches.
The fact that the natural entrance series has broken into some real mine workings is a great development.
Are you intending a trip to bottom the shaft?

 

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