Author Topic: Return to the UK - Welsh's Green Swallet  (Read 719 times)

Offline JoshW

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Return to the UK - Welsh's Green Swallet
« on: September 16, 2018, 10:32:41 pm »
I'm gonna start this report with a summary statement. What an absolute shitehole. But good god did I need it after 9 months of easy tourist caving in Vietnam.

I arrived to the Wessex at midnight on Friday evening with a crate of lager ready to catch up with Chris Williams and Dan Kent who had been drinking for a few hours already. After setting the world to rights, we fell asleep in the common room at about 6am.

During our drunken conversation Chris had raised the decision that we would investigate Welsh's Green Swallet, a beautiful phreatic passage cave, which would keep our oversuits nice and clean as we were due to be going to Wild Wookey the following afternoon.

After reading the guide book it became apparent it was not a beautiful clean passage it was classic mendipian squalor - perfect, I couldn't be more excited. We woke up from our two our nap and packed a chunk of rope and some slings and headed off towards the cave.

Whilst wandering through the woods looking for a hole in the ground we decided we should have read the guide book better and we democratically decided that Dan should head back to the car to get my phone which had a picture of the MU page. He returned and we very easily found what could possibly be the cave.

We rigged around the tree and chucked the loose end down the first pitch. Dan decided to change the rigging around the tree and let go, losing the first of our ropes - dickhead. We rerigged with the other rope and I abbed down, leaving my "up" kit at the top of the passage, to be lowered down to me if I needed to come up or carried down in the bag if we were in the right hole.

I dropped through the hole in the floor and continued into a shitey crawl, shouting behind me that it was a goer.

I arrived at the second pitch hoping someone had bought both the first rope and my "up" kit. Chris arrived, no up kit, no rope. Dan arrived, up kit, no rope - dickhead.

So we decided to turn back and maybe come back later to investigate. It has the potential to be a nice trip for scouts that are bored of Goatchurch/swildons.

On the way out we hauled a load of rusted metal girders and corrugated iron that were clogging up the entrance.

Dan and I returned the following day, found the cave easily, didn't drop any ropes and continued down below the second pitch.

What. A. Horrible. Place.

I was in heaven; thick gloopy liquid shite, no chance of standing or even stooping, and near enough nothing to look at.

We got to a fork in the path near the end and I went left whilst Dan went right. I got to a nice aven and was glad to be standing. Dan got to scaffolding and shit himself so followed me. We headed back to the junction and I started to go down near the scaff - before shitting myself, deciding it didn't go and starting to head out. We took a look at another aven before heading back out the pitches.

We were absolutely filthy, and so was the kit - perfect return to the UK.

Once we returned to the Wessex, Les advised that if we'd kept going through the scaffolded dig looking section we would have seen the selenite crystals we had hoped to see - dickheads.

We will need to return to a) find the crystals b) test out rigging on the second pitch for taking scouts c) do some further conservation cleaning, as it has a lot of old shite in there.

If anyone is still actively digging in that squalorific shitehole and has anything they'd want left in place, please let me know, otherwise I will look at clearing out digging buckets as well as rusted old shite scaff (loose in the entrance).

Offline mikem

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Re: Return to the UK - Welsh's Green Swallet
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2018, 12:46:13 am »
There is generally a reason some trips aren't done on a regular basis! Article & survey in Belfry Bulletin:
https://bec-cave.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1126:belfry-bulletin-no-495-february-1998&catid=68&showall=&limitstart=9&Itemid=508&lang=en

Mike
« Last Edit: September 17, 2018, 12:59:51 am by mikem »

Offline mrodoc

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Re: Return to the UK - Welsh's Green Swallet
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2018, 08:48:34 am »
I think you can get the same experience by going to Charmouth and wallowing in a mud flow on the beach (Welsh's Green is in Jurassic limestone and all the caves I have visited in this sort of rock containi grey sticky mud eg Portland and Applecross).

Offline estelle

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Re: Return to the UK - Welsh's Green Swallet
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2018, 06:49:35 pm »
I do recall that surveying trip in Trevor's article linked above! Someone recently said they were either planning on digging or were digging it - can't remember who though, conversation was had in the Hunters though. Will ask around and PM you if i recall or find out.
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Offline mikekushy

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Re: Return to the UK - Welsh's Green Swallet
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2018, 08:47:35 pm »
Did a trial dig in there once...gave up  ;D
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Offline JoshW

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Re: Return to the UK - Welsh's Green Swallet
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2018, 10:50:56 pm »
I do recall that surveying trip in Trevor's article linked above! Someone recently said they were either planning on digging or were digging it - can't remember who though, conversation was had in the Hunters though. Will ask around and PM you if i recall or find out.

Someone contacted the diggers and said no more digging to be done, so will look to do as much tidying as I can whilst down there (If you hear to the contrary let me know asap), fair old crawl to get buckets out etc so will enlist the help of some young people in return for introducing them to a mendip classic.

Is there anyone looking to give a second home to battered digging equipment, rusty scaff and rusty iron girders?

I think you can get the same experience by going to Charmouth and wallowing in a mud flow on the beach (Welsh's Green is in Jurassic limestone and all the caves I have visited in this sort of rock containi grey sticky mud eg Portland and Applecross).


Definitely right about the grey sticky claggy mud. In fact my oversuit and SRT kit are still coated in the stuff!

Offline mikem

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Re: Return to the UK - Welsh's Green Swallet
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2018, 06:02:29 am »
Is there anyone looking to give a second home to battered digging equipment, rusty scaff and rusty iron girders?

My guess is it's the property of the BEC...

Offline JoshW

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Re: Return to the UK - Welsh's Green Swallet
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2018, 08:38:45 pm »
Is there anyone looking to give a second home to battered digging equipment, rusty scaff and rusty iron girders?

My guess is it's the property of the BEC...

I'll repost on here when I'm planning on getting down there next so that they can either arrange pickup - alternatively if anyone from BEC is reading this and is happy to say what to do with it (not inclined to be loading too much of said shite in the back of my always clean (!) car.

My concern is that leaving shite at the top of a hole inspires idiots to throw said shite back down the hole - undoing mine and others good work.

Offline estelle

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Re: Return to the UK - Welsh's Green Swallet
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2018, 11:13:29 pm »
spoken to a couple of people tonight and don't think any dig plans were going any further on this in the end... (wonder why... Trevor's comment was he remembers that surveying trip too and that using the compass and clino in the grey mud was so bad he swallowed a lot of muddy water and what exited the other end wasn't normal coloured...!)
If it's anything like the other digs we've cleared out, probably nothing useful or serviceable - possibly the odd rusty crowbar, but probably the rest will just want heading to the tip. When we did clear ups in other caves, we had some clean bags or trugs to stick the detritus in and then bagged and disposed of at tip or in our rubbish bins. The BEC definitely don't want it back!
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