TRIP REPORTS - what have you been down to? > Sporting Trips in The UK

Swildon's Hole, Thursday 2nd July 2020


As TOR is after more trip reports, here's a quick one form last week:

Swildon's Hole, Thursday 2nd July 2020

I'd not been into Swildon's for ages, so as restrictions eased and it was confirmed that Swildon's was not closed (and never had been by all accounts), I settled on a Short Round trip with one of my work mates. We had agreed to meet at the Wessex at 8pm, where a ladder would be left for us from the tackle store, so we didn't have to enter the hut. I was feeling pretty knackered on the drive down, having had a few late nights with work and was wondering why I was bothering to go caving, but for some reason, when my work phone rang on the hands free at 19.45, I decided to answer it anyway. It was one of my clients to let me know we were recommended for appointment on a huge project that I'd spent the past month bidding for. This was by far the biggest job I'd ever brought in and I had been getting regular calls from the company directors (for the first time) to follow progress. I don't usually get excited about work, but I was absolutely buzzing after the call and full of energy for the trip; every ounce of lethargy had evaporated!

I met Rob shortly after 8 in the Wessex car park and shared my good news as we got changed and walked over to the cave.

The entrance was as dry as I've ever seen it and even the smelly puddle in the first crawl was completely dry, leaving me wondering if this just fills up from people's wellies as they crawl past?

Quick progress was made down to the Twenty, where I rigged the ladder and lifeline and we continued with nothing to carry. This is what I love most about Mendip caving over other regions, you can get a decent trip without dragging a heavy awkward bag of kit everywhere!

Stopped for a quick drink at the inlet below Barne's Loop to cool off and re-hydrate a bit. The next cool-off was very welcome in the wallows beyond Tratman's Temple, and we hadn't cooked up again before we arrived at the mud sump. This was surprisingly very full, despite the dry weather (presumably from the lack of recent bailing), but there was still an air space of a few inches. We pulled on our neoprene hoods as we were carrying them and popped through, now on the cool side of comfortable, though that didn't last long!

We made fairly uneventful progress as far as the Double Trouble's, the first of which only had a few inches of water in the bottom! The second was closer to the typical level. The next duck was also very low and actually made progress much more effort than usual as you had to drag yourself through instead of floating.

We were back at the stream in no time and soon back to Sump 1, where we found a comedian has placed another road sign. Having both had a good laugh, we popped through the wide open Sump 1 and headed back for surface.

Rob had forgotten to bring the beers, so we had to settle for a socially distanced water in the car park to re-hydrate after the trip, tired, but very happy to be back down one of Britain's finest caves!

The Old Ruminator:
 :beer2: :beer2: :beer2: :beer2: :beer2: :beer2: :beer2: :beer2: :beer2: :beer2: :beer2:


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