Author Topic: Fairy Cave Quarry - Anyone done the Hillier's to Hillwithy Connection?  (Read 646 times)

Offline Jester

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Hi All

Myself and another from the MNRC (yes some of us occasionally venture underground) have been trying to go through the connection between Hillier's and Hillwithy cave. We've had a look from both sides, but not pushed the Hillwithy side as far as we could have gone due to time constrictions on the evening. On the Hillier's side we were stopped by a thoroughly silted crawl, which judging from the survey in MU5 is shortly before the west sump. The silt here appeared not to have been disturbed for some time and was up to a few inches off the roof. Next step is to go in from Hillwithy side to try to see how far is possible from that side

Has anyone on here done the connection or know when it was last possible?

Cheers


Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: Fairy Cave Quarry - Anyone done the Hillier's to Hillwithy Connection?
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2020, 10:33:22 am »
Through a long association at FCQ I have always managed to avoid this through trip. I do remember writing some 50 years ago that upstream Hilliers would not go anywhere but the nearby valley floor. This before the quarry breached Withyhill in 1972. I was certainly wrong about that. I have wondered since that if we dug upstream to find what is now Hillwithy would that have saved the cave from partial destruction? If you get there let us have a trip report as I have been meaning to look at Norton Chamber.

Offline Duncan Price

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Re: Fairy Cave Quarry - Anyone done the Hillier's to Hillwithy Connection?
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2020, 02:03:20 pm »
The through trip between the caves has never been done.  Before Hillier's Cave was blocked with quarry sludge the West Sump (upstream Hillier's) was passed during drought to reach Norton Chamber.  When Hillwithy Chamber was explored the boulder choke at the end was passed and Norton Chamber reached after passing another duck cum sump.  West Sump was then found to be full of sludge.  A worthy digging project would be to dig upstream from Hilliers.  The boulder choke in Hillwithy has always looked particularly uninviting.  More details in the Cereberus publication on the Caves of Fairy Cave Quarry.

Offline Jester

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Re: Fairy Cave Quarry - Anyone done the Hillier's to Hillwithy Connection?
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2020, 08:19:46 am »
Thanks both for the information.

Next step will be to see if we can get into Norton Chamber from the Hillwithy side. I'll drop an update here if we manage it.

Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: Fairy Cave Quarry - Anyone done the Hillier's to Hillwithy Connection?
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2020, 10:13:14 am »
Norton Chamber does lie a bit to the west of the main route. Its almost under the valley floor which probably postdates the cave.

This a compilation survey of work done pre 1976. ( my working survey ). I have wondered if Norton Chamber represents an inlet. What is that little unsurveyed branch doing?  There is a change of lithology somewhere in Hillwithy from Clifton Down Limestone to Hotwells. I have wondered if that accounts for the change in passage dimension as most of the large chambers at FCQ are in Clifton Down. In the 70's there were good exposures of eroded lithostrotion fossil in Hillwithy. Not sure if they remain now. We did film a little bit of Hillwithy for the FCQ film.

P8140008 by Nicholas Chipchase, on Flickr.


The Film.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=COhVKWafUEo



Little work has been done at FCQ in recent years though I do feel that there is more to be found there. We old folk have been pottering around for the last year finding nearly 100m of " new " cave though we have not a clue what it represents. Its good manners to keep the management committee up to date with any developments. Any digging in locked caves has to have MC approval and that may well be the case with Hilliers, Fairy etc. Any problems or advice get back to me here via pm or Facebook. Oh please get some photos of Norton Chamber etc as I have never seen any.

Thanks, Nick Chipchase TOR.

Offline mrodoc

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Re: Fairy Cave Quarry - Anyone done the Hillier's to Hillwithy Connection?
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2020, 04:40:40 pm »
I remember the day I pushed downstream Hillwithy. I was student then and turned up with a group from Barts for a weekend at the cottage. Somebody told us the sump at the end had drained so I decided to take a look. It was horrible, like crawling along a tube of cattle slurry with a bow wave of the stuff plopping into a pit beyond me. I remember getting as far as a chamber and a choke where in the absence of anybody else following I departed never to return. If somebody digs it out it will be an excellent way of turning yourself into a chocolate caver!

 

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