The last time I was in Swildons was a good few years back and to say that things have changed a bit is an understatement. For a start, when I went to pay the trespass fee at Manor Farm the back door was no longer there so I had to knock on the front door. When I asked where the money box was, I was told that they have moved it to the barn conversions next to where you get changed - BARN CONVERSIONS !! so that was it fee paid time to get changed and go caving ha ha.
Not only have they converted the barns, but something has also converted the entrance to Swildons. OK, the little round tower is still there and so is the manhole opening, but once you drop inside that's when you notice the hanging death and carefully pick your way through until you spot somewhere you recognise. The object of this trip was to find Tratman's Temple and have a feel around the beginning of the short round trip. So off we went with part of a survey in one hand and a copy of the directions in the other. Well we found what we thought was the climb up to Tratman's Temple, but unbeknown to us it wasn't, and only realised when we noticed we were back in the main stream heading for sump 1. Not to worry, Mark and Jess had a play in the sump and then we headed back to have another go at finding Tratman's Temple. We eventually did find it and progress was made rather quickly, surprisingly being we had met another group who had got lost up in Tratman's. Mind you, we had to study the directions rather carefully, and before we new it we were at the greasy chimney, and that was as far as the directions went. I had left the rest of the directions in the car never expecting to get as far as we had, so not wanting to get totally lost and spend hours going around in circles we headed back out and off to the pub for some lunch. We can finish the rest off another day - it's not going anywhere.
Present ... Andy Grimes, Mell Wakeman, Mark Burkey and Jess Harding