Thursday 16 May 2013

Cocktails at Manor Farm Swallet

For a little midweek play we headed down to the Mendips on Thursday, meeting Chloe in Barrington Coombe.
We arrived slightly before Chloe, and headed off to find the entrances to Aveline’s Hole, Goatchurch Cavern, Sidcot Swallet and Pierre’s pot. Although Jess can often not find her way in, around or out of a cave, it turns out she is a demon at finding cave entrances from the descriptions and made short work of locating all in the area!
Chloe arrived and took a walk up the valley to see the entrances for herself. Going through our options we eventually decided on Manor Farm Swallet as Jess had been there before and highly enjoyed the trip.
I went on ahead whilst the girls changed and dropped a rope down the main shaft, Jess tramped over the field and exclaimed she didn’t think it was the entrance to which I just gave a smile….back to form honey ;)
We were soon down the pitch and dropped a ladder to assist at September rift. Very quickly we were admiring the formations in curtain chamber. Climbing the calcite we dropped through the slot in the floor to avoid the 20ft free climb and  popped through the cascade to follow the passage down some impressive fluted pots and on to ‘Albert’s eye’, a fun little squeeze through in to still water. 
Jess at Albert's Eye

Shortly we arrived at a junction with one direction leading to tall Aven and an intimidating looking climb up to ‘Fleet Street’ which we decided to leave for another day.  Back on route we were soon at the impressive ‘Beehive’ formation and then to John Ham’s corner. From here the rift tighten a little and we were soon squeezing through pools of water swimming with shrimp (plenty for a nice cocktail!) and other nasties till we arrived at Florence’s Bathtub and the end of the passage.

Jess admiring the Curtain Formation in Curtain Chamber
Chloe at the Beehive Formation
On the return we climbed up in to the rift poking around in search of ‘NHasa Gallery’ but couldn’t really make sense of the description, so plodded back out taking some pictures on the way. The return was uneventful till September rift where Chloe decided she wasn’t going to let go of a particular rung of the ladder which she had become quite attached to and had to be coaxed up the rift by Jess whilst I wedged in to be stepped on…again!
Chloe in September Rift

Heading back to Burrington Coombe  Jess found the entrances to Fox Holes, East Twin Swallet and Lionel’s  hole before parking up at Barrington Inn to walk up to find our final two on the hit list, Rod’s pot and Read’s Cavern.
We finished the day with a drink and a cake back at the Inn before heading back.
Present: Chloe Burney, Jessica Harding and Mark Burkey

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