With rain forecast Friday, Saturday and Sunday we were unsure if the Swildon's round trip was the best idea, but upon arriving at the green I was pretty sure the numerous minibuses and cars meant that Swildon's would probably be fine after all.
We begun gathering our kit when Mel let out an expletive as she realised she had neglected to pack her wellies!
As Mel raced off to see if she could grab some from Wells, Chloe, Jess and Myself retreated from the rain to enjoy some of Chloe's excellent home baked almond slices.
An hour later Mel arrived back with a pair of boots she had managed to borrow from Mr Sparrow at caveclimb.
Jess led us in via the dry route to the head of the 20ft pot where a ladder was already in place. There were hordes of other parties on their way out and it took some time before and we were making our way over Barne's Loop and up at Tratman's Temple.
We met a couple of cavers on our way who told us the ducks were quite high and they had needed to spend some time bailing to get through.
After a slight navigational blip which saw me going needlessly through a very muddy duck to a dig face, we were back en route and at the greasy chimney before we knew it where everyone shot up the obstacle on first attempt!
Chloe recognised the junction on to the rift over Blue Pencil Passage, which I wanted to check I could find my way through before we continued on to the first of the double troubles.
I could see the girls weren't looking too eager as they peered at the frigid duck which had only a few inches of air space. Chloe and Jess began to take a look at the syphon system, but as I had only done these last year I managed to convince them there was plenty of space to navigate through.
I went first to demonstrate. The water was indeed as cold as it looked and was well over your ears as you tilted your head back around the various obstacles before emerging the other side.
Jess followed but in her rush decided to water board herself as she rushed through.
After promising Mel and Chloe that as long as they took their time and didn't rush the same fate wouldn't become them, they both came through without any problems. After this the rest of the troubles had far more airspace and posed no issues.
We were soon at the unnamed squeeze which I had run Mel through the previous week. Now I'm not sure if it is all the almond slices or the wetsuit fabric under my Meander suit, but half way through I found my suit just would not slide any further. I wasn't exactly stuck as there was plenty of breathing room, but I wasn't going anywhere either and had to get Chloe and Jess to tug on my wellies and pull me back out! Deciding that it was something to do with the wetsuit and Meander I pulled the top of my over suit down to my waist and squeezed through to take a couple of pic's from the other side before everyone joined me for the last of the troubles.
Mel recognised the drop down to The Landing and we were soon diving through Sump 1 to make our way out.
Between the 3 girls they had managed to navigate the whole round trip which meant I had plenty of time to play with my camera :)
All that was left was to gobble up a few more almond slices and for Mel to return her wellies!
|Mel on the ladder pitch|
|Mel traversing the 2nd of the double pots|
|Chloe in Barnes' Loop|
|Chloe coming through the squeeze|
|Chloe slides down at The Landing|
Present: Chloe Burney, Mel Bell, Jess Burkey & Mark Burkey