Saturday, 1 November 2014

Longwood Swallet / August Hole & We Didn't Drown Or Nuffink!

Saturday saw us having a typical start to the day......faffing and feeding..... After breakfast at Waitrose we continued on to the Wessex to collect a key for our first cave of the weekend, Longwood Swallet.

With all the faff we managed to surpass ourselves and arrived at the entrance just before midday!

As the old system of locking the lid had been difficult for most people to open, it has now been changed to make it almost impossible for all people to open!

An epic struggle ensued between Brendan and said lock. Finally Brendan was victorious and led the way ahead down the tight rifts and letterbox squeeze to rig the head of the first climb.
We were soon down this and the next climb and popped to take a look at the very aqueous August Hole route before continuing on to an exposed climb down to the Great Chamber. Here we rigged a hand line and again all were soon down and traversing around to the head of Swing Pitch.
The last time we were here we tried doing this with a hand line, turns out it is much easier and less life threatening with a ladder!
With this rigged we all made our way down through rift chamber and headed upstream to the boulder chokes before continuing downstream to the sump. Jess and I headed off down a crawl before the sump and continued on to Fanny's rift. We both thought we could probably get down through this rift, but neither of us were sure that without a hand line we would be able to get back out so re-joined the others.

On the way out the group split, with Brendan volunteering to de-rig the climb to the Great Chamber and the rest of us exiting via the tight wet crawls and squeezes of August hole. This proved to be a challenging and sporting piece of cave, especially when carrying kit!
At one point we had the choice of squeezing up through a torrent of water in to a vertical body sized rift or a nice polished dry passage. The nice dry passage choked after 20m (Of course) and we returned to the less inviting option.
After struggling up through this with kit bags and boxes catching on everything we were rewarded with a further tight rift to slot through in to a wet dog leg tube before finally emerging to re-join with Brendan and reverse the awkward entrance rift. Myself, Jess and Chloe led the way and were just beginning to worry about the other two when we heard Brendan's curses as he and Loz struggled back through the rift with a full kit bag. We finally emerged in to darkness before heading back to the Wessex for a quick shower and then finished our day with an excellent meal in Cheddar and planned our next days adventures.

Jess and Chloe make their way up the rifts

Loz climbing up to the Swing Pitch

Present: Loz Appleby, Jess Burkey, Chloe Burney, Brendan Marris & Mark Burkey

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