Thursday 7 April 2016

Doing things the Wet Way in Swildons

It’s a little known fact that Wells Museum has an excellent Caving Exhibition, and each summer a photographic competition of Mendip caves is held. Mark and Brendan have both been placed highly in previous years, so Mark and I headed down to the Mendips to see if he could get any decent shots of Swildons Hole for this year’s competition.

Within feet of the entrance Mark had me climbing up and down through the water to position flashguns  (“Well there’s no point in both of us getting wet!”)  until one of the guns took on some water and blew up.  With some of the older flashguns also refusing to work, Mark’s original plan of taking photos of me lying in Sump 1 was abandoned, (Yay!) and we decided to try for a pitch shot on The Twenty.

We followed our noses along the dry high-level passages until we came to the stream way. When we got to the pitch we were surprised to find a group of young military personnel practicing their SRT, so while we waited for them to finish Mark sussed out a vantage point for the camera.

Whilst rigging the ladder pitch Mark tossed me the end of a rope to hold, and called something out, but I couldn’t make out what he said. To my surprise, he then pulled the rope out of my hands and threw the whole thing down the pitch! Apparently he’d asked me to attach my end to the P bolt… Good job we had another rope with us, and once we had retrieved the first one we were ready to start the photoshoot.

While Mark hung around with the camera I was Up the ladder, Down the ladder, Along the passage, Up the rift, Under the water, Up the ladder, Down the ladder.. . Smile! My worries about getting cold as I was already wet through were completely unfounded.

With time moving on and the mill to get back to, we derigged and made our way back out of Swildons along the Wet Way.

Swildons Hole Entrance Series

Swildons 20ft pitch

Present: Jessica Burkey, Mark Burkey

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