Sunday 16 July 2017

Alum Pot......a Sunday trip?

After a good nights sleep we headed to Inglesport for a full breakfast to start the day and also to pick up some 60m of club rope.
I had chosen a real classic for the days play, Alum Pot.
Kay wasn't over keen on doing any longer pitches and so we headed in with two rather full kit bags each plus my camera.
Unsure if it was the couple of pints (I'm such a light weight!!!) or just a bit of dehydration but I was feeling quite rough for this one. I'd forgotten to take my sunglasses off and so could hide my heavy lids behind them on the walk across.
We entered via Long Churn. Normally lugging kit doesn't bother me but my head was thudding away and obstacles that I normally skip over were causing me bother. I didn't even try to traverse around the pots and simply sploshed my way through.
We met an adventure group at the Cheese Press and I encouraged Kay to have a go, insisting that I'd made it through with a bit of help so she'd have no bother. After 5 minutes of grunting and squirming she eventually wriggled back out and I admitted I'd never actually been through at all, but it was fun to watch her try :)
Dolly tubs was already roped so I decided to rig the alternative down to the balcony.
Here the sun rays were so impressive I completely forgot about my headache and grabbed for the camera.
After 10 minutes play we rigged down the greasy slab, across the traverse and down the bridge. The 45m was again already rigged so I continued along the traverse and rigged us down the 25m. On the way to the sump we met up with some guys from Manchester Uni and chatted for a bit before heading down to the sump to recce for a future shot of the last pitch on Diccan before we headed back out.
At the entrance we dumped the kit and headed through Upper Long Churn to exit via Dr Banisters. I grabbed the kit bags and my sunglasses and headed back to the van.

Job done all that was left was my 4 hr journey home, hampered by a brake down just in front of us as we were about get on the M6!

The Balcony View to Alum Pot
The balcony View to Alum Pot

The greasy slab
Alum pot sump area at the foot of Diccan
The Steps en route back from Upper Long Churn

Present: Mark Burkey & Kayleigh Wood

Saturday 15 July 2017

A rather wet Swinsto Pull Through Trip

With only Kay and I available for this weekend away I decided to head up to Yorkshire to introduce Kay to a couple of the Yorkshire classics.

As it was to be just the two of us we had a leisurely 9am start and arrived in Kingsdale at just before noon to a drizzle and mist in the air. We first popped in to Valley Entrance to to rig the exit pitch from Kingsdale Master Cave. I had intended to take a couple of photo's of the entrance series, but it has been a while since I was last there and I'd forgotten the larger passage wasn't until after the pitch and so tied the camera box to the rope with the intention of taking photo's at the end of the trip instead.

We returned to the van to grab the two bags of rope and SRT kits and headed up toward the entrance.....and when I say toward the entrance it was really in the vague direction as I wasn't quite sure exactly where it was!
Kay found a likely looking hole and I popped my head in to it and found a bolted pitch, but it just didn't feel quite right and was closer to the path than I recalled. After a further 5 minutes I was looking down a hole which I was almost certain was the entrance to Swinsto and so kitted up and headed in. As soon as I saw the first pitch I knew we were in the right place.
Soon we were splashing through the Swinsto long crawl to the head of the next pitch. All went as planned until Split pitch where the water was ferocious, far stronger than I'd seen it on my previous two visits. We abseiled down to the ledge where there was no respite from the deluge and struggled to pull down the rope which was being whipped and twisted and fighting against us. After ten minutes we finally won and gratefully continued our way out of the force of the waterfall and on to the next pitches. At Spout chamber again the water coming in was incredible and this time I remembered my point and click and took a bit of video. We finally made our way to the short pitch in to the connecting chamber and on to the linking crawl. I must admit as we made our way through I was wondering if the link ever sumps and was very relieved to see plenty of air space to exit.
As we headed down stream it was all we could do to keep our legs under us and as we reached the short pitch back to the valley entrance series there were waterfalls coming in from everywhere, it was truly spectacular. Where I had lowered the end of the rope on to a cobbled floor just a few hours before was now thigh deep. I grabbed the camera gear and expressed excitedly to Kay that I just had to try and get a photo.
5 minutes later the camera gear was good for nothing, but the shot had been taken and so we got out of the water and headed out.
As we changed we witnessed the Kingsdale Bore, something I had never seen happen before so we gawked at the dry riverbed filling for a bit before heading off to meet up with friends and a well deserved pint :)
A rather damp start to the day
Didn't get any drier in the cave!
Normally dry, The pitch up to Valley Entrance

The Kingsdale Bore

A rather damp trip indeed!

Present: Mark Burkey & Kayliegh Wood

Saturday 8 July 2017

There's nothing more dangerous than sunbathing! A trip in to Longwood Swallet

Jess and I had offered to help man the bars for this year's Priddy folk festival and so put out an email asking if anyone fancied a trip down mendips way on Saturday.
We had a good number of takers and were joined by Keith,  Tony, liz, Mark and Chloe. Chloe asked for a trip on to Longwood, I remembered the entrance series as being tight and as I've put on a bit of weight over the summer months put thoughts of the squeeze to the back of my mind. The gang met for the usual breakfast stop at the priddy cafĂ©, with Chloe and Mark joining a little later. Permits and keys were obtained and we headed off. Due to numbers I would head in with a group of 3 first  and the others would form a separate party. The lid lock was as awkward as usual and it took Mark's dodgey lock picking skills to coax the thing open.  With the squeeze at the forefront of my mind I dove in first to get it out of the way and found the entrance series more awkward than I remembered. Soon I was diving head first down to the letterbox and found it as snug as I'd feared. I exhaled and wriggled to find the widest part, exhaled pushed, wriggled and popped gratefully through. I was soon joined by Jess and then Tony. As Tony is a skinny whippet and could comfortably lie in the squeeze he had the honour of being my model for a quick photo before we thrutched on to the first pitch. Here I called for the ladder only to find logistics had gone our the window and both ladders had been left with the other party! I could hear the others coming down behind us and called to Keith that we'd need a bag moving forward. There were some mutterings and swearing but eventually the bag appeared and the first obstacle was rigged. Our group descended and we're soon joined by Keith,  Liz and Kay.......we had already lost Mark and Chloe who weren't 'feeling it'. As we were now 6 the group elected to stay together for the rest of the trip. We headed straight to and down Swing Pitch and first headed up stream to check out the choked passage and take a couple more photos and video before following get the crawls and cascades down stream to the sump. On our way back I popped in the inlets passage but gave up after ten minutes of samey hands and knees crawling to rejoin the others. Whilst the gang made their way back up swing pitch I grabbed another photo opportunity before joining them at the head of the pitch. We dumped the cameras at this point to do the August route out and headed through a surprisingly dry series back to the foot of the pitch in. At this point Kay and I went back to grab the camera boxes and tackle bag and regretted it most of the way back as everything caught and snagged as we heaved it back towards the entrance. Once again I wanted to get the squeeze out of the way and so shoved through a tackle bag ahead of me and then dove in to join it. I made the mistake of not finding the widest part and instead pushed on wedging myself completely, face full of tackle bag and legs flailing unable to find purchase to push. Jess had a go at pulling me back out but it was obvious there was only one way to go and so braced herself for me to push off. It took a lot more effort to get through than it had on the way in but with relief I gradually felt the constricted grip of the rock release me. The dog leg proved bloody awkward with a tackle bag ahead of me and Jess and Kay would also find the same as they exited. All that was left was to have the usual 5 minutes play trying to coax the lock before heading back to the vehicles. As Jess changed I noticed a large bruise on her side and asked what she'd done....."what I've done" she snorted, "that was you flapping your boots about trying to push off of me!" Karma would get its own back the next morning. I rolled out of the van on the hall green to the sound of church bells. Popped a towel on the grass and sun bathed and had a snooze.  10 minuted later I thought I felt someone stepping on my arm and opened my eyes to find an elderly lady just run me over as she had reverse parked! Who'd have thought of all the hobbies I have that sun bathing would be by far the most dangerous!
Tony in the letterbox squeeze
Tony and Liz at the upstream chokes
Keith and Jess at Swing Pitch
Jess sports a boot shaped bruise....ooops sorry honey!

Present: Jess, Keith, Liz, Tony, Kay, Mark Burkey & Fleetingly Chloe and Mark Burgess ;)

A Video of the Trip

Saturday 1 July 2017

Mistral Hole

Friday the 30th june.

We had all agreed to meet at either the red rose or the marston arms that would be myself, Jess, Mark, Loz, Mel, liz and Tony. Unfortunately due to events out of mine Jess’s and Mark’s hands we didn’t make the pub. But Liz, Tony, Mel and Loz all enjoyed a drink lol.

Sat  1st july.

We aimed to head of around the 10am mark which we did. And present for the trip down mistrals hole was Loz, Mel, Jess, Mark C, Liz, Tony and myself Kay. Mark B was off taking photos of some friends horses so he didn’t join us.
So of we headed with some confidence we would find the cave entrance, we headed past Lancaster Pot so was on the right track and we arrived at the cave entrance within 30 mins, I headed down first followed by the others and we headed for The Gour Hall first which we found with little difficulty im pleased to report, however on the way back a few of the members went the wrong way down a oxbow wont mention names lol.
We got back to just after the Hall Of The Ten and then headed right towards the stream way, which to get there you have to walk through a really muddy chamber and down a hole at the bottom of the chamber, which is very slippery so you have to be very careful not to travel to fast.
We all headed upstream towards the waterfalls, we had to climb up some smaller waterfalls which we all made it up fairly easy.
We made it to the chest deep water right before the waterfall but decided to not press any further as we had been told that the water should only be chest deep but it was in fact deep enough to need to swim a little bit, so defeated a little we headed back down the stream way to the muddy chamber, we headed back through dusty junction, where just after i had to pause for a second to get my bearings before proceeding down the left passage and out back to the sunlight, or rather cloudy sky lol.

After we had got back had a shower and got changed some of our group headed home. So with only four of us left to enjoy the festivities of a red rose bbq we dug in and ate and drank and was merry. Even though our call out had deserted us for a pint at the Marston arms lol.

Sunday 2nd july

Me, Mel, Jess and Mark B got up with the plan of doing a trip into Wretched Rabbit, which after the festivities of the night before none of us really fancied doing it and so we headed to Inglesport for a breakfast with the idea of doing a smaller trip.

Which unfortunately didn’t go ahead as after breakfast we all decided that we would just head home.

Trip report.
Kayleigh Woods