Sunday 27 January 2013

Swildons Hole, Priddy, Mendip.

When:  27 January 2013 3.30 pm to 7.00 pm.
Where: Swildons Hole, Sump one.
Who:    Darren T, Rich T, Steve, Steve’s Son and Max Fisher.

 ChCC trip to sump 1.

 Rich and I arrived at the usual meeting place outside the barn on Priddy Green. Next arrived Max and then Steve and his son.
We all changed quickly and walked across the fields to the entrance of Swildons Hole. On route to the entrance we met two other club members Chris and Nikky who were on their way back to the barn they looked very wet and very cold, there had been a lot of rain recently and this had thawed the previous week’s snow. The stream going into the entrance looked more like a river.
Rich was our leader for the trip as he wanted to learn the route to the twenty foot pitch.
We opted for the long dry way so we would not get wet too early. It was good to crawl around the stalls etc. We followed the stream way and the water was in full flow going down the pitch into the bottom of the old forty.
We soon reached the top of the twenty pitch and the waterfall was roaring. Steve sorted the kit out and did all the life-lining. I was the third to descend down the ladder. I was a bit apprehensive as this was the first time on a ladder since breaking my foot but my inexpensive safety wellies did their job. The water was very cold and quite powerful.
Once Steve had descended the pitch and sorted out the kit we regrouped and headed for the twin pots. This was my second time here. I had negotiated the pots easily first time but with the water rushing down the stream way it was going to be a different story this time and I was forced to let go and landed in the second pot. Under the water I went. As the story goes I have now been baptized a son of Mendip.
We headed into Barnes Loop and had a quick rest before carrying on down, we also popped up into Tratmans Temple quickly to point out the route into St Pauls and the other bits of the cave.
It wasn't long before we arrived at a very foamy sump 1, Rich and Max did the sump and soon returned, I was getting cold and tired by now so didn’t do it. Next time I will do it.
By now we were all cold and fatigue was setting in so we started the climb back to the twenty.
On the way back we opted to go through a tight rift which I struggled with and had to retreat and climb up the old washing pot. Back at the twenty we soon realised that it was going to be a struggle to climb the ladder as we were tired and the water was now coming down the waterfall quite heavily. It was a team effort to get everyone back to the top.
On we went heading for the exit. The waterfall at the bottom of the old forty turned out to be a bit of a mission and in the end Steve managed to climb up and put a hand line in. We continued via the short dry way and exited to the cold dark Mendip hills with thunder and lightning in the distance.
Once back at the changing barn we hurriedly changed in time for the club meeting.
This was my first proper caving trip after breaking my foot.
 All in all it was a cracking trip.


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