Waterfall Swallet - Angus Sawyer

Wednesday, 1 April, 2009

Present: Glyn Roberts, Angus Sawyer, John Sharp, Wayne Sheldon

 April 1st is probably not the best day to plan a trip, would anyone take it seriously? Well four fools did and assembled at the appointed place. Things did not get off to a good start when Glyn announced he had forgotten his oversuit. Not to be deterred he decided a fluorescent site jacket would make a fetching ensemble with his furry suit, at least we would not miss him.

The entrance is in a quite impressive shake hole with a waterfall, exposed rock faces and trees. Quite nice really. Unlike the entrance itself. It started with a glutinous mud crawl quickly degenerating to a flat out crawl over mud smeared rock. Then it got unpleasant. A short drop followed into a foul smelling shallow pool, the start of Win Wards Crawl. This formed a short duck in another flat out crawl, best approached on ones back for obvious reasons. Glyn made a lot of fuss getting through this, complaining about the cold and trashing about in the water (he had a good excuse of no oversuit). I was feeling quite alarmed by now, as I lay in the entrance crawl, and my enthusiasm was not increased when Wayne attempted to follow. More splashing followed, and then swearing as the water found its way down Wayne's neck. After a first refusal from Wayne, I had a look, and quickly went through, a PVC oversuit with hood making things quite manageable, only the first foot having restrictive air space. Wayne was now joined by John who didn't seemed enthused either. Lacking a lifeline for the ladders we had taken, we persuaded John to push a bag through. The sight of me a short distance along the duck encouraged him and after promises of massive caverns beyond (OK we lied) he came through leaving Wayne behind. Wayne now developed a unquenchable desire to inspect a dig at the other end of the shakehole and sadly informed us that he would not be joining us.

An uneventful ladder descent, belayed from boulders and lifelined from boulders, in the large rift reached a boulder floor, actually the entire cave appears to be boulders. The cave is essentially a rift along a vein with infill of large boulders and for variety slumped in shale and as a result route finding is mainly negotiating a complex vertical choke. After several false starts we found the stream, but a lack of enthusiasm and the call of the Miner's Arms meant we didn't reach the bottom (Wayne had the guide book description). However it was enjoyable in a strange way that caving can be. The return to the surface was uneventful and we made the pub on time, something we didn't manage last time. Yes we did find Wayne, nice and warm in his car where he had used the time to come up with another excuse for not braving the duck, but that would be too much information.