This week I met up with Cat, Bernie, Adrian and Katie who led the way into Waterway Swallet. I even remembered to print out the DCA Cave Monitoring Form and tucked it into my suit.
The survey indicates that the entrance is prone to flooding and as we arrived we had a brief shower. Once we walked down to the swallet it was obvious that it lies below a small stream and could flood under heavy conditions. Luckily this was not the case with us. The lid is not secure anymore but is laying on top of the entrance-still very heavy. We started to descend into this tight boulder choke of a cave.
Once we made it through the entrance series we got into the Main Chamber. The features here are noted as massive crinoid fossiliferous bedrock. We spent some time looking at the impressive crinoids here and the smooth brown rocks. Katie was pretty sure they were dragon eggs but that is not my area of expertise. Following Cat ( who likes to look at the survey again whilst sandwiched in a bedding plane, my feet inches from her head) we descended down into Toad Haul. I am quite aware each time I am in a cave with so much down pitch that inevitably I will have to climb back out. This cave was fine. None of the drops were ridiculously far and there were at least two static ropes along the way.
After the Gallery we dropped down into a long area of scaffolded dig. There were some dedicated cavers here. I believe this credit goes to Keyhole Caving and Orpheus Caving Clubs. I tried to take a photo of the warning signs but was too busy twisting my body through. At the bottom of two long hand lines and a crafty boulder climb we were at the point of heading off to find Room 101 or down to the Rising Damp Sump. We chose to head down and we did find the undisturbed mudbank containing silty-sediments that was on our survey. Yes, it is still there and still undisturbed.
I did not look at the survey at this point and for our ascent I opted for pub as it was getting late and not to take a look for Room 101. Looking at it now I wished I had ..well I guess that means another trip.
Thank you Cat for sharing your flattened ancient gummy worms with me. You can always trust a Doctor to have emergency supplies. The climb out was wonderful. Lots of bouldering and twists and turns. Then all of a sudden that warm smell of the Earth..we emerged in twilight into a delicious bed of wild garlic.