Carlswark Cavern (Dynamite Series) - 08/09/2008

Written by RobEavis.

Report by Jon Pemberton
Cavers: Jon Pemberton (EPC), James Wood (EPC)

Another night of fun for James and myself was on the cards and after our failed attempt to reach picnic passage last time we decided to have another go at Porth Crawl. On the previous trip we were also joined by Sammy Pemberton (EPC) but shortly after calling “Shotgun” once James had gone through Porth Crawl Sam got stuck and panicked resulting in me unwilling to carry on.

Anyway back to the story…

After quickly kitting up we slung a ladder down Flower Pot and gained quick ‘easy’ access into the Dynamite series dropping into Falls Chamber. Plodding along we reached the first flat out which seemed tighter than usual or maybe our hearts weren’t set on fun-times crawling. At the end of the crawl we climbed 3m down into prospect chamber and dived head first into the second flat out. James went first having already accomplished the “horrible” crawl so after a climb over the blind shaft the helmet came off and through he went as I shortly followed. Basically Porth Crawl explained; you pop through a small (one arm forward, one at your side) hole Big enough to turn 90% and take your helmet of. Now you have to go completely on one side best approached facing the right hand wall and just push your way through! With no hand or foot holes to assist. When reaching the end with sense of accomplishment the helmets went back on and we started the tight climb up the rift towards clog passage. I would honestly consider this to be more awkward than Porth Crawl (steep and tight!) at the top is a crawl leading on which sharply turn right. A left turn leads shortly to a spoil filled tube. Right follows on to mine development along a prominent vein with loads of blast marks coming in from every direction. A short climb leads up to a boulder choke with roots running through which surely must be close to surface. Straight on leads to a few side passages one a very tight rift leading to a small chamber where water can be heard trickling away although it was way too tight for James or myself to dare look!! We eventually reached the final aven which we weren’t expecting at all with at least four very large pieces of digging equipment just left sitting there. We then dropped down into Buckley’s dig and the start of Picnic passage flat out muddy crawling until we reached a large cross rift that we could stand up in (Straw Inlet) James decided to go for a look so after a short break to catch our breath. When returning back, James said, “It’s too tight and I can’t be arsed to be honest!” So we hastily decided to retreat rather than use up the rest of our energy flat out crawling to the end of the dig knowing that we’d have to come back the same way! The exit was eventful where we had a few situations of our usual laid back approach to caving where we normally sit in random places and talk about random rubbish, this time it was in Porth Crawl my face touching his boots and James deciding to throw his helmet down the hole at the end of Porth Crawl!

Overall very worthwhile trip to see a different side of Carlswalk. If anyone plans to go in the near future give James & myself a shout and we’d be more than happy to go again just to reach the end of the dig.