Carlswark Cavern (Dynamite Series) - 08/10/2008

Written by RobEavis.

Report by Jules Barrett
Cavers: Jules Barrett (EPC), Jon Pemberton (EPC), Sam Pemberton (EPC)

The Pembertons' enthusiasm for Carlswark Cavern and the Dynamite Series in particular made me think that I was missing out on something important so an evening trip to Stoney Dale was planned. Unfortunately the Flower Pot entrance which used to offer a quick way into the Dynamite Series has recently suffered 'deterioration' so we went in the Gin Entrance and soon found ourselves at the entrance to the Dynamite Series. The Dynamite Series proper is guarded by a short squeeze under a low arch with water in the bottom. Bailing stuff is lying around but although water levels were reasonably high (water was flowing down Dynamite Passage) we didn't need it on this occasion. A bit of crawling and squeezing leads through Midnight Chamber and into Prospect Chamber with two ways on: a nice climb up the right-hand wall leads to Fall Chamber and eventually the bottom of Flower Pot whilst a low passage in the floor is the start of Porth Crawl. Sam and Jon had previously decided that helmets off works best in here and who was I to argue on this occasion. Shuffling helmets along in front worked fine and in fact Porth Crawl's not too bad - looks more difficult than it is in some ways and it's very short. Once through that a short thrutch/climb up a rift leads to Clog Passage with all it's shotholes in the walls. All very interesting! Through here and then a bit more squeezing and crawling leads to the end of the Dynamite Series (Final Aven).

Jon had been here before and was keen to have a proper look at Buckley's dig/Picnic Passage etc. We had Martin Milner's sketch survey of the passage beyond the end of the Dynamite Series and ticked things off as we went. Buckley's dig starts at a hole under one of the walls in Final Aven at the end of the Dynamite Series followed by flat out crawling in mud. We passed Straw Inlet and continued in Picnic Passage past a number of small cross-rifts and chambers to arrive at a small chamber containing loose fill with a hole going up through it into a small aven above. Conscious that we still wanted to make the detour to have a look at the bottom of Flower Pot we turned around at this point and made our way back through Buckley's Dig, Clog Passage and Porth Crawl. In Prospect Chamber we climbed up and more crawling leads into a rift. A shuffle under a hanging boulder at the end and climb up through a hole in the roof led into Fall Chamber. This hanging boulder and the choke above that leads into Fall Chamber needs a lot of care. Fall Chamber is a nice place and certainly one of my favourite bits of Carlswark. From here a nice climb and another crawl leads into a final small chamber with a crawl leading off. At the end of this crawl is the bottom of the blue barrels of the Flower Pot entrance. It's obvious that nobody's going to be exiting that way anytime soon as the top of the bottom barrels are well-squashed but plans are afoot to sort it out.

From here we climbed back down into Fall Chamber, through the Dynamite Series and out the Gin entrance.

Excllent evening trip being tight, very muddy and tricky despite not being a long way on the survey.