Intermediate cavers expedition success
On Sunday October 7th a further band of very intrepid Intermediate level cavers descended further into Swildons Hole on Priddy with the objective of proceeding some 400feet below surface and some 500 metres in distance, towards Sump 1. Adam Pett, Archie Kevill, Patrick Blandshard, Ben Warburton, George Hatchard, Calum O’Neill and James Innes, together with Mr Nicholson and legendary caver Andy Sparrow, took some 1hr 40 minutes to make their way down through the Wet Way towards Swildons 20ft waterfall. Water levels were pleasingly high which meant in turn that oxygen levels were good. However a surface diesel spillage some 3 years ago made the air noticeably foul in Barnes Loop. The Showerbath was in full flow and was the first taste of more or less complete immersion, followed by the Double Pots. History has it that anyone falling in this gets baptised as a ‘son of Mendip’ and Archie Kevill did just this in the second pot. By the time the team, on the 119th Milton Abbey caving expedition, reached the Sump conversation dried up completely and suddenly as the gloom revealed the solid rock face under which cavers had to go for the final phase towards Vicarage Passage. James Innes, George Hatchard, Ben Warburton and Patrick Blanshard. Mr Nicholson recounted his four passages on a previous trip solely to take photographs only to discover the camera did not like water! The journey back took in a fiendish rift climb up and the group nobly supported Calum O’Neill who clearly found this tough and unyielding. After 4 hrs 15 minutes, after passing right under Priddy Church a VERY wet and tired group emerged.