Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Black Hole's and Bear Pits

Mendips Meet, 17-18 Nov

Team: Bill Buxton, Celestine Crabbe, Andy Freem, Antonia Freem, Duncan Hornby, Stephen Johnson, George Linnane, Sanita Lustika, Phill Thomas, Claire Vivian, Clive Westlake. With Miri and Duncan Simey in support.

This was the last official club away meet of the year and with over 10 members taking part, it was well-attended. It also meant we needed to run caving trips side-by-side as there were too many people for one group. Friday saw the obligatory visit to the Hunters for a quick pint and catch-up.


The team getting ready to enter Swildon's Hole
George showing his love of caving ladders

Saturday saw all members pass through Sump 1 in Swildons. This was particularly exciting for Sanita and Stephen as it was the first time they had come across a free-divable sump. Both passed through with varying degrees of enjoyment.

Sanita and Stephen shortly before Sump 1

From there one party moved on to explore the Black Hole Series and the other went to Sump 2 and an explore of many side passages including Barne's Loop on the return.

The way up to Black Hole Series involved an acrobatic manoeuvre up a climb and then a bold step across, you guessed it, a black hole.

Antonia showing how the climb should be done.
Clive and George at the Black Hole.

Then very soon we were at the Black Hole itself. Clive went first across this and made it look easy. The rest of us were then ably belayed across from both sides by both Clive and Phill. It was an intimidating step, but everyone felt safe on the rope.

The bold step.
We reconvened on the far side of the Black Hole and set about some exploring. There were some lovely formations there. A trip is very much recommended to this area of Swildon's!

Antonia in a well decorated section.

Phill admiring the formations.
As ever, Sump 1 seemed pretty chilly on the way back out. But we made fast progress and exited before sunset. It had been a great energetic trip for all involved.

Trip time: 5 hours.

The team emerging successfully.
It was off to the Queen Vic for food that evening where we caught up with Miri and Duncan.

Enjoying a meal at the Vic.


Once again two different trips evolved today. Trip 1 was a visit to Sandford Levy and trip 2 was a Bath Swallet-Rod's Pot through trip.

The Sandford Levy team.
We explored the dig in Bath Swallet before heading off on the through-trip. The entrance abseil is a nice and friendly one. Apparently it's free-climbable, but I wouldn't fancy doing that. The rest of the trip is fun, sporty in places and muddy. Only downside is it is fairly short - but ideal for a Sunday, especially when you add in extra bits and pieces, such as the Bear Pit.

Duncan climbing out of the Bear Pit in Rod's Pot.
Trip time (Bath to Rod's Pot): 3 hours.


  1. Nice write up Claire, sorry for not having any photos of our explore of Swildons, it was too misty for me to take a sensible photo, needed Mark and his camera on the trip.. :)

  2. Fair play looked amazing and a very good write up Claire.

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