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Digging and Diving News.

Eastwater Cavern.

Phil Rowsell and Alison Moody (WCC) have been working on enlarging the promising rift passage at the end of Phil's Soho extensions (see last BB).  Their plan is to push along for a few more metres in order to be able to see to assess just how much further enlargement the passage will require - and thus how feasible pushing this draughting and extremely promising passage is.  Worryingly, Phil also reports that the main stream is now flowing down through Boulder Chamber and thus further undermining the entrance.  It could well be time to open one of the known alternative entrances to provide a safer route into the cave.  No work has taken place in Morton's Pot so far this summer due to the wet weather and more crucially the lack of manpower.  However, with less people needed now to dig Hunters Lodge Inn Sink, the Wednesday Night Diggers plan to tidy up the dig and attempt to avoid any great infilling of the shaft - some two metres have already been lost.

Hunter's Lodge Inn Sink.

At the end of June Tony Jarratt and his cast of thousands finally broke out of the small blasted crawl and down into open passage.  Although there is clearly large passage beneath the loose boulders of this small chamber attempts to dig a safe route down have so far failed.  However, the initially unpromising mud-filled passage at the far end then went in mid-July to reveal the Happy Hour Highway - a much older well decorated passage more reminiscent of Llangattock than Mendip. Digging continues at the end of this in a choke of boulders and well-compacted sand infill and in the boulders at the breakthrough (See Tony's article for a full account).

St. Cuthbert's Swallet.

During the June working weekend Greg Brock, Bea Goford and others had a clean up trip.  Given its success in removing a large amount of detritus it is now planned to make this a part of future Hut clean up sessions.

Swildon's Hole.

Phil Rowsell, Alison Moody and helpers have been attacking the Mud Sump with two new methods - expanding foam and a little bit of thought.  Rather than build endless holding dams, they have constructed a single (surprisingly low) dam from foam and clay that holds back the inlet trickling in from South East Inlets and drains all the water pumped from the Mud Sump back down the low crawl toward the First Mud Sump.  After a number of bailing and pumping sessions and a new system of pipes the Mud Sump was finally bailed dry in early July.  Work now continues to maintain access to the passages beyond.  So no longer any excuses to avoid the through trip from Priddy Green Sink (see the full story in the Autumn BB).

At the far end of the cave Greg Brock and Andy Stewart have teamed up with Phil Short (WCC) in Phil's attempt to finally pass Sump Twelve.  Good luck to all those involved - the Sump has been banged and despite a postponement due to heavy rain they are now busy clearing infill in what sound horrible conditions.

Wigmore Swallet.

Tim Chapman and Andy Stewart have been diving in the Downstream Sumps and have so far reached Sump Seven.  Tim reports good diving conditions and following his return from France the pair plan to push on to check out the end.