Tuesday, 7 February 2017

You have to work for these formations!

Trip date: 3rd-5th February 2017

Team: Steve Hepple, Duncan Hornby & Claire Vivian

The team arrived Friday evening, we stayed at the Shepton. An obligatory pint (or two) was consumed at the Hunters.

A curtain in Upper Flood Swallet


We drove over to the MCG hut and met up with Peter Bennett who was to be our guide into Upper Flood Swallet. I had been forewarned that this was not a trip for beginners due to the arduous nature of the trip and extensive formations. Over a cup of tea Peter declared we just might be crazy enough to do it…

Having changed we headed for the cave which was a short walk from the hut. The entrance is a gated concrete tube leading into stooping passage. It was not long before we started to see many straws and stals.

We eventually arrived at the “lavatory trap” which is about a 2 metre crawl in chest deep water. This was comparatively pleasant compared to what followed, a flat out crawl in a low lying section of streamway named the canals, now that was grim!

We then hit the choke, this did not have the polished feel of say cwm dwr choke in OFD. It was much longer with several squeezes that were not desperate but did require you to attack from specific angles. If you can get through that squeeze on the short round trip in Swildons then you should be able to do the Upper flood choke.

Eventually we popped out into significantly large passage, the landing, and were immediately rewarded with many formations. With occasional crawls and dunking in streamways we passed through passages adorned with many formations, often delicate and stunning white.

We arrived at a section of the system known as Neverland with such spectacular formations that we had to remove our oversuits and scrub ourselves spotless before we could continue. At the bitter end, a section where the unusual “pork pie” formations were, we even had to remove our boots to avoid damaging the crystal floor.

Claire admiring a pure white curtain
Upper flood was packed full of formations including delicate crystal pools, long straws and fantastic curtains all just inches away.

A crystal pool

Claire and Steve admiring yet another spectacular curtain

The limit of our trip, Steve, Claire, Duncan. Photo taken by Peter.

With Neverland behind us, back in our oversuits we visited a current dig in West passage, a grotty and some what dangerous dig up into a muddy boulder choke.

We then headed out and eventually exited the cave around 5:30pm, we had been under ground about 6 hours.

An amazing cave with amazing formations. One bit of advice is if you do visit bring decent knee pads because the crawling is going to destroy you knees!

The evening was spent at the Queen Vic pub eating and drinking cider. Steve had never been to the BEC so on the way back we popped over and needless to say a party was in full swing!


Claire and I visited GB cave with the specific intention of visiting the great chamber. After bailing out the ladder dig duck we failed to find the way on through the boulder choke. We needed Colin Hoare who had previously found it! So no photos and damn good reason to go back! Grrr….

1 comment:

  1. Well worth the efforts. To see such stunning formations. Well done all