Saturday 3rd September 2011

Waking up at silly O’clock in the morning we managed to enter at 8:00 led by a Royal Forest of Dean Caving Club member called Badger. Sam, Rostam,

Sully, Jonny, Badger’s friend Paul and I all shoved ourselves into the entrance series and slithered our way to the sump, getting muddier and muddier on the way. After a bit more crawling and climbing we reencountered the streamway where we cleaned off our oversuits before moving on. Just a bit more crawling and the cave began to open out and get progressively prettier until the Hall of Thirty which blew us away. There are these humungous mounds of calcite which dwarf you as you walk past them, and pristine white stalagmites dotted about like snowmen. Past that is Long Straw Chamber where some straws had fallen from the roof and embedded themselves like javelins in the mud below. Most impressive for me were the long gour pools full of delicate triangular crystals and fallen stalagtites lurking at the bottom like fish. We then reached the junction of T

unnels left and right. The right being taped off for conservation purposes, we went left, seeing sand we could tell we were near a sump and raced on with Badger to find it. On the way back we stopped for much photogaying and a little cleaning of muddy formations. Reaching the sump we found it at the same level as before. The only clue it had been closed was the fresh mess of grey sloppy estuary mud that had been deposited. At 19:00 we had all hauled ourselves out and were thoroughly satisfied to have done such a beautiful and exerting trip. There having been so much to see, it hardly seemed like an 11 hour trip at the time but we were all definitely zombified afterwards.