Sidetrack Cave – 27th March 2021

Fabian and I whizzed down the rope into the quarry on a overcast and windy morning. Fabian feeling very pleased with himself sporting two freshly made dig trays and a brand new small shovel and trowel. 

We quickly got to the entrance of the cave, stashed the SRT out of sight and prepared ourselves for the long crawl in. I led initially, dragging my bag behind me. It’s not a crawl for the feint hearted. Flat out and tight, I wriggled my way to the first bit that was wide enough to be able to look around. Fabian was struggling and as he gradually came into view I could see his trays and shovel bouncing around and catching on everything it could. So I made myself small and let Fabian go ahead so that I could free up his tools when ever they decided that fabian should have a rest. 

Before long I heard an excited whoop as fabian got to the air Bells. We are 90m or so in now and shortly the crawl turns to hands and knees which is much quicker going. We got to the sumped dig and noticed that activity had been occurring and that if you were willing to brave a duck it looked like it went on a little way. (one to exore in the future)

We headed straight to our dig and were initially a bit bummed out to see there was a small amount of water in the entrance of the passage. 

Thankfully I chose to protect the cookies with an ice cream tub so I donated it to the cause and it became a bailer. Having a proper shovel was amazing and within a short amount of time we dig down and doubled the depth of the passage.I then slid in and started pushing the face of the mud bank as fabian got to work reengineering the entrance to the tube so that you don’t have to do a yoga down dog curling moose twist or whatever pose we had to do get back out. Gradually we were making good progress. 

In a civilised manner we stopped for a coffee break and some snackage.

We then took turns to push the dig face, each time both of us pulling completely full buckets out with us. Gradually we hit the time that I needed to start to leave the cave, so I took one last look to see where we had got to.

Is…… Is that the end of the passage? I turned my light to full power and saw the end of the tube open up to what looks like a boulder choke to the side which is what I was expecting according to the survey. Suddenly I realised we couldn’t leave yet. We both worked hard and bought a few more buckets out but gradually it was getting to my definite cut off for leaving due to the call out so sadly we stashed the tools and headed on out the long ol crawl.

We decided to scope out the quarry as there were rumours you could get down to the cave without SRT. Fabian and I are good climbers and yet all we saw was certain death so we retreated to the ladder and made our way out. I’m gutted we didn’t get through into the chamber this time, but I’m super excited about the next time we go because we will be through for sure ???? 


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