On a damp July evening, running late for a 4pm start, I finally joined Sean, Larry, Nige & James at a small pull-in not far up from Via Gellia. Nige, I was told, had already headed off in to the adit. I got my kit on and we followed after.
The entrance was in a pretty, little woodland cut in. The standing water around it looked less inviting. Now I understood why James and Sean had opted to wear waders… After the obligatory photo op, we headed in. Any attempts to try and avoid the water going over the top of my wellies proved futile and resigned to soggy feet I trudged on. I needn’t have worried though, the water was soon enough waist deep and not cold I decided, but ‘bracing’!
The reward for the soggy welcome? Some truly beautiful cave formations. Lovely unspoilt white flowstone, gour pools and one of the largest concentrations of cave pearls that literally paved the floor. Doing our best to avoid the same we pressed on, passing though some really nice example of stone stemples that themselves had begun to calcify. Shortly after we arrived at a winze, that was maybe 4 or 5 metres depth and with an apparent rubber ring littering the bottom – we carefully headed around the edge and onwards, but an explore for another day perhaps?
We finally caught up with Nige who was investigating a raise with an in situ rope. The hemp rope had seen better days, but provided just enough assistance to make the climb up. Whilst Nige and Sean looked at that, myself and Larry investigated a passage off to right just prior to the raise, which was a fairly rocky crawl that ultimately ended blind, but with a low passage off to the left before the dead end that might once have connected through. Back at the rope Sean had decided better of the full climb up, but Larry, James and myself thought we’d give it a go and one by one we ascended, with Nige already coming back down and ready to head out by the time I was in place to go up. At the top there was a passage off to the left and peaking through, another raise could be seen. The rotten wooden stemples holding up a large boulder looked a bit too sketchy for today though and not having any ropes of our own, we headed down.
By the time I was down Sean & Larry had headed on forwards towards the end of the level passage and I followed after. When I caught up Larry was investigating a squeeze that lead through to yet another raise. Again with no ropes that climb was left for another day, but certainly looked worth investigating.
Heading back out we got our second soaking, but at least the wellies came out cleaner than they went in! Returning to the cars the rain was coming down a little heavier and so Sean and Larry set up an impressive bivvy with tarps, bungee and crabs to shelter under whilst we had an outdoor brew and chat to round off a fantastic little evening trip.”