Groaning Tor/Jacobs Dream, 18/8/20

Ahmad, Andy H, Larry, Nathan and Sean assembled in the Woodside Cafe carpark, Via Gellia by 4.30. After kitting up, we set off up the hill on a pleasant summers evening, the mill pond crossing providing ample photo opportunities. After a surprisingly testing uphill walk to Groaning tor, we re-grouped, ready to enter the adit. After some initial, but short lived stooping and crawling we were well along the main, mostly dry passage along with perhaps many hundreds of very lively flies who before being disturbed were quite happy decorating the roof of the passage.

These persisted up until slightly before the first branch before becoming less numerous further in. The branch was left for the return journey and after passing some nice passage, we arived at a wider cavern area with some modern markings and a greenish arch. The modified lava/toadstone pockets occasionally seen, carried alot of colour in general and were relatively pleasing to look at. The small stream sink was then passed with some nice flowstone structure within its rift. Carrying onwards, with the ‘stream’, led to some nicely cut/blasted? ‘coffin like’ passage with gentle but purposeful turns, before the stream enters with a rather subdued dribble. Sean commenting on the fact that this was not the norm, but unsurprising given the dry ish summer.

After reaching the final toadstone chamber a small opening was found in the bottom of the sloping chamber and after a few trials Nathan pushed through feet first. The other side soon widened to another cut limestone passage of walking height, this time with considerably more water and a slightly sulphurus odor. Following this for another 40 odd meters another toadstone cavern was found that quickly closed down. After some concern that the connecting hole was starting to fill in from the slope above, Nathan pushed back through and the team started to head out investigating the various quickly blocked side passages.

On returning to the very humid outside, it was onward to Jacobs dream mine. This perhaps required the most technical effort of the trip and after some arduous root finding through undergrowth guided by increasingly sparse preplaced way markers the ruined building outside adit was spotted downhill mostly due to the blue tarp bundled closeby. Again regrouping, the team entered together walking through the very spacious passage often following a natural widened bedding plane.

There were a few options within and some of the team opted for a rocky crawl off to the left that rejoined the main passage after about 10m further on. The passage then led to a junction and 3 ways on. The team splitting 3 ways to investigate. Left was the least interesting and closed down after not long in mud and rocks. Right was well decorated with some nicely colored curtains, flow stone and a wall of calcited deads again ended after a small walk. Straight opened out into some workings with short upper and lower levels, a worked aven was climable but led to nothing of great interest. Returning out, without seeing or disturbing any bats, to the adit entrance and the surface at varying paces. The team then walked out more directly this time, passing both a shallow shaft downslope and a nearby tight, but crawlable passage open under a large boulder that seemed to lead somewhere, but was left for another time. The humid walk to the cars was then followed by a customary drink and a disappointing mixture of triple cooked chunky and thin fries at the greyhound.”


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