Read’s Cavern - Wed 27 Apr 2022

Lawrence Wilson, Richard Nurse, Will Puddy

Met at the UBSS hut at 7:30 and walked to the cave in lovely evening sun. Walked across the impressive Main Chamber then down to work in Zed Alley with only a minor detour in the Boulder Maze, as remembered it is all small and quite tough. After fixing a rope on Splash Pot we descended, before tackling “Andy’s Nemesis”. This is an increasingly tight horizontal tube that develops into a vertical slot at the end, finishing over a 2m drop into a small chamber. Having taken advice we went in feet first. It is now larger than it was with numerous drill holes on both walls surprisingly close to the far end. Don’t underestimate it, it’s still tight and awkward, especially on the way up where I found it difficult to get established in it whilst keeping my legs high enough to not get wedged in the slot. We could see from the drill holes that Andy had been only inches away from getting through. As Richard said “if he hadn’t got stuck then someone else would”.

From the little chamber we continued through Hells Teeth to the flat out 8m long Windpipe at the end of this the much roomier Browne-Stewart series was entered via a surprisingly large stream (considering how dry April has been) we followed this down an incredibly sharp, suit shredding passage to the terminal sump, a dismal place with digging and diving debris in evidence. Wandering back upstream we made a brief excursion onto the Cascade and Chattering Slope where one look at boulders defying gravity above persuaded us it was time to leave.

We exited via our inward route getting increasingly knackered and battered as we went. It was a lot harder than we remembered and can’t believe we did it four times in one night only a couple of months ago. Exiting in darkness at 9:40 Richard almost had a heart attack when he nearly walked into Rachel and Andy who had come to hear how we had got on. The caving gods hadn’t done with us yet as Richard hit a stone on the track that popped his tyre and bent his alloy.

— Lawrence

Last modified: 30 Oct 2022 14:26