[wcg logo]

Home Page

Back to Regional Index

Content and images
© WCG 2003-2015

Click images to enlarge
Last Changed: 26/1/2015

E-mail webmaster

Powered by Apache

Site driven by NetBSD

Trip to Sidetrack Cave -- 4th August 2013

Group: Ian, Hannah, Dave

The weather forecast didn't seem very promising and there had been a fair amount of rain earlier in the week so we decided to have a look in sidetrack which sounded an interesting trip with some nice formations.

We parked just off the main road near the quarry access road as it was not clear from the sign-age if we could legally drive along the track. After a quick reccy to find a suitable location to abseil down to the upper bench we returned to the car and changed. The DCA state the box containing the logbook as being over a wall near the entrance gate, but we couldn't find it.

We anchored a 21m rope to a large block of limestone and rigged a sturdy rope protector over the edge before abseiling down. The cliff face is very unstable and there is a lot of loose material. We landed very close to the cave and removed SRT gear and then wandered along the bench to look in Alsop's cave which doesn't go very far. Back at sidetrack cave we entered the reasonably roomy portal and headed on. After a few metres the floor rose toward the roof and we were in a flat out crawl in soft mud with occasional pools of water. The crawl continued with a bit less water, but with a new feature, a ridge of mud in the centre of the passage which made the crawling a bit more awkward. It was generally easier to crawl on the top of the ridge than down either side, but this option was only possible for the thin...

After a while the passage widened a little and there was a short section with taped off stals and curtain formations followed by a stubby damp passage on the left, but otherwise the struggle down the low passage continued until the little & large air-bells were reached. Here we stood up and had a breather before heading on.

Another 50' or so the passage veered to the left and on the right was a low dig which was full of water and completely unappealing. Carrying on the passage started to get higher and soon became a hands and knees crawl which made for faster progress. A rocky section was reached and almost immediately we were in the Litton Stroll and could stand up and stretch.

We headed left and inspected the high aven near Annette's attic and then admired the taped off formations in the upstream passage. There are some really nice stals, a fantastic blade formation which ran from the top of the passage down one side and some nice gour pools. Carrying on the passage roof closed down and after a bit of crawling we spotted the end of the passage which is blocked by mud and stals.

We headed downstream, past the entry point and along a wide passage with a few more formations and some gour tidemarks at the side. A bit further on a low and very wet hole on the left had to be the entrance to the 'flat-out walk', however no-one really fancied doing it so we headed on and admired the gour formations on top of mud banks and some nice fossils in the walls of the avens. A bit further on the passage closed down and there were some bits of digging equipment close to the terminal mud choke.

Time was pressing on so we headed back to the junction and started the arduous journey back to daylight. A quick prussik got us back up to the top of the quarry and after de-tackling we headed back along to a gate onto the track. We spotted the letterbox (we must have walked past it before) and so added an entry to the logbook (only the fourth) and perused the map.

After changing out of muddy gear we headed off to "The Wanted Inn" for an excellent pint.

A really good trip lasting about 3 hours.