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Upper Flood Swallet

Access

Upper Flood digging party

Upper Flood Swallet is an exceptionally well-decorated cave. Controls are in place to conserve the cave and to record trips made.

Access is managed by Mendip Caving Group at the request of the landowner. Party size is limited to three plus the MCG leader.

In the Old Cave, there are many overhead formations which can only be avoided by crawling in the stream. In the New Cave great care must be used to avoid any unecessary muddy contacts with the cave.

A straightforward return trip to the Red Room takes about 2 hours. There are several constrictions and one very wet section (the Lavatory Trap) which, depending on water levels, can be easily passable or almost a sump.

Beyond the Red Room is a boulder choke containing 13 squeezes and some awkward climbs. The choke is a natural feature which may be unstable and liable to movement. Cavers must take extreme care in this section, and understand that they pass the choke entirely at their own risk. A rescue dump is maintained in the Departure Lounge.

A return trip to Neverland or other distant sections of the cave, is not to be underestimated, and should only be undertaken by suitably fit and experienced cavers. Such a trip is arduous and typically lasts some 5-6 hours with many obstacles requiring a good level of physical fitness, stamina and an awareness of cave safety. Participation on a trip is at the discretion of the Upper Flood Swallet leader. Visitors are expected to respect the conservation measures that have been put in place.

To ensure that Pork Pie Passage remains as pristine as possible, all cavers are required to remove their oversuits after passing through the Neverland Link. At the Link, there is a lake where boots and gloves must be washed - a brush is available. Further ponds and puddles are available at the start of the passage for the final cleaning of hands and feet.

Suitable clothing should be worn. A fleece undersuit will suffice, a neo-fleece will be more comfortable - expect to get wet. Good Kneepads are essential as there is much crawling over stony floors. Food and drink should be carried for longer trips.

Shoring

Here is a 10 minute video made by Andy and Antonia Freem in August 2014, showing what the trip to Neverland is like.

Arranging a Trip

The calendar below shows Saturday trips that are booked and those available for booking as well as the MCG member's weekends. Sunday trips are not normally offered. MCG Member's weekends are on the Saturday adjoining the first Friday of each month. There is a good chance that a trip can be arranged at short notice on such a Saturday, by calling the cottage on 01761 462797 shortly before 10:00 AM. If you want to book one of the dates offered (on a member's weekend or otherwise), please contact the MCG Secretary. You should receive a reply to your email within a few days (there is no automatic response). If you get no reply, please try some of the other MCG officer email addresses here

As of April 2017, the MCG leaders are: Andrew Horeckyi, Bill Chadwick, Ben Cooper, Brian Snell, Peat Bennett, Tim Francis, Chris Binding, Kev Speight, Mike Waterworth, Julie Hesketh, Mike Richardson, Graham Price, Ed Waters and Richard Carey. Guest leaders are Henry Dawson, Andrew Atkinson, Lee Hawkswell, Tarn Stroud, Simon Flower and Jude Vanderplank.


Guest Warden Scheme

Guest Warden Criteria

The responsibility of a warden is primarily to the cave, its conservation and its wildlife. This means taking an active role in guiding a party through the cave (including curtailing or refusing a trip to any party not thought to be competent) in order to ensure that caver impact is kept to a minimum.

Prospective wardens will be expected to:

  • Demonstrate a level of caving and leadership ability commensurate with the difficulty of a trip to the far reaches of the cave
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  • Have a sound knowledge of the history of exploration within the cave (see history and Occ. Pub. 4)
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  • Have visited (as far as is practicable) all areas within the cave and be competent in route finding, particularly with regard to the main boulder choke
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  • Be aware of the particular dangers and conservation sensitive areas within the cave
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  • Actively participate in conservation and maintenance projects
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  • Have knowledge of the cave's rules and guidelines as detailed at Annex A
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  • Be available to take a minimum of 2 trips per year

 

To enable prospective wardens to meet the criteria listed above, they should participate in a minimum of five training trips, encompassing all open access areas of the cave. These trips should be accomplished in a time frame of not more than 18 months, with at least two different established wardens, one of whom must be a MCG member.

On completion of each trip, applicants should fill in the form provided by the MCG Caving Secretary - obtaining the signature of the warden present. Once the form is completed, it should then be submitted to the MCG committee for ratification.

Upon approval, for a one-off donation of £5, wardens will receive a key and access card to Nordrach Cottage, as well as the combination for the box containing the cave key. Wardens and their guests are welcome to use the facilities in Nordrach Cottage, in return for a £1 day fee, payable in the changing-room donation box.

The MCG committee will collate logbook data annually. Wardens who have not taken 2 trips into the cave will lose their status, unless the committee is made aware of any mitigating circumstances beforehand. Wardens whose status has lapsed may re-apply, subject to completion of any additional re-familiarisation trips thought necessary by the committee.

The rules and guidelines set out in this document are not intended to be exhaustive. The MCG reserve the right to make changes at any time.


Annex A. Rules and Guidelines for Wardens

  • Number of non-MCG wardens to be limited to 10. Prospective wardens should be active Mendip cavers who are willing to take regular trips. Prospective wardens must be paid up-members of the BCA (British caving Association)
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  • Party size is limited to warden plus three, except where the fifth member of the party is a prospective warden, pre-notified to the MCG committee.
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  • Digging is controlled by the MCG. Guest wardens are welcome to dig with MCG leaders
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  • All trips must be logged. The logbook is kept next to the Tackle Store in Nordrach Cottage
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  • Wardens must leave a trip card on the MCG callout board, regardless of whether they set an additional callout. This card must then be posted in the adjacent hut fees box on completion of the trip
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  • Any problems relating to Nordrach Cottage should be reported in the first instance to the MCG Cottage Warden, or another member of the committee
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  • Lost keys must be reported to the MCG caving secretary. Any warden who loses a key will be responsible for the cost of its replacement
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  • No carbide
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  • The party must be suitably competent to move through the delicate cave and pass formations without damage, for the entire trip. All members of the party should possess the necessary levels of stamina and fitness. The Warden should decline or curtail a trip in the event that these expectations are not met
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  • The Warden should check that the party is suitably equipped
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  • Existing fixed aids must be left in place. No additional fixed aids to be added without first consulting the MCG caving secretary. Any damage to fixed aids must be immediately reported to the MCG caving secretary
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  • The rescue dump is maintained by the MCG. Any person found to have tampered with it unnecessarily will be permanently refused access to the cave
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  • Due to its unique, profuse and extremely vulnerable formations, the original entrance to Neverland, from the start of West Passage to the Bare Hands Dig, is strictly out of bounds. All trips to Pork Pie Passage must use the New Link from the middle section of West Passage. For the time being, only cavers working on the Second Neverland Link are to proceed beyond Funnel Chamber.
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  • All visitors to Pork Pie Passage must remove their oversuits at the lake reached just after passing through the New Link and avoid touching the passage walls whilst doing so. Before proceeding to Pork Pie Passage, feet and hands must must be cleaned of all traces of mud. Great care must be used to avoid touching anything other than the tape marked section of passage floor. The small ponds in Pork Pie Passage may be used for further washing. The final approach to the Pork Pie Lake is to be made by a flat out crawl. Beware the sharp calcite needles on the passage floor, the use of clean gloves is suggested.
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  • Any conservation, safety or security issues (i.e. damage to formations, instability, problems with entrance etc.) in the cave must be reported to the MCG caving secretary as soon as possible
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  • Wardens must be prepared to use email for the organistion and notification of trips.

 

 

washing off

Cleaning up upon entering Neverland

To apply to become an Upper Flood Swallet guest warden please contact the MCG Caving Secretary


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Page last updated 20th Apr 2017

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Mendip Caving Group. UK Charity Number 270088. The object of the Group is, for the benefit of the public, the furtherance of all aspects of the exploration, scientific study and conservation of caves and related features. Membership shall be open to anyone over the age of 18 years with an interest in the objects of the Group.