Swildon's Hole
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After swapping links with Greg Brock he kindly offered to take me caving down a well know cave called Swildon's hole in Priddy, Somerset.

I have been down a few caves in the past but I knew this cave was going to be nothing like I had experienced before. For a start it had a river running into the mouth of the cave! But Greg has been caving here for many years so I felt quite safe.

I jumped at the chance of trying a more exciting cave and so on a fairly brisk february day we met in the car park by the village green in Priddy.

Across the road from the car park is a old barn where you can change into your caving gear which is very handy on those colder days. So after changing into a very fetching yellow suit, helmet and light which were all supplied by Greg, we headed up the road to pay our £1 fee to gain access to the farmers land.

After a quick trek across a couple of fields we came across the entrance. It really was in the middle of nowhere. Just a small stone building surrounding the tiny hole. This was it, we were going down an underground river!

At first it took my eyes a while to adjust to the darkness as we entered the hole but I soon started noticing more amazing formations. Almost at once we were entering mind blowing caverns full of Stalactites and stalagmites.

This really was like no other cave I had been down before.

We were soon clambering through the river and down deeper into the cave. There was one part where we had to make a leap of faith from a cascade into water below. Not really knowing how deep it was and in the dark was very strange.

Greg seemed to know every corner of the cave and filled me in on all of the amazing names which various parts of the cave have been given. Barnes loop, Watergate, Priddy green sink and many more. He also talked about the cave diving they had been doing in the far reaches of the cave which I am definitely going to leave to him!

Eventually we came across sump1. Umm.... I wasn't really expecting a sump! (A sump is a short section where the only way forwards is underwater).

Greg went through first and I waited for my signal to follow which was a tugging on the rope which was permanently there to aid in pulling yourself under. Suddenly there was a tugging so I took a big breath and went for it. Pulling myself along by a rope underwater not quite knowing when I would surface was a little worrying. Luckily is wasn't very far and I was soon swimming around on the other side.

From here we went as far as sump2 from where you need diving gear to go on. We had reached the furthest part of the cave that we could.

We then had the task of getting back up the river which was just as much fun. Plenty of climbing ladders & cascades, scrambling and swimming, including the sump the other way. Plus we had a detour so see a few more amazing underground formations.

By the time we had reached the surface again I have to admit I was knackered but also hooked on Caving! Greg had given me a great tour of Swildon's and really fueled my urge to do more Caving in the future.

This is a cave that you need to see with your own eyes.

(Greg's camera was much more suited to taking pictures underground and so most of the better pictures we took were of me. So I'm sorry if you are sick of seeing my ugly mug on this site!)

If you would like to find out more about what Greg has been up to, including more great underground shots check out his web site.

******** See all of the pictures from this trip on our slide show ********
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