Forest of Dean
Slaughter Stream: Clewin, Lyndon, Adrienne, Hugo, Jack, Anne, Rik, Chris
& Sandeep *
[* Jarvist absent due to nighttime tea-making rollerskating injury]
After a puketastic minibus ride we got the key for slaughter stream cave and eventually found the entrance. For future reference, when you get to English Bignor there is a small sign pointing to Joyford in the middle of a T-junction, follow it half way down and stop near a gate on the left with a grass/mud verge.
The entrance starts with ~6 fixed ladders, each getting progressively less fixed followed by a small crawl which leads to the first electron ladder. There are a few bolts in the wall opposite which were duly faffed with. This short ladder leads to a small chamber where the second ladder is rigged. The rope is belayed from a largish boulder, and over the lip of the pitch, next time a pulley might be useful. The second ladder, turned out to be a meter short. For the six footers this wasn't a problem but when I went down crouching as low as I could on the bottom rung swinging to try and reach the wall it was more difficult. After laughing at me, Clewin eventually swung me away from the hole below to somewhere that I could jump onto solid ground. After a few more minutes the rest were down and we carried on. Past the second ladder is a short crawl but after that there isn't much other than walking.
Choosing the left direction from the junction and following the water downstream we stomped down a lovely stream way, occasionally traversing over the water so that it didn't reach level two. Going at quite a pace to make up for the fact that it was 2 pm before we were underground we zoomed past the turning, a small crawl on the right and carried on down the cascades. Thankfully Rik was in front and, in his own very special way, ignored the horrid smell and carried on relentlessly with Hugo in tow. The rest of us stopped when the smell became unbearable, waiting for Rik to return from wherever he'd decided to lead one of our freshers. He proclaimed that we had reached the first static sump and missed the turning, getting up to his nipples in very dubious water in the process.
We turned around and made our way back to the turning that we'd missed and followed it along dry passageway and then climbed back down into the stream way heading towards the final sump. Almost there we stopped and found a place to eat our Asda _smart_price Christmas pudding.
We made a stodge fuelled exit in record time, by 5:30pm and heading back to London not long after. A quick stop at a dirty faux-Tudor McDonalds in Oxford & back for the last tube.
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