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Swildons – Sump 12    29.12.80

Divers:  Colin Houlden

                        Mike ‘Quackers’ Duck

Porter:  Jane Clarke

Aim:     To reach Sump 12

A decision, one Wednesday evening, in the familiar environs of the Hunters, to go to 12 was really forced on Quackers by me.  We were already committed to go to 9 ‘sometime’ by having been told that 12 was not much further, I decided to make it the aim.  Quackers agreed.

We met at the shed (Belfry) at 1100hrs and were at the entrance by 1145.  There was a distinct people ruckle all the way to the 20’ but a little polite shouting and barging with elbows assisted our passage.  We were separated, but met at Sump 1.  Jane had to return, so we pressed on to the bucket of lead by 2 to kit up.

I led to 9, and with the exception of the bypass of 7-8 all was uneventful.  The bypass of 7-8 turned out to be of doubtful parentage and caused us to de-kit.  A carry to the chamber below the climb and we kitted up to go to 9, and thence to 11 where we de-kitted went on to 12.  After a glance up at Victoria Aven and at (I think) 12b, and then a short rest, we returned.

I had great difficulty going through the squeeze but otherwise the return to 2, where we de-kitted our lead, hoods, valves and masks, went O.K.  I was quite weary by now and carrying a 'taddy' did not help. This became evident at the 20'.  I tried to reach the eyebolt at the top of the ladder and discovered that the mind was willing but the body decidedly weak! The floor below the 20’ belted my right hip with about 14 stone.  It took about five minutes to recover from the shock (the fall did not hurt, just the sudden stop) and then I attempted another ascent.  Arms through the ladder, feet slipped out, backing, help from Quackers – I made it!  Porterage of my bag and the ladder by Ray and Adrian of Crawley C.C. was gratefully received. My egress up the 6' was helped by Quackers' shoulder and we made our way back to the shed and the Hunters.

Notes:   1: Vis was poor to nil all way in sumps;

            2: No line in position through 10, a duck, so not important;

            3: Total time 7¼ hours.

Colin Houlden