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Extracts from the Caving Log

Another series of highlights from the caving log.

compiled by Andy Sparrow

Some accounts of original exploration in Ireland by Sue Jordan - now Mrs. Sue Lord.

10.7.76. Carrickbeg, Fermanagh.

Paddy O’Reilly, Jeff Philpis, Martyn Farr, Dave Morris, Pete Lord, Sue Jordan.  Could this have been Ireland's biggest diving trip in history? Ten hours of digging put the Irish Caving Non Club (of which no one is a member) into this resurgence, no more than six feet from the road, in May.  Jeff reached a sump in early July at the end of 1,800 feet of impressive streamway. Spurred on by Martyn Farr's visit of the 10th, he dived the 15' deep by 50' long sump and named the newly discovered passage beyond "Far Out Passage".  Our object was to explore down this passage, which Jeff had been content to observe from the sump.  All six dived successfully, a good first dive for Paddy and Sue, and passed up the streamway in a good sized passage.  Unfortunately, after 1,300 feet the passage closed down, the stream disappearing in a tight rift.  We explored the bedding planes &c. in this zone and found one passable way on if dug.

Meanwhile, M.F. and Dave returned to pick up bottles to a static sump for 160 feet without surfacing, by which time they were back in the flowing water of the streamway.  1,300 did not seem much to the Irish, but it certainly impressed us English!  Incidentally, the rough survey suggests that this is NOT Reyfad resurgence, as was originally thought.

11.7.76. Cascades Cave (Prods Resurgence) Fermanagh. Irish Caving Non Club and Martin Farr, Dave Morris, Pete Lord and Sue Jordan.

Grand trip through resurgence dig; dug in April '76 to reach impressive stream passage reached at Easter via prods by M. F.

Entrance is sixty feet above the Cascades in Marble Arch Valley.  Twenty feet of loose boulders leads into 1,000' of fairly accessible 'hands and knees' and crouching rifts and boulder chokes - interesting route finding.

Upstream, there is 3,000' of impressive main stream as far as Prod's Sump 7 with high aven but few inlets and a great variety of passage shapes - mainly phreatic roofing.  A 1,000' sump by-pass in a fair sized rift ending in a bedding plane crawl on upstream end.

Between sumps 7 and 6, there is a further 1,000' of passage of fine Irish quality, except that we did not see much in our sub-group, with two lights between four of us. Fortunately, we met the photographers early on the return trip, with the carbide stores.

Other trips from the log.

19.9.76.  Great Oones Hole.  Graham Wilton-Jones and Wig.  Digging in entrance with Trat and Co. for archaeological objects.  Wig was late, then he lost his presence of mind and couldn’t find the right place in the cliff above.  Went inside and explored whole hole.  Also did Long Hole where the bats are believed to be of that rare species - Greater Horseshoe.  G.W-J.

18.9.76.  St. Cuthbert’s. Graham Wilton-Jones, John Dukes, Andy Sparrow.

Trip to investigate supposed passage above Gour Hall.  Climbed and Jumared up fixed rope to the top, about 60' above the Great Gour.  Passage in opposite wall does not exist.  There is, however, a small hole above the end of the fixed rope that may pay bolting into.

10.11.76. Trip to Lyme Regis and Isle of Portland.  Bob X, Nigel Taylor and Chris Hannam.

Entrance to Blacknor Cave was visited.  Entry involves an abseil of about 60' and a swing.  Portland is best described as a mess!