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Note on the '68 Floods

By Brian Prewer

Yes indeed I did go down Swildons the day after the great flood of '68.  I believe Willie Stanton was the first down on the morning after but I joined a party of local cavers the following evening.

We had already heard that the 40' had gone and finding it somewhat hard to visualise that a pitch could disappear, we set off.  The stream was almost back to normal by the evening but we were amazed by the amount of recently cut hay that had been blown everywhere by the storm.  At one stage, it must have clogged the entrance and caused the whole depression to fill to overflowing!  The bursting of this hay dam and the resulting flood pulse may have been the reason the Water Rift was scoured out.  Arriving at Water Chamber, we soon realised that the Water Rift had been deepened by about 30' with the water pressure finally bursting through the stal blockage about 8' up from the bottom of the pitch.  We then visited the remaining passages in the Upper Series.  It became apparent that with one exception, the whole of the Upper Series had flooded to the roof.  The one exception was the Boulder Chamber in the Long Dry way - how did we know it had all been flooded - there was hay hanging from the roofs of all the passageways including the Old Grotto and the roof above the 20' Foot Pot.  I'm glad I wasn't down that day!