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Reservoir Hole

by Pete Glanvill

Since the most recent update there have been developments. At Potter’s Heaven, Tangent and Andrew Atkinson found the Hollow virtually sumped whilst on a survey trip (Andrew is still trying to get mud out of his Disto and PDA), so we have crossed it off our dig list for the winter. Up at Topless Aven more boulders have been removed but the pool obstinately refuses to drain. Meanwhile Nigel and Nick’s team (‘We’ll be in in 2 weeks’) have made a breakthrough this week (November 15th ) after 6 months effort at the Silo. A guest appearance by Martin Grass and a lack of cameras to record the event might have been the lucky charms required for it to happen.  An audible echo could be heard the previous week but some large and obstinate boulders and massive amounts of gravel slurry needed removing before the team managed to wriggle up into the void beyond.  Ali and I returned from Topless Aven to meet a mildly despondent team who thought it was a dead end. However it transpired they had just squinted through.

I followed Alison up and she (bravely or insanely) climbed into the void bracing herself on the few remaining boulders. As I was under said boulders I didn’t stay long and, as it was, she got clocked on the shoulder by a falling pebble. What we saw, and this is a conflation of our opinions was an elliptical rift about 2 metres across with  pronounced water horizontal nick marks on the walls plus scalloping. The roof at the near end seems fairly solid but there is some hanging death at the far end. The height of the rift is probably around 8 metres. At the north end (ie into the opposite side of the gorge) fill seems to be occupying a ceiling to floor continuation that must be wider at its base (still obscured by fill). Some water drips from the roof but most is coming out of the fill low down suggesting it comes from the rift beyond. The place is very airy – not so say scary.  We think the far end is now across the road – thank god!

It didn’t stay open for long as attempts by Nigel to bring down the remaining boulders blocked the opening again but next week should allow them to be removed. The plan then,  is to use scaffolding already imported into the cave to build a 2 metre high cage at the entrance to the silo to, we hope, protect the diggers whilst we advance across the rift.

Peter Glanvill  November 17th 2011