KMC – Rowten Sumps
Saturday, 28 April 2007

Arriving a little late at 4pm to join the surveying parties up on west kingsdale and finding the Greenclose locked, I decided to go for a quick jaunt down Valley Entrance to kill some time.
The water levels were quite low, and at the rowten sumps the first one was open with a little airspace. It was here that I had a bit of a strange moment and thought that free diving the sumps in a furry without a mask would be a good idea. The first sump was passed on my back as a duck and here I had a second thought as it was very cold. But then i rrealised I had my neoprene hood in my helmet and before I knew it I found myself pulling on the dive line. The second sump seemed very long and cold and I was relieved to find myself rising into an airbell. Here the air tasted slightly bitter and so worried I took a few breaths and went for the third. It was somewhere in this sump that decided that this was probably a bad idea, as the sump seemed to be sloping constantly down and seemed longer than I thought it would be. Pulling quicker i realised that Iprobably didn’t have enough breath left to return and couldn’t tell if there was room to turn around, so just carried on hoping I hadn’t gone down the wrong sump,and after what seemed like an eternity the roof suddenly rose and I popped out in Rowten.

After looking around the bottom of rowten, more to try and warm up than for anything else, and after deciding that waiting for someone to read the message I left on Chris’ car and to work out where I was and come and rescue me through rowten would take quite a while, I returned through the sumps, only to find myself emerging in darkness in the airbell as my lamp battery seemed to have come dis-attached from the lamp. Not wanting to faff around in the possibly dodgy air, I continued through the 4m sump before realising the battery had ripped off my helmet in the 8m sump. Luckily my trusty backup saved the day and very cold I ditched the idea of further exploration and legged it out in tikka half-light feeling rather silly and trembling violently from cold, but feeling suitably manly.

Bring on the Rowten pull through, but maybe after a few weeks of trauma recovery, and with a wetsuit. And with some friends. And a mask. And a light.

Brilliant trip.

p.s. if anyone does find an orange speleotechnics battery in the 8m sump please could I have it back. Ta


I believe near misses can count for Darwin Awards……

Well done?

Stuart Abbott

Monday, 30 April 2007