New Pasture Cave surveyed
Sunday, 24 September 2017

We had been meant to go digging in Penyghent again with Sam Allshorn, but Isaac was unwell so parental duties were called upon. This meant we needed a way of avoiding laddermeet, and we decided to try out paperless surveying with George’s new PDA to see if it would be a good thing to use in Albania.

We began with me on Binky, Luke on Disto and George on PDA. This was a very quick progressing team, and soon we arrived at a good opportunity to test our loop closure using this method. We had been using the triple shot method of recording survey legs, with all others as one-shot splays. The Bluetooth had a limited range but worked excellently. We closed the loop, leaving another upstream continuation to survey later, and pressed on to what I thought from a quick initial recce was the sump. It turned out I was wrong and with a bit of determination (helmet off) I was under the water wriggling beneath a boulder. We decided the disto needed more rigorous waterproofing before this was surveyed so I continued alone from here.

Further crawling in elbow deep froth-piss led to a low, flatout duck with around 7cm airspace leading to a larger passage again. Bang wire could be seen through the duck so I continued. After around 7m more (15 ‘“ 20m more passage total explored than surveyed) I reached a flat wall of bedrock barring any further progress. Here I found a lump hammer and kneeling mat, which I took out. There was a lot of silt around here. Before the lower passage started there was a stacked wall of boulders which must have been removed from the digging front. Credit to Batty et al, this dig must have required a lot of perseverance, despite its proximity to the surface! Their efforts looked like mining in elbow deep water. I’m not sure how much progress they made. The sump (now totally blocked) was dived by JNC many years ago, arriving at a shingle bank with low outflow barring further diving. It would be interesting to perform dye testing and flood pulse testing to determine something of the nature of the passage beyond. There is clearly some kind of geological obstruction to further passage development. The cave as a whole is heavily fault controlled, with most of the passage being formed along 3 parallel faults on the usual fountains fell bearing of 320 (blaze it).

This done, I then surveyed the upstream continuation for a few legs alone, bluetoothing the data to the PDA after it was done. Then out. A very efficient surveying trip, with a satisfactory result. Looking forward to using the PDA more.