Tunnocks - Kracken

Wed 06 Jul 2016

We got to the entrance at 10:45am and started the long descent leaving behind a plateau asleep under a blanket of clag. Down we went, accompanied by a backing track of grumbling from Julian. He was clearly enjoying himself.

Kraken was as big as promised and we made it to the camp at about 4:30pm just as the previous team were coming up Octopussy. Nat bubbled with excitement as he described what lay below. Wookey sketched out a plan of the leads they had found - our survey missing some 800m of passages. The only bad news was a shortage of bog roll having been promised there was plenty! Fortunately we were able to separate Nat from his emergency supply.

After some soup we descended Octopussy; a fantastic 5m wide steeply sloping tube. We then headed to our first A lead - a large phreatic tube heading up a muddy slope. We followed this for at least 100m before it ended at the bottom of a downward slope where the mud filled the passage. This passage had some pristine white formations and excellent mud floors. A fine start to our surveying.

We proceeded to explore the remaining known passages. Discover the upstream sump from which a small stream emerged. Julian spotted a large collection of dead 'cave lobsters' in the passage leading to the sump (washed into a muddy crawl during a flood).

This ended our first day of exploration and we made the tough ascent of Octopussy. The mud makes the climb slippery and impeded jammer operation. On return to camp we set about making dinner and getting ready for bed.

After a relatively comfortable and very warm night(compared with the night I spent underground a few days prior) we arose. Julian and I were moaned at for our lack of enthusiasm for leaving our nice warm pits until after breakfast. However we were soon once again doing battle with Octopussy.

We set off down our next A lead- relatively horizontal 5m diameter tube heading north. This passage had 2 smaller passages off the left which we connected back into known passage. The large passage reached a fault in the rock where a short pitch of ~20m would no doubt resulted in more cave. Having made good progress (survey legs typically exceeding 20m) we started on another nearby A lead where Chris's team had turned around. We followed more massive passage before reaching a chamber around a stone pillar some 10m across, Five ways lead off from here. One passage slopped down to the sound of water requiring a rope another 2 tubes (only 2m in diameter) lead off upwards while the 6m passage took a downward direction after meeting another large passage from above.

First we set off down, the passage meandered before reaching a pitch roughly 30m deep, it couldn't be approached safely without a rope. However the real highlight of this passage was a living cave lobster! Whilst sat at a survey station I noticed it climbing up the wall, no idea where it thought it was going, or what it could be eating, but it could certainly move. My comrades took photos and video. To finish our survey we ascended the aforementioned slope leading to a large rift. The two up sloping tubes connected and lead to a 4m free climb which we left for the next party. We met the team in question at the camp whilst eating our pre exit dinner (~4pm). A long prusik followed.

07:00 +1