Mr Sparkles Glory Hole

Richard (The Farrier/ Mr Sparkles) Edwards reports…..

Whilst shoeing a horse the client told me that a neighbouring farmer had lost a tractor wheel into a hole while feeding sheep. I asked him if he could get me permission to look and a grid ref. Which he did.

After a good mug of tea at Pete’s we set off to look for the 1m x 30cm hole which you where meant to be able to fit a tractor in.

On finding the hole Andy eagerly climbed over the sheep bars to stick his head in, we could hear the excitement in his voice. “it’s huge” he said, turning round with his steamed up glasses.

We all had a quick look then went back to the van to get kitted up.

Back at the hole a ladder was quickly rigged and a belay was attached to me, I climbed down gingerly into the entrance shaft where loose boulders fell. I looked about wowed by the size off it, I steadily clambered down holding the ladder. I was amazed and shitting it at the same time, I’d never been in a windy pit before, it was just a mass of boulders (sh•t).
Richard was next in, at the bottom of the ladder he clumsily stood up loosening a few rocks and things.

Andy was next down, you could tell he was amazed and shitting it as well.

The main chamber was about 15- 20m wide and same in length, at the right of the chamber was a shaft (15ft) which was created by wedged blocks. At the far left of the chamber there was a hole which appeared quite small, but on inspecting it, it turn out to be a 15ft rift.

Andy went and got the ladder from the entrance and belayed it to a boulder at the top of the pitch. I was first down, it was easy climbing, plenty of foot holes. The floor of the rift consisted of rocks and boulders which all looked stable. Looking back towards the entrance there was a passage heading back to the shaft in the main chamber, this was made of the boulders which formed the bridge in the main chamber. Andy had come down the ladder by now, had a brisk look about then headed back to see if Chalky and Pete were coming in.

Richard looked at the passage leading to the shaft while I looked at the boulder choke behind us. It was about 10ft high with obvious space above it but looked pretty dodgy to climb, at the base there was a slot which in discussion with Richard when he returned was opted for as it looked safer than the climb. It was an easy crawl round some boulders which led to smaller chamber with another boulder choke ahead, above there were 3 blocks which were just suspending each other. Once I’d looked around I shouted Richard to come through.
The other boulder choke ahead was was similar, it also had a slot through it. On the other side it led to gang way of boulders heading down to a ledge with a huge rift leading off ahead which was about 20-25m long and 10-15m high. This was awesome, but with no other ladder it was time to head back.
Heading back through the boulder choke Richard was unsure of the way on, but soon worked it out. I was still amazed and excited about the sheer size of it and all what the far rift had to offer on a return trip, does the rift come back under the full stretch like a bridge, seen as all the floor were boulder in the previous sections?

Back at the entrance was a very smiling Mr Chalky who was also unhappy as he didn’t get to go in due to ladders, but seemed happy talking to Mike Almond who drove the tractor over it in the first place.

What a great day I have only dreamed of up till now.

After an exciting find we went on to find another new cave: Tank Track Hole.

VISIT 2 – 20/03/11

Another great day down the glory hole had by all I think, Members present:- Chalky, Pete, Andy, Matt + Gary, Lee and Ernie and me (Mr Sparkler)and not forgetting Vascowe (Womble/Bulgaria).

On reaching the hole we were soon met by Richard Fairburn (who had told me about the hole) and his wife Catherine, after inspecting the hole and a few glasses of port earlier, Richard was keen to have a look down. Pete and me escorted him down the entrance climb to where Matt and Gary had just bolted some new anchor bolts in at the first pitch, belayed on he descended into the first rift then through the two boulder chokes to the ledge that over looks the long rift.
He was well amazed by the size of it and wished he had more time in his life, but we had to get rid of him as we had no hangers for this pitch yet, so I took him out to find the next farmer candidate for a trip in, which happened to be Mike Almond.

By the time I’d said bye to the Fairburn’s Mike Almond was already on the ladder belayed by Chalky, things were going well until Mike got muddled with his feet and came tangled in the ladder. Luckily Andy was below to talk him through the de-tangling of his legs. I think that had finished it for Mike has he went out after that.

Once we’d got rid of the visitors the drill and kit were transported through the boulder chokes to the second rift where Gary soon fitted some more anchors for the awaited decent down into the long rift. I got the pleasure of testing the anchors and the first decent which was deeper than I thought, the ladder wasn’t long enough, but luckily I was SRT in it. At the bottom the rift it led back towards the entrance but not as far as I’d hoped probably only about 5-8m which ended in a choke with a slight possible way on but I turned back to explore the far ends of the rift. Chalky was next down the rope, we set off climbing boulders where I stopped to take some pictures of some weird formations on the right not even realising some nice looking gypsum crystals that Chalky had spotted. The rift ended in a choke again but fortune was with us as there was another slot through this as well.

I wriggled through the the blocks pushing a boulder over to the side, once through I removed the large boulder to make it easier for Chalky, but he still moaned and grumbled on the way through.
This led into another large chamber in the continuing rift but ended with a large choke with no easy way on (probably a high route)?
Just before this was a dropping cross rift to the right I was going to go down but Chalky was messing about. so once joined by Matt he quickly scramble down it to the end where it turn sharp left into another rift running parallel, this was spacious as well but ended in a large choke, this too had no definite way on. The only way looked over the top, Matt had a try and so did I when he was leaving but I soon jibbed as the rocks were slippery and a fall would no doubt end in broken bones.

So a return trip was agreed.

The return to the entrance was pleasant, I pruseked back up big pitch to make sure it was easy for Chalky, but it wasn’t he grumbled and moaned again (should have got dressed properly, his harness was in a jumble) he managed it though.
I took the rope bag out full of stuff, hammer, drill etc it was quite heavy and clumber some pushing it through the chokes, and a pain at the entrance as it was on my back by this stage adding the the weight to haul out.