Cambridge Underground 1978 pp 12-16


Downstream Sump

As far as we could determine, nobody had had a look at the downstream sumps since Alf Latham (ULSA) had dived the third sump in 1972 (1). This he followed for 30m to a point where the size of the bedding decreased. Although he found a couple of cross rifts with airspace in them, he did not succeed in passing the sump.

So it was one Sunday afternoon in April 1977 that Rob Shackleton and Julian Griffiths entered Goyden weighed down with various diving impedimenta, ladders and bolting gear. As sump 1 had previously been reported as being choked, it was decided to use the route over Gaskell's and down the Turf. This was accomplished with a minimum of difficulty and sump 2 was quickly reached. The first section was found to be slightly less than 1m to a large airbell. Bolts were placed in either end to make it an easy free dive. The second section was just over 1.5m. We had intended to place a bolt in the next airbell, but on getting there it was found to be well out of our depth, so the line was laid through the final 3m length of sump and a bolt placed at the far end. As it stands the last two sections are a bit long for a safe free dive without coming up in the airbell.

The pair were suitably impressed by the size of the passage between sumps 2 and 3, but shortly before sump 3, the roof lowered and at sump 3 the water disappeared into the bedding plane reported by Alf. It was not our intention to dive it on this trip, so a retreat was made. On the way back RJS had a look at sump 1, and much to his surprise found it to be an easy 20m dive - easy that is once he had managed to force his way into it against the full flow of the stream. He returned that way, while JTG went back over the Turf to derig it.

The next trip was on a Wednesday evening. After a pleasant, if somewhat overweighted, stroll down the streamway via sumps 1 and 2, RJS was fed into sump 3 with strict instructions to find some passage. Keeping to the left hand wall in a 1m high bedding plane he met an area of cross rifts after 20m - two with airspace in them - and a further 6m on he emerged into a large chamber. JTG followed through and 30m of sizeable passage was explored to the next sump. This turned out to be about 3m long, 25m of large passage at the far side leading to yet another sump. Well satisfied with the night's work, the pair exited.

A few weeks later, sump 5 was dived by Rob. The sump dipped fairly sharply down an amazing slope of branches and other debris to a depth of 10m. After 30m, a series of cross rifts was encountered. The main water flow seemed to go up the last of these, but unfortunately it was solidly choked with boulders. We are convinced that this must be very near the final point Alf reached in New Goyden. An accurate survey of downstream Goyden has now been completed, but Alf's finds in New Goyden really need surveying before this can be confirmed.

extension survey - 13k gif

A couple of other observations have been made on these diving trips. The first was the discovery of yet another airbell in sump 2; lying between the first and second airbells, it splits the sump even further (it has since been learned that this airbell was located by N Brindle (CPC) when he originally passed the sump in August 1959 (2) though strangely it seems to have been omitted in more recent accounts). Secondly, there is an impassable inlet just past sump 3. Martin Davies (YURT) suggests that this could well come from a sink in the stream bed just downstream from Goyden's entrance close to Limley Farm. Lastly, a couple of holes were noted in the roof of the passage between sumps 2 and 3. One evening, Nick Reckert, RJS and JTG had a look at these with the help of the EXCS maypoles. Despite some alarming flexing of the poles (we had forgotten a spanner) the holes were reached. Unfortunately, although there is a very distinctive roof tube, no new passage was found to lead off.

New Stream Sump

To the east of the main streamway of Goyden Pot lie extensive abandoned passages. These are most easily reached from the main streamway by the large former downstream route of Labyrinth Passage. To the right of this passage a low bedding plane gives access to the top of New Stream passage which captures the small inlet stream from the complicated Labyrinth area some 30m further on. The stream drops steeply down the dip from this point to the deep pool of New Stream sump. This is the focal point of several deserted routes and is located below the former dig at High Rift. Prior to our explorations, the sump was undived.

After an initial trip on which sinus trouble prevented the diver going down more than 3m, it was on Wednesday 9th March 1977 that Rob Shackleton equipped with "Slimline kit" dived down a narrow rift below the amply proportioned sump pool to a depth of 11m. At this point, to his surprise the diver found a large tube some 2m in diameter leading off down dip. This was followed for 50m, the safety limit of the "Slimline kit", despite the fact that the continuation was seen to be large and invitingly easy.

Eager to push on further, Rob and Julian assisted by Nick Reckert and Andy Nichols took twin 40's to the sump on 16th March. Rob was duly fed in and despite the poor visibility (less than 1m) a further 90m of line was laid by "feel" in the continuation of the tube, to an area of rifts in which the way on was lost. The depth at this point was noted to be 17m.

On 30th March 1977, in much better visibility exploration was continued at the previous limit where several rifts were examined but became too tight, the best being too narrow for ascent at 12m depth. For at least 30m before the previous limit, a distinct stratification of water in the tube was noticed, the top few feet being peaty brown, whilst the bottom section was found to be crystal clear. This indicates the entry of an inlet, most probably down the rifts mentioned above. Back at -17m, to the right of the last rift, a small tube was found and explored for 3m. The water here was peaty and the diver noted that the passage was still heading down dip and a forward current was detected. Unable to turn round Rob reversed back to the rifts sensing that the correct way had been lost. To the left from the end of the first rift, a larger tube was located in the murk by "feel" and within a few feet the diver emerged from the muddy fog into beautiful crystal clear water. The tube was followed for some 10m beneath two further rifts both of which were found to become too narrow upon ascending. At this point the explorer found himself at the foot of a slope of boulders and coarse shingle with an inviting looking black space leading up at about 60 degrees. Pausing only to tie off at a convenient rock to facilitate safe return, Rob began the ascent of the slope with hopes high for an airspace above. The ascent to glory had hardly begun, however, when the hapless diver became aware that his whole world was on the move. Rounded boulders piled up at 60 degrees by flood waters are highly mobile and the slope had begun to move with a spine chilling rumble. At this point the terrified diver dropped his line reel and retreated at great speed to the safety of the tube below. Thankfully the rumble subsided quickly. After a pause for collection of wits, the explorer went back to the slope for a look. Little seemed to have changed, the line reel still resting exactly where it had been dropped. Still a bit shaken, Rob decided to try a more controlled experiment to see how moveable the boulders actually were. A few prods and pushes soon convinced the diver that the problem would need better considered tactics to surmount as no part of the slope was stable. Understandably, not wishing to be entombed in boulders at -18m, the diver reluctantly decided upon a retreat.

It is probable that the small tube on the right is the active continuation of the sump. This is presumed to carry the water to the main inlet sump of New Goyden Pot which was dived by Alf Latham (ULSA). He found the sump to be too awkward for comfortable progress where a small phreatic tube leads off at -9m from the bottom of a narrow rift (3). The absence of stratification in the large tube to the left from the rift area indicates that this must be the deserted continuation of the main tube. This provides a route for flood waters which have banked up boulders at the foot of a shaft leading upwards. It is quite likely that this reaches airspace as it is located on a fault (so we are informed by Martin Davies (YURT)). This could provide the key to a large blank area between New Stream Sump of Goyden Pot and Hardy Pools sump of New Goyden Pot where there is the possibility of extensive abandoned passages.

The Well

This was dived to see if there was any other way off apart from the expected connection through to the sump in Cap Tunnel. The connection was located but became very low just before the Cap Tunnel sump, so it was not forced through. Nothing else was found.

October Passage

October passage is described as ending in diminishing airspace. It was decided to have a look at this to see if it was a proper sump. JTG dived using a 15 cubic foot bottle. The roof dipped rapidly to water level and 8m of painful progress was made by shuffling sideways along the rift before a drop in the floor allowed the diver to turn round and beat a hasty retreat. Not a very promising site.

Rob Shackleton

(1) CDG Newsletter 24 page 19 (New Series)
(2) CPC Journal Vol 2 No 5 page 297
(3) CDG Newsletter 29 page 19 (New Series)

Also CDG Newsletter 45 page 12 (New Series)

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