OUCC Proceedings 13 (1991)

Exploration in Britain

Brown Hill Pot: Sump Description

OUCC Home Page

OUCC Proceedings

Proc. 13 Contents.

The sump pool is about 6m long by 3m across, with a silt and gravel floor. The line is belayed to a bolt on the left wall. The water deepens from about 2 feet deep to 5 feet deep as the action end is approached. Here a low arch 3-4 feet under water gives access to the continuation. The first 2m or so are usually low, over a silt floor constricting the passage. The line is belayed to a lead block halfway through in the highest part. Care must be taken on the return to find the easiest route back as the passage widens to 3m just beyond the constriction.

The passage continues as an open 2m high, 3m wide tunnel with a rocky floor for 12m. Here there is a slight turn to the left, with some horizontal flakes in the floor (line belayed), just as the lip of The Well of Loneliness is reached. This is a 4m deep pot, about 4m long by 2.5m wide at the top and rather wider and longer at the bottom, where the line is belayed to a lead weight at the 20m mark.

The passage at the base continues as a lowish bedding (about 0.6m high by 2-3m wide) with a silty floor. It is necessary to dodge over silt banks to gain the highest part of the passage. Two roof rifts (aligned along the main passage direction) have been ascended in this part of the sump, but both became tight and wiggly and did not reach airspace.

At the 50m mark, the passage becomes rather higher and silt free. Rock flakes are used as belays. The passage is about 2-3m wide and about 1-1.5m high. At the 110m mark, a silt bank on the left partially obstructs the passage, and beyond this point the height is again restricted by silt on the floor. At about 170m in, the passage appears to widen abruptly to possibly 4-5m wide, though still only about 1.5m high. 10m further on is the current limit of exploration. The configuration of the passage was difficult to determine at this point, due to poor visibility, though the roof level remained constant.

The sump initially follows the eastward direction established at the sump pool, curving gradually leftwards to the north and then west. The final heading measured is 310° (at 140m in). Depth at this point is ~6m, constant since the base of the Well. The last 40m continued in the same manner, though bad vis and nerves prevented any decent shot at surveying here.

Steve Roberts