This is a song which was written about Mendip but which was never sung on Mendip, in my opinion because it is sung to a Scottish tune which is difficult to sing comunally but is also unknown and alien to Mendip. Written by Peter Mcnab ("Snab"), originally of the Grampian Speleological Group, the chorus is much modified from the original "Jonny Cope" tune on which it is based which is how it is now mostly sung in Scotland.
The song describes a particularly fast caving trip around Swildons Hole. Barry Lane was a Shepton "hard man" until he was married and became a sheep farmer (no really) and Goon is Alan Jefferies, Mr GSG himself! The verses tell of a "round trip" down Swildons which is a difficult route normally done in a clockwise direction due to two static sumps called the Double Troubles which used sometimes to need baling and could only be emptied from this direction. The usual time to complete this trip was in the region of three hours and was considered more arduous if done in the opposite direction. Barry was my caving partner for many years and I do have difficulty believing this song!
Oh I sent a letter to Barry Lane,
Saying Barry meet us if yer keen,
We're the fastest cavers Mendips seen,
And we'll race you in the morning.
Hey Barry Lane are ye walking yet,
And is the record broken yet,
If ye were walking I would wait,
Tae do the round trip in the morning.
When Barry took the letter upon,
He took his boots the cupboard from,
Saying "come with me my Shepton men",
And we'll do the round trip in the morning.
When Snab and Goon read the meets list,
They said on this we canna miss,
And charged their lamps in readyness,
For the Round Trip in the morning.
Next morning at the barn of Maine,
Were Snab and Goon and Barry Lane,
"Aha" they said, "we meet again,
To do the Round Trip in the morning".
Oh Barry set off at a run,
To beat the fastest time he'd done,
He went so fast he did a ton,
In Swildons in the morning".
But Snab and Goon did not delay,
They swore they'd be the first that day,
And they'd go round the other way,
To beat Barry Lane in the morning.
The Double Troubles found all three,
Ploughing through a muddy sea,
Did you bail said Barry, "No" said we,
As we passed each other in the morning.
The streamway was a flat out race,
And everyone stepped up the pace,
No one wanted to loose face,
And be last out in the morning.
At the Wet Way Barry Lane he led,
So the Scotsmen round the Dry Way fled,
And they beat him out by a very short head,
And it only took an hour in the morning.
This story has a moral to tell,
It matters not if you can move like hell,
So long as you get out fit and well,
For opening time in the morning.