This song tells of various places and happenings in Swildons Hole, arguably Mendip's finest cave. The verses were composed by various people over many years as events happened. The main streamway of the cave is divided by a series of sumps - hence the name of that part of the cave between the sumps - Swildons 1, 2, 3, etc. (Up to 12 at the time of writing).
O.C.L. was a well known caver - Oliver Cromwell Lloyd. Shatter Pot is very loose and it was occasionally necessary to take cover from falling boulders.
As caving became more popular and Swildons more crowded, people began to install fixed aids so that no tackle was required to be carried and queues were reduced at each obstacle. Some cavers objected to the cave being littered with "via ferrata" like aids. Swildons 4 was first discovered in 1957 by a high level route which came out a good six feet above the streamway. A ladder was provided for ease of access which someone unknown removed. It was eventually replaced by a chain which has survived. Willie Stanton installed steel rungs and chains on the twenty foot pot and I went down with with a hacksaw, removed them and returned them to Willie. OCL though it such a laugh that he wrote that verse! The ladder was removed from Greasy Chimney at about the same time.
The rift is the vertical one leading to Puke Swine Passage (named after Steve Wynn Roberts), South East Inlet. Mike and Moira prefer to remain anonymous!
The Forty Foot Pot (it was actually about 30 foot high) is no longer there. You approached it down a passage called the Water Rift down which flowed the stream. Stalagmite barriers became ducks at times of high water levels which often caused problems for cave rescuers followed by the waterfall down which was the Forty ladder pitch. It was assumed that the floor of the passage was a solid stream bed but little did we know that the Water Rift was half filled with boulders and debris washed in over many years which were washed away in the floods of 1968. You now walk down an easy Water Rift passage to a drop of only 8 feet above the bottom of the Forty.
Sump 3 is 40 feet long and deep. It is not recommended as a free dive! Damp link is a similarly forbidding place and a high level route to Swildons six which can only otherwise be reached by cave divers. It contains two static sumps which must be bailed and between them the air quality is suspect. Rescue would probably be impossible from here. Jim Cobbett was a large boned Wessex/Executer/Pegasus member who tended to get stuck in small passages!
There's a Hole on Priddy Green, down below,
Where a few of us have been, down below,
There's a place called Swildons Four
Where we dive sumps by the score,
We ain't going there no more, down below.
There's a sump we have to dive, down below,
And it's here we sit and skive, down below,
There's a Black Hole you can climb
Long low crawls through mud and slime,
Ain't it all a waste of time, down below.
There's a chimney just like glass, down below,
And it's difficult to pass, down below,
If you've legs like O.C.L.
You can do it very well,
But for us it's bloody hell, down below.
There's a place called Shatter Pot, down below,
And they say it's had it's lot, down below,
There's a cavern vast and wide
With a small hole in the side,
And it's here we sit and hide, down below.
There's a rift they call the Swine, down below,
And it's difficult to climb, down below,
It goes up at quite a slant,
At the top the ledge is scant,
And it's here we sit and pant, down below.
There's a drop to Swildons Four, down below,
There's no ladder there no more, down below,
If you fall out of that crack,
And you come down with a smack,
There's no way of getting back, down below,
Willy Stanton had an itch, down below,
To improve the twenty pitch, down below,
But his efforts were in vain,
With his stemple and his chain,
Roger's sent them back again, down below.
If you ever get the horn, down below,
Then your foreskin will get torn, down below,
As you squeeze along thos crawls
You will wear away your balls,
And your screams will fill the halls, down below.
If you ever want to screw, down below,
Try between sumps 3 and 2, down below,
Mike and Moira did it first
And his crutch piece nearly burst,
But the mudbank came off worst, down below.
There's a 40 foot long drop, down below,
When its dry we reach the top, down below,
When the Swildons waters rise
You can here the Weegies cries,
"Pull us up before we dies", down below.
One the '40' cast its spell, down below,
Till the day the flood rains fell, down below,
Though the way is smooth an clear
And there's nothing left to fear,
Some in passing shed a tear, down below,
There's a place they call sump 3, down below,
And some say you dive it free, down below,
When you're running out of breath
And you think you've met your death,
Then they say there's nothing left down below.
There's a place they call damp link, down below,
Where the water's black, like ink, down below,
When your face is turning blue,
From excess of CO2,
It will be the death of you, down below.
There'a a place they call bang squeeze, down below,
Most of us get through with ease, down below,
If you ever pass that way,
On a trip with Cobbett J,
You'll be there all f-----g day, down below.