Montagu West

This leads from camera.gif (251 bytes)the eastern end of MONTAGU EAST PASSAGE near to where it joins BILL TAYLOR'S PASSAGE a climb up the mud slope leads to a narrow passage and a strategically place fixed iron ladder. Above this a short descent enters a larger section, and a short crawl emerges into a chamber with several holes in the floor leading directly to the MASTER CAVE nearly 30m below.

Alternating stretches of walking and stooping lead to a junction with the far larger PORTCULLIS PASSAGE. To the left here narrows into a rift with two holes in the floor which connect with Waterfall Passage 9m below, whilst beyond them another junction is quickly reached. The right hand branch, which has been excavated quickly gets low and splits into two and both ways quickly choke.

Saturday Afternoon Series

Original Exploration: RRCPC Newsletter. Vol. 35 No. 1 Article 2. July 1998

Left at the junction at the southern end of Portcullis Passage is the SATURDAY AFTERNOON SERIES. A sandy crawl leads off left for about 50 metres to a low excavated section. Beyond the passage gradually increases in size to a rift and a complex junction. First left leads to a short crawl and choked 5m aven. Second left leads to a dig up through cobbles and boulders. Straight on is a slope up blocked with mud, but the main way on to the right is an obvious phreatic tube to a another junction. Right here leads to a large 10m high aven. This has been climbed and appears to be choked at the top.

Left from the last junction leads to T junction but the left passage quickly chokes, while to the right is a low excavated sandy crawl with a sharp left hand bend enlarging to a sandy ramp and 5m aven with a constricted crawl at the top. At the base of the ramp is a squeeze through to a low crawl. This area is thought to connect to MONTAGU SOUTH PASSAGE

Back at the junction with Portcullis Passage to the right continues as a hands and knees crawl, past The Portcullis itself, to where the mud floor slopes down to a rock floor. Just beyond the roof lifts and two rifts cross the floor, the first one connects on the left with Waterfall Passage. The continuing passage now has banks of sand and gravel along its sides, and eventually a 'T' junction is reached at Cross Passage.

To the left here leads in a few metres to a drop down into the active streamway of Waterfall passage, whilst to the right enlarges considerably as it enters Wilf Taylor's Passage.

Waterfall Passage

A short climb down from Cross Passage into Waterfall Passage enters a narrow canyon passage which can be followed upstream for a short way to where the roof lowers and the passage splits in two. The right hand branch continues as a 46m crawl in water to a sump. This starts with a slight squeeze over a gravel floor into a 2m wide and 0.6m high passage that passes several airbells and a right hand bend at 2 m. Another airbell is passed at 28m beyond which the passage surfaces after a dive of 33m. Here the passage turns sharply to the left and ends at an impassably low bedding above water. A vocal connection was made here with the upstream end of Wilf Taylor's Passage. The water in this sump is from Bull Pot of the Witches.

The left hand passage has been dug and bailed for 15m and is very low. This has been dye tested from a passage in GALE GARTH POT

Downstream continues as a high narrow canyon passage with dark mud covered walls. Easy walking leads steadily on to where the gradient steepens to reach several small water chutes, and finally, an easily descended 3.7m sloping waterfall. At the foot of the waterfall is a large cross rift, and the stream flows into the right hand extension and sumps. This has been dived for 6m to a point where the walls and roof close in and the water flows into a very low bedding.The chamber itself, Waterfall Chamber, is fairly spacious and very tall. From the far side a narrow rift leads down a steep mud slope to enter the MASTER CAVE at a sharp corner.

About 50 metres back upstream from the start of the cascades is a climb on the left up a fixed rope to an inlet passage. This leads via two squeezes and some stooping passage to the "Virgin's Grip" which pops out into the 17m long HEMINGWAY HALL. A low bedding on the left lead out of here.This Infinity Bedding goes for about 20m to a junction. The right hand one eventually becomes too tight. This area is very close to he end of MONTAGU SOUTH PASSAGE

Wilf Taylor's Passage

Back at Cross Passage to the right a step down leads into the large Wilf Taylor's Passage. camera.gif (251 bytes) Upstream to the left the passage can be followed in a gradually lowering route to a pool which finally sumps. The sump can be dived through to BULL POT OF WITCHES.

The sump pool in Wilf Taylor's Passage is usually static. During normal water conditions the main flow leaves the sump at some undetermined point (probably on the right going downstream) to emerge from the right hand branch sump upstream in Waterfall (251 bytes)

Downstream from the junction the passage narrows to become a high rift with clean washed rock walls and floor - obviously a flood route in wet weather. At the first right hand bend going downstream is a step up onto a ledge leading to a pool. This is the top end of WILF TAYLOR'S 2 which reenters the main passage further downstream (see below) Easy walking leads to a series of chutes and Double Decker Pot with a fairly easy climb down to the floor of the chamber, although rather frightening when viewed from above. From the end of the low chamber twin rift passages quickly reunite, and a zig-zag route with several small water chutes finally emerges from an uninspiring entrance into the MASTER CAVE only a few metres upstream from the junction with Waterfall Passage.

From the half way ledge on the Double Decker Pot climb a slot in the the left wall pops out into a parallel rift. Downstream from here leads through a sand dig for about 10m to a narrow undescended pitch down, the base of which can be reached from the Main Drain just upstream of where Wilf Taylor's enters, where a short passage leads to an aven and a vocal connection with the narrow pitch above.

The upstream passage(WILF TAYLOR'S 2) is a stooping passage for about 60m to a sump. This very constricted sump should not be free dived, but leads to a canal and a further rift with a climb up to a short bedding plane crawl which joins back into the top end of Wilf Taylor's Passage.

R.R.C.P.C. 2000