Six Mile Tunnel - Kinta Valley, Perak, Malaysia.


Tall reeds, muddy ground, squelch, squelch. Stop to smear the sweat on my forehead, swat a mosquito and shift the awkward tractor inner tube to the other arm. Geoffrey was out in front with the parang trying to find the muddiest route. Five more minutes and we were through. The calm waters of the lotus lake stretched out in front. What? The cave entrance is in the wall on the other side? We went entering a narrowing valley with familiar over hanging limestone cliffs. We waded through the next bit until the roots had us all tripped up, covered in mud and feeling arrgh! The lotus pond was 4ft of water on top of 6ft of mud, too shallow to swim, too deep to walk, you lay on the tube and fought passed the plants.

Eventually open water and the entrance was sighted, the adrenaline flowing. “Err, Liz” said Geoffrey. “The best bit is the duck at the start. “THE WHAT!” Fine, a quick swim, 4” air space, another swim (reminiscent of the long wet one in France) and then beautiful stream passage. Tall thin rift passage with 2” merry gurgling stream at the bottom. Flood marks not too horrifying. Heavy rains would block the exit but there’s plenty of places to wait it out

Tramp, tramp, echo, echo and the passage becomes wider and taller. Some signs of mining activities about 20ft up. Geoffrey went up to explore and I dubiously followed until I saw what he was climbing over. I retreated under a large solid overhang until the magic phrase - “nothing going” It narrowed and then amphitheatred with a clean pure waterfall type shower in the middle. What a perfect site to strip and clean off the lotus grime and collected sweat.

Skinny dip over, (well almost) we toiled to the top of the mud slope and followed the inlet passage on - until we came to a mined shaft going downwards as far as the lights could show. The passage carried on, but on the other side. No footholds, no safety, so ropes next time - and backtracking. A few formations in the roof and some flow stone in various nooks and crannies. All were checked for draught and space beyond.
Another shower - we were sweaty again and back to tramping the stream passage. Deeper, narrower and - a junction. Big way straight on, small way left - which way? Left. The roof got lower, then lower still. Hands and knees stuff. Then a 1ft waterfall to 1ft high stream passage. Nose in the water, elbow wriggling time. There’s one thing not to be said for this caving in shorts and T shirt stuff. Easily Damaged Elbows. The rock got more and more serrated - Porridge Machine Stuff up Misty Mountain down Link.

 
After 10 minutes the way on beckoned straight as a die and still very low. Neil, I’ve left it for you or if I’m wearing a long sleeved top, perhaps me on another day. I jibbed and went back to the others who hadn’t got passed the hands and knees bit. Unfinished business!

On and on then a couple of corners, then daylight. We emerged into an enormous 900m x 800m Wang. (Philip measured it once) 25 years ago the land was cleared for mining, since then the jungle has grown back. We went for a wander, Geoffrey out in front, the knife flashing in the dappled sunlight. We stuck to the walls looking for more entrances. Found a few no hopers, then climbed to a promising hole. It only went 10m which was a shame. Still the massive sun-dried turds in the entrance suggested a large gibbon had once lived there, perhaps he carried the dead leaves in? Further on we rejoined the stream and found the source. Beautiful waterfall straight out of limestone.

No way in, it trickles out through many small cracks. We cooled off in the pool at the bottom and stopped to fill Philip’s lungs with tar and ash. We had a good scramble over some nice limestone walls, big jugs, easy footholds, what a view! An almost perfect oval Wang, there had to be another entrance hidden somewhere in all that undergrowth. Mind you, I know why we left it for someone else to find another day - back to the shade and cooler temperature of the cave.

Way out was uneventful bar battery failure - good old carbide. The swim out refreshing - duck - what duck - that felt good. We floated around a bit to look at the setting sun and eat lotus seeds. Then before the little bastards could suck more blood, went for the sumo wrestling section in the mud and the reeds.

“I-low can you get the car so filthy?” said Jen...

“Oh my God, look at you lot!”

“Where’s the beer Jen? Ta”

Six Mile Tunnel is only one and a half miles long but one of the best so far!

 

Elizabeth Daniels.

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