All the snow melt has cleared, the rain stayed away and a trip into Battle of Britain in DYO was on. Our aims were to repair the equipment cloths line, line laying and do a smoke test. We were also desperately keen to get some pictures for Pete as we both know how much he likes them.
Andrew and I arrived at DYO and carried some kit up to the entrance before returning to the car to change. We had arranged to meet Bernie who appeared out of the cave and handed over a smoke kit. We agreed to let the smoke off at 2pm and synchronised watches.
The water was at the normal level and clear. After diving through to Hard Cheese, Andrew set about repairing the cloths line and I set off to lay some line out in a Southerly direction across the bedding plane. The idea being to create a large target to hit on a planned future dive from the outlet from Gwynne Saunders Hall. Unfortunately the bedding thwarted any attempt to head South and the line ended up trending WSW (ish). Progress was made over floor pots connected by phreatic windows until 20 m of line had been laid at which point a final belay tied on to the same point as an old bit of line. This turned out to be Andrew’s old final belay from 20 years ago when he was trying to find the way on before the dry stuff in BoB was found. On that trip he had gone about 6 m beyond the belay but with no new belays available had turned the dive.
Out of the water and in the dry passage at the SW corner of Gwynne Saunders Hall where we had felt a draft on a previous trip the smoke test kit was prepared. We started the test just before 2pm by lighting a jos-stick (sp?) to satisfy ourselves that the smoke was blowing away from us and into the cave beyond where Bernie and his team would be waiting to try and spot where it came from. Once we were happy with the direction of the draft we lit several of the smoke pellets and retreated to a safe distance. The smoke was running up the rift well and not blowing back into BoB. We made our exit to the sunshine.
Speaking to Bernie later he reported that no smoke or smell was detected. This is a disappointing result. A lot of smoke went up the rift in BoB and it must have gone somewhere but we don’t know where. The two passages we were looking at may be connected and the result could be down to the direction of the draft but with the amount of smoke that went up the rift the link looks unlikely unless there is an large alternative passage connected to it.
It was a very good and useful trip, the only downside was that Andrew’s camera flooded. So no pictures. (Tish, I have the phone number for the Samaritans for Pete if you haven’t got it.)