Updated: Feb 16
Wookey Hole Caves will always have a very special place in my heart.
It is a weird, slightly crazy, slightly spooky tourist attraction in the middle of deepest Somerset. Many WetWellies clients have visited the 'other end' of the Wookey system, Swildons Hole, which has been dye traced to connect with Wookey Hole. When dye was tipped into the water in Swildons Hole it emerged TWENTY FOUR hours later at Wookey resurgence.
It has been the dream of every British cave diver I know to connect the two but alas, the connection has only ever been made by that dye.
Mark Burkey in 'Coases Loop Extension' in Wookey Hole, right below the public gallery. Video: Christine Grosart with Paralenz Dive Camera
Swildons Hole ends at sump 12, a tight underwater passage which gets too small for humans and is a long slog to get to in any case. I've been to sump 12 twice and would take a lot or persuading to go back again...
Wookey Hole, at the bottom of the hill heading towards the city of Wells, is an impressive resurgence cave where a huge collection of water which has drained through the Mendip hills, comes rushing out of the cave mouth.
Divers conducted the very first hard hat dives in this cave in 1935 and Graham Balcombe and Penelope 'Mossy' Powell ventured upstream in Wookey Hole for the first time. It was from this underground chamber, chamber 3, now visited by tourists every day, that I made my first cave dive in Wookey Hole in 2005.
Mark diving towards the 'slot' in Wookey Hole.
Camera: Christine Grosart with Paralenz Dive Camera
On 17th February this year (2019) I took my Cave Diving Group trainee Mark Burkey on his first cave dive in Wookey Hole.
We were blessed with superb visibility so he could begin to get to know the place and he had the luxury of being filmed (for training feedback, of course) which meant bright video lights illuminating the large underwater passages.
Mark is an outstanding cave photographer and I am very excited about the prospect of him being able to take photographs beyond sumps, as my mentor Clive Westlake once did, albeit mainly in black and white.