Buttered Badger Potholing Club
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Three smoke pellets: two too many!

Mark & Lizzie
14th April 2013

For a little while I have been wanting to try and find out where the draught blowing out of the Abyss level in Rowter comes from. After some faffing I eventually got hold of some smoke pellets- the type used for testing chimneys and convinced Lizzie to come down with me for some smoke testing. We let the first off just down the start of the passage near the base of the shaft. It was obvious from this that the draught was all blowing from further down the level and not our of the shaft floor or the small chamber off to the left. We continued down the level to the scaffolded shaft and let two more off... The smoke hung in the air in this large space and there was no obvious howling source of the air current. At the constriction near the main shaft it really was moving quite rapidly  out of the cave but it was hard to pinpoint any specific source. All of a sudden I began to realise that perhaps 3 pellets was a bit too much and really one would have done... The smoke had filled almost the whole of Rowter and accompanied us up the main shaft right to the surface. We couldn't see daylight until we were within about 30m of the top!
All in all a useful exercise and the smoke pellets definitely worked!