Mendip cavers go 200ft underground for Christmas party

Tuesday Diggers Christmas party underground
Image caption It took the caving group, wearing fancy dress costumes, about an hour to reach the party venue 60 m (200ft) underground

A group of cavers who discovered what is thought to be the largest cave in the Mendips has held its Christmas party 60m (200ft) below the surface.

Frozen Deep, a 30m (98ft) high by 60m (197ft) long cave in Cheddar, was found by the Tuesday Diggers in September.

The caving group, wearing fancy dress costumes, travelled down to a chamber halfway to Frozen Deep for their party.

Caver Nick Chipchase said he had avoided the mulled wine after falling "quite a height" at last year's party.

'Not mad rave'

According to Mr Chipchase, it took the group about an hour to reach their party venue.

"We decorated our kit and I had a white boiler suit with Santa's Little Helper written on it," he said.

Image caption The cave, Frozen Deep, is the height of a 10-storey building and is filled with stalactites, stalagmites and vertical columns

"There were a few festive trimmings, a Christmas pie and we managed to get a small Christmas tree down without getting it crushed or muddy."

It is the third time the group has held its Christmas party deep underground.

"It's a mad crazy thing to do but it is tied in with conservation, we have our Christmas party and then we do our tidying up," said Mr Chipchase.

"It's not just a mad rave down a cave - and it's been a good year after finding the Frozen Deep in September."

Since the discovery of the Frozen Deep, which has the largest floor space in the UK, the group has discovered a large 300m-long passageway near Cheddar.

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