How to use this?
|These reports are meant to be useful.|
Include information such as:
Keep it brief!
|Date:||14-16 Oct 2016||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||David, Sam, Weipeng,Patrick, Olly, Stuart, Adrian||Novice ok?||N/a|
Saturday: OFD1 to Cwm Dwr;
Saturday: Cwm Dwr - Fault Aven - Top Entrance.
Sunday: Riverside and cross-country walk from Pontneddfechan.
|Date:||12-14 Feb 2016||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Patrick Stewart Sam Wenham, Olly Madge, Adrian Horrell, Aiora Zabala, Mark Shinwell||Novice ok?||N/a|
Saturday: One group to Agen Allwedd (Main stream passage).
Wonderful St Valentine's themed group dinner at The Bear. Some snow fell during the trip.
Sunday: Nice walk along the canal & river from Gilwern.
|Date:||16-18 Oct 2015||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||David Walker, Max Schneiderman, Josiah Yan, Wade Suen, Yining Neo, Yuqun Lin, Conor Bolas, Marius Cannon, Michael Sargent, Adrian, Mark||Novice ok?||N/a|
|Date:||23-25 Jan 2015||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||David, Matt, Aled, Olly, Gareth||Novice ok?||N/a|
Saturday: Top to Cwm Dwr.
Sunday: Short round trip in top
|Cave:||Agen Allwedd, Ogof y Daren Cilau||Hut:||Whitewalls|
|Date:||31 Jan-2 Feb 2014||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Alex L, Claire, Smita,Alex B, Anya, Matt, Jess, Olly, Mark, Aiora, Sam, Stuart, Gareth, Adrian.||Novice ok?||N/a|
Saturday: An enjoyable few hours looking around Aggy, taking in the impressive Main Passage and The Southern Streamway.
Sunday: In an unguarded moment at the pub a week or so before this trip, a Caver of Larger Circumference had let slip that he might be persuaded to try Daren Cilau. Being unable to think of a convincing excuse, he found himself walking up the hillside on Sunday morning with a jovial group of cavers who kept picking up (and being admonished to put down) pointy sticks, and soon was underground. He had secretly pinned his hopes on not fitting through The Vice. After a few minutes quiet contemplation followed by a few minutes of wriggling, however, he was horrified to find himself on the other side. There he was met by Another Caver, grinning from ear to ear in a manner that plainly said 'you've had it now, mate.' A slightly delayed pair of cavers caught up in the entrance crawl, and the combined group of six proceeded through the cave to exit at Price's Dig - an impressive piece of navigation by Another Caver. The Caver of Larger Circ. was knackered.
|Date:||8-10th Nov 2013||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cave:||Ogof Draenen, Ogof y Daren Cilau||Hut:||Whitewalls|
|Date:||9-10th Mar 2013||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Jess, Sam, Emma, Edvin, Kathryn, Adrian||Novice ok?||N/a|
Saturday: Ogof Draenen. All up for breakfast at 7:30am so we could make it to the Lamb and Fox just in time to piggyback on a digging trip. We were late. Fortunately, we appeased them by contributing Emma to the dig effort (actually, she just didn't say no quickly or convincingly enough). The rest of us were underground by 10am (surely some mistake? Ed), and dispatched the entrance series fairly efficiently, owing to gravity assist for the larger caver. We were soon signing in at Cairn Junction. After a side trip to Straw Grotto, and a stop for Edvin to test some rusted-to-crap in-situ gear, we made for Gilwern Passage via Wonderbra Bypass. Much tedious boulder hopping was amply rewarded by some spectacular formations. At the end of the passage, the more dimensionally blessed elements of the team went on to explore north of a bouldery squeeze. Regrouping, we walked, teetered, clambered and cracked our shins back south along Gilwern Passage and on for a look at the streamway before heading out. We bypassed the bypass, securing opprobrium for the navigator. The entrance series seemed much wetter and colder on the way out! T/U 6.5hrs.
Sunday: A few determined and hardy cavers (Jess, Emma, Sam) ambled into Daren Cilau while the rest of us went for a stroll and lazed about the hut.
|Date:||25th-27th Jan 2013||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Matt Watson, Mark Shinwell, Alex Crow, Jess Stirrups, Aiora Zabala, Simon Iremonger, John Bennetts, Tom Leighton, Henry Dawson (BEC), Adrian Horrell||Novice ok?||N/a|
|Cave:||OFD I, Llygad Llwchwr||Hut:||SWCC|
|Date:||26 - 28 Oct 2012||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Joshua Weiss, Rui Hao, Meekail Nasym, David Walker, Robert Wilson, Lara Spencer, Martin Green, Edvin Deadman, Jess Stirrups, Alex Crow, Stuart Bennett, Adrian Horrell||Novice ok?||N/a|
Saturday: Two groups for round trips in OFD I. Despite setting off on different routes, the parties ran into each other much more often than one might expect. Fun at Roundabout Chamber, some impressive formations and fine wet streamway made for an interesting and varied trip. Evening entertainment included a Saucepan and Sling friendly against UBSS.
Sunday: A combined group visited Llygad Llwchwr on the western edge of the Black Mountain, half an hour's drive from the hut. Wriggling into a little hole above the stream resurgence gets you into a compact and interesting cave where high-level passageway meets the streamway in a series of impressive chambers.
|Cave:||OFD I, Cwm Dwr, Pant Mawr||Hut:||SWCC|
|Date:||20 - 22 Jul 2012||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Siobhan McGowan, Nial Peters, Matt Watson, Edvin Deadman, Kathryn Hopkins, Jess Stirrups, Olaf Kaehler, Mark Shinwell, David Molnar, Aiora||Novice ok?||N/a|
OFD1 - Cwm Dwr exchange on Saturday. Nial, Matt, Edvin, Kathryn & Jess visiting the Pompon on the way to Cwm Dwr exit (Pictures!). Siobhan, Olaf, Mark, David and Aiora on an epic 10hrs trip on the way to OF1 stream (Pictures!)
Pant Mawr on Sunday, glorious weather for the 1hr long walk. Cavers: Siobhan, Nial, Edvin, Kathryn, Olaf, Aiora
Mark, Matt, David somewhere else...
|Cave:||Darren and Craig||Hut:||Whitewalls|
|Date:||20 - 22 Apr 2012||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Bela Dimova, Andrew Diver, Nial Peters, Dan Storisteanu, Tess Jones, Wookey, Gareth, Aiora||Novice ok?||N/a|
Darren up to the Time Machine on Saturday (Nial, Bela, Andrew, Dan, Aiora), 10hrs underground Craig on Sunday (Wookey, Andrew, Dan, Bela, Aiora), 6 hrs underground
|Date:||27-29 Jan 2012||Tackle:||40m + some, a few jammers|
|Cavers:||Tom Handford, Tess Jones, Jan Lellmann, Siobhan McGowan, Mark Shinwell, Jess Stirrups, Daniel Storisteanu, Matt Watson, Wookey, Aiora Zabala||Novice ok?||N/a|
Saturday 28th: Team keen consisted of Wookey, Jess, Tom and guest appearance by Olaf. They decided to go practice their cave flying skills in OFDIII and came back looking very tired.
The second party consisted of Matt, Aiora and the newbies (Danial, Siobhan and Jan), who opted for a more civilised bimble round OFDII.
Sunday 29th: Nobody was feeling ultra keen today, so we all went into Cwm Dwr down to the stream way - we split into two groups, one went via the wet way and the other via the dry way. Guest appearances by Olaf (who unsurprisingly didn't like the streamway) and Gareth.
|OFD III to Smith's Armoury (2012.01.28) (Wookey) - Detailed description (T/U: 8hrs)|
| Wookey was on his first caving trip since expo, a mere 6 months ago, whilst Tom was on his first trip since October 2008. (he's been skulking in Cambridge all that time but apparently avoiding potholes :-).
We wanted/needed some proper exercise and the weather was good (too nice to go caving really), so we headed across the traverses in OFDIII to Smith's Armoury right at the top end of the streamway. Not quite hard enough for the full 'welsh trips don't need ropes' approach we took a 'welsh SRT' approach with a 40m rope and another shorter piece, but no ladders and one foot-jammer each.
This is a very fine trip, although don't come if your shinning and 'ignoring big drops' skills aren't up to scratch as it has a great deal of shinning up and down and the famous traverses over rather large drops. It is possible to do the whole trip with no gear (Wookey was taken there this way sometime in the early 90's but even he thought it was a bit 'keen'). The 9m pitch/climb at the end of the crevasse really does need a handline+jammer at least. And a sensible level of gear is: 40m rope for the crevasse (5m down, traverse over big hole, 9m pitch). It would be a great deal easier if you brought a 30ft ladder for the 9m pitch, but we all managed with 1 jammer+footloop. There is also one 4m climb further on (before the traverses) which is sufficiently tricky that a rope is very sensible. A handy boulder at the top means you can pull it through afterwards if you bring a 12m bit of rope, otherwise you need a competent victim to downclimb it.
We spent a good long time peering at the surveys to find the route and drew a very useful copy of the survey for the part from the Wedding cake to Bowhani junction, which is where most of the horizontal navigation is. The Wikipedia entry for the route from the crevasse to the streamway is really useful - we might not have made it without this as which level to be at is not totally obvious in places.
The shortest route is via Timo's table, but as we wanted to a) go a way we knew at least the start of and b) show the others the way we went via Salubrious streamway.
The two teams for the day joined up as far as the Salubrios junction so that Matt could remind himself what he was looking for on the way back. This caused a not-very-early start as everyone got sorted, lights were tied to helmets etc.
We got underground at 12:30.
So the route is in ODFII, through the brickyard, past the wedding cake, down the corkscrew climb to Salubrious then up Salubriuos through a lot of passage that doesn't really look much like the survey (we tried to turn right too early and were generally confused for a while), before finally popping out after a short crawly bit into Chasm passage. It's a lower-level of Chasm at this point, so remember to look out for it on the return.
Go left along the very high Chasm for a short distance, then right into Poached Egg passage, crossing a junction to get to Bowhani junction where 5 passages meet. We took a worthwhile detour for 20m or so to the left to look at 'Straw Gallery' which is indeed very nice. Turns out you can't go round the loop back to the passage due to a big drop, so go back the way you came.
Going down to the right at Bowhani the general up-and-downiness commences, with a tricky climb and some traversing over holes. There is one more right turn to remember otherwise you'll go all the way up Creek Alley, and you have reached the crevase.
This is an easy climb down made disconcerting by the 20m drop you could fall down, then you traverse over the hole and some false floor boulders to a 9m pitch. You can actually freeclimb this but it's really not very sensible, especially on the way back up as it's a slot you can fall out of into the big space, and it's very shiny and awkward. There are nice new stainless hangers+maillons on the crevasse climb+traverse and hangers on the pitch. We used a 42m rope which was plenty. This was handy in fact as when Wookey threw the tacklesack down (after being reassured that that was fine) it bounced off down the next drop to the bottom of the crevasse. Fortunately it was shinnable with a rope so was retreived without too much difficulty.
We continued over more climbs in very up/down passage to get to a big space with a small boulder hole in the bottom corner. The easiest way is between the rocks but we did a tricky climb over the top instead. Down the bottom here seemed to be a dead end at moonmilky flowstone. We had to resort to the instructions as it didn't look traversable or shinnable. It is in fact a tricky 4m climb out of the bottom of the hole. This is the other place you would much prefer a rope (mostly for the return).
Shortly after this the traverses proper are reached. The first move is most entertaining as you have to use a ledge on the left wall and teeter over, but it does have some very handy stal fingerholds which actually make it quite easy. Just don't think about the huge drop. There are no bolts anyway (that we saw) so a rope won't help. More traversing follows, with an unhelpfully wide bit at the end. Wookey did all of it about 6 times back and forth, showing the best route, and everyone made it.
The dead-straight passage ends at a hole in the floor. down there, then back under the floor to climb down an awkward canyon then back again to a upwards squeeze which would keep the fatties out. You can just feel (more than hear) the rumble of the streamway by now.
Not too long after comes the bit in the photo with the really scary-looking ledge of calcited crap. This is in fact dead easy as you just step across the corner using a handy stal handhold. You have also become largely inured to big drops and delicate moves by now. There are some notable pretties along the way. All that caving and climbing has been an effective numpty-filter so things are not trashed.
Next is the comedy maypole bridge (long scaf-bar over big hole with the streamway below, which is also easier than it looks. God knows who carried that 15ft bar all the way down here! Well done to you sir.
Despite having arrived at the streamway (it's just below through holes) you keep going along this passage in a rather confusing fashion until you really do come out at the streamway without climbing.
Jess had been desperate for a piss for hours now, so enormous relief took place.
We plopped into the streamway and waded on up, accompanied by wails from Olaf, who _really_ doesn't like getting cold and wet. The stream is quite 'canal'y here mostly knee to thigh deep and very calm, but it was bloody freezing and my knees soon went numb. Turns out that Olaf the wailer has those knee-length wetsocks which are popular with welsh cavers, and was still moaning! The deepest water was just above MSBL but it's easy to trip over a rock or slide on smooth sandy rock and get wetter.
We saw 4 white cave fish, the longest about 12cm. They have eyes, but don't appear to be able to see.
The streamway is beatiful with marble streakings, sandbanks, and all sorts of forms. It's much quieter than down at I and II. It took about 40 mins to get to Smith's Armoury where we had a quick snack and buggered off out again. Wading for over an hour gives you thigh-ache.
So then we wizzed back out, not getting lost at all and not hanging around too much. There was a certain amount of quiet concentration and ehightened pulserates from Tom on the way back over the traverses, and we all struggled up the crevasse pitch with our welsh-SRT single jammer. But overall an efficient return was made and we were out in 3 hours (it took nearly 5 to get in).
Tess had been a star and cooked dinner for all by the time we got back, so a huge plate of pasta +veggie+oxfords leftovers was scoffed.
A most excellent trip with a great deal of caving in it. It should be done more often than once every 20years. I was knackered though and had to go to bed by 11pm.
Oh, and Wookey and Tom had terrible body-ache the next day.
T/U: 8 hours.
|Cave:||Aggie and Daren (Saturday), Ogof Craig y Fynnon (Sunday)||Hut:||Whitewalls|
|Date:||19-20 Jan 2008||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Tom Handford, Tess Jones, Jan Lellmann, Siobhan McGowan, Mark Shinwell, Jess Stirrups, Daniel Storisteanu, Matt Watson, Wookey, Aiora Zabala||Novice ok?||N/a|
|Cave:||Swildons ~ short-round variant||Hut:||Wessex|
|Date:||18 Nov 2017||Tackle:||Ladders for Swildons and rope|
|Cavers:||Tom Crossley, Rad, John Toft, Ruairidh||Novice ok?||Were present but please do NOT repeat with novices|
|TL;DR: Sumps 3, 2, 1 (in about that order) with more ducks than you would expect (with bonus of sump 3 two extra times for Tom, in his 5th ever cave)|
Morning of The Trip. Awoke to exclamation of: ‘I’ve already told you to f#ck off!’ at 8am (fellow caver reacting to being offered a cup of tea). This time was widely agreed as an unacceptable hour for caving endeavours, considering the 2.00am sock wrestling tournament shortly before.
Summary of participants and preparation: two cavers in wetsuits (one of home-made vintage and the other a 2mm shortie) and two cavers completely unprepared for contact with water.
Trip commenced at 10.00am following instigation of “Alpine Start” by Ruairidh. Membership comprised of 4: Ruairidh, Radost, Jon and myself (Tom). The plan was to do the Swildons short round; an ambitious novice trip with sporting streamways given the recent torrential weather, but nonetheless with potential for boredom and frustration if navigation is suboptimal.
We eagerly jogged down towards sump 1 via The Wet Route and a very jammy Italian hitch that made the belay down the ladder/waterfall additionally exciting. Waiting for us at sump 1 was an inviting-looking mound of froth - as inviting as if the sump were a rabid animal waiting to consume mad cavers. We promptly retreated to find the mud sump. We checked our survey and headed back up the streamway.
After numerous false starts, wrong turnings, and dead ends, we found a passage that we assumed to be the way out of the streamway at the most nondescript part of the passage known to man and towards the mud sump. After a short free climb and a small passage, we emerged back into the streamway. Foiled again. Another encouraging-looking climb took us up above the streamway into an unrigged traverse suspended about 15m above the floor. This looked very hopeful, except for the total lack of any surfaces not composed of ultra-smooth calcite at a ~90° angle. Sometime later, just when we were about to give up and dive sump 1, we found the entrance to St Paul’s series. Along this was a muddy climb that appeared to match something that could be a mud sump, and was certainly the road more travelled, so was explored. It went upwards and choked out truly miserably. Given the amount of traffic it had seen however, we were not the only ones to have ended up in this sticky situation, which was consoling. Eventually, we found the entrance to the series leading to the mud sump and followed it through. We stopped to do our contribution to bailing and marvelled for a bit at the complex network of plumbing in place to keep the sump dry.
After the mud sump, we got ourselves almost entirely lost in Paradise Regained. Radost’s summary of the situation varied gradually from “We’re not lost…. Yet” to “I have no idea where we are.” Much later we sat down to consider how miserable it had gotten and why we ever even bothered to leave the warmth and comfort of the tackle store, before we began to try to find a way back. Then Radost decided that he could hear a stream somewhere in the distance (unsurprising given we were in a cave that had a higher H2O composition than some icebergs) - he deduced that this might be the fabled Blue Pencil Passage and set off down some grotty hole in the passage into which a stream trickled.
The grotty hole led to an awkward squeeze that went on interminably through tight jagged corners, and had just the perfect amount of water in it to make fingers and limbs numb. We pushed it long enough to admit that as entertaining a squeeze as it was, it was not worth pursuing just for the sake of it. Then, just as realisation was dawning that I would perhaps never feel sunlight on my skin or hear birdsong again, a highly relieved Radost shouted up to me that he had found the main streamway and that I should go feet first through the next section. I did my best to relay this to Jon behind me, but a communication breakdown occurred after that which resulted in Ruairidh, in the rear, emerging head first like a surprised newborn in a wetsuit into the streamway above the chain two metres from the floor. This method is NOT recommended by the authoritative advice in Mendip Underground, and from on-the-spot appraisal of the process by Ruairidh, I think for good reason (he supplied a commentary composed almost entirely of expletives and prayers to the ancient, antisocial and unhelpful god of caves, Swil-Odin).
We wandered up the passage as far as the entrance to sump 3 and reviewed our situation: we had two pairs of goggles between us, and two of us in wetsuits, two in standard oversuits and a pile of fossilized bones for company by the side of the stream that we preferred not to join.
Ruairidh and I admitted that we would be willing, if skeptical, to try diving the sump. We decided that we would each go a small way, but not entirely in, and then back again so that we had a feel for it without having to commit. At this point we also set up a foolproof signal system using tugs on the rope to allow communication through the sump.
Ruairidh spends a lot of time variously getting psyched up and chickening out, before I offer to seriously attempt it. The entrance is quite committing, being another miserable little hole, only this time at the very bottom of the chest-height pool and totally filled with non-breathable asphyxia-inducing water.
After a false start using a club Pixa headlight on minimum battery, Ruairidh offers his helmet and headlight, with a vastly superior Fenix. This and a very aged club member’s special prescription diving goggles that we nicked do the job, and then several gulps of air and I set off into the unknown. Diving through the darkness hand over hand on the rope, I realise that we have spent the majority of the trip totally lost, so what are the chances that we haven’t somehow ended up at the 20+m infamous sump 12? Oh well, there’s a first time for everything... Dive. Hand over hand. Down. Along. Along. Along.
Up. Out. Breathe Out. Breathe In. Scream.
I made it to the other side, and not the figurative reference to an afterlife, but the very real far side of sump 3. In the state of adrenaline fueled euphoria I pull 3 times on the rope to signal I’m alive. I was in a chamber with no visible way out, and had not been told what to expect on the other side. Subsequently, I found a small muddy ledge and sat on it, accompanied only by a similarly despondent frog, to wait.
And I waited… And waited… And waited some more…
After what felt like fifteen minutes, I was starting to wonder how much oxygen was left in the air bell, and how I could get out of it. I had a look around, searching for some passage up down or sideways that could put me onto dry land. Eventually, I found the way on through - a short duck that had almost sumped dividing the chamber into two airbells, which led into yet more deep water for the entrance to sump 2. Going through the second sump entirely alone wasn’t really a sensible option.
I had to go back through sump 3 and hope that I didn’t meet anyone coming the other way as I did so.
Again, I wade deep into the water, my hands on the rope.
One final breath and I go under.
Again I’m on my back and in front of me is the rope. I pull myself along. More confident this time. At least this time I know that there’s something on the other side.
I surfaced out of the depths. “Why didn’t you come through after me?!”
It turned out that they had not expected me to go through at all, but rather to have another look. They had been sat waiting for me for quite some time, and Ruairidh was just about to have a go at diving through to try and recover his Fenix.
More discussion ensued and it was decided that we would indeed brave the sumps while Radost and Jon went back via Blue Pencil and the mud sump.
Dive. Down. Swim. Along. Tum-ti-tum... This isn’t soo bad. Jesus H. Christ it is f#cking cold. Ruairidh has taken back his helmet and lights; I am now entirely reliant on touch, and given that everything is as numb as Tony Blair’s conscience, this strategy is not proving fantastic...
Along and up. Break the surface. Breathe out. Breathe in.
After a brief further wait for Ruairidh following behind me, and found myself no longer alone in the airbell. We both quickly notice the effect of the low oxygen levels, and decide to get the hell out as fast as possible. Furthermore, the swimming goggles I was wearing (supplied by Radost) did more to restrict vision than aid it - both above and below water. They were bringing on a cracking headache as they dug into my eyes. We go into the next airbell and I lead the way through sump 2, with Ruairidh much closer this time. At one point the ceiling begins to rise upwards a bit, making my oxygen-deprived heart leap at the thought of breathing again, but this is just a cruel trick played by the sump, and it falls again with another few metres of before the real end begins.
When we get out, we are both shivering profusely and hardly able to speak; wordlessly we proceed to bugger off out this cave as fast as possible. The passage is still ver submerged in water though, so progress is still miserable, with sections of crawling through water as the traditional ducks are helpfully extended and combined by high water levels. The sight of sump 1 makes Ruairidh very happy. We pass through it barely noticing its presence, until emerging as Fairy-washing-up-liquid-advert babies on the other side from the foam. After sump 1, we pick up the pace even more, and wordlessly agree that the time has come to exit this burning building before the whole place comes down, a la Batman and Robin. Unlike Batman and Robin, we don’t get a montage of running down collapsing stairs to the batmobile, but another bunch of endless waterfalls to climb and extra-wet passages.
A bunch of cavers were coming down on the ladder that we’d rigged, but as there were about 800 of them and 2 of us, we got priority and continued off at a good rate of knots (this later turned out to be a bit of a mistake as this club was using our ladder and was totally incompetent about remembering things - although Radost and others asked them to bring it back when done, they left it rigged and I had to get it the next day. We should have just coiled it up as we climbed and gone off with it when we had the chance). We continued up and along at a good speed, under the impression that we would prefer to die from exhaustion rather than hypothermia, given the choice. The last few climbs are a bit confusing as we really are quite tired by now, and no longer entirely certain quite which direction is up. We eventually see daylight again though, and finally actually get the out of the cave.
Back at the Wessex hut, after six hours underground, we staggered into the changing room and I went straight for a shower after coming out of the wetsuit, and then had a cup of tea. Ruairidh didn’t even have a shower.
When we get back to the world of voices and humans and tell of our epic exploits in the world beneath the Mendip fields, we get in response “oh, bloody hell, you’ve put a scratch in my nice prescription diving mask!” from ancient club member Wookey, so we retreat to the Hunter’s Lodge instead to contemplate the meaning of the universe in peace.
|Cave:||Eastwater, Swildon's, Goatchurch, GB||Hut:||UBSS Hut|
|Date:||4-6 Nov 2016||Tackle:||One ladder for Swildons|
|Cavers:||Ruairidh, John, Rad, Elaine, Thom, Andrew, Sion (UBSS), David, Sophie, Michael||Novice ok?||Yes|
Friday: We joined UBSS for their annual Bonfire Night meet. It took us all bloody ages to get there due to huge hold-ups on the M4, but some of us got to the Hunter's in time for dinner, then we managed to drink some homebrew before getting an "early night" at 3am.
Saturday: Elaine and Thom joined Andrew and Sion from UBSS for a longer trip to Eastwater (Southbank round trip). All nations of the UK were represented on this team. Novices Alasdair, John and Radost were accompanied by David and Sophie to Swildon's for a trip through Sump 1. They had to be dissuaded from doing the Short Round - got to stick to your call out! Michael joined some UBSS members to hit up Goatchurch and spent the rest of the day tending the lamb and bonfire. Wookey and Tess turned up later in the day in time for lamb and fireworks, then a range of caving games ensued: Ladder Traversing, Suspended Sock Wrestling, Potato & Chair, and Apples On Strings.
Sunday: One party went to GB, while those less able to walk following Saturday's exploits/not in possession of a dry undersuit/generally not feeling keen went to Cheddar for a walk, cream tea, and hot mulled cider.
|Cave:||GB, Sidcot, Lionel's||Hut:||Fernhill Farm|
|Date:||25-27 Nov 2016||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Elaine, Roshni||Novice ok?||N/a|
This is part of CHECC trip:
Friday: We drove down to the Mendips already wearing our fancy dress costumes, which got us some interesting looks when we stopped at a service station. Lots of partying ensued; bed at 5.30am
Saturday: We both did the photography training course - an indoor session which allowed us to work through our hangovers, then underground practical in GB. It was fun and we saw lots of bats. Did a speed run down Sidcot to get a photo of the ducks for the treasure hunt then back to Fernhill Farm where Elaine gave a talk about the CUCC expo. Other talks included caving singing lessons and rum bingo. Despite reduced numbers we enthusiastically participated in the competitions - beer pong went pretty well for a couple of rounds but eventually we were defeated by Kent. Although we are both smallish we had no hope at the squeeze competition as there was a person from Cardiff who didn't look a day over 12 who eventually won.
Sunday: At the AGM it was revealed that despite having the smallest contingent in attendance, we'd won the treasure hunt. TAKE THAT ABER AND CARDIFF! Elaine teamed up with someone from UBSS to try some "route finding" in Lionel's, and invented the excellent game of Underpants Fishing. Roshni did her report that was due in on Monday, then we all reconvened in the Hunters for dinner. Mmm.
|Date:||24-25 Oct 2015||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||David Walker, Joshua Lim, Aidan Marks, Matthew Maltby, Roshni Gohil, Felix Stahlberg, Aled, Mark, Sam||Novice ok?||N/a|
|Cave:||Swildon's hole, GB||Hut:||Wessex|
|Date:||24-26 Oct 2014||Tackle:||N/a|
|Date:||18-19 Oct 2014||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Adrian Horrell, Alex Carr, Carolie Werlang, David Walker, George Roberts, Gilad Antler, Jackie Maslyn, Mark Shinwell, Mendes Oulamara, Michael Sargent, Michal Tomaszewski, Oli Madge, Sam Wenham, Serena Povia, Stephen Geddis.||Novice ok?||N/a|
Saturday: Arrived at MCG hut in the evening, then went to the Hunter's for dinner - at least those of us who can tell left from right went there; the others went exploring first.
Sunday: Split into a few groups for an enjoyable trip in Swildon's as far as Sump I.
|Cave:||Swildon's Hole followed by a slack Sunday on Burrington (Pierre's, Sidcot and Goatchurch)||Hut:||The Belfry|
|Date:||17-18 Mar 2012||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Matt Watson and Alex Crow||Novice ok?||N/a|
First we were going to S. Wales, then at the last minute Alex was sent to Hastings with work, so we opted for driving to Mendip on the Saturday morning (the definition of morning might have been pushing it by the time we actually left Cambridge!)
We arrived at Priddy green just as most of the other cavers were coming out of Swildon's and heading to the Hunter's, and after an bit of faff trying to find someone who would answer their phone to leave a call out, we were off.
We did the short round with a couple of detours to visit the Shatter series and Swildon's 4 streamway (this is a fine bit of passage and definitely worth a visit, though the section by cowsh' avens does smell a bit like following Toby through a small passage after he's had night on the beers and a dodgy curry) via blue Pencil passage.
All in all this is a good trip, but hauling the extra tackle sack round the whole thing is a bit tedious. Especially when it tips it down the whole time you're underground and the streamway is a bit on the sporting side on the way out.
We finally managed to book some accommodation while en route to the Hunter's, where we bumped into some CHECC people and were invited for a picnic down Hunter's Hole on Sunday, but sadly we didn't have our SRT gear.
On Sunday we decided to have a fairly slack day and get back to Cambridge early. We headed over to Burrington and had a pootle round Pierre's pot, Sidcot swallet and Goatchurgh, before having cake in the cafe (highly recommended)and driving back.
|Cave:||Swildon's and Eastwater on the Saturday, G.B. on the Sunday||Hut:||Wessex|
|Date:||24-26 Feb 2012||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Matt Watson, Mark Shinwell, David Loeffler Guest appearances by: Clive Westlake (Saturday), Frank Tully, John and Rachael Kendall||Novice ok?||N/a|
Saturday 25th: Myself, David, John and Rachael were joined by Clive for a trip down to Sump one in Swildon's while Mark persuaded Frank for a rather more energetic trip: short round with detour to sump 4.
Sadly, our trip was cut short at the 20' (a pitch fabled to be 20' that clearly isn't) where we met up with two scout groups. After waiting for half an hour, the situation clearly hadn't improved so we decided to can it and come out the wet way. We met up with Mark and Frank on the way in who asked if any of us wanted to join them, but We'd done enough queuing for today so headed back to the hut. Myself and David were still keen to spend a bit more time underground, so we headed over to Eastwater, for a bimble around the upper series (as we couldn't be bothered to take rope and ladders).
In the evening we were treated to a slideshow by Clive and then headed over to the Hunter's
Sunday 26th: For once CUCC made an early start and after minimal faff we headed over to G.B. Once again, Frank had been persuaded that the wiring he was supposed to be doing at home could wait for another weekend, and so we were joined by him and Mark. We did a quick trip down mud passage and the gorge, then came back out along the gallery, over the bridge and back up mud passage.
A good weekend, though it would have been nice to have a few more cavers along from Cambridge.
|Cave:||Longwood/August and Eastwater on the Saturday and G.B. on the Sunday||Hut:||Wessex|
|Date:||18-20 Nov 2011||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Jessica Chatwin, Mikaela Ediger, James Hickson, Adrian Horrell, Ramana Kumar, Gareth Phillips, Fareeha Safir, Mark Shinwell, Jess Stirrups and Matt Watson||Novice ok?||N/a|
|Cave:||St Cuthbert's Swallet,Longwood, GB, Rhino, Charterhouse, Swildon's short round||Hut:||Wessex|
|Date:||28-30 Jan 2011||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Jessica Chatwin, Mikaela Ediger, James Hickson, Adrian Horrell, Ramana Kumar, Gareth Phillips, Fareeha Safir, Mark Shinwell, Jess Stirrups and Matt Watson||Novice ok?||N/a|
|Cave:||St Cuthbert's Swallet, Charterhouse||Hut:||Wessex|
|Date:||26-28 Feb 2011||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cave:||Swildon's Hole||Hut:||Shepton Mallet|
|Date:||13-14 Oct 2007||Tackle:||N/a|
The first meet of 2007 will be a one day introductory trip to the Mendips. Leaving on Saturday afternoon, we will go caving in Swildon's Hole on Sunday and return to Cambridge on Sunday evening. Swildon's is an excellent introductory cave, as its extensive passages provide opportunities for more or less challenging trips.
Total cost for the trip will be £25, but you will need to bring extra money for food on Saturday and Sunday nights (see the Costs page for more details).
Swildon's Hole involves one short ladder descent, so there will be a training session on the Saturday afternoon before we leave Cambridge. It is advisable to attend, but not compulsory if you can't make it.
|Cave:||Gaping Gill (Bar Pot and Marilyn entrances), Easegill (Lancaster and County to Wretched Rabbit)||Hut:||Bull Pot Farm|
|Date:||6-8 May 2016||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Wookey, David Walker, Sam Wenham, Mike Gaultois, Julien Grall, Adrian Horrell, Philip Withnall, Aiora Zabala||Novice ok?||N/a|
Gorgeously sunny weekend, with plenty of (nice) caving and minimum faff.
Saturday: Two groups went into Gaping Gill. Into Bar Pot: Adrian, Wookey, Julien, Mike and Aiora. Into Marilyn, the other three. Out from Bar Pot: Adrian, Philip, Julien, and Sam. Out from Marilyn, the other four. The waterfall at the main chamber in Gaping Gill is world-class.
Sunday: Two successful trips. One from Lancaster hole to Main passage and back (Philip rigging, Julien practising SRT, Aio navigating). Another from County Pot to Wretched Rabbit (David, Wookey, Mike).
Warm evening on the Sunday, perfect for washing ropes, drying kit, and having cake under the sun in BPF.
|Cave:||Bar Pot, Sell Gill||Hut:||Brackenbottom|
|Date:||6-8 Feb 2015||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||David, Michael, Philip, Claire||Novice ok?||N/a|
Saturday: Bar Pot into GG main chamber. Weather was beautiful for the walk up.
Sunday: Sell Gill dry route. Short trip, again excellent weather for the walk up. After getting up at 7:30 would you believe! We parked in the lay-by just past New Houses, then took the path up the valley from New Houses to the Pennine Way and headed left along the Pennine Way for about 200m to the obvious entrance.
|Cave:||Lost John's, Bullpot the Witches, Shuttleworth, County||Hut:||Bull Pot Farm|
|Date:||28 Dec 2014 -3 Jan 2015||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||David, Matt, Michael, Sam, Philip, Elaine, Serena, Alex, Aled||Novice ok?||N/a|
Lost Johns trip: Complete balls up, plan was an exchange down centipede and dome. Centipede went down monastery (needed to climb out of the stream earlier/notice that they shouldn't have dropped back into the stream). The dome team ran out of rope despite following the rigging guide...
New Years day: Matt, David and Elaine got trapped in Bullpot the Witches by flood water and missed their callout.
|Cave:||Pool Sink/Lancs exchange, Maracaibo, Mistral, Boundary Pot||Hut:||Bull Pot Farm|
|Date:||28-31 Nov 2014||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||David, Mark, Matt, Michael, Olly, Sam, Stuart, Adrian, Martin, Edvin, Kathryn||Novice ok?||N/a|
Saturday: Pretty packed at BPF, with many cavers from OUCC also in attendance. Super trip from Pool Sink to Lancs via streamway and Wilf Taylor's. Guest appearence by Rosa from OUCC. No significant navigational errors underground, though Adrian and Matt walked off the wrong way in the mist after derigging Lancs - in our defence, the weather was miserable, and we were dazzled by the shiny new entrance. Heard tales of mystery and adventure from the Maracaibo party that evening.
Sunday: Smaller groups visited Mistral and Boundary Pot. Others went looking for cake.
|Cave:||Saturday: Alum, Tatty, Illusion/Heron. Sunday: Sunset, County||Hut:||YSS|
|Date:||28-31 Nov 2014||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Adrian Horrell, Aiora Zabala, Alex Crow, Bela Dimova, David Walker, Matt Watson, Siobhan McGowan, Xain Jie Tay||Novice ok?||N/a|
|Cave:||Easegill, Gaping Gill, Bull Pot, Jingling Pot, Swinsto, Illusion Pot||Hut:||Greenclose|
|Date:||7 - 9 Sep 2012||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Siobhan McGowan, Nial Peters, Edvin Deadman, Adrian Horrell, Dan Stori, Alex Crow, Yves Moussalam, Cormac, Jan Lellman, Djuke Veldhuis, Tony Rooke, David Loeffler, Sara, Wafa, Aiora||Novice ok?||N/a|
Successful meet with a large group of cavers gathered in Greenclose for a taste of Kingsdale caves. Great and warm weather, excellent lasagna by Nial, and lots of caves visited.
Bull Pot & Jingling: Djuke, Nial, Jan Jingling & Bull Pot: Dave L, Sara, Dan, Aiora - very enjoyable and picturesque shaft in Jingling, boht caves almost entirely vertical Somewhere in Easegill: Adrian, Edvin, Siobhan, Cormac Gaping Gill: Alex, Tony, Wafa, Yves Sunday:
Illusion Pot: Tony, Nial, Wafa, Adrian Swinsto: Alex, Djuke, Yves, Jan, Dan, Cormac, Aiora -a series of abseils down waterfalls linked with walkable shallow stream passages and pretty meanders: wet and fun!
|Cave:|| permits for Bar, Marylin, County, Wretched and Lancaster Hole
We had a caving fail, due to the weather, so went for a curry instead
|Date:||10-12 Feb 2012||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Curryers: Stuart Bennett, Tom Handford, Tess Jones, Mark Shinwell, Tony Rooke, Djuke Veldhuis, Matt Watson and Aiora Zabala||Novice ok?||N/a|
Few beers in Live and Let Live and headed over to the Koh-i-Noor. Though much less glamorous than its namesake in the Tower of London, they do a decent curry at a reasonable price and have the added advantage of a fairly "relaxed" booking system, so it's not a disaster if you turn up with twice or half as many people as you told them.
|Cave:||Permits for County Wretched and Lancs both days.||Hut:||Bull Pot Farm|
|Date:||28-30 Oct 2011||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Curryers: Stuart Bennett, Tom Handford, Tess Jones, Mark Shinwell, Tony Rooke, Djuke Veldhuis, Matt Watson and Aiora Zabala||Novice ok?||N/a|
Beautiful caving weekend in Bull Pot farm. County Pot - Lancs exchange on Saturday, where one of the parties did comb some parts of the route up to three times (to make sure that we learnt the way properly) and finished an epic roundtrip by going back to Lancs from County aboveground to derig the entrance. The team lose one of their exhausted members after six hours caving which had accidentally brought the team back very close to the entrance.
Short through trip in Heron Pot on Sunday, all the way down a pretty meander with a couple of wet pitches in between, where photos were taken. For the finishing touch, a fully soaking crawl right at the very end of the meander. Unfortunately we didn't arrive on time for a well deserved tasty cake & tea at Ingleton.
Cavers: Kathryn, Olly Madge, Adrian H, Yves, Matt W, Martin Green, Aiora (reporting), Mark S. And Edvin, Becka and Julian in separate trips 'creating' new cave
". . . but when they got there, the T-store was bare”
D’oh! Not to worry. After a quick head scratch and a thumb through the CNCC rigging guide, we managed to find some maillons, a few crabs and some ropes that were almost but not entirely the wrong length for any of the caving we were planning to do.
Cue some last minute transport-rearrangement faff and we were finally off to Yorkshire only an hour and a half behind schedule. Several hours, and a portion of fish and chips later, we arrived at the farm to find Edvin, Kathryn, Martin and a rather large pile of empties huddled up in front of the fire. Not wanting to be antisocial, we decided to add a few to the pile and come up with a plan for Saturday’s caving. For the first time I can remember, we came up with a plan that actually involved the caves we had permits for: County-Lancs exchange.
|Saturday 29th October: Lost in Lancs (by Matt)|
Next morning we were up bright and early. Due to an error in the decimal place when calculating how many people do the shopping for, we had enough food to provide everyone at the farm with at least two breakfasts, and still have leftovers for the next day! Replete, we then split up into our respective teams: Team efficient and team keen-but-incompetent, and set off across the fell.
Team keen-but-incompetent were set to go down Lancs. Being quite a few meters shy of the suggested rope length, Martin took frugal rigging to a new level, and after rigging two rebelays that were tighter than a ducks arse, arrived at the bottom of the pitch with the rope bag still half full. So far so good. The plan was to go down to the the streamway via a loop round Montague West and Wilf Taylor's passage, climb up into the high level route at Stop Pot and then make our way over to County. That was the keen bit, now for the incompetent part. . .
Rather than a blow-by-blow account of our navigational incompetence, which would be quite challenging given the number of unintentional detours, let's just say that nine hours after leaving the surface myself and Martin emerged into the mist and drizzle at county pot having successfully completed the traverse. This was quite a feat, given six hours into the trip we met team efficient 15 minutes from the Lancaster Hole entrance. . .
|Heron Pot, Kingsdale. 30th Oct 2011. By Adrian|
An early start at Bullpot Farm and perfect coordination brought us to Kingsdale at around 2pm (+/- 1hr). We changed and kitted up at the roadside and headed off across the valley floor with a few members of the party holding 'phones at arms length and pausing to squint at them from time to time. We continued over the beck and up the hillside in this manner, then fanned out along the ridge. Shouts of 'I've got it!' would be followed seconds later by 'damn! It's gone.' We had, of course, managed not to leave a call out.
We had a peep in the exit and decided it would go, then 'got it...damn, it's goned' our way to the entrance. Fortune smiled on us and we got a message through to the Fenland Control Centre. After a few minutes discussion with our director of photography, Olly descended the entrance. 'Do I get a sherpa, then?' he called up. With a sigh I grabbed the rope bag and followed. The first few metres are best approached by crawling in the bottom of the rift. Olly dragged the bag and I helped it past constrictions. Soon we were walking in fine meandering passage.
I sensed a presence behind me. Looking over my shoulder I saw Matt's lamp approaching, carried, I assumed, by Matt. 'They've found us! Hurry!' I shouted to Olly, who then sprinted off down the passage. I followed at best speed, wishing I was thinner (more running, fewer pies). I arrived panting at the pitch head to find it already rigged, and our fearless rigger standing around the corner ready to descend. The others caught up and we had a debate about who would carry flashguns and where they would put them (I should have fled at this point, but I did not).
'Pitch free!' I made a minor spectacle of myself by getting my leg stuck as I part climbed, part thrutched on to the pitch head. I touched down on a short, rather wet horizontal section before the next pitch. Olly went off to rig the next pitch and Aiora was soon on her way down the first - rather more elegantly than your narrator.
Now the Director of Photography was in charge. Yves got on the rope, abseiled a few metres down the pitch and tied off his stop. Matt was stationed above the pitch head with a flashgun. I heard someone above bellow 'Cow! karabiner! waterfall! spanner!' I might be mistaken about that - the water was making a lot of noise. Eventually, through shouting, gestures and arcane lamp signals, I was positioned in the plunge pool, more or less under the waterfall, pointing a flashgun up the pitch. Here I remained for 20 minutes while the DoP composed the perfect shot. My good cheer deteriorated. I might have uttered an oath. Presently, the job was done. Yves unlocked his stop and descended to the bottom, complaining cheerfully about his numb legs.
Olly and Aiora had gotten restless and gone off exploring during my refreshing 20min frigid shower. They retured and Matt joined us at the bottom of the pitch. The DoP set about the business of re-rigging the pitch as a pull through. Descending the pitch, he asked Olly to hold the rope clear of the waterfall. Olly obliged and was rewarded by being yanked into the plunge pool. He kept his footing and avoided a soaking (or, at any rate, postponed it).
Soon we were on the move. The passage toward the exit is nicely sculpted, good splashy fun. There are a few flowstone formations to stoop under. After a while, it closes down to a longish, wet hands-and-knees crawl. Mostly this is on smooth rock, but occasionally on cobbles. Trying to keep a dry-bag full of flashguns out of the water made this much harder work than it might otherwise have been, and the others disappeared into the distance. Eventually I reached the exit duck. I fiddled with my SRT kit a bit, ostensibly to avoid getting snagged in the duck, but really to play for time. I gritted my teeth, laid down in the murky stream and pushed myself into the constricted passage, emitting a strangled squeak as I got a gallon of freezing water down the front of my oversuit. I pushed the flashgun bag ahead of me to the DoP and squeezed out of the exit. The outside world was dark and the evening air mild. We walked back to the cars, sometimes chatting, sometimes in companionable silence.
We changed again at the roadside. I was advised to be circumspect when admitting to 'spannering Matt's maillon.' Mark showed me a preview of the pictures of Yves on the second pitch - they looked good, promising to be well worth a few minutes freezing. Soon we were in Ingleton, just too late for tea and cake at [insert name of your favourite gear shop/cafe here]. Doughnuts and drinks from the co-op sufficed and after chatting for a while we got in the cars and dispersed.
A thoroughly enjoyable Sunday afternoon trip.
Aiora, Mme. President Olly, rigger, cynic Matt, stalwart, meet leader Mark, director of photography Yves, novice caver, model Adrian, dogsbody, narrator Time Underground: Not sure. I was a bit drunk when I adjusted my watch from BST to GMT. A few hours.
|Date:||28 Jan 2018||Tackle:||17m for Pitch 1, 10 for belaying, HMS crab.|
|Cavers:||Rad, Jon, Paul||Novice ok?||Yes|
Route: Entrance - Idiots Leap - Upper 1st pitch - Dry route - Mud Hall - Waterfall chamber - Wet pipe - Climb to windows - Exit
Parking in a 4-car parking space opposite a farm. Trespass fee of £1/person paid in person at farm. Passing through a gate next to the parking space, the entrance to the cave found on the right after a trek of a few hundred meters through fields following markers on fences, passing past some other more obvious holes on the left. The cave was quite wet. Following the streamway leads to Idiot’s leap, which had an in-situ hand line, and is a reasonably easy 3m free climb. After another short trek down the pleasantly narrow streamway, the 1st pitch provides a much more substantial drop. To bypass the waterfall, took an upward facing turn on the right side (facing downstream) a few meters behind the pitch. It immediately turns sharply to the right. Climbed up for an awkwardly tight 3m, and squeezed past lots of flowstone to find the top of the alternative rigging. Rigged off an obvious column and 2 bolts. Some gymnastics required to reach a bolt on the other side at the base, and a traverse along this wall follows. 17m was a VERY tight rig; another 1-2m would have been ideal. Follow upper route to exposed traverse. On the right observe windows (this is way back). Reaching Mud Hall turn left towards chamber with a waterfall coming out of the ceiling. At the bottom of the waterfall a hidden squeeze connects to a sporty tube. On the other side of the tube two part climb is the way back (first back to waterfall chamber, second up to windows). From there reverese to the entrance.
Photos by John Toft:
|Date:||27 Jan 2018||Tackle:||Ladder, HMS carabiner, 20m for Garlands Pot, (17m for Crabwalk Descent not essential)|
|Cavers:||Rad, Jon, Yidan, Hana, Paul, David||Novice ok?||Yes|
Route: Entrance – Garlands – Crabwalk – Dining Hall – Windpipe – Crabwalk – Out
Going towards Castleton we took the usual nearly parallel slip road towards the farm. Entrance fee was left in a very new box. To get to the entrance continue uphill up to very obvious hole on the right (walk in size). Water levels where higher than last time we visited. Using far away bolt in Garlands for rigging ladder kept it completely free hanging out of the waterfall. Going down the streamway water flowing over the fixed ladder drenched everyone who did not swing below it. Climb just after Dining Hall had (more than one!) fixed rope that offered some help. Water level in windpipe was not affected by general increase of water levels and was easily passable. Belaying freshers down to crabwalk not from pull through ring but the excellent natural at the very end of upper passage and having non-novices climbed down we exited through Garlands.
|Cave:||Peak Cavern, Great Masson Cavern||Hut:||TSG|
|Date:||7-8 Nov 2015||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Wookey, David Walker, Agnieszka Piatkowska, Sam Wenham, Felix Stahlberg, Miguel Garcia-Ortegon, Sally Pearson, Paul Aste, Charlie Farmer, Micheal Sargent. Jess Stirrups, Alex Crow||Novice ok?||N/a|
Saturday: We all got ready early on Sat and went into The Devil's Arse, splitting into two teams. Wookey's team (Felix, Sally, Paul, Micheal) went on a strenuous side-trip to Moss Chamber, with quite a lot of crawling, squeezing, tricky climbs and posting oneself through the genuinely-awkward eyehole, which isn't really 'novice caving', so well done all for getting yourselves in _and_ out :-) Back in the main passage Sally gave herself a fright by slipping off into a canyon, but did a good job of landing so as not to do any serious harm. Wookey somehow bruised his arse so he couldn't sit down for the rest of the afternoon. The other team (David, Charlie, Agnieszka, Sam, Miguel) visited all the main sumps (terminal, ink, lake and far) and the waterfall flopjacks.
Far sump was bubbling in a most unusual fashion as the air was being forced out by rising water. The stream was rising noticeably during the trip so we ran away before we got flooded in, giving a long afternoon+evening to eat, sleep, cook, dry gear, drink, talk bollocks and play silly games. The inaugural squeeze-machine match produced some surprising results (Sam skinnier than Agnieszka, Sally's head wider than Wookey, Charlie much thinner than seems reasonable for his height, and Jess beat Alex in a repeat grudge match, possibly by the secret weapon of shiny pants). We'll have to see who got the best injury, but I reckon it might be Felix :-) Charlie and Miguel were unbeatable at the 'how-far-away-can-you-put-a-can-whilst-one-person-touches-the-chair' game. And there was also broom game, upside-down ladder climbing, table-traversing, pole-climbing and pan-and-sling. Standards are high already...
Sunday: Heavy rain was threatened, which would make the usual caves unpleasantly wet so Jess+Alex's picked us something more suitable. After a certain amount of faffage (whilst Paul went for a run and Sam resisted being dragged out of bed), we drove most of the way across the Peak to Great Masson Cavern, near Matlock. This is a fine (dry!) cave/mine with an entrance in a disusued quarry, where some chaps were 'dry-tooling' up the cliff at the entrance (climbing with crampons and ice-axes - I didn't even know that was a thing).
There was an entertaining round trip with some 'combined tactics' to get people up a small shaft, then a very interesting wander round the mine with kibbles, shafts, minerals, pipes and a very confusing cave. Miguel, Sam and Agnieszka went for a walk instead (one hangover - 2 keen to see the outside of the Peak).
|Cave:||Carlswark Cavern, Peak Cavern, P8||Hut:||TSG|
|Date:||19-20th Oct 2013||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Nial Peters, Tony Rooke, Djuke Veldhuis, Adrian Horrell, Max Schinke, Lisa Volpatti, Lisa Johnson-Davies, Eva Yang, Rui Hao, Jess Stirrups, Alex Crow, Martin Green, Edvin Deadman||Novice ok?||N/a|
Summary: The first caving trip of the new academic year! Somehow we all managed to arrive in Derbyshire within 5 minutes of each other and in good time for a quick trip down Carlswark Cavern on Saturday afternoon. As everyone who has been to Carlswark knows, it is not much to write home about! However, it was a fun trip and served its purpose of working up a good appetite for fish and chips afterwards.
On Sunday, we split into two groups with one going to Peak Cavern and the other to P8. I was in the P8 party so I can't comment on the Peak trip really, but it sounded like everyone enjoyed it. The P8 trip was excellent! Our early morning start paid off and we had the cave to ourselves. With heavy rain forecast for the afternoon, we decided not to do the loop at the bottom - just down to the sump and then back out the same way.
Trip Report by Lisa Johnson-Davies: After our drive up to the Peak district we stopped next to a small hill and put on our caving gear, a surprisingly comfortable undersuit and an orange caving suit on top (which probably made us look like escapees from Guantanamo Bay to any passing locals). Our first trip was to a cave called Carlswark, and we were led to the hill and a tiny hole in the ground which I assumed was some kind of rabbit hole until we were told we had to go down the hole... Nial started rigging up a ladder, and then one by one we had to climb down the ladder into the dark depths of the bottomless pit below...
I managed to make it down the ladder in one piece, and then we continued down a very low-ceilinged passage; only with a combination of crawling, stooping and scrambling could we get through the passage. It was really hard work! I reckon this first cave was planned as a kind of test, and only the people that survived were able to progress onto the second cave the following day. :P (which was everyone luckily)
After our hard work we went to get fish and chips, and then continued on to the caving hut, where we had drinks and chatted in the hut, and got told stories about the really exciting trips the club goes on, as well as caving trips gone wrong to reassure us for the trip the following morning. The next day my group went to the cave P8, which has a stream that flows into the entrance and then continues throughout the entire cave. We had to climb down some rocks to get inside the cave which we discovered was the complete opposite of Carslwark, the cave from the day before. This cave had high ceilings but was quite narrow, and the stream meant all the rock faces were beautifully smooth and shiny. As an added bonus we got an educational geology lesson from resident geographer Nial about the formation of the rocks inside. :P This cave was really varied, and the obstacles involved climbing down a rope, doing tricky acrobatics on ladders (like climbing halfway down one ladder and then jumping to another ladder, with a scary 5-10 metre drop below! At this point I should probably mention that you are secured in a harness for all the dangerous parts), traversing which essentially involved straddling across rocks to avoid walking through the river, and climbing down holes by bracing yourself against the walls. We weren't able to get to the very end of the cave because that would have involved cave diving with scuba diving equipment and a lot more experience than us novices had!
The trip was a really enjoyable experience, and I definitely recommend caving to anyone interested in trying something a little different, and physically exhausting! The caving club are also very friendly, and if you are feeling a little nervous they can always be counted on to reassure you by telling you some caving horror stories. :)
|Date:||20-21 Oct 2012||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Alex Crow, Mark Shinwell, Cormac Doyle, David Molnar, Tina, Carolyn, Edvin, Kathryn, Aiora, Adrian||Novice ok?||N/a|
The presence of at least 200 cars in the layby near P8 indicated possible congestion in that cave. Fortunately, Edvin had the foresight to have obtained the access code for Bagshawe Cavern, near Bradwell. This is a curious cave, having been a lead mine c.1750, and later run as a show cave. Entering via a stone hut, and descending concrete steps in a mined out rift (don't spend too much time looking up - you'll just worry) brings you into natural cave. We split into a few small groups and explored. Entertainment on offer included a fine muddy slither leading down toward the terminal sump, an intimidating low crawl and a short laddered pitch. The farther reaches of the cave are gated off.
|Cave:||Hillocks - Knotlow, Maskhill Mine||Hut:||TSG|
|Date:||9-11 Mar 2012||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Anya ermakova, Nimrod Gileadi, Dan Stori, Siobhan McGowan, Stuart Bennet, Olly Madge, Kathryn Hopkins, Edvin Deadman, Aiora Zabala||Novice ok?||N/a|
Hillocks - Knotlow exchange on Saturday (the wettest crowl ever, like a very long bathub...); Maskhill Mine on Sunday (down, down,... and up, up,... excellent SRT practice!)
|Cave:||Peak Cavern, Carlswark, P8||Hut:||TSG|
|Date:||22-23 Oct 2011||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Sarah Gales, Keshav Thirumalai, Alisdair Bolger, Tay Xian Jie, Matthew Morgan, Yves Moussalam, Eliza Prettyman, Jessica Chatwin, Ramana Kumar, Olivia Espy, Jess Stirrups, Nial Peters!, Tony Rooke, Emma Wilson, Martin Green, Bela Dimova||Novice ok?||N/a|
|Cave:||Carlswark Cavern, P8||Hut:||TSG|
|Date:||15-16 Oct 2011||Tackle:||N/a|
|Cavers:||Jess Stirrups, Stuart Bennett, Adrian Horrell, Olly Madge, Serena Povia, Kathryn Hopkins, Edvin Deadman, Martin Green, L.J. Young, Mikaela Ediger, J.J.A. Walker, A. Funke, Alex Broekhof, Nhan Dao||Novice ok?||N/a|