Thursday, 2 August 2018

The Wild Wookey Experience

Back in June a team from Dudley Caving Club was invited to try out the adventure caving experience in Wookey Hole, Somerset, England. It was brilliant and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute. It is easily the best show cave adventure in the country. My sincere thanks go to Becca and Chris who expertly guided us around. Have a look at the video and see if you agree.


Saturday, 21 July 2018

Sun, Sea, Shale & Even A Bit Of Caving On The Isle Of Portland

By pure luck and chance, we managed to pick one of the finest weekends of the year to arrange our club meet in Portland. 
Jess and I managed to get away early on the Friday and even had time to for a spot of sight-seeing around the Bill before the others arrived and the weekend begun proper with an evening in the pub.

With no sore heads we began the day in glorious sunshine and headed for breakfast by the sea and so lost our first casualty of the weekend. Chris had a bit of an upset tummy and decided that a morning underground wasn’t going to suit him and so then there were nine! 
Not only is nine quite a lot to be heading underground but our guide for the weekend, Les Williams, didn’t know what he was letting himself in for as we had no less than 3 photographers in the group! Ha ha lol
After parking up outside the prison, we hopped the wall and headed along the cliff face. At Allotment Dig, Les announced only the slim should head that way and the rest should follow him to Guano rift. We re-grouped at link rift and Bartek and I headed though the Letterbox to go and have an explore. Satisfied there were no prisoners breaking in to our bit of cave we regrouped at concrete corner and photography began!
Paulina was the only one to do the horrid looking rift through to Skittle Alley and whilst a few of us played with the cameras Les went off to find an easier route to her. At some point Ian, Paulina, Bartek and Dino decided enough was enough and then there were five.
Kay and Tash finished playing with her new camera and Les headed in to the sun leaving just Jess and myself.
For some inexplicable reason I had a complete brain miss-fire and decided as I hadn’t had a cake in more than an hour I would most likely have lost enough weight to have a go at exiting allotment dig. 
At the crux contortion around the corner I began to remember that I am actually still pretty chunky and peered around the cosy dog-leg up at the small rift passage beyond, wondering if it would get any smaller. 
I heard Les at the entrance and called him to find out if I was at the tightest bit. After a bit of coaxing he eventually ventured in to the passage without a helmet or light, and nearly fell down a big hole in the dark!
Fortunately for me he confirmed it didn’t get any tighter and after pushing my manly marshmallow physique through we re-joined to offer Les a little light for his exit.

Although not many could spend a whopping 3 ½ hours in the Grove Cliff Caves, for the members of The Dudley this was a welcome short day, so to celebrate we headed up to Portland Bill for ice-cream and swimming in the sea.

A fine meal at The Cove, followed by a couple more hours in the bar and a good night’s sleep and we were soon meeting up for breakfast and to plan Sundays adventures. Chris was still nowhere to be found, Kay and Tash decided on a romantic break away to Wookey, Ian very sensibly decided his marriage would benefit from spending at least one day on the island with his lovely wife and so then there were 6 for our adventures in to Blacknor Hole.
We quickly rigged and descended to the cave entrance to get out of the horrid warm sunny weather in to the much more pleasant musty guano smelling crawling passage. I headed off to stretch out in C&A rift whilst the others descended and entered the cave and the regrouped to take a look at Queen’s Entrance before continuing the round trip. We even found some formations this time, which would give Les time to have a little nap whilst the cameras came out again!
Les appeared behind me just as I was sticking my head in to Wriggle Push and lead us back along Ariel Tunnel to complete the round trip. 
All that was left was to play with some photos of the entrance before exiting in to the glorious afternoon sun and take in one last sea view and ice-cream before heading our separate ways.

Blacknor Hole Main Entrance

Pretties In Blacknor Hole

Grand Canyon

Guano Rift

Flagpole Rift

Ammonite Fossil

A Perfect Way to Finish The Weekend




Trip report Mark

Present: Paulina, Bartek, Dino, Chris, Kay, Tash, Jess, Ian, Sue, Les & Wendy



Sunday, 1 July 2018

Goatchurch cavern

Members 
Tash Brudenall 
Ian Millward
Kay wood

We meet at half 9 at pricey good farm shop for breakfast, and head to Burrington Combe to visit goatchurch. We set off up the hill a little tired cause of the heat and getting the entrance where we walk just inside and have a rest in the cool air.
After a short while we head to the Giants stairs we head down and head straight past Bloody tight to Midgit Steps and then head right towards boulder chamber and to the coffin lid.
I attach a rope to be used as a hand line for the coffin lid and down we go into water chamber which is where hellish tight is. But we bypass hellish tight and head towards the drain pipe. Unfortunately none of the other two I was with wanted to do the drain pipe so I couldn’t get a photo of it. And as people were getting tired and had enough we started to head out with Ian leading the way. Unfortunately he missed the turn for the Midgit steps but we back tracked and picked them up and headed out though the tradesman entrance. 
After getting changed we headed to the Burrington Inn for refreshments before heading home.
All in all a good weekend. Will have to return at some point to push the connection fairy to Hillier’s and get my photo in the drain pipe 

Signing off 
Kayleigh wood 

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Fairy to Hilliers

Attending Dudley Members
Kayleigh wood
Liz  Leavesley
Tash Brudenall

We all met at the Priddy Good Farm shop for breakfast at half 9 after a quick breakfast and discussion we headed off to the car park for the fairy quarry caves we got changed all light hearted fun as we all sweated in the heat excited to get underground in the cool air.
So off we go and after getting the code right for the gate, we find what i thought was fairy cave on the right hand side of the quarry as you go through the gate, so i open the gate and poke my head in and start to descend and half way down I’m thinking if i cant fit through the connection we are gonna have to climb out this way, which in the book the climb didn’t seem as bad as it was, so i decided i would go and fetch the rope out the car and rig a hand line just in case.
So all three of us are in the cave and I’m reading the description and looking at the survey and decide we should be heading left so off we go down this crawl that starts getting really tight. So with me being the biggest I’m leading. And I’m starting to struggle to get through so i asTah who is behind me to see if she can get through and see whats the other side, she looks at it but wont go through. 
So we decide to turn back and head right which I’m sure is the wrongs way but off we go and it opens up and takes us through to bigger passage was and into a chamber so we stop and I have another look at the survey and description, and to my horror I realise we are in Tar Hall.................. I’ve took us into the wrong cave!! No wonder the description doesn’t match the cave system we are in. And for a few seconds I am tempted not to tell the others and pretend I knew exactly where we were.
So I told Liz and Tash and we have a laugh about it after all we went far from where I thought we were we are in Hillier’s rather than Fairy. But they join and we were going to end up in Hillier’s anyway so we carry on. 
Now I no where we are I can lead us through with relative ease so of we go we pass the connection for Fairy and climb the mud slope and slot through the 90 degree bend and head towards the red room. We wanted to be out for 4 and it’s about half 1 when we have passed the second boulder choke just before the Cambridge Grotto, which is a bit tight for me so we decide to come back another day and I take a photo of Tash in a crawl here, and we start heading back.
I pop me head up and look at the connection to Fairy and we carry on back I take a photo of Liz in Tar Hall and we head out. When we get back to the climb out I’m glad I put in a hand line to aid us climbing out as I think we may have struggled with out it.
Afterwards Liz has to shot off but me and Tash are spending the night and so we head of to the Wessex to set up camp and have a BBQ with a few drinks and some well deserved sleep.




Tuesday, 19 June 2018

A Weekend in Wookey

Back in February Mark and I were invited by Chris Binding to spend a weekend in Wookey Hole to take photos and video. With Mark and Chris jet-setting around the world it wasn't until last weekend that we could find a mutually convenient date.
Chris said that we could take our own team from Dudley so we were accompanied by Mel, Kay, Liz and Rach.
We met Chris at the Priddy Good Farm Shop Cafe before driving the short distance to Wookey Hole where, in the Bat Cave, the plans for the weekend were revealed. Saturday was to be a trip into Wookey 20 which consists of around 2000 feet of mainly phreatic passage, nicely decorated in places, leading in the direction of Wookey 24.
Liz, Rach and Mel were only day-tripping and were disappointed that they were not going to get to do the adventure caving route. Work and partners meant that Liz and Mel were forced to return home but Rach couldn't resist the temptation and decided to stay over.
We met up with Kermit in the evening for a curry in Cheddar.
We stayed at the Shepton Hut and after another brekkie in Priddy where we were met by Kermit we returned to Wookey. We were joined by Wild Wookey instructor Becca and Monica which made a team of 8 for the Wild Wookey adventure which was ace!


Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Caver Keith Videos Four Million Views

21st May 2018 and Caver Keith is celebrating clocking up 4,000,000 caving video views on YouTube, as awell as 20,000 likes 👍, 2,000 dislikes 👎, 13,000 shares and 3,000 subscribers.
A huge thanks to all my viewers and an enormous thanks to Brendan, Jess, Kay and Mark. I couldn't have done it without you. 😋

Here's my celebratory video


Background Music:
Rocker by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Artist: http://audionautix.com/

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Caving for Andrew

We lost our son Andrew James Millward on 27thApril 2017 aged 33 when he took his own life. He had suffered bouts of depression brought on we think from his time serving with the Warwickshire Fusiliers in Iraq in 2007.  He was a serving Police Officer with the Civil Nuclear Constabulary working at Harwell in Oxfordshire commuting there daily from his home in Birmingham.
His colleagues from Harwell and in particular those from his unit have been of tremendous help and support over the last year to both his wife and two daughters and ourselves. His sister also ran the Birmingham Marathon in his place and memory last year.
l wanted to do something special to say ‘thank You’ to his close friends on his unit, rather like cavers they have to rely on each other in difficult moments. As a proud member of Dudley Caving Club, yes us lot, what better way than to organise an ‘Adventure Fund Day’ caving in south Wales.
Our guide for the day 6thMay would be non-other than ‘Caver Keith Edwards’ himself, ably assisted by Jessica Burkey and Kayleigh Wood.
We met in Abergavenny at our usual breakfast haunt of Luigi’s before moving on to South Wales Caving Club to allocate caving gear, change and make our way up the hill to OFD2. The five from Harwell had become four as one could not face his gremlins of going underground, but to be fair he did travel with his colleagues in order to support them and saw them off from nearly the entrance.
There was much nervous laughter and banter from our visitors as we made our way in and to their surprise it was, as we know, much larger in that entrance area than they had imagined. We pointed out land marks on the way such as Gnome Passage and the Wedding Cake and the Corkscrew certainly racked up the excitement. We made our way down to Salubrious and crossed the steamway and headed for the Columns where Clark Friend was able to give our visitors an interesting talk on how this part of the system had evolved.
Time was pressing now so we took the quickest route back which involved an interesting slide down a rift, exiting to the left part way aided by a safety line to avoid the continuing drop. We emerged to brilliant sunshine, amid exhilaration and relief to pose for pictures before making our way back to SWCC where my wife and other family members had prepared a BBQ.
Viewing the survey on wall in the long common room our visitors were amazed at the size of the OFD system and thrilled to plot their route in and out.
Following our meal and a short speech the final cherry on the cake was the presentation as a memento of the day of ‘UK Caving .com’ mugs to our visitors kindly and generously supplied by Jane Allen. All in all a great day out full of happy memories and possibly a couple of new members for D.C.C.
My sincere thanks to everyone who helped out that day. 
Ian Millward, Dudley Caving Club.