Monday, 20 November 2017

Alum Pot - A Classic Yorkshire Pothole

Alum Pot is a pothole with a large open 100 metre deep shaft on the eastern flanks of Simon Fell, North Yorkshire.
The beck which cascades into it appears quite insignificant and the surface of the shaft is clothed with trees, yet it contains one of the best hidden sights in Yorkshire and probably one of the finest abseils in the country. It is a scene that can only be witnessed by cavers, and perhaps goes some way to answering the question, “Why do we do it?”
This video was filmed during the August Bank Holiday but has languished on my computer since then as I was busy with other video projects.


Wednesday, 1 November 2017

2,000,000 Caving Video Views

A huge thank you to anyone that has ever watched a Caver Keith caving video.
It is with pride and amazement that I can announce that my YouTube channel now has more than 2 million caving video views.

Highlights from the Video Vault


Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Chunky and Caver Keith Wow The Wessex

After dinner speakers R us

Only 9 days before the event Les Williams contacted Mark and asked if he was free on 21st October as he needed an after dinner speaker for the 83rd Wessex Cave Club Annual Dinner. Having not been able to find a suitable excuse Mark then contacted me and asked if I would be one half of a double act.

The slot was scheduled to last for 15 to 20 minutes. Mark's idea was basically for us to trade insults between short compilations of Caver Keith videos. It seemed a half decent idea so for the next 8 days we honed the script and assembled the videos. However neither of us were really confident that it would work with a large unfamiliar audience of about 90 people.

Les said that he could provide a large screen, projector, amplifier and speakers as the Hidden Earth equipment is held in the Wessex stores. All we had to provide was ourselves and a laptop loaded with the presentation and videos.

What could possibly go wrong?

Suitably suited and booted we arrived early at the venue but had to run across the carpark through a cloudburst courtesy of storm Brian. The equipment was already in place so we fired up the laptop, connected the video cable and plugged in the amplifier. The projector worked fine but the audio stubbornly refused to work. With the clock ticking relentlessly to the start of the meal it seemed that our 'well-rehearsed' presentation was doomed to failure. With only minutes to spare we diagnosed the problem. The 3.5mm jack plug was not going into the socket on the laptop far enough to make contact and there wasn't a spare lead! Fortunately I had bought a bluetooth speaker so we connected it up and placed a microphone in front of it. The sound wasn't perfect but it looked like the show was back on. Phew!

Pre-show Nerves

When I said 'well-rehearsed' presentation I may have been slightly embroidering the truth. Cobbled together might have been a more accurate description. During the meal we found out that over the years the great and the good of the caving world had addressed this long established club. The names that every ever knows - The Clive Westlakes, The Martin Farrs, The Sid Perous, The Gavin Newmans and alike, and who are we? Did anyone know us from Adam? To emphasise the point the person to Mark's right during the meal said, "Who is Caver Keith?" - enough said. So to say that we were a little nervous would be an understatement.

At the end of the meal were a number of toasts and then it was down to us.

The Presentation

Mark started with, "During the history of the Wessex Cave Club we understand that you have been addressed by all of the big names in caving."

I replied, "But unfortunately tonight we've got us." It got a small titter from a couple of the audience.

We then played the Potholer Sketch. It's one of my favourite videos and I know that Mark rates it highly too. The odd smile played on a few faces but there were no laughs. It wasn't going well!!!

I then said, "I was introduced to Mark about 8 years ago. I can remember the day vividly. He walked into the windmill like he owned the place and my first impressions were … ". I left a suitable pause and continued with, "What a fat bastard." The place erupted with laughter. Perhaps we were going to be able to pull it off after all.

The exchange of insults continued with Mark slagging off my videos and me slagging off his acting ability. We then played a compilation of video clips entitled "Nah ... He Can't Act" showcasing Mark's acting, starting with the famous Corset video and concluding with the title, A Star Is Born. Having broken the ice with my 'Fat Bastard' remark the bonhomie from the audience continued.

After another exchange of insults we played the third and final video clip compilation entitled "Highlights from the Video Vault" which featured humorous clips of both of us, including Brendan being blown up on the firing range, me stuck in the Lobster Pot, my return to caving following my accident and crashing my drone down Eldon Hole. This elicited laughs in all the right places.

The conclusion revolved around Mark suggesting that it was about time I gave up making videos and me storming off saying that if that was his attitude I was off to find my next 'big star' and shouting, "Les, Les come and be in my videos."

We did get applause, thanks and some very nice comments prompting Mark to post on Facebook, "After dinner presentation with Keith Edwards done and we didn't get lynched or nuffink!"

Would we do it again? Possibly if our egos were massaged enough.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Fairy Quarry Caves

We had arranged to meet at the priddy good cafe at 9:30am so of we went, there was myself Liz, Tony, and Dave, we were meeting Kermit for a nice big breakfast, after breakfast we all headed of to the Fairy Quarry for some underground fun.
We got changed and I led the way to Shatter, where I struggled for a few minutes to get the gate open, but after a few mins we were in, so in I go and sign the sign in book with our names and date and off we head further into the dark.
First we came to Canopy Chamber but I couldn’t remember that’s what it was called, next it was Diesel Chamber, with every new part of the cave we came to Kermit said   “where are we now Kay”   to which I replied I don’t know. So further into the cave we go past Erratic Rift and past the Tor Hall, through Pisa Chamber to where Kermit’s favourite part of the cave lies, the angel wing, after Liz had took a couple photos on her gopro we headed up into the Ring Road, which I went straight past the climb up so Kermit pointed it out and up we went.
We then went through to the Pillar Chamber which is absolutely stunning with the white floor and big pillars, we looked at the crawl to the end of the cave and decided not to head down there, instead we headed to the Z squeeze, I went through first so I could show the others how to get down, and off we headed towards the exit, back through all the chambers and passageways, all with Kermit asking   “And where are we now Kay”   I could remember some of them but not all I remembered Frozen Niagara Falls and Pisa Chamber but couldn’t remember the others but hey ho, we made it out and headed into W/L.
We headed into W/L to go and see the original Lilly Pads which we had seen the ones in Shatter so off we went into the deep again to see the wonders that lie beneath the ground, after we had been in and found them which I walked straight past them, ( I really need to open my eyes more ) we then headed out and over to Fernhill.
Fernhill is a circle man made shaft down to a ledge and you use a static ladder to get down to it and another one to reach the bottom of the shaft this is a very short cave but has some really spectacular curtains, which I think are really pretty because they have got loads of different colours in them, after we had spent a couple minutes we headed back out and on pulling up the ladder it got caught on the fixed ladder so down I went to get it untangled so we could pull it up.
After we had all got changed we stopped of at a pub for a quick drink as we were a little bit early for the pub meal we had booked in the Queen Victoria so Kermit headed of to the Wessex to give Mark and Keith a lift to there talk, and Liz, Tony, Dave and myself headed to the Queen Vic for our meal and Kermit meet us there at half 6, we had very nice meals and all headed home.
And Nobody Died Or Nothing.
Signing off

Kay

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Hey Hey We're The Dudley

Here we come ab'in' down a pot.
We get the funniest looks, well ever such a lot.
Hey Hey We're The Dudley,
And people say we're not quite sound,
But we're too busy caving to put anybody down.

(Theme from) The Dudley



Saturday, 7 October 2017

Sump One & Back. Herding Cats In Swildons Hole

Jess and I had a balloon flight booked for the Sunday on the weekend in Bristol, so we thought it would be nice to see if anyone fancied joining us on the Saturday for a day trip in to Swildons Hole.

We hadn't anticipated quite such a response and wound up with 9 people signing up!

We started the day with the now traditional breakfast at the Priddy good cafe, before heading to the green to park up and change. There were several other groups kitting up so we knew it was going to be a busy route.

It was decided due to the number of us that Kermit would take Tony, Liz & Jess in the long dry way and I would head in the wet way with Keith, David, Mike & Kay.
We arrived at the 20ft pitch ahead of all the other parties and so began to rig. As everyone headed down the ladder Kermit and the rest of the party arrived.
As we were the first down we decided to head to sump 1 ahead of the hoards. Here we split in to two groups, one popping through the sump to take a look at sump 2 and the more sensible staying dry to video.
After this we headed up Tratmans Temple and on to take a look at part of the route on. Keith and Kermit decided to have a bimble out at this point whilst the rest of us headed to the greasy chimney.
As we made our way through the mud sump a few of us begun to wonder if there was bad air as we were all struggling just a little more than usual. By the time we made our way up the chimney we were puffing and out of breath and so it was decided we had enough fun for one day and begun to head out taking photo's as we went.
Arriving at the base of the ladder two groups were entering and exiting ahead of us and an hours wait ensued!
As the group were getting rather cold a few of the cavers asked if they could head straight out so I said that was fine.
Jess and Kay helped me de-rig and off we went. They were travelling a little quicker than me and as we headed around a corner I caught what I thought were their lights ahead of me and sped up only to find it was actually David and Liz who had lost Tony and Mike and were wandering around the fossil series. We headed out together from here to find Jess and Kay waiting with Keith but still no Mike and Tony!
Jess headed back in via the dry way and I via the wet way, but it was only after deciding to head back to the ladder and begin the search from there that we found them!
Back at the green Keith and David headed off whilst the rest of us went to the Queen Vic for Butcombe pie and pint :)

David at the greasy chimney

Tony and Liz at Tratmans Temple

David and Mike from the other side. Tratmans Temple

Present: Keith, Kay, David, Liz, Tony, Mike, Mark, Jess & Kermit



Monday, 2 October 2017

Hidden Earth 2017

Hidden Earth is the name for the British Cave Research Association’s (BCRA’s) annual caving conference and Dudley Caving Club had some modest success in competitions at the conference last weekend.
Mark Burkey won several photo categories. Well he would, wouldn't he!
Jess Burkey won the caving cartoon competition.
Keith Edwards's Hidden Earth opening video won in the video salon. Oh and he also got a prize for the best artwork produced digitally.
And finally Mark Burkey was presented with the prestigious Giles Baker Award which is given to a person connected with any aspect of cave photography in recognition of his or her excellence and contributions to the field. Incidentally Mark is the second Dudley member to receive this award. Brendan Marris was awarded it in 2011.

Hidden Earth 2017 Opening Video


Dudley's Successes in the Competitions - The Complete List

Keith Edwards
Winner: Video salon
Best art work produced digitally


Mark Burkey
Winner: Delegate vote for best photograph. Three of Mark’s photos tied for first place
Winner: Best monochrome print
Winner: Best colour print
2 distinctions for colour prints
2 distinctions for digital images
2 merits for digital images
The prestigious Giles Barker Award in recognition of excellence and contributions to the field of cave photography

Jess Burkey
Winner: Delegate vote for best cartoon