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.

                        





Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Fenix Lighting The Way

A product review from Caver Keith Videos. We've always struggled to get good video in large cave passages so we tried out some 3800 lumen FD65 focusing torches from Fenix. The torches were able to light up some of the largest passages and they are absolutely brilliant for video. The range of light settings and the fact that at flood setting there isn't a trace of a hotspot make them ideal caving video lights.

Filmed in Agen Allwedd, South Wales on Sunday 11th March 2018.


Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Caver Keith on the Radio (and TV)

I'm Nearly Famous 3


Following on from the Birmingham Mail article and my not so modest success on social media I was invited to appear on the Danny Kelly Show (which was being hosted by Rachel New) on BBC WM 95.6FM to talk about my caving adventures on Thursday 15th February.

After the interview I was walking down the steps from The Mailbox when I received a comment on one of my YouTube videos from a researcher for The One Show:

"Hi Keith, I work on The One Show and we are working on a Sport Relief challenge for the show. We'd love to use some of your amazing caving footage."

To illustrate the caving part of Sport Relief 2018's 'Mother of All Challenges' she was looking for caving clips and really wanted clips from Porth Yr Ogof - a South Wales cave that I've never videoed! I was planning a trip to Craig A Ffynnon on Sunday 18th to try out some new Fenix FD65 3800 lumen torches I've acquired to use as video lights.

5 seconds of fame


The team were easily persuaded to divert to Porth Yr Ogof and about 5 seconds of the video we took on the day appeared on The One Show on Wednesday 21st February.

The torches performed very well and proved to be excellent for video with a very white light, no hotspots and of course very, very bright. Oh, and Brendan tested out the waterproofing of the torches when he accidentally dropped one in the underground river. It survived a 10-minute dunking at a depth of 60cm while we frantically searched for it.

This is the video we took at Port Yr Ogof:

Keith

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Caver Keith Videos on Social Media

I'm Nearly famous 2


Back in October I received an email from an intern working for Extreme on Facebook asking if he could use clips from Caving Claustrophobia Kill or Cure.


Extreme

I said yes and a shorter edit was uploaded to the Extreme Facebook page on 24th October last year under the title Claustrophobia Level 9000! To date it has been watched over 7 million times, shared 59,000 times, has had 35,000 post reactions and has attracted 33,000 comments.

Extreme Adventure

I was then asked if it was OK to upload it to the Facebook page Extreme Adventure. This was uploaded on 14th November under the title Claustrophobia over level 9000! This version has been watched 600,000 times with 2,700 shares, 1,300 comments and 1,200 post reactions.

More Extreme

Extreme obviously recognised a good thing and re-posted the video on 20th December. This time the statistics are:

  • 20 million views
  • 200,000 shares
  • 62,000 comments
  • 85,000 post reactions

LADBible

On 12th February I received the following message via the Dudley Caving Club Facebook page:

Hey guys,
I work at LADbible on facebook
We came across this video of you guys..
https://www.facebook.com/Extreme/videos/574940612847693/
I was wondering if we could make a news video about what you guys do
We think our audience will love it!

The video appeared on Facebook on 13th February under the title ARE YOU BRAVE ENOUGH TO TRY CAVING. It's a mix of clips from Caving Claustrophobia Kill or Cure, Best Extreme Caving Video Moments 2017 and Caver Stuck in the Lobster Pot.


The statistics for this video are:
  • 2.2 million views
  • 7,500 shares
  • 15,000 comments
  • 12,000 post reactions
All of this exposure has led to mainstream media fame, but this will have to wait for the next instalment.

Keith

Friday, 23 February 2018

Daring cavers delve into UK's tightest, deepest and darkest spaces - Could you handle it?

I'm nearly famous


On 30th January I got an email from Newsflare who thought they might be able to sell one of my videos - Caver Stuck in The Lobster Pot, Sidcot Swallet. It sold twice, to Right This Minute and MSM. The videos did the rounds of social media and then on 5th February this message arrived via the Dudley Caving Club Facebook page.

"Hi there, I'm a reporter at the Birmingham Mail, would love to run a story about what you guys do and the amazing footage you have inside the caves, would that be at all possible? Thank you, Stephanie"

Several messages and a phone interview later this article appeared in the Birmingham Mail.

https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/daring-cavers-delve-uks-tightest-14252136#ICID=sharebar_facebook

To date the article has been shared 96 times via the Birmingham Mail website. It has also resulted in one potential new recruit to the caving club.

Keith