Monday, 17 April 2017

Eastwater Cavern & The 13 Pots

For Sunday we had been slated to lead a trip in the fairy quarry, but as most of the gang were rather either hung over, heading in for the short round trip or off to do some family caving in Burrington, Jess and I took a day off to play with the camera in Aveline's Hole.

Monday we joined Duncan for our first trip in to Eastwater Cavern to do the 13 pots.
Off to a good start I couldn't fit through the smaller entrance hole and had to use the slightly larger alternative. We were soon making our way to 'The Woggle Press' to see if I would fit through this, which fortunately I did :) and on to the ladder pitch.
The next few hours were truly great fun, sliding down smooth polished bedding planes and clambering up and down the pots themselves before doing an awkward vertical squeeze and on to a rift that would require us to chimney across whilst trying not to slip down.
Duncan had done a great job leading us and was excellent at gauging what I would and would not fit through. On our way out I had another go at the entrance squeeze and this time managed to marshmallow my way through :)

After a quick shower at the Wessex and pint at the Vic, we said our goodbyes and headed back home after a great weekends play.

Aveline's Hole

Present: Duncan Simey, Jess Burkey & Mark Burkey.
A second team of Neil, Ollie, Mike & Tom also joined us in the entrance series before heading off to explore digs and head back out of the woggle press.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Duck Hunting In Upper Flood Swallet.

Dudley members were invited to attend the first 'Cave Fest' event being held in the mendips with Jess, myself and Loz signing up.

Jess and I headed down on the Friday evening. Loz had put her name down for a trip in to St Cuthberts on the Saturday but found herself running late and wound up on a trip in to Eastwater Cavern instead.

Surprised that no one had put their names down for Saturdays trip in to Upper flood swallet, Jess and I eagerly booked the trip. We were joined by Duncan Simey and met up on the green at quarter to ten to find our leader for the day Bill Chadwick, one of the original discoverers of Neverland.

Eager to get going Bill suggested we head straight off and so we were soon changed at the MCG hut and on our way.
En-route I found I had lost a glove and told the others to carry on and I would catch them up, but not only did I not manage to find said glove, but found myself wandering the fields until Jess popped her head up and called me over.
Our next few hours would be spent crawling and squeezing through the entrance series. Bill asked if I fancied cleaning off and going to a little visited area above the duck-under-boss to get a photo of the duck pond and I, of course, jumped at the chance. The Duck Pond is very much like pork pie passage and is a flat out crawl with no way of lighting the chamber any other way than from the front. With this done I headed back and began to make my way back down when Jess came around the corner and lit up the curtains in front of me and so another ten minutes were spent photographing this before turning around to grab a shot of Bill coming back down the Boss.
Further soakings and mud crawls brought us to the wash off point where we stripped down to our undersuits and wet socks before heading to grab a quick shot at Curtain Climb. With this done Jess and I took a few photo's in the connecting passage whilst Duncan, who had never visited Neverland before, went off with Bill.
Suitably impressed the others returned from the stunning area of the cave and we begun our journey back out. The trip in had been great fun sliding and squeezing our way through. On the return it felt a little tougher on the knees!
After six hours underground we re-emerged on the surface and headed off to find out how Loz had got on in Eastwater.

The Duck Pond
The Zig Zags
The Duck-Under-Boss
Curtain Climb
Curtain Passage

Present: Jessica Burkey, Mark Burkey, Duncan Simey and trip leader Bill Chadwick

Saturday, 8 April 2017

P8 Jackpot my first trip as a leader

We started the day by meeting at mine for 7am and heading off to Morrison's in Buxton for breakfast. We then headed down to the parking for p8, we set off with srt kit, ropes for srt and two ladders. After I led the way across to the entrance with a little help from Andy, in we went. We all made it past idiots leap without incident and towards the first pitch. I rigged the ladder pitch for Ollie and myself , while Andy rigged the srt traverse pitch and headed off up to the upper sections. ollie and myself carried on down the streamway to the second pitch, which we completed with out any problem. We then headed down the lower streamway passage where I headed to the first sump, then came back and headed up the crawl on the left towards the rest of the streamway, Got to the streamway then came back and went up and to the right and headed for mud hall, we eventualy came back to the second pitch climbed up and derigged. We then headed back to near the first pitch and headed back up and over the streamway into the upper sections where andy had sat waiting for us and was  keeping an eye on us, we then headed to stalagmite grotto which ends in a calcite choke, we then went  back and over to Steve's passage, then back to the first pitch. While Ollie climbed the ladder, I came up the srt traverse rope and out.

We then drove down the road to have a look at where giants and a few other caves are such as oxlow and nettle pot etc. We then Stopped off at one of Andy's old friends for a cupp and a catch up, then on the way  back home we stopt at  the milestone pub for a quick pint before going our seperate ways.

All in all a nice little trip in which no cavers where harmed in the undertaking and Andy said theres no reason why i cant lead a group in on my own  in the future ,

  present: Kay, Andy g, and ollie.

Trip report by kay 

Sunday, 2 April 2017

3rd Time Lucky, An OFD Through Trip

For Ollie's 3rd ever caving trip he was keen to try something a little more ambitions I suggested a through trip and told them to decide which one.
As Kay and Ollie discussed which through trip to do, Clive Westlake wandered over and introduced us to a chap called Tarquin who was looking for a decent length trip for a Sunday .
He was most keen on a through trip and asked if we fancied an ofd1 to top trip, and so the decision was made.
We made swift progress through OFD1 with Tarquin giving us a full descriptive history of the cave. We paused for a while at the letterbox as I tried to better a shot I had previously taken there before continuing on in to the main streamway. The water levels weren't too high and although we often had to jump in to the deep water it wasn't too strenuous. We again took a quick shot before leaving the streamway and once we arrived at the crossroads Kay took over the navigation out.
A thoroughly enjoyable day in good company.

Ollie entering the letterbox climb

Kay in the main streamway

Ollie learns that just one more shot isn't always quite truthful!

Present: Ollie Woodward, Kay Wood, Tarquin & Mark Burkey

Saturday, 1 April 2017

A Run Around Top....More Like A Marathon!

Ollie's first outing last week to Bagshawe Cavern hadn't put him off and he turned up on Thursday evening keen for more and so a weekend at South Wales was arranged to try and beat the enthusiasm out of him!
We stopped off for the usual breakfast to start the day at Luigi's in Abergavenny before heading on to the SWCC. Upon arrival we checked the river and found this flowing well so the streamway would be out of bounds for todays foray and a run around top entrance would be the trip of the day.

After changing and walking up the hill we headed in.
Kay was kind enough to carry the 2nd peli box as I wanted to test some new flash guns and we took a couple of test shots straight away to see if she would have to lug them around the entire trip.......she would :)

We begun with the awkward climb up to the mini columns and in to the bedding planes to show Kay the head of the practice srt pitch in to Gnome passage. From here we headed down speedy caver and across to Gnome passage, down Edwards Shortcut and for a look at the pretties in Frozen River. We continued down Edwards Shortcut and cut across to Shatter Pillar and took the usual route through Selenite tunnel and over Presidents Leap to take a look at The Trident & Judge formations. A quick divert to Swamp Creek and then up to Peter's Pretty Passage.
I really thought that would be enough for Ollie's first trip in OFD, but he was still game and so we headed up Salubrious and over toward the bottom of Arete Chamber, turned off in to the Snowman passage and cut across to come out in Chasm. We went for a look at the head of the Crevasse before taking a look at Bowani Junction, Straw Gallery and back to Timo's Table. We took the crawls behind Timo's Table back to the base of Arete and the the direct route up the Corkscrew Climb, Past The Wedding Cake in to Gnome Passage, Through the Backyard and Out.
Fortunately that seemed to be enough of a warmup for Ollie and so after a quick look in the club dig, we retired to the local Indian Restaurant to make plans for the next day.

Ollie Admires The Mini Columns
Kay Slides Down The Calcite At Speedy Caver
Ollie Examines The Helictites In Peter's Pretty Passage
Kay In Straw Gallery

Ollie Woodward, Kay Wood & Mark Burkey

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Dudley Peaks Weekend: Peak Cavern to Titan....and back!

As Jess and I had to work on the Saturday we arranged to meet the gang in Castleton early evening for a meal.
The others had been in Bagshawe Cavern earlier that day with a good turn out of: Ian, Mike, Lucy, Kay and our latest recruit Ollie.
For a surprise Brendan managed to get over for the meal, but was far too sensible to be persuaded to join us for any caving.

This would be the first day off Jess and I had managed since getting back from Meghalaya and I was looking forward to a nice Sunday pootle around Peak Cavern and have a play with my new flash gun set up. Mike and Kay however had other plans and wanted to visit the bottom of Titan.

As we reached the cave Jess begun putting on her belt and knee pads only to find that the knee pads had self destructed at some point since their last use and so I insisted she take mine. We made our way through the show cave and were soon wading through the mucky ducks and on to The Treasury. As we made our way up the ladder and in to the trenches Mike took a turn with the extra box of flash guns and stormed ahead up the muddy passage and on to Colostomy Crawl. We were soon washing the mud off ourselves as we made our way upstream toward The Bung. This was flowing at full force and any remains of mud were well and truly gone by the time we got in the upper streamway. 
The awkward ladders up to JH were ascended next and we were soon at the connecting duck. After going through and pulling the boxes through it took a minute to convince the others that it was actually the way and that I wasn't kidding. I did remind them that it was their idea for the trip ;)
Our last obstacle was the awkward squeeze up through the boulders to Titan itself. We had made excellent time and were stood gazing up the impressive shaft in just under 3 hrs. 
Mike, Kay and Jess had taken it in turns to haul my extra camera box through all this way so it seemed a shame to not take a few photo's as we exited :0)
Colostomy Crawl seemed even longer on the way out and my knees were really starting to feel it by the time we were climbing back down the Faulty Towers ladders.
We exited at just before 5pm to sunshine and quickly changed before grabbing ice creams and fudge from the local shops before saying our good byes and heading home.

Jess in the Lower Bung Streamy
Mike on the impressive Bung Ladder Climb
Kay at the foot of Titan

Present: Mike Bonner, Kay Wood, Mark Burkey and Jessica Burkey

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Behind the locked doors of Bagshawe Cavern

After meeting for the obligatory full English breakfast  in Buxton, our convoy headed in the direction of Bradwell village, in search of Ye Olde Bowling Green pub where we were due to meet our 'fixer'.
After a quick briefing of the cave system and an exchange of keys, we kitted up and headed to the entrance where some 130 manmade steps descending steeply into the cavern awaited us.
Our first port of call was Calypsos cave just off the main passage way; we spent a few minutes here scrabbling up into a small tube which ends fairly quickly at a dig. Returning to the main passageway to drop the kit bag off at The Dungeon, we continued our way down via the hippodrome to Top Stream Passage and the sumps.
We spent a bit of time here studying the survey, looking around and getting our bearings before retracing our steps in search of the glory hole and the first of the two locked gates that we had come to visit. Behind the first locked gate was Snake’s Pyjamas.  We crawled our way in, one by one, and admired the pretties seen on our left as we made our way up to the furthest point which we could squeeze up to.     
Back on the main passage we made our way towards our final locked gate of the day known as Coronation Crawl. This was a slightly bigger and more decorated passage then the last, so we split off in different directions to see what we could find. I climbed up into a tight rift on the right and crawled head first through water until I couldn’t progress comfortably any further, with the rest of the group returning from their little explores with similar result.
Before returning to the surface, and with time to spare, we thought we would rig the ladder and descend into The Dungeon, but not before we attempted to see if we could fit through agony crawl! This was short lived when it was soon apparent that I would be forced to remove my helmet to ‘maybe’ fit through! Not keen on getting stuck or having everyone laugh at me, we retreated back to The Dungeon pit and rigged the ladder.
The team did a grand job of rigging the ladder and soon we were lowering our test dummy (aka Kay) down the pitch. With the reassuring sounds of the rope being “free” it was our new recruit Ollies turn to descend. Ollie made easy work of the ladder and rope, and one by one we all reached the floor of the Dungeon.
It quickly became apparent that we wouldn’t be going too far as the water levels for our route ahead were looking too high, and after wading in to chest deep water it was confirmed that we wouldn’t be able to explore the lower routes at all, so we quickly retreated to the dry banks and made our way out.
At this point we all agreed that we had seen what we wanted to see and we made our final ascent of the 130 steps to make our way out of the cave. After a quick change of clothes we made our way back down the hill to Ye Olde Bowling Green pub’s garden for some well deserved refreshments and sunshine.

Present: Mike, Lucy, Rich, Kay, Ian and new recruit Ollie

Trip report: Mike Bonner