Sunday 23 January 2011

Yorkshire Caving - Heron Pot

Having taken part in the Peak Cavern trip photographic extravaganza for Jess' birthday, we thought we'd better take a camera to Yorkshire for Mark's birthday caving weekend.
Saturday saw us joining Heather and some friends from Crewe to do an SRT trip in Bull Pot of the Witches - with 15 of us shimmying up and down ropes it became an exercise in logistics as well as ropework! As we were out by half 3, we popped off for a quick through trip from Calf holes to Browgill to finish the day off.
Sunday we set off to find Heron Pot - as recommended by Andy G. Armed with O.S. coordinates but having mislaid the GPS, we nonetheless managed to pinpoint the pot straight away - or so we thought! It fitted the description perfectly so we kitted up and slid in to the first find that we way on was a very tight flat out passage. We hummed and hah'd over the fact that Andy said it wasn't a tight cave, and the description didn't mention it either. Climbing back out rather despondantly, we then noticed a very obvious cave entrance only feet away, which we'd been standing with our backs to, doh!

Once we got into the real Heron Pot we really enjoyed the trip - full of formations, interesting passages and not much water. The pitches weren't the most straightforward to rig but by combining Andy's advice with the couple of descriptions we'd taken, Mark managed to rig the pitches quickly and efficiently. We explored the cave down to the start of the through-trip wet crawl, including a climb up to a well-decorated chamber and a look at the upper fossil series, which is accessed up a calcite slope. We decided to give the "long wet crawl" to the valley a miss as we weren't doing the through trip, and returned to the pitches.
At the bottom of the first pitch I managed to swing right into the waterfall as I started prussicking up, which was a real incentive to prussick fast as I spluttered to Mark "Hold the rope! It's not going through my ascender!" It was at this point Mark remembered Andy had mentioned something about a deviation??? Sure enough, half way up there was a p-bolt that wasn't mentioned in either of the descriptions, but would have just kept that rope out of the waterfall :0(
We were back at the car and toasty again just as other cavers were popping out of holes all over the hillside - such is the beauty of Yorkshire!

There were formations throughout the cave, including the famous "pickled onion" formation (above).

The passages were full of calcite curtains and flowstone.

Present: Heron Pot - Mark "the chin" Burkey and Jess "Globetrotter" Harding

Sunday 16 January 2011

Peak Cavern - A Cinematic Extravaganza

Deep in darkest Derbyshire a team of crack cavers go to probe the inner depths of the place that the locals refer to only as the Devil's Arse.

Will Adrian ever fit into his oversuit?

Will Sinead ever escape the clutches of darkness?

Will Andy ever go caving again?

Will Mel ever speak to Keith again after seeing the film?

Will Wal ever shut up?


Trailers for the soon to be released  Peak Cavern - The Movie

The Complete Movie

Group 1 - The first photographic trip 
Chief photographer - John Smith, Props Manager (Rocks) - Adrian Stanley, Chief Model - Sinead Herlihy and Chief Lighting Engineer - Andy Grimes

Group 2 - The second photographic trip 
Locations Manager Christine Wilson, Chief Photographer - Bartek Biela, Photographers First Assitant - Paulina Biela, Photographers Second Assistant - Dominik Mokrzecki and Chief Model - Heather Simpson

Group 3 - The third photographic and video trip 
Director of Photography - Keith Edwards, Chief Stills Photographer - Brendan Marris, Stunt Coordinator - Graham Smith, Leading Lady - Melanie Wakeman and Best Boy (Grip) - Steve (Wal) Wallis 

Group 4 - Floating cavers who could not remember which group they were with. 
Jessica (Globetrotter) Harding and Mark (The Chin) Burkey

The crew assembled in the Chapel, and fortunately for Adrian there were so many there to help him get into his oversuit. We decided that due to the wet weather and high water that we would not go through into Speedwell, and so we divided into groups and headed to the cave. John's group headed to the Main Streamway to commence their photos. The second group headed to Neil Moss Chamber to take photos before heading into the Main Streamway. The third group headed into the Main Streamway to take some photos and to fill Adrian's  tackle bag with rocks when his back was turned before heading to Neil Moss chamber on the way out. Mark and Jessica could not decide who they were with and moved from group to group in a vain effort to avoid being involved in the photos.

The crew in the Chapel - Ready to go. Photo Bartek Biela

Jessica and Heather at the start of Pickerings Passage. Photo Bartek Biela

Heather in Moss Chamber. Photo Bartek Biela

Paulina on the Surprise View ladder. Photo Bartek Biela

Wal and Mel pause for a moment in the Upper Gallery.

Wal and Graham in the Upper Gallery.

Wal about to jump across the main streamway.

Wal jumping across the main streamway.

Sunday 9 January 2011

Ogof Ffynnon Ddu 1 - With a new pole for the streamway

Our plan was for a round trip with a deviation into the Waterfall Series to take some photos and video. There had been some recent posts on the caving forums warning that the third pole from the pots in the main streamway was missing. This concerned us as apart from making the trip potentially dangerous it would also mean that we were likely to get very wet. We had to form a plan...
The solution was obvious, we needed a to find a spare pole to take along so Keith and Brendan could keep their feet dry. 
At the Club on Thursday night we looked across to Dominik Mokrzecki and asked "How do you fancy a caving trip on Sunday?"

Keith uses the new pole to keep his feet dry at the third pot.

We headed upstream in OFD 1 making use of the new pole in the third pot in the streamway to ensure that the photograher and videographer remained dry. At the end of the streamway we headed up the traverses that take you up to the Waterfall Series and then followed the Dry Way to the West Leg to take the photos.

Keith climbs up to the West Leg in the Waterfall Series.

Dominik in a well decorated oxbow passage in the Waterfall Series.

Keith in a well decorated oxbow passage in the Waterfall Series.

A detour was taken to Crystal Pool Chamber, Keith headed off first with Dominik, while Brendan stayed at the bottom of the climb that he really did not like the look of. Some video was taken in the chamber before Keith and Dominik headed down into the Annex. This was tight going down and proved to be a real struggle on the way back out. On leaving the Waterfall Series we headed to the climb into Lowes Passage and started our way on the Round Trip. This part of the trip went like clockwork, which was just as well as we had taken so much time with photos and video in the Waterfall Series.
With the Round Trip complete we headed back up stream to pick up the photo gear and to take some video clips in the streamway. 

See more Ogof Ffynnon Ddu 1 photos here 

The video of the trip

Present: Keith Edwards, Brendan Marris and Dominik Mokrzecki

Underground in Liverpool - A Magical Mystery Tour

During the weekend of 8th and 9th January Paulina, Bartek, Dave Appleing, Mike & Em visited a small part of the Williamson Tunnels, as well as going to the excellent Shackleton photography exhibition (the photos looked like they had been taken yesterday), the Beatles exhibition and Another World.

Present: Bartek Biela, Paulina Biela, Emma Porter, Mike Clayton and Dave Appleing

Monday 3 January 2011

Ogof Dwy Sir - A short dry trip

This was a short post Christmas trip to a cave that we had not visited before to grab a few photos of the cave. The day started with the obligatory breakfast in Luigi's before the drive up to Gilwern Hill and a walk around the tramroad to Quimps Quarry to locate the cave. The quarry has intersected a rift passage that can be entered and followed for nearly 200m. This is an extremely dry cave and the walls have been engraved with much graffiti over the years. At the end of the cave a muddy tube was followed up into the Queen of Hearts Chamber that was discovered in 1997. The Chamber is a large collapse feature under the gritstone. Some time was spent looking at the abandoned digs before taking photos on our way out.

Not a cave to be recommended,  but remember... 

"We Go There... 
                                  ....So You Don't Have To"

Keith traversing in the entrance series.

Keith in the entrance series.

Keith in the Queen of Hearts Chamber.

See more Ogof Dwy Sir photos here

Present: Keith Edwards and Brendan Marris

Sunday 2 January 2011

Dancing on Ice

With all this snowy stuff lying about it was time for another trip uphill. In fact they are getting that regular I fear it's time I shall have to find a new excuse to avoid the caving excuse trips!!  Usual ungodly start etc. etc. to arrive in Snowdonia at 07:50 to tackle Moel Siabod.  The trio was now down to just myself and Rob (global warming is clearly affecting the elderly). To keep things concise we went up the hard way and came down the long way.  Turkey, mince pies and nuts alas do not make one fitter and so things seemed all rather harder and longer than normal.... the walk was a pig too!!  But it was all done and Robert dragged me off to the shops under protest for 3pm.  Another cracking day with brilliant visibility, away from the crowds and Rob stepping those post walk shiny clean boots of his into a pile of dog poop.  Such inconsideration from a fellow mutt owner......... how could I defend our corner?  I couldn't too busy laughing that's how!! Some things in life do make the suffering worthwhile after all!!!!

Oh Mother

Lurking at Snowdon!

Moel Siabod
by Graham Smith