Where Mark 'The Chin' overcomes his fear of traverses, Wal, for once in his life, doesn't wander off (too far anyway), Gary discovers the delights of Meander 'Boil in the Bag' over-suits, Jess dares to criticise her leader for slight navigational errors, Sinead manages to go caving without screaming (too much anyway) and Keith gets verbally abused.
The trip was arranged for new members Sinead and Gary. The trip was a meander around a number of passages in top entrance as it was too wet to go to our planned destination - Top Waterfall. The route through the cave was - Big Chamber, Bagpipe Chamber, Arete Chamber, Cairn Chamber, The Labyrinth, Salubrious Streamway - downstream, The Crossroads, Cross Rift, Shatter Pillar, Selenite Tunnel, The Crossroads, Trident/Judge, Salubrious Streamway - upstream, Arete Chamber - from the other side, Gnome Passage and out via White Arch. Everyone seemed to enjoy the experience although some members of the team were more than a little knackered on the way out.
|The team on the traverses just beyond Big Chamber|
|Keith and Gary negotiating President's Leap|
|Wal climbing the waterfall in Arete Chamber|
When it became obvious that a Top Waterfall trip was not possible I did moot the idea of taking the group into Cwm Dwr, but was persuaded against the idea as it was suggested that Mark might not fit through the squeeze. As we were out of the cave well before our call-out time Mark asked if I would take him a short way into Cwm Dwr to see if he would or would not fit through the squeeze. I asked Brendan who was Duty Officer for the weekend if he would like the pleasure of leading the trip for Mark. It was difficult to hear his reply as I was outside a window of the club in a bitterly cold northerly breeze and he was inside the club basking in the warmth provided by the new central heating system, but he shook his head and said something which sounded like 'fork cough'. I'm not sure what that means.
Jess joined us and we set off down the drainpipes and along the watery crawls. In a short while we were at the infamous 'Grade 2 Constricted Space' crawl where with a little huffing a puffing Mark managed to feed his body through, although I don't think he would have before some kind soul bagged up large quantities of the stones. Jess then said, "You were thinking of bringing the new members into here." I nodded and she replied, "You sadistic bustard." I don't understand why I was compared to a large bird which has been extinct in Britain for nearly 180 years and I'm sure when Gary and Sinead do go to Cwm Dwr - probably during the caving weekend of 2nd/3rd April they will think it's a lovely cave.
|Keith at the entrance|
|Bustard - is there any similarity?|
Video Highlights of the Trip
The Team: Mark Burkey, Gary Chapman, Keith Edwards, Jessica Harding, Sinead Herlihy and Steve Wallis
Photos by Mark Burkey