Thursday 22 November 2012

Images from the Past

These old photos were sent to me by ex DCC member Ray Watson. Can anyone help identify the 'characters' and locations?
The one is entitled 'Canal'. Obviously in the Dudley Mines, but which one and where?
'Exhibition'. Who, where and when? Can anyone supply the details?
John Smith taking photographs on a trip down Wrens Nest circa 1977
OFD 2 Top Entrance. Who and when was this taken?
Somewhere in OFD.
Rescue Shropshire. Where? Also lots of people to identify.
Roger exiting a Shropshire lead mine circa 1977. Any further details?
Shropshire. Any ideas?
Yorkshire. Any ideas?
Unknown. Who? Where?

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Return to Water Icicle

Unusually I had a couple of mid-week days off, so on Thursday Andy and I made plans for a week day trip. Our last visit to Water Icicle had been thwarted by bad air, so we decided to have another attempt to see the extensions.
As there was no rush I picked Andy up at 10am and off we set. The weather was horrendous on the trip over to pick up Mr Grimes and didn't ease up for the entire journey. Chatting away and with a heavy spray on the roads I sailed past my M42 exit and wound up taking a scenic route up the A444 adding almost an hour to the journey!
Eventually reaching the farm track we slipped and slid up muddy puddles, at one point with Andy donning wellies and pushing the car through a particularly deep puddle, until we decided we could get no further and abandoned the car to walk up the remaining track.
The rain had finally eased and we rigged in relative calm before descending the 100ft to check the air quality at the bottom.
Although our lighters lit we found that there were pockets of bad air in the passages that made harder work of exploring than normal. We decided to keep a check on air quality, but to continue to explore. We headed down North passage first through some very sticky wet mud until I crawled through a particularly wet contortion to find a dig face and the end of the passage. Spinning around in the small space I went back through with half my head submerged to a grinning Andy. Although I offered to wait for him, he for some reason wasn't too bothered about squeezing through the foot deep water to see a dig face....his loss. Our next passage was the North West where we quickly reached the gated extensions. After a quick look up the ladder we headed off to the Southern passage. We were soon at the breakthrough point in the great rift and at the taped extensions. These continued for 80m or so to end at a choke. Again we poked our heads in to a number of holes for a look, finding Donkey Kong Aven and then I spotted a pulley system and some rope. Popping down the hole I was soon in some flat out crawling which went and went and went until finally closing down too tight to follow (I later found out this is Olympic Stroll which goes for 65m). Realising Andy wasn't following I scampered back to him and we pulled on some very muddy kit for the prussic back up.

Finally changed and warm in the car we decided whilst we were in that neck of the woods that we'd continue on to find the location of another on Andy's bucket list 'Rowter Hole'.
We poked around a couple of big sink holes on the way over to the farm and there asked directions, which turned out to be through the farm to a tree line and then just the other side. Again getting very muddy on the way we quickly found the gated shaft and happily trotted back to the warmth of the car.
A muddy Andy and car after a successful trip
Present: Mark Burkey & Andy Grimes

Sunday 18 November 2012

Climbs, traverses, route finding and getting stuck.....again!

On the Saturday Jess and I spent a staggering 7 hours in OFD II diving in every hole, crawl, rift and passage we came across whilst never venturing more than 500 meters from the entrance! We had great fun connecting passage we were familiar with to cave we weren’t. Only once did we come a little unstuck. Jess was in a crawl pushing a tackle bag ahead of her when I heard it go thumping down a hole. Reaching her I looked down several feet to see her bag at the bottom of a small hole. Not thinking I jumped in, jiggling this way and that till I popped through and handed her bag back before realising that getting back up was going to be a tad more interesting as the hole had been quite tight and there were no foot holds to assist me. 2 minutes to pop down the hole……20 to get back out again…..that’ll teach me to look before I leap! J

Chloe braving a traverse

On the Sunday we were joined by Chloe and Ian for another jaunt around top. The route took us up the climb to the mini columns, where a belay was rigged for Chloe and Ian, through some nice wet muddy crawls and down the calcite slope at speedy caver. After this we took Edward’s shortcut to frozen river, then on to shatter pillar and Selenite tunnel before giving Ian a peek at the Trident and the Judge.  Continuing we took in swamp creek and the pitch head to the Nave before exiting via Salubrious.

Jess at Frozen River

Ian viewing a fomation in Swamp Creek

Present: Mark Burkey, Jessica Harding, Chloe Burnley & Ian Millward

Sunday 4 November 2012

OFD 3 - Well 2 & three quarters nearly

A gentle Sunday trip was called for after the Bonfire Night celebrations, and so we headed into OFD 2 with the aim of navigating Mark to the Crevasse so he can lead his own sodding trip to OFD 3 sometime in the future.

We took a standard route into the cave and first headed to look at the climb down into Chasm Passage, which we would encounter later in the trip. Heading down the Corkscrew Climb we dropped into Salubriuos Passage. Jessica wanted to go left here and when challenged decided right was the way on and then when all incorrect options had been exhausted took the correct passage straight ahead to the bottom of Arete. Just past Arete we took a passage to the right with an entertaining climb near it's end to take us into Chasm Passage. Heading North we made our way to the Poached Egg Climb which was rigged with handline and descended. We soon reached Bhowani Junction and took a small detour to see Straw Gallery. Following this we headed to Creek Alley and the start of the Nyth Bran Series to look at the impressive formations high up in the passage. Now all that was left was a short journey to the Crevasse. Another party was met coming back from OFD 3 and Mark dropped down the Crevasse, went across the traverse and had a look at the ladder pitch. The rest of us stayed at the top and some photos were taken while we waited for Mark. The return journey was via Timo's Table and the crawls that lead off from behind it. Once back at Arete, we climbed up to the middle level and dropped back down the slippy climb that sits above the Corkscrew. Exit to the cave was then made through the Sandy Crawls.

Chloe in Straw Gallery

Formations above the start of Creek Alley

Chloe near Bhowani Junction

Chloe and Ian on the Poached Egg Climb

Present: Mark Burkey, Jessica Harding, Chloe Burney, Ian Millward and Brendan Marris