Sunday 30 December 2012

Miss Grace's Lane - Christmas Caving Trip

The weather being what is has been of late we needed a venue that was going to be dry, not to long a drive and would be suitable for a wide section of the Club members. We decided on Miss Grace's Lane in the Forest of Dean. Some of the team met for breakfast in the Pencraig Diner, Jess bringing in her own coffee much to the disgust of the Cafe owner. We headed off to the cave via Chepstow to pick up the key from Jan Karvik and assembled in heavy rain on the carpark by the main road. Andy keen as ever was changed when we arrived and he headed off with his group to rig the entrance while the second group changed ready for the trip. In the shakehole with the entrance we found a small stream flowing which made the descent quite wet and by the bottom of the shaft we got a thorough soaking with all the water that was entering the sides of the shaft.

Dekitting in the chamber we headed off into the maze of passages and chambers, where the next hours were spent exploring, taking photos and getting lost in no particular order.

Mark and Keith - Near Dome Chamber

Mark, Jess and Keith - Dome Chamber

Jessica in a collapsed roof passage near Nurden Hall

Jessica in the Phreatic Causeway

Ian in the Phreatic Causeway

After existing the cave we headed back via Chepstow to drop off the cave key and stopped off at the Piercefield in St Arvans to have a post caving trip meal.

A few more photos from the trip can be seen here

Present: Keith Edwards, Heather Simpson, Phil Lester, Mel Wakeman, Andy Grimes, Mark Burkey, Jessica Harding, Ian Milward and Brendan Marris

Sunday 9 December 2012

Wapping Jugs But No Peaking

As we drove to Castleton the rain lashed down into already swollen streams and rivers and I thought it would be a good idea to pop in and check the trip was on before paying for parking. Andy, Mel and Chloe were already there and a couple of the locals had already gone off to Peak Cavern to check levels. We managed to park in the village and returned back to the hut to await the verdict and for the rest of the party to arrive. As Andy and I chatted we’d pretty much already decided that if there was any doubt then it would be wiser to leave Moss chamber to another day. A consensus was reached by TSG that if we pushed on with the trip that we may well find our return flooded and the only option to be dived out. Whilst a couple of us found this to be exciting rather than off putting, it was decided that a plan B was called for. The walk back to the cars was wet and windy and very cold and Mel (being the more intelligent out of the group) decided that shopping would be the better option for the rest of the day. Andy had gone through his Peak district guide book looking for options that didn’t require tackle as we only had one SRT kit between us and came up with a couple of options for the group.
Jug Holes:
Andy very kindly donned his wellies and braved the cold to point out the exit (main entrance), the shaft and Adit / drum entrance rather than us spend the entire day searching the hills. Carl and Grant rigged and jumped down the 40ft shaft, whilst myself, Jess, Phil, Chloe and Ian went in the oil drum entrance. Splitting up we explored every hole, climb and crawl we could find in the lower series before climbing through the maze of boulders to do the same at the higher level. Grant and Carl spotted a couple of p bolts which we followed through to a rift and finally out. Heading down slope to the collapsed part of the old mine we again explored everything we could find before braving the bracing winds and back to the cars. It was still only around 1pm so it was decided we’d carry on to Matlock Bath to take a look around Wapping and Cumberland.
Wapping Mine / Cumberland Cavern
Parking up at Masson Mills Shopping Complex we took the short walk up the road to the Wapping Adit entrance where the group again went wild exploring any and every passage we came across. After an hour in the Maze we headed up to Cumberland and again explored everything on offer. Back at the cars we changed quickly and said our goodbye’s to those who needed to run off then Ian, Jess and I went in to the shopping centre for a cuppa before heading off ourselves.

Ian making his way through the oildrums

Carl entering via the shaft

The team in Jug Holes
Present:  Jessica Harding, Grant Wilkes, Carl Knott, Ian Millward, Philip Lester, Chloe Burney & Mark Burkey
Also Featuring:
Andy( tour guide) Grimes & Mel (I’d rather shop) Wakeman