Saturday 1 March 2014

So You Want To Go Caving?

The club has had an influx of new members recently, all attracted by the website, Brendan’s photos and my videos. Attracting new cavers is one thing but getting them underground is quite another matter, as we are a small caving club with very few really active members.
Step forward super-caver Mark who not only likes whoopy doo trips but also seems to get his kicks by putting new members through their paces. He chose a route in OFD 2 and recruited new members Mel, Tony, Rob and Rich. Ian who less than a month ago had undergone heart surgery decided to come along to test out his new widened arteries. ‘Navigationally challenged’ Jess joined the team to take Ian out if it proved too much, and Ian trusted her not to get lost, or did he? After my last trip two weeks ago I had decided to give up caving for good and take up knitting instead, but for some time now I’ve wanted to make an ‘introduction to caving’ video and an easy trip seemed like a good way to restore my shattered confidence.

The route through the cave was: Main entrance passage, Brickyard, Gnome passage, Birthday cake, Corkscrew, Sandy passages to the Nave, Swamp Creek, Judge/Trident ,Crossroads, Top of Maypole Inlet, Cross Rift, Shatter Pillar, Squeeze down into Lugubrious, Selenite Tunnel, Crossroads, Passage to Salubrious via entrance to Pete’s Pretty Passage, Salubrious, Corkscrew, Birthday cake, Arete Chamber, Bagpipe Chamber, Big chamber near the entrance and out. This route meant that very little passage was traversed twice. It also was a very good introduction to cave exploration, having climbs, squeezes, crawls, traverses, streamways, formations and plenty of slippery boulder hopping.

So How Did They All Get On?

  • In spite of Mark’s best efforts to break the newbies, they all seemed to love it and tackled everything thrown at them with apparent ease - tight squeezes, climbs and traverses.
  • However Mark is having to sit on the naughty step for climbing up into Pete’s Pretty Passage and encouraging others to follow him.
  • Ian stayed with us for almost the whole trip which was almost 7 hours underground. Was it a sign that the operation and recovery have been miraculous, or was he frightened of Jess getting him lost?
  • Here's the video and a few stills from it.
The Video
Mel explaining how she really enjoyed the traverses
Over the top of Arete
Rich on the traverses approaching Big Chamber
Rob in the same place
Mark showing off by carrying 2 camera boxes and a tackle sack
Mel on President's Leap
Rich about to drop into Lugubrious
Rich in the sandy crawls
Rob in the corkscrew
Mel in Salubrious
The team in Selenite Tunnel
Tony negotiating a squeeze
The team: Mark Burkey, Jess Burkey, Keith Edwards, Ian Millward, Rob Campbell, Mel Bell, Tony Ferrun and Rich Gibbons.

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