A tired looking Dudley bunch met at the 365 steps car park at 8am. The night before had seen the worst thunderstorms and heavy rain of the year and no one had managed much sleep.Ian our trip leader arrived at 8.40 to find us all changed and raring to go. As we made our way through the woodland the tired faces were replaced by excitement at the thought of what was in store.
After a quick shot of the team whilst still clean we signed the logbook and headed in.
The entrance series is immediately flat out and muddy and everyone squealed with delight as we slipped and slid our way through the crawls. We soon made our way over Pyramid Step, down Breakdown Passage to the tidal sump where there was plenty of air space so we quickly paddled our way through, up the ladder and through choke 1. The traverse proved no problem for anyone and we were soon stomping up stream to the 2nd choke.
After taking some time to wash ourselves off thoroughly we headed in to more muddy passage in the Link Crawl where Mel approached the rift at an odd angle and made getting through slightly more work than necessary :)
Reaching ‘The Extension’ we were immediately wowed by the pretty formations before us. Every corner we turned seemed to impossibly become prettier than the last until the huge stalagmites and stalactites of the Hall of 30 loomed in to view to take our breath away. We could have happily spent the entire day with the formations already passed, but there was still more to come. We continued on to ‘Long Straw Chamber’ passing more beautiful curtains, stal’s and columns of colours varying from Black to pure white dripping from ceilings that at one point became the brightest of reds. Then on to Tunnels Junction. At this point Becca went with Ian to the Sump in Tunnels Left whilst the rest of us pottered back taking a few pictures as we went.
The outward trip was uneventful, though everyone was feeling the pace on the return, and we arrived to find the sump high enough to be a duck on our exit. Well chilled we soon warmed up as the flat out mud crawls are up hill on the way out!
Paul Taylor was filming for his sequel to his otter hole video at the wash off point, fortunately Mr Edwards has taught us well and Mr Taylor was very pleased with the quality of his actors.
The Rest of the Dudley Forest of Dean weekenders met us as we washed off in the bath tub and we were soon back at the cars munching cake and planning our next adventures.
|The team before entering Otter Hole|
|Rich in a grotto off the main passage|
|Chloe in Gour passage|
|Mel admiring formations near Tunnels Junction|
|The team on exit!|
Present: Becca Kirkpatrick, Mel Bell, Rich Gibbons, Chloe Burney and Mark Burkey