Monday 26 December 2016

The Dudley, Caving and Cakes - The Box Set

As the Yuletide offerings on TV are a little disappointing this year I thought I'd treat my fans and upload the full series in one easy to watch package complete with the added bonus of outtakes (or should it be outcakes?). So why not sit back, relax and hit the play button.

Friday 23 December 2016

The White Road

Release date: 4th May 2017

Adrenaline-junky Simon Newman sneaks onto private land to explore a dangerous cave in Wales with a strange man he's met online. But Simon gets more than he bargained for when the expedition goes horribly wrong. Simon emerges, the only survivor, after a rainstorm trap the two in the cave. Simon thinks he's had a lucky escape.
But his video of his near-death experience has just gone viral.
Suddenly Simon finds himself more famous than he could ever have imagined. Now he's faced with an impossible task: he's got to defy death once again, and film the entire thing. The whole world will be watching. There's only on place on earth for him to pit himself against the elements: Mt Everest, the tallest mountain in the world.
But Everest is also one of the deadliest spots on the planet. Two hundred and eighty people have died trying to reach its peak.
And Simon's luck is about to run out.

In August 2015 we took author Sarah Lotz on a taster caving trip. Her underground experience was essential research for her new book. Can't wait to read it.

Friday 16 December 2016

Caver Keith Goes In Search of the Real Santa Claus

X Certificate Rating

WARNING: This video contains highly disturbing images and should NOT be watched by children or anyone of a nervous disposition.

Before his big day Santa has to practice coming down chimneys. Recently The Dudley embarked on a highly covert mission with the aim of attempting to capture rare footage of Santa in his lair practicing his chimney climbing skills. The team were successful with their assignment but got a little more than they bargained for! They are all now receiving therapy and may eventually regain their sight.

Thursday 15 December 2016

The Dudley, Caving and Cakes - Episode 5

The 5th and final episode. Watch to find out who never makes it out of the cave and who has eaten all of the cakes.

Thursday 8 December 2016

The Dudley, Caving and Cakes - Episode 4

Here is part 4 of Dudley Caving Club's five-part subterranean serial. Last week we left Kayleigh battered, bruised and broken.
Is there anything cake can't do?

Thursday 1 December 2016

The Dudley, Caving and Cakes - Episode 3

How is Chunky going to get out of last weeks predicament? Who's going to end up in trouble this week? Watch episode 3 to find out.

Thursday 24 November 2016

Thursday 17 November 2016

The Dudley, Caving and Cakes - Episode 1

From the Caver Keith Film Studios comes this heart-warming tale from the underworld of triumph over adversity, where friendships are made and broken, adventures abound and cake rules supreme.

This is part one of a five part mini-series which ends when Mark ...... Sorry, you will have to watch to find out.
Episode two will be uploaded next Thursday - 24th November.

Sunday 16 October 2016

Zipping along for Milwr Time

Paul Fairman of the BEC had arranged a weekends play in North Wales and had kindly invited Jess and I along. 

So although not officially a Dudley trip we did have a presence!

Our first days play turned in to a fun day of the blind leading the blind as our 'leader' was still nowhere to be seen at midday and so a team of ten of us headed in undeterred and adventured around the various zip lines and climbs.
We managed a full six hours play before heading back to our base at Tremadog for a good meal and a few beers.

After a day of fun and games, Paul mentioned we may be able to join him on a trip in to the Milwr Tunnel on the Sunday.
We both jumped at the chance as we'd never been before and had heard all about the trip from some of our older club members.
We met up about on time and although we were a large group of eight plus four leaders, we moved reasonably swiftly through Rhyd Alyn and down the 24 ladders to emerge at the train.
After a little tinkering the guys managed to get the engine going and we all jumped aboard. Unfortunately there were still problems and we were soon dismounted and had to take shanks pony to the Lime Stone caverns.

Here we took a couple of photos before Doug and Steven headed back to take another look at the train whilst Mike and Steve continued the tour to take in the huge shaft which was used for entering the system before being condemned and around the upper series from the limestone caverns before we plodded back upstream to see how the guys were getting on.
The consensus was that more work was needed and so we headed back out and up the ladders pausing for a photo on the way out.

A mention of thanks should go to UCET members Doug, Mike, Steven & Paul who were very knowledgeable, able, and patient leaders.....even when I kept calling Paul by the wrong name the entire trip!

'Walk the plank' Zipline in Cwmorthin

Ladder climbs in the lower levels. Cwmorthin

The guys tinkering in Milwr Tunnel

Limestone Cavern Milwr Tunnel

Huge rock bridge in the Limestone Caverns. Milwr Tunnel

Just on of the 24 ladders to enter the Milwr Tunnel.

Present: Mark Burkey, Jess Burkey & a ton of BEC members!

Saturday 8 October 2016

A photographic trip in to OFD II

A German photographer had contacted Dudley Caving Club to ask if we would be able to take him underground for a photo shoot and so Jess and I offered to escort them. 
We met up at SWCC and proceeded to spend the next 8 hours underground giving instruction and taking snaps. We only managed to get as far as Selenite Tunnel and back, must be some kind of record!!!

Selenite Tunnel

Swamp Creek

The Chasm

Present: Mark, Jess, Michael & Claudia

Sunday 25 September 2016

Rocking around in Rifleman's

After a Daren trip on the Saturday a more sedate trip was called for on the Sunday. For some reason Brendan decided a trip in to Draenen to Rifleman's chamber would fit the bill!

Kay got a chance to experience for the first time the joys of changing in to damp caving kit on a windy and chilly mountain top ;) and after just the right amount of faffing we headed down the hill along with another party who had arrived whilst we changed.

No problems were had on the way through the entrance series to Cairn Junction and we decided to take the right hand route to Tea Junction to 'connect the dots' in this area of the cave. This turned out to be a somewhat longer way around, but it was interesting to see a part of the cave we hadn't travelled before.

On we went to the stream way where we would pause every now and again for the odd photo. I had forgotten just how much stream there was to the inlet for the round trip and Brendan informed us that we were about half way once we arrived there. The water was often waist deep and mostly knee deep and made it tough going as we waded through.

At one of the wider sections of stream we paused for a photo and kay decided to go for a swim neck deep. Fortunately for me she managed to keep both units out of the water, most impressive, it is good to know she has her priorities right!

We eventually made it to the end where the stream was lost under boulders and after ascending a rather slippery mud bank made our way up the fixed ladders to the dig. As I made my way through a huge boulder moved, dropping in to the space I had just been in. Jess below hollered to the others to stand clear and a helmet size chunk of rock sailed down in to the abyss.
After a very quick look at the scaffolded shaft we regrouped for the return down the stream way.

Aside from a slip that bent Kay's wrist the return was long but uneventful.

Brendan at formations early in the trip

Jess in the Main Stream.

Kayleigh in the Main Stream

Present: Kay, Jess, Brendan & Mark

Saturday 24 September 2016

The Vice Ogof y Daren Cilau (Warning: Do NOT watch if claustrophobic)

My plan was to record a mockumentary of Ian's 70th birthday bucket list trip in Daren but after The Vice Ian had to admit that perhaps the Daren entrance crawl was not the place to be when suffering from very painful sciatica.
However I never miss the opportunity to take video of cavers in tight spaces so at least I got something from the trip.  Sorry Ian.

Monday 29 August 2016

Caver Keith Caving Videos - 500,000 Views

I set up my YouTube channel in September 2009 to showcase my caving videos. I never thought anyone but friends and family, and on second thoughts perhaps not family, would ever watch them. However in the first year the channel had an amazing 1464 views and in the second year it reached the dizzy heights of 3501 views. I was delighted.
Now almost 8 years later it has just clocked up an unbelievable 1/2 million caving video views and I think that this is something worth celebrating. This would not have been possible without the support and encouragement, and sometimes often verbal abuse from the great bunch of people I cave with in Dudley Caving Club. A huge thank you to them all but especially Brendan and the star butt of many of my videos, Mark.

Sunday 7 August 2016

Agen Allwedd Erse Passage & Beyond

Trip report to Follow

Jess & Kay in Main Passage (Photo Brendan Marris)

Jess in Main Passage (Photo Mark Burkey)

Jess near Trident Passage (Photo Brendan Marris)

Kay near Trident Passage (Photo Mark Burkey)

Kay and Jess in the first chamber, Erse Passage (Photo Brendan Marris)

Jess in the second Chamber, Erse Passage (Photo Mark Burkey)

Kay in the final chamber, Erse Passage (Photo Brendan Marris)

Present: Jess Burkey, Kayleigh Wood, Mark Burkey & Brendan Marris

Sunday 31 July 2016

We all have to start somewhere, now where is that bleeping cave ?

This was a taster trip for Ross to see if he would like to take up caving as a hobby, the original plan was to do Ogof Pen Eyre followed by Shakespeares cave, but due to extensive roadworks and difficulty parking i decided to take him to Eglwys Faen with Pen Eyre as the second cave. So after changing quickly, and a gentle stroll to Eglws, i decided to let Ross and Amy find their own way around, they soon found their way down to the dam in the lower level and continued on until the passage became rather tight and wet before turning around and heading back into the main chamber, then heading towards the bedding plane, Ross and Amy easily negotiated the steel ladder that lead up to the rabbit warren but soon became board with hands and knees crawling that seemed to go on forever, both had the joys of exiting the crawl to the ladder and staring head first down a 10 foot drop, but both succseeded in getting down with out to much difficulty.

So on to cave number two Pen Eyre.

Now i find the easiest way to find Pen Eyre is to get to Darren Cillau turn left and walk along the cliff face untile you find the entrance, if you get to Prices Dig you have gone to far, so off we went and soon came across a low entrance where i popt in to see if it looked familer, and if i could see the corkscrew passage "nope not this one must be further along" was my conclusion so off we went again but soon came to Prices Dig "BUGGER" must of missed it, so a quick turn around and we walked closer to the cliff face looking for the illusive entrance but only found the one i had previously popt into, so i went in  again and i still couldnt see the corkscrew passage, soon we where back at Darren where i decided it was time to go back to the car to check i wasnt dreaming and the entrance was between Darren and Prices, sure enough it was, i know wheres my bleeping GPS, ill find the bleeping entrance if it takes me all day. Guess where it took us , back to the entrance i had been in twice all ready so in again for the third time, i stared hard at all the walls and still couldnt see the cork screw passage, when suddenly i spotted a polished stone at floor level, so i dropt down and found you had to squeeze under the wall, and guess what was there, it was theillusive corkscrew passage half way up the wall , i went up first followed by Ross, but Ross decided he didnt feel to comfy and backed out, Amy came up next but we decided we had best go back to keep ross company, so that was that, Ross had had his short introduction to caving, will he come again, we shall have to wait and see when his bruises go down.

                                            Ross exiteing the bedding plane in Eglwys Faen

 Pressent  Amy, Andy g and Ross 

Ogof Draenen Rount Trip

Trip report to follow

Chloe and Mark admire formations en route

Richard in passage near the haggis basher

Brendan in the main stream way

Present: Jess Burkey, Brendan Marris, Richard Dearden, Chloe Burney, Mark Burgess & Mark Burkey

Saturday 16 July 2016

Dudley Caving Club 50th Anniversary Open Day

Being on the Committee I fully appreciate the organisation that goes in to even the smallest of events and so when it was proposed that we open up the Ruiton Mill for an open day I knew we were taking on something of a task.

Brendan set the bar high early with a very professional flyer which would be used to advertise the day and so the posting begun. With Jess, Chloe and Mark Burgess playing postman.

Ian and Keith set to work wording a press release and contacting local radio and papers.

At some point the idea of building a Speleo assault course was born, and after Rob managed to procure some fab pipework it gave inspiration for Brendan to design and build an awesome ball pit, and Mike to take charge and add a traverse and stalactite crawl which would become the centre piece of the weekend.

John and Graham set about designing display and presentation areas on the mills upper floors which were stunning, I can honestly say that it rivalled, dare I say surpassed, others I have seen in Museums and show caves.

AV's were run by John throughout the weekend and the AV by Keith attracted a number of people who took seats in front of the monitor and happily spent half an hour sipping tea and finding out what caving was all about.

I took on the running of the refreshments, whilst Phil provided all the BBQ fodder free to the club and we even managed to raise a little money for MCRO thanks to Lucy running around taking the orders.

On the day Ian kicked us off in grand style promoting the club with a radio interview and it all seemed to have worked!
We had a good turnout of members of the public, Ex members of the club and even the Lord Mayor!

Great fun was had running the gauntlet through our assault course, watching the various presentations and AV's, as well as the SRT demonstrations put on by Andy, Mark Burgess and Rich.

Ian kept us entertained throughout with his PA and sound system whilst club members kept our visitors entertained and amused.

A big thank you to all the members who gave their time to help make the weekend such a success, without your support it just couldn't have happened!

The Mill Rigged For The Open Day
MC Millward, Our Very Own Radio Star!
Andy Rigs The Mill For The SRT Demonstrations
Brendan's Ball Sump....Well It Had To Be Tested!
John and Grahams Presentations Went Down A Storm!
Couple Of Dodgy Looking Characters There!

A short video of the days fun by Keith is available below :)

(All Photo's and Video Taken By Keith Edwards)

Sunday 26 June 2016

Mud & Pretties In Ogof Craig a Ffynnon

After working in Brecon Friday through to Sunday morning Jess and I thought we would take advantage of being so close to a caving area and so decided on a photographic trip in to Ogof Craig a Ffynnon.
We were soon wishing we had put fewer layers on as we walked up the hill in blazing sunshine to the entrance and were glad of the cool air coming from the cave.
We paused on our way in for a couple of shots in the entrance chambers before continuing on through the boulder choke and in to the gloopy mud before Travertine passage.
We were soon at our destination covered in mud and stripped down to our under suits to protect the delicate formations in the beautiful straw grotto that was our photographic destination.
Although Jess had put many layers on and was a little warm on the way in she eventually cooled down and after an hour of photographs we made our way back out to a sunny Sunday afternoon.

3rd entrance chamber

3rd entrance chamber

Straw Grotto

Straw Grotto

Present: Mark & Jess

Sunday 19 June 2016

Ogof Tee - Stuck in the 19th Hole

Our second cave for the day was just across the valley from the first. We headed up the track onto the hillside adjacent to the Merthyr Tydfil golf course. After a short distance we arrived at the shakehole and made our way down through the massive and loose boulder choke to arrive after a few minutes in a rather shaky gritstone collapse chamber. From here we followed some low crawls, often over fallen boulders to make our way to the end of Ogof Tee, where a strong draught beaconed us down a route through boulders.

Low crawl in Ogof Tee
Low crawl in Ogof Tee - Photo by Mark

Loz in a small alcove in Ogof Tee
Loz in a small alcove in Ogof Tee - Photo by Mark

Loz in a small chamber in Ogof Tee
Loz in a small chamber in Ogof Tee - Photo by Mark

The route was very tight at first and the belled out, so a line was rigged and then we started to descend. The climb was not as bad as first looked and soon Loz and Brendan were awaiting the arrival of Mark. The squeeze through the boulders was far to tight for him so a few minutes of rock bashing took place to take off the sharp pointy edge of the one boulder that was stopping his descent. Soon Mark was able to just squeeze through and we prayed that this would be a one way trip. We were now in Ogof Cil Sanws and we followed the strong draught through some boulder digs and tight sections to meet a trickle of water entering a low wide section. We could see plenty of airspace and so we went through to and area where we could see daylight. Some frantic digging through snady sediment allowed us to reach daylight at the Ogof Cil Sanws entrance high up in the side of the Danydarren quarry.

Low wet crawl near the entrance to Ogof Cil Sanws
Low wet crawl near the entrance to Ogof Cil Sanws - Photo by Mark

Present: Loz Appleby, Mark Burkey and Brendan Marris

Twll Clogfaen - Gone in a Flash

Today we were joined by Loz and the plan was to complete two short caves and take some photos in each of the sites. After kitting up we descended through the impressive scaffolded entrance series to meet the small streamway. This was followed to the first pitch where a descent of the fixed ladder brought us to a decorated grotto.

Rich in passages near Moonlight Chamber - OFD2
Formations after the first pitch - Photo by Mark

We paused for a few minutes for Mark to photograph this area before heading downstream to the second pitch. Here some time was spent with Mark taking photos from the top while Brendan photoed from below.

Rich in passages near Moonlight Chamber - OFD2
Looking down the main pitch - Photo by Mark

Rich in passages near Moonlight Chamber - OFD2
Loz approaching the top of the main pitch - Photo by Brendan

Once the photos were done we headed to the low flat-out crawls of the lower streamway, Mark wisely leaving his camera behind. Once close to the end of the streamway we paused for some photos, but within a couple of minutes Brendan's flashguns were waterlogged in this low wet area and we gave up on the photos for the day. A quick diversion to the aven inlet followed before we exited the cave.

Rich in passages near Moonlight Chamber - OFD2
Mark crawling in the lower streamway - Photo by Brendan

A game of hide and seek with the nut off the entrance lock finished off the trip.

Present: Loz Appleby, Mark Burkey and Brendan Marris

Saturday 18 June 2016

Headbanging trip to Moonlight Chamber Area

After a recent trip to the passages at the top of the pitch down into Moonlight Chamber we realised there was still quite an extensive area of passages that we had still not visited. Rich was joining the trip and wanted to learn some more routes in OFD and so we set off on a not very direct route to our destination of choice. We first headed up to the climb up to the Mini Columns, from where we headed to Speedy Caver and then slid down to enter Gnome Passage. A short jaunt down took us to the start of Edwards Shortcut, where easy work was made of the slippy climb down. A short while later Brendan missed his footing on a short section of easy traverse and ended up falling and head-butting a boulder with the side of his head. The helmet saved him from serious damage, but his ear was cut and bleeding. After some proficient first aid by Mark, the ear was dressed and we continued to the main traverses and the rest of the trip. We went to Shatter Pillar and then down to Cross Rift before heading to the end of the passage and then the climb up into the series of passages around Moonlight Chamber. We followed a route through the passages that we had not previously visited and then reached a climb down where a hand-line was required. This took us into a maze of passages where we located the other side of a pretty crystal pool that we plan to return to to photograph at a later date. In our exploration of these passages we ended up arriving at the start of Lugubrious Passage. This was a connection that we had not anticipated and we may use this simpler route on a future trip.

Rich in passages near Moonlight Chamber - OFD2
Rich in passages near Moonlight Chamber - Photo by Brendan

Rich in passages near Moonlight Chamber - OFD2
Rich in passages near Moonlight Chamber - Photo by Mark

Rich in passages near Moonlight Chamber - OFD2
Rich in passages near Moonlight Chamber - Photo by Mark

The route out of the cave was via Selenite Tunnel up Salubrious, taking a short cut to the bottom of the Corkscrew Climb and then via the sandy crawls from Gnome Passage and out via White Arch Series. All above ground for 4pm.

First Aid by Mark Burkey

Present: Rich Gibbons, Mark Burkey and Brendan Marris

Sunday 5 June 2016

WL Cave

Sunday was scheduled for a nice gentle trip in to WL Cave to take a couple of photo's to complete the main caves of the Fairy Quarry.

Jess and I started the day meeting up with Keith, Kermit and Bev at the Priddy Farm Shop for their usual excellent breakfast before tootling over to the Quarry.

I wasn't expecting much out of WL and was very pleasantly surprised by the formations as we made our way through. At the end chamber I went squirrelling off in to the boulder chokes and after 10min's of poking around I returned to find that Keith had dived down an impossibly small rift passage for an explore.
On our way out we took a few photo's and were soon back in the lovely sunny day.

We finished the weekend with a late lunch at the OakHill before heading back to wash off all the mud from the days digging the day before..!

Jess in the entrance passage
Bev at The Lily Pads
Bev at Pink Pool Chamber
Keith in the entrance passage

Present: Mark, Jess, Keith, Bev & Kermit