Saturday 26 March 2016

Forget eggs and rabbit we went for Turkey this Easter!

On Monday our boss asked us if we fancied having Thursday off to make it a long bank holiday so if we fancied it we could get away to somewhere like Torquay for the weekend.

Well Jess is getting on a bit and completely miss-heard him, so we wound up heading off to Turkey instead! ;)

Having found a cheap last minute deal at an all inclusive hotel in Marmaris, we were only a day in to our break when stuffed to bursting we decided we needed to get out and walk off some of the vast amount of calories we were consuming.

Jess had searched caves in Marmaris and found an ex-showcave: Nimara Cave. We asked some of the locals and got a rough idea of where we would find it and so hoped on a dolmus to a marina at the foot of Heaven island.

 Avoiding the many honey bee hives and pine processionary caterpillars which were falling from the trees, we eventually found a proper looking path in the middle of nowhere.

We hadn't been expecting much, but found a huge, well decorated cavern and although I only had my camera phone and a couple of head torches I still managed to kill an hour taking photo's much to Jess's chagrin!

On our way out we found a bin bag and proceeded to do a little conservation work collecting up rubbish from around the entrance.

A great day out and certainly much more than we had been expecting!

Now where can that cave possibly be?

Jess doing her bit for conservation

Present: Mark Burkey & Jess Burkey

Sunday 20 March 2016

Sundays play in GB

Sunday morning saw me, Mark, Marc and Brendan back at the Priddy Good Farm shop for breakfast, this time with Chloe and Mark BURG… The plan was to go into GB, so we picked up a key from the Wessex.  Marc and Mark BURG… hadn’t been into GB before and were amazed how spacious it is compared to the caves we had explored the day before.

We followed the usual round trip route (apart from Mark who ended up climbing up the waterfall by mistake??) and explored every nook and cranny en route to the ladder extensions.  Once Mark had rigged the ladder, we all climbed up and were soon at the unpleasant duck. The water in this was fairly low, not enough to drown even Brendan, but enough to wet us all through thoroughly. Once through we started looking for the way up into the Great Hall.  Brendan pointed out the route, and while Mark went up the alternative overhanging climb, the rest of us did our best to push through the tight squeeze up into the huge chamber, with mixed success. A quick explore and photo of the chamber and it was time to head back down and onwards to Bat Passage.

This passage never fails to wow as it is immensely pretty, with pristine white formations. It is a real shame that some of these have muddy handprints on, and we discussed coming back on another date for a cleaning session.

On the way out of the cave some photos were taken in the main chamber, and then we were all out in good time for the drive home.

Entrance Climbs

The Great Chamber

Main Chamber

Present: Mark, Mark 2, Marc, Chloe, Jess, Brendan & Alli from the Shepton

Trip report Jess.

Saturday 19 March 2016

Fairy Quarry Wriggles and Giggles

Saturday saw a good number of Dudley Caving Club enjoying a breakfast at the Priddy Good Farm Shop. As Keith often says, “No refunds once the breakfast is consumed” , so despite it being really chilly, off we went to Fairy Quarry to go caving.

Our first destination was the Fairy Cave to Hilliers through trip. Mike and Richard were keen to route find, so they went ahead of the group and we did our best to send them down all the tight horrible bits that weren’t the way on. 

The tight squeeze on the way to Hilliers was as wet and nasty as ever but posed no problems to the group (once Mark had rearranged his ribs) and soon we were at the connection with Hilliers. Pointing out that we were not far from the entrance to Hilliers, we nonetheless headed away from it and into the cave to explore it fully.

With the boys trying to remember what they had read in the survey (which they’d left in the car) Mike got sidetracked down a tight rift that went nowhere, much to the amusement of Lucy, Mark and Brendan, while Marc carried on with Rich to route find, with me following.

Marc has done a few trips with Dudley but perhaps Hilliers has not turned out to be his favourite… it could be described as “ a couple of hundred metres of boulder choke, with one or two places that you can stand up in”, and quite a few times he was heard to say “are you sure this is the way on?”

The Red Room at the end, though, is really quite spectacular, and there are some very pretty sections en route too.  Once Marc and Rich had had a good look round, we set off back towards the entrance, meeting the others on the way. When Rich heard how Mike had struggled to get back out of the rift, he was determined to have a go himself but found it easy compared to some of the contortions we have already been through.

With Rich leading the way we headed out. At one point I looked up to the left at a familiar-looking climb, but ignored it and followed Rich instead through ever more flat-out crawls, until he realized that we were heading towards the sump that links Hilliers Cave to Hillwithy Cave – oops! Turning back and looking again at the climb up, I remembered that it was indeed the entrance to Hilliers, so up we went.

After a short wait in freezing conditions, Kermit arrived to take the group into Shatter Cave, where they were very impressed by the lovely formations. Mark and I went off to take a couple of pictures back in Hilliers while we waited, but we soon got far too cold and were dressed and sitting in a warm van by the time the others got back. A very good day!

Hillier's Entrance Rift

Present: Mark, Marc, Jess, Rich, Brendan, Mike, Lucy & Brendan

Trip Report Jess

Sunday 6 March 2016

A Round Trip In Dan Yr Ogof

For Sunday Mike had asked if there was a chance of getting in to Dan Yr Ogof for him and his friends. The weather had been kind all week and the water levels seemed pretty good, so as we had both Chloe and Myself who were wardens we decided to give it a go.
We went in officially as two groups, but inevitably wound up on each others heels. Chloe led the way in through reasonably high lakes and cascades and Mikes friends were suitably impressed with the roar of the water.
We took the usual round trip route in via the upper series with Anita, a friend of Mikes taking pictures as we went.
Whilst Anita captured the magnificent Cloud Chamber, I had a go at a reflective shot that I'd tried before.
At the green canal we found no floatation at all and so Mark and I went over the traverses above to see if the dig rope was still in place to land at the other side. It was, so we descended and retrieved a load of rings and life jackets to take back to the other side.
With everyone chilled from the swim we continued on down the Elephant Hutch and through the Camels Arse and on to the lower series.
Water levels must have been very high in the preceding weeks as we found no footprints as we made our way through Bakerloo, over the hoovermatic and back up to the long crawl.
The lakes had fallen a little whilst we had been in, but still gave a magnificent roar to greet us as we made our way back out.

Cloud Chamber (Photo Mark)
Baker loo (Photo by Anita)
Cloud Chamber (Photo Anita)

Cloud Chamber (Photo Anita)

Present: Mark1, Mark2 & Mark3!  Chloe, Mike, Chris & Anita

Saturday 5 March 2016

Northern Lights in Ogof Ffynnon Ddu

Saturdays trip was arranged to head to The Northern Lights in Ogof Ffynnon Ddu. Chloe, Mark Burgess, Loz and myself headed in via Edwards Shortcut with Mark navigating via a survey I'd printed off. After a quick picture in Midnight Passage and a divert to show the way on to the Deja Rue series, we were soon crawling through water and sliding down tubes to reach the climb through to The Vault. Here I left my camera box to take the others to the tighter route via Lavender Way. Here I surprised myself by managing to thrutch up the awkward rift and so decided to abandon the camera and explore all the passageways in the area. There was much fun at the awkward letterbox climb and the flat out crawl through the deep icy water was as entertaining as ever. We had a good poke around Peats playground, pen and ink passage, Tiptoe traverse and Ferrets End before making our way down Keyhole Passage and to The Block house. With all the possible routes explored and a good 8hrs underground we headed back for warm showers and a cuppa before saying good bye to Loz who had only joined us for the day.

Chloe and Mark check the survey in Midnight passage

Present: Chloe Burney, Mark Burgess, Laura Appleby & Mark Burkey

A dry dive through OFD1 to Cwm Dwr

With my original plan to go diving at the weekend getting cancelled earlier in the week a backup plan to go caving instead was quickly agreed upon

Having been in bottom entrance only a few weeks earlier and with a couple of visits to Cwm Dwr now under my belt our plan for Saturday was a through trip to connect the two.

With plenty of time between us and our call out we entered the system via the ladder and headed off up towards the step, where surprisingly, after all the recent heavy rain was actually looking low. With signs that things were safe we worked our way up stream over the deep pots before turning off into a taller passage toward the boulder chamber. With good route descriptions being read out by Mark S at the rear, we made easy work of the choke and were soon in the crawly passage above, admiring the unusual mud formations.

Continuing down through a squeeze and a crawl we entered a larger passage where we had a good explore trying to find the correct route on. With only Anita being able to squeeze through what seemed to be the only way forward, but with no obvious route, we turned around to retrace our steps. With us all scurrying off in different directions we soon spotted an opening above us. Back on track the passage sent us up and down through a number of collapsed boulder chokes until we immerged into a chamber with straws and a flat, sloping wall at the end. At this point lunchtime was announced and my fellow cavers produced tasty snacks from their bags! There were sandwiches, crisps and the all important pork pie – in the moment of such unusual delights I had soon consumed a whole sandwich, a handful of sweets and two delicious pies, only to then realise we were dining at the foot of The Letter Box! Luckily nobody had eaten too much and we all slid through the opening with ease, working our way down the passages to the sloping slab that leads to the diver’s rope. Not convinced the small opening on the right was the correct route on we volunteered Anita for a second time to go on ahead and check things out. With the green light we all pushed our way up the tight squeeze to be faced with a huge drop into the abyss! After slight deliberation Chris opened up his tackle bag and began setting up a prusik knot for each of us, and one by one we made the safe decent to the passage below.

Knowing we were now not too far away from Piccadilly Circus (and for me slightly more familiar ground); we relaxed and enjoyed playing around with a few photos. Once we were all suitably cold and with empty lunch boxes we picked up the pace and made easy work through the Smithy. From here we moved over the transverses leading to Big Shacks and we were soon ready to enter the Cwm Dwr Choke. After a few interesting manoeuvres through the maze of boulders we popped out into the final main passage and made our way up the Cwm Dwr Jama to reach the notorious crawl. The rest of the group had done their homework and questioned some footage from a ‘Keith Caver Production’ video which showed what appeared to be a tricky crawl about to unfold. I reassured them that the crawl wasn’t difficult and in fact the drain pipes leading out the system were far trickier to negotiate. As expected the crawl was met with ease and with everyone emerging into the quarry directly one after the other, it seems to be that I was the only one to struggle with the pipes!!

Present: Mike, Chris Redman, Mark & Anita Sherwood

Trip report Mike Bonner