Sunday 30 April 2017

Day 2.... The Great Orme Mine

Day 2's adventure would be a led trip in to the Great Orme Mine.

Another leisurely start to the day with the group meeting up just passed the half way tram stop at 10am. Our guides were already there and kitted in boiler suits. Keith had joined us for this trip and we all began kitting up.
The walk to the shaft was only meters away and we were all happy to get out of the wind and on with exploration. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but the nondescript walking, stooping and crawling muddy passage wasn't really it. For once I felt no need to get the camera out and before I know it we were heading back to the surface after less than a couple of hours. First up I popped to get changed and took a few pics with my phone as the others exited. Lucy flew up the 20m pitch and so her initiation in to the world of SRT has officially started!

With more of the day left than we had expected we headed to the top of the Great Orme for tea and cake before Keith suggested us muggles might want to have a go at the mysterious world of geocaching. We had a romp over the hill side and were thrilled when we found the hidden stash! Unfortunately it was time to say goodbye to Lucy and Mike, but the rest of us were keen to take in the scenery around Happy Valley and continue with the geocache quest.

Eventually the rumble from the bellies could be ignored no longer and we headed in to Llandudno to collect traditional fish and chips to eat on the beachfront. I decided I wanted to eat mine on the beach itself and couldn't understand why the others weren't following......that is until I was mugged by seagulls! I beat a hasty retreat and guarded what was left in my tray.

The evening took a somewhat surprising turn when after Loz headed to campsite, Kay and Jess decided they wanted to visit a karaoke bar!

Against our better judgement, and with a couple of pints consumed, even Keith and I could be heard singing along at the table ;)

The Gang All Kitted Up At The Entrance Shaft
Lucy survives her first prussic and still smiling!

Geocaching is fun!
More fun in Happy Valley
The screen says it all!

Present: Mike Bonner, Kay Wood, Lucy Collins, Keith Edwards, Jess Burkey, Loz Appleby & Mark Burkey

Saturday 29 April 2017

Dudley North Wales Mines Weekend. Day1....The Croesor / Rhosydd Through Trip.

Kay, myself and Jess travelled to Llandudno on the Friday night to avoid the bank holiday traffic.

Saturday morning after a walk on the pier and donuts for breakfast we went to meet Kay at her bed and breakfast before collecting Loz at a nearby Mcdonalds and heading on to Tanygrisiau where we had arranged to hook up with Mike and Lucy for midday.

The long walk to the Croesor entrance was as much fun as ever, Kay particularly enjoyed it after having had a 4 course breakfast!

At the entrance we met some European hikers who poked their nose in the entrance before declaring us mad and going on their way.

This would be Lucy's first real SRT and so we had brought enough rope to rig a tandem abseil and so I descended beside her to keep an eye on her, though it really wasn't needed as she had no problems at all.
Whilst the usual fun was had on the Zip line I took advantage of the others playing back and forth to get a planned shot of the rickety suspension bridge before we continued on through the other various obstacles.
I had been a little worried about getting Lucy across the traverse, but a second zip line is now in place making the traverse redundant. We had another play with photo's, this time getting Kay to use her Vape to create a smokey effect, intact creating so much smoke I couldn't see across the chamber!
We eventually got the hang of how much would create the right effect and grabbed the shot before moving on.
Lucy and Kay were nervous of the new rigging at the bridge of death, but both had no problems at all when it came their turn to cross.
As we reached the canoe we realised we were going to be close to our call out time. Jess suggested I go ahead with Mike and Lucy to ensure we would make it out on time until I pointed out I was the only one who knew the way out and so we stayed as a group navigating through Rhosydd.

Once out Loz did her thing and jogged down to the cars. She arrived with only 5 minutes to spare before Keith was actually going to initiate the call out.

After a proper scolding by Mr. Edwards we headed to Betws Y Coed for a good meal and then back to Llandudno.

View from the bedroom, LlandudnoPier
Lucy on the wobbly suspension bridge
Kay on the 2nd Abseil
Mike & Jess at the 2nd Zip Line
Hungy cavers!

Present: Kay Wood, Loz Appleby, Mike Bonner, Lucy Collins, Jess Burkey & Mark Burkey

Tuesday 25 April 2017

Caver Keith Videos 2017

It’s been a crazy few months for my caving videos. My YouTube channel was set up in October 2008. It took almost 8 years but on 27th August last year the channel clocked up half a million caving video views. Since then the view rate has increased dramatically and it took a mere 8 months to double the number of views. On 4th April this year the caving videos achieved their one-millionth view. The view rate in the first 18 days of this month is over 14,000 views a day and the total views are now 1.2 million.

My Caving Videos Playlist

Monday 17 April 2017

Eastwater Cavern & The 13 Pots

For Sunday we had been slated to lead a trip in the fairy quarry, but as most of the gang were rather either hung over, heading in for the short round trip or off to do some family caving in Burrington, Jess and I took a day off to play with the camera in Aveline's Hole.

Monday we joined Duncan for our first trip in to Eastwater Cavern to do the 13 pots.
Off to a good start I couldn't fit through the smaller entrance hole and had to use the slightly larger alternative. We were soon making our way to 'The Woggle Press' to see if I would fit through this, which fortunately I did :) and on to the ladder pitch.
The next few hours were truly great fun, sliding down smooth polished bedding planes and clambering up and down the pots themselves before doing an awkward vertical squeeze and on to a rift that would require us to chimney across whilst trying not to slip down.
Duncan had done a great job leading us and was excellent at gauging what I would and would not fit through. On our way out I had another go at the entrance squeeze and this time managed to marshmallow my way through :)

After a quick shower at the Wessex and pint at the Vic, we said our goodbyes and headed back home after a great weekends play.

Aveline's Hole

Present: Duncan Simey, Jess Burkey & Mark Burkey.
A second team of Neil, Ollie, Mike & Tom also joined us in the entrance series before heading off to explore digs and head back out of the woggle press.

Saturday 15 April 2017

Duck Hunting In Upper Flood Swallet.

Dudley members were invited to attend the first 'Cave Fest' event being held in the mendips with Jess, myself and Loz signing up.

Jess and I headed down on the Friday evening. Loz had put her name down for a trip in to St Cuthberts on the Saturday but found herself running late and wound up on a trip in to Eastwater Cavern instead.

Surprised that no one had put their names down for Saturdays trip in to Upper flood swallet, Jess and I eagerly booked the trip. We were joined by Duncan Simey and met up on the green at quarter to ten to find our leader for the day Bill Chadwick, one of the original discoverers of Neverland.

Eager to get going Bill suggested we head straight off and so we were soon changed at the MCG hut and on our way.
En-route I found I had lost a glove and told the others to carry on and I would catch them up, but not only did I not manage to find said glove, but found myself wandering the fields until Jess popped her head up and called me over.
Our next few hours would be spent crawling and squeezing through the entrance series. Bill asked if I fancied cleaning off and going to a little visited area above the duck-under-boss to get a photo of the duck pond and I, of course, jumped at the chance. The Duck Pond is very much like pork pie passage and is a flat out crawl with no way of lighting the chamber any other way than from the front. With this done I headed back and began to make my way back down when Jess came around the corner and lit up the curtains in front of me and so another ten minutes were spent photographing this before turning around to grab a shot of Bill coming back down the Boss.
Further soakings and mud crawls brought us to the wash off point where we stripped down to our undersuits and wet socks before heading to grab a quick shot at Curtain Climb. With this done Jess and I took a few photo's in the connecting passage whilst Duncan, who had never visited Neverland before, went off with Bill.
Suitably impressed the others returned from the stunning area of the cave and we begun our journey back out. The trip in had been great fun sliding and squeezing our way through. On the return it felt a little tougher on the knees!
After six hours underground we re-emerged on the surface and headed off to find out how Loz had got on in Eastwater.

The Duck Pond
The Zig Zags
The Duck-Under-Boss
Curtain Climb
Curtain Passage

Present: Jessica Burkey, Mark Burkey, Duncan Simey and trip leader Bill Chadwick

Saturday 8 April 2017

P8 Jackpot my first trip as a leader

We started the day by meeting at mine for 7am and heading off to Morrison's in Buxton for breakfast. We then headed down to the parking for p8, we set off with srt kit, ropes for srt and two ladders. After I led the way across to the entrance with a little help from Andy, in we went. We all made it past idiots leap without incident and towards the first pitch. I rigged the ladder pitch for Ollie and myself , while Andy rigged the srt traverse pitch and headed off up to the upper sections. ollie and myself carried on down the streamway to the second pitch, which we completed with out any problem. We then headed down the lower streamway passage where I headed to the first sump, then came back and headed up the crawl on the left towards the rest of the streamway, Got to the streamway then came back and went up and to the right and headed for mud hall, we eventualy came back to the second pitch climbed up and derigged. We then headed back to near the first pitch and headed back up and over the streamway into the upper sections where andy had sat waiting for us and was  keeping an eye on us, we then headed to stalagmite grotto which ends in a calcite choke, we then went  back and over to Steve's passage, then back to the first pitch. While Ollie climbed the ladder, I came up the srt traverse rope and out.

We then drove down the road to have a look at where giants and a few other caves are such as oxlow and nettle pot etc. We then Stopped off at one of Andy's old friends for a cupp and a catch up, then on the way  back home we stopt at  the milestone pub for a quick pint before going our seperate ways.

All in all a nice little trip in which no cavers where harmed in the undertaking and Andy said theres no reason why i cant lead a group in on my own  in the future ,

  present: Kay, Andy g, and ollie.

Trip report by kay 

Sunday 2 April 2017

3rd Time Lucky, An OFD Through Trip

For Ollie's 3rd ever caving trip he was keen to try something a little more ambitions I suggested a through trip and told them to decide which one.
As Kay and Ollie discussed which through trip to do, Clive Westlake wandered over and introduced us to a chap called Tarquin who was looking for a decent length trip for a Sunday .
He was most keen on a through trip and asked if we fancied an ofd1 to top trip, and so the decision was made.
We made swift progress through OFD1 with Tarquin giving us a full descriptive history of the cave. We paused for a while at the letterbox as I tried to better a shot I had previously taken there before continuing on in to the main streamway. The water levels weren't too high and although we often had to jump in to the deep water it wasn't too strenuous. We again took a quick shot before leaving the streamway and once we arrived at the crossroads Kay took over the navigation out.
A thoroughly enjoyable day in good company.

Ollie entering the letterbox climb

Kay in the main streamway

Ollie learns that just one more shot isn't always quite truthful!

Present: Ollie Woodward, Kay Wood, Tarquin & Mark Burkey

Saturday 1 April 2017

A Run Around Top....More Like A Marathon!

Ollie's first outing last week to Bagshawe Cavern hadn't put him off and he turned up on Thursday evening keen for more and so a weekend at South Wales was arranged to try and beat the enthusiasm out of him!
We stopped off for the usual breakfast to start the day at Luigi's in Abergavenny before heading on to the SWCC. Upon arrival we checked the river and found this flowing well so the streamway would be out of bounds for todays foray and a run around top entrance would be the trip of the day.

After changing and walking up the hill we headed in.
Kay was kind enough to carry the 2nd peli box as I wanted to test some new flash guns and we took a couple of test shots straight away to see if she would have to lug them around the entire trip.......she would :)

We begun with the awkward climb up to the mini columns and in to the bedding planes to show Kay the head of the practice srt pitch in to Gnome passage. From here we headed down speedy caver and across to Gnome passage, down Edwards Shortcut and for a look at the pretties in Frozen River. We continued down Edwards Shortcut and cut across to Shatter Pillar and took the usual route through Selenite tunnel and over Presidents Leap to take a look at The Trident & Judge formations. A quick divert to Swamp Creek and then up to Peter's Pretty Passage.
I really thought that would be enough for Ollie's first trip in OFD, but he was still game and so we headed up Salubrious and over toward the bottom of Arete Chamber, turned off in to the Snowman passage and cut across to come out in Chasm. We went for a look at the head of the Crevasse before taking a look at Bowani Junction, Straw Gallery and back to Timo's Table. We took the crawls behind Timo's Table back to the base of Arete and the the direct route up the Corkscrew Climb, Past The Wedding Cake in to Gnome Passage, Through the Backyard and Out.
Fortunately that seemed to be enough of a warmup for Ollie and so after a quick look in the club dig, we retired to the local Indian Restaurant to make plans for the next day.

Ollie Admires The Mini Columns
Kay Slides Down The Calcite At Speedy Caver
Ollie Examines The Helictites In Peter's Pretty Passage
Kay In Straw Gallery

Ollie Woodward, Kay Wood & Mark Burkey