Saturday, 10 June 2017

A days photographic play in St Cuthberts Swallet

Mr Marris has been absent for a while having moved a little further afield so we were chuffed to have him on a photographic trip in to St. Cuthberts hole this weekend.

Martin Grass was to take us in and a couple of trainee leaders (Luke and Ollie) would join him. With myself and Jess that would make a full team of 6.

We were soon changed and heading down the entrance rift and down Wire Rift. En Route Martin reminded me I'd mentioned on a previous trip that I wanted to photo The Cascade, which we did before heading down to the September series where Brendan grabbed a shot at The Fingers Formation and Curtain Passage before heading on to the Chain Climb to Gour Hall where again I grabbed a shot.
After this we headed up to Long Chamber to photo a Curtain Martin had mentioned before making our way out. At the entrance ladders after wire rift Brendan and I again grabbed the chance to take a shot.....well it was a photographic trip :)

On exiting we thanked our leaders and grabbed a quick cuppa before heading back to the Midlands after a most excellent days play.

The Cascade
Chain Climb
Long Chamber
Entrance Ladders

Present: Martin Grass, Ollie Newton, Luke Edwards, Brendan Marris, Jess Burkey & Mark Burkey

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Through to Cwm Dwr was a bit of a stretch for Mel!

Mel arrived to a wet Welsh morning on time at 10am. We waited half an hour or so to see if Los was going to make it, but decided she was probably still in bed when the clock reached twenty to eleven and so headed up the hill for a through trip to Cwm Dwr.
No camera today so the going was quick and we were soon dropping in to the main stream way. After the first half dozen pots Mel decided it would be easier just to jump in them, and as we were moving at a reasonable pace she didn't get a chance to chill down.
After an hour and a half of caving we exited the stream way in to Cwm Dwr and as we had made such good time we decided to do a couple of add on's. First we popped up Heol Eira, which was prettier than I'd remembered. We then headed up in to the Upper Smithy for a poke around.
Mel found a couple of the climbs rather strenuous and by the time we had reached the exit crawls her legs were cramping up every time she bent them.
We slowed the pace and took breaks for her to stretch out and still exited at a very reasonable half past 3.  A good fast paced trip which offered the chance to refresh my navigational skills in some of the less explored area's of the system.

Looking like she's posing, Mel grimaces as she tries to stretch out her legs ;)

Present: Mel Bell & Mark Burkey

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Craig a Ffynnon. A damp introduction to caving.

We had promised our latest recruit Rachel a day trip for her first underground adventure.  After plenty of procrastination around the tea pot on Thursday evening we eventually decided upon a Welsh classic, Ogof Craig A Ffynnon.
We introduced Rachel to the Dudley tradition of a full breakfast at Luigi's cafe before heading off to park near the old lime kilns on the old heads of the valley.
As we changed it looked like it would be a busy day in the cave as several of the Gwent caving club arrived and begun kitting up.

One of the Gwent groups went ahead and we followed in. 

Rachel was soon oohing and aaarrring at the decorated chambers as we made our way. At gasoline alley we caught the other group and so opened up the camera kit to waste a little time and take a few snaps. 
After 10 minutes we could no longer hear the others and so the gear was packed up and we continued on. Rachel had no problems with any of the climbs, crawls or water and soon we were at her he first real challenge, the boulder choke.
I led in and could hear her scrambling along behind me. After 10 minutes we emerged the other side. I looked around to find Rachel struggling between boulders, a huge grin on her face....always a good sign :)
Next we slipped and slid through the mud and on to the Hall Of The Mountain King. Here we took Rachel through the bypass to see the start of the Seven Tunnel before heading back in to Travertine Passage for a quick photo before retracing our steps to the entrance to the North West Inlet. Here Keith wanted to grab a little video of people coming through the flooded passage. We each took it in turns to jump in the icy water until we were all thoroughly chilled and then headed out in to the sunshine. I would be staying on for a Sunday trip with Mel, but the others would be heading off so I said my farewells and waved them off after a good fun trip.

Rachel in Gasoline Alley
Rachel admires the formations 
Travertine Passage

Present: Keith Edwards, Kay Wood, Rachel Rushton & Mark Burkey

Friday, 2 June 2017

The Mendip Cave Photography Hat-trick

For the 3rd year running well chuffed to have brought home the top prize to Dudley Caving Club. Again this year judges couldn't pick between 3 of the entries and so the winning spot went to 3 shots rather than just the one :)

The Zig Zags in Upper Flood Swallet
Arete Chamber. St Cuthberts Swallet
Aveline's Hole
Winners Presentation
The Goodies 

Winner: Mark Burkey
MCRA Award: Dave Watts 

Distinctions: Dave Watts & Stuart Gardiner

Dave Watts Flickr feed Click Here
Stuart Gardiner Flickr feed Click Here
Mark Burkey Flickr feed Click Here