Saturday, 21 July 2018

Sun, Sea, Shale & Even A Bit Of Caving On The Isle Of Portland

By pure luck and chance, we managed to pick one of the finest weekends of the year to arrange our club meet in Portland. 
Jess and I managed to get away early on the Friday and even had time to for a spot of sight-seeing around the Bill before the others arrived and the weekend begun proper with an evening in the pub.

With no sore heads we began the day in glorious sunshine and headed for breakfast by the sea and so lost our first casualty of the weekend. Chris had a bit of an upset tummy and decided that a morning underground wasn’t going to suit him and so then there were nine! 
Not only is nine quite a lot to be heading underground but our guide for the weekend, Les Williams, didn’t know what he was letting himself in for as we had no less than 3 photographers in the group! Ha ha lol
After parking up outside the prison, we hopped the wall and headed along the cliff face. At Allotment Dig, Les announced only the slim should head that way and the rest should follow him to Guano rift. We re-grouped at link rift and Bartek and I headed though the Letterbox to go and have an explore. Satisfied there were no prisoners breaking in to our bit of cave we regrouped at concrete corner and photography began!
Paulina was the only one to do the horrid looking rift through to Skittle Alley and whilst a few of us played with the cameras Les went off to find an easier route to her. At some point Ian, Paulina, Bartek and Dino decided enough was enough and then there were five.
Kay and Tash finished playing with her new camera and Les headed in to the sun leaving just Jess and myself.
For some inexplicable reason I had a complete brain miss-fire and decided as I hadn’t had a cake in more than an hour I would most likely have lost enough weight to have a go at exiting allotment dig. 
At the crux contortion around the corner I began to remember that I am actually still pretty chunky and peered around the cosy dog-leg up at the small rift passage beyond, wondering if it would get any smaller. 
I heard Les at the entrance and called him to find out if I was at the tightest bit. After a bit of coaxing he eventually ventured in to the passage without a helmet or light, and nearly fell down a big hole in the dark!
Fortunately for me he confirmed it didn’t get any tighter and after pushing my manly marshmallow physique through we re-joined to offer Les a little light for his exit.

Although not many could spend a whopping 3 ½ hours in the Grove Cliff Caves, for the members of The Dudley this was a welcome short day, so to celebrate we headed up to Portland Bill for ice-cream and swimming in the sea.

A fine meal at The Cove, followed by a couple more hours in the bar and a good night’s sleep and we were soon meeting up for breakfast and to plan Sundays adventures. Chris was still nowhere to be found, Kay and Tash decided on a romantic break away to Wookey, Ian very sensibly decided his marriage would benefit from spending at least one day on the island with his lovely wife and so then there were 6 for our adventures in to Blacknor Hole.
We quickly rigged and descended to the cave entrance to get out of the horrid warm sunny weather in to the much more pleasant musty guano smelling crawling passage. I headed off to stretch out in C&A rift whilst the others descended and entered the cave and the regrouped to take a look at Queen’s Entrance before continuing the round trip. We even found some formations this time, which would give Les time to have a little nap whilst the cameras came out again!
Les appeared behind me just as I was sticking my head in to Wriggle Push and lead us back along Ariel Tunnel to complete the round trip. 
All that was left was to play with some photos of the entrance before exiting in to the glorious afternoon sun and take in one last sea view and ice-cream before heading our separate ways.

Blacknor Hole Main Entrance

Pretties In Blacknor Hole

Grand Canyon

Guano Rift

Flagpole Rift

Ammonite Fossil

A Perfect Way to Finish The Weekend




Trip report Mark

Present: Paulina, Bartek, Dino, Chris, Kay, Tash, Jess, Ian, Sue, Les & Wendy



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