Thursday 29 November 2018

Shatter photo trip 28th Nov 2018
We met up in the priddy good farm shop after the night before having a few pints at the Hunters for the digger awards. There was myself, Tash, Kermit, John and Bev were heading down shatter in fairy quarry,
Mark, Jess, Paulina, Mike and Keith were heading down Rhino rift. So after filling our bellies with good food and lots of coffee or pop we said our goodbyes to the other group and headed to fairy quarry and got kitted up.
Kermit then asks where Chris and Jim were as they were due to be coming down with us. Iinformed him that Jim was feeling under the weather with a bad belly so Chris was taking him home. So of we plodded to shatter a really nicely decorated cave one of the best in mendips. On the way in I went ahead a bit with John and Bev while Kermit and Tash went at a more leisurely pace so Kermit could give Tash the knowledge of the cave as they went.
We waited for the just before pillar chamber and when we had regrouped I got my camera out to start taking photos as we had agreed we would take them on the way out. The first was pillar chamber then I took one of the Angel Wing which is Kermits fave formation in the cave next is Niagra fall, which is were John and Bev left us as John had to shoot off, and Bev decided to join him. Leaving just myself Tash and Kermit in the cave much to Tash's joy as it meant she would be my model now and we all no how much she loves standing around waiting for me to take a photo, I'm still learning so sometimes it can take me a while to get a nice shot.
We carried on and every 5 mins I was stopping to look at potential photo shots but decided to try to keep it to a minimum, in the end I had took 8 photos in total which I'm happy with but I have my favourites out of them ie the balcony shot and the one with tash in the second gate. Once I had finished we exited to daylight as it was about half 2 to 3 pm when we got out and were changed heading to the pub for a drink before heading home.
All in all a good day's trip Tash got to see a pretty cave and I got to practice with my camera so win win.

 Angel wing
 Balcony chamber
 A curtain
 Second gate
 Niagra falls
 Piller chamber
 Leaning tower of piza
Leaning tower of piza again 

Sunday 25 November 2018

Rhino Rift

Continuing our our recent trend of visiting caves new to us we decided on something a little out of the norm for the Mendips with an SRT trip in Rhino rift.

Our weekend begun in the Hunters Inn where we met up with Mike, Paulina, Tash and Kay who had spent the day In Reservoir Hole. We proceeded to sink many pints between us and eventually stumbled back to the Shepton Hut where Chris and Jim had a camp fire awaiting. After warming by the fire and chatting for a bit, not to mention pinching Kays chocolate stash, we eventually headed off to bed.

The next morning the gang headed to the Priddy farm shop whilst Jess and I made a slight divert to the Wessex to collect the key before joining them and Keith for the usual 5* breakfast experience.
(Many thanks to Mike Kushy for brining the Charter house permits to the breakfast stop for us to fill in)

We said our goodbyes to Kay and Tash who were off to Shatter cave for a photographic trip and Paulina, Mike, Keith, Jess and Myself headed off for our own adventure.

We were quickly at the cave entrance and unlocking the gate, Mike and I went on to begin the rigging whilst the others held back with Keith to play with some video. The traverse at the first pitch was quickly rigged and I began my descent to a single bolt after around 15m, as the result of a single point failure would have been too large a shock load I put in a deviation at this point and continued on to wait for Mike to bring the second bag forward at the next pitch head.
Here the first y hang swings around a corner and is quickly followed by a hanging re-belay to a rock filled ledge above the third pitch. A call came down to let us know that Keith was finished playing with video and heading out and we were soon joined by Jess.
I had begun to rig on the right hand wall, but quickly realised the better route was a traverse on the left wall to a further hanging re-belay which is soon followed by an awkward deviation. Paulina came next and spent a while figuring out the best way to tackle the deviation and was then followed by Jess. I went for a poke around and down an awkward hand line assisted climb to take a look at the continuing rift, before heading back. Mike decided he'd had enough fun for one day and so we all headed back up with me de-rigging as we went.

Entrance Traverse

2nd pitch

Back on the surface we celebrated with mince pies before heading back to return the key and home to wash rope!

Photo's Paulina Biela

Trip report: Mark Burkey

Present: Paulina, Mike, Jess, Mark and Keith

Sunday 18 November 2018

Tatham Wife Hole

After a late night of drinking at the Marton Arms we gathered for a breakfast at Inglesport Cafe where we regrouped and were joined by Roo.
After a little retail therapy we were soon heading up past White Scar show cave and parking at the next lay-by.
Whilst kitting up I noticed Roo suddenly go driving off and wondered if he had abandoned us as he was the only one who knew the way to the cave!
The rest of us were about ready when Roo arrived back with a brand new pair of shiny wellies ;)

Everyone who had asked what we were up to over the weekend had mentioned the long walk in to Tatham Wife and they weren't wrong! We headed up past false horizon after false horizon until the landscape eventually flattened off.
Roo headed in along with Dave to begin rigging, whilst I took charge of Joe and Jess looked after Tash, followed by Kay and Loz.
It was quickly obvious that Joe was a natural and we quickly caught the rigging team. I passed responsibility of Joe over to Dave and headed back to make sure Tash was OK.
The re-belays are quite a stretch in Tatham and most are not required in dryer conditions, which these were. We had decided to put them in anyway to give the novices some practice, but they were told not to worry too much if they had trouble with them and just leave them out.
Tash was having a struggle with one particular manoeuvre and was having to kick off a wall to reach it. She refused to be beaten and i think she managed every single manoeuvre.....well done Tash!
Kay was struggling with a bad elbow and tendon problems with her feet and dropped out at the third pitch. We checked if Tash wanted to turn around and she said 'No Way!'
Loz at some point had gone ahead and as we turned a corner we were met by Roo who said he wasn't feeling too good as he'd slightly overdone it on the wine the night before. Loz elected to keep him company and escort him out so Jess and I could look after Tash.
At this point the cave changed character and we were soon crawling in water and thrutching along until we met Joe and Dave.
I took over the rigging and the five of us continued on. After the next pitch came a 30m rift which I couldn't fit through with my SRT kit on and had to pop it off, squeeze through and then pop back on :o/
At each point we kept checking that Tash was happy to carry on, but there was no stopping her. Our next obstacle was the duck. Joe and Dave, not keen on getting wet were looking at the trickier climb to bypass. I stuck my head in and decided it didn't look too bad and wallowed through.
Now Tash has always said 'she don't like water' in her caves and you could have knocked me over with a feather when she came paddling after me.
I heard Jess, Dave and Joe cursing on the other side as if Tash had done it then they could hardly refuse.
Again our merry group continued on. Here the going got a little more awkward, crawling and traversing in rifts until we reached the head of a wet pitch.
At this point Tash decided she was tired and turned around and headed back with Jess. I rigged the last pitch and Joe, Dave and myself dropped down, had a poke around, decided the idea of a canal, long duck and sump held little appeal and headed back.
Again, Jess took charge on the way up of Tash, Dave looked after Joe and I de-rigged.
We exited in good time, but with the nights drawing it was already dark when we exited in to the cold night air.
Dave navigated us back across the hillside, but if it hadn't been for the others having their headlights on in the lay-by then I'm not sure we'd have been able to drop down to the right point.
As it was the others left us a guiding light and we were soon changing, saying our goodbyes and heading home from another Dudley adventure!

Trip report: Mark Burkey

Present: Roo, Dave, Joe, Jess, Kay, Tash, Loz and Mark 

Saturday 17 November 2018

Rowten Pot

This is a cave I have wanted to do for some time and so I put an email out letting the club know, as I was heading to Kendal for the film festival on the Friday, I planned on doing a quite technical SRT trip on the Saturday. Loz and Dave responded to say they'd be up for this and so a plan was made. We printed off guides and packed kit on the Thursday and you could tell Dave was pretty keen on getting his teeth in to something that would test his skills and so Dave would be our rigger and I would bring up the rear with a huge bag of camera kit.
The cave itself was smaller than I'd expected, but the rigging was most definitely technical with free hanging re-belays swinging in to tight rift passages to rig traverses and awkward take off' was brilliant!
We bottomed the pitches and had a look at the sumps at the bottom, shivered and turned to leave these for another day. I had a rough plan of what I wanted to photograph and had brought walkie talkies but still the roar of the water was deafening and made shooting the pitches pretty challenging.
I sent Loz up the main pitch first and then I went up. Once there I hauled up the rope from the last pitch and rigged a second line for me to descend and photograph Dave from. 
The head of the pitch is an awkward rift with no floor and so sorting camera kit was going to be a challenge. Loz carefully sorted this out with me and I soon found I couldn't get on the rope on the awkward pitch with he gear shoved in my suit and so I dropped through the tighter take off and Loz had to carefully pass me each piece of kit whilst communicating via walkie talkie to the others below that Dave could start up the main line.
Getting light in the right place for the pitch shot was far tougher than I'd expected, but Jess did a great job and we were soon heading back up the pitches.
At the entrance it was now dark, which was what I had been hoping for. I had an idea for a shot when were making our way in, but it wouldn't work with daylight pouring in through the entrance. 
Dave was flash monkey this time and did a fab job positioning the flashes out one at a time whilst I tested them. Finally we had everything in place and the shot is one of my favourites that I've taken.
From here it was only five minutes to exit.
Very happy we made our way back to the cars and on to the Marton Arms for food and perhaps one or two too many beers!

Loz gets the kit ready in the beautiful Yorkshire sunshine.....for a change!

Dave begins the rigging in The Eye Hole Route

Jess is hot on his heels!

Dave on the main pitch

Loz, Jess and Dave on the pitches and balcony traverse

Trip report: Mark Burkey

Present: Loz, Dave, Jess and Mark

Wednesday 7 November 2018

Fenix FD65 Rotary Focusing Flashlight Review

Good caving videos need great lighting. My grateful thanks to MyFenix ( for supplying these amazing torches.
Thanks also to Mark Burkey, Kayleigh Wood, Bill Nix, Clare Warwick and Graham Fentham for their help and assistance in making this video.