Monday 11 December 2023

The Brickworks Dig

If you've become a member of Dudley Caving Club in the last 6 or 7 or perhaps 8 years you will probably not know that your Club has a dig. It's located very near to the SWCC hut.

Digging began in 1986 and from then until the mid 2010s it was visited and dug several times a year. The length of the cave is around 160 feet.

The reason it was abandoned was because when it rains, it floods. This meant that in order to dig it, a few members needed to travel down to SWCC on a Friday evening and set up the pumping system. This meant that we could get in two days digging on Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately the pumps we have block too easily.

During dry weather the water in the dig gradually drains away.

A few of us would like to see if it's possible to resurrect the dig. We would have to investigate a new pumping solution first, but there is no point in beginning work until the spring.

I visited the dig on 11th December and took these two photos. In spite of the very wet weather the water level was quite low. Just covering the bottom of the railway track - about 40 feet from the entrance.

The Entrance. Underneath the grass is a railway track.

The Entrance Passage

Here's a short video from 2013 showing how the dig was operated.

For those who might be interested please talk to one of the longer serving members when you next visit the windmill.

Into the Labyrinth

Loz requested a route-finding trip in OFD 2. She wanted to explore the passages on the far side of Big Chamber, so that's what we did.

OFD 2 - The Labyrinth Area

From Big Chamber we followed the traverses and then turned left to make for Cairn Chamber. From here we found our way to the Columns Gate.

It was then time to explore the Labyrinth! After a couple of wrong turns we found our way to the bottom of Arete Chamber. It was then back into the Labyrinth to find the route to Salubrious Streamway which we did with only one wrong turning.

Loz then requested that we visit White Arch Chamber. From Gnome Passage we headed for Speedy Caver and then into White Arch Chamber.

Loz and Mel in White Arch Chamber

From here we took the exit to White Arch and then back out.

The Entrance Passage

Cavers: Keith, Loz & Mel

Trip report: Keith

Photos: Keith

Saturday 9 December 2023

Dudley Christmas Trip: GB

To the tune of 'I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas'

We were dreaming of a white Christmas:
But snow was nowhere to be found.
The weather was raining
(Bringing much complaining)
So the Dudley sought for solace underground.

Mourning the muddying of our white Christmas
The Dudley went down deep into GB.
The streamway was gushing
Through the Gorge, a’rushing -
And o’er stals were twinkling merrily.

Not really looking for a white Christmas,
When what should we chance to find?
But a passage iced in white
A wondrous festive sight
A frosted scene quite perfectly defined!

This subterranean white Christmas,
Was not made of glistening snow:
The sparkling whiteness
Of pristine brightness
Was formed of the finest calcite flow

Cheered by discovering our white Christmas
GB gave us one more treat:
The sump was draining
With foam flurries remaining
Up the walls to a height of nine feet.

So if you’re searching for a white Christmas
Underground you should convene:
For snow is overrated,
Too cold and rather dated:
Calcite makes the better yuletide scene.

Trip Report by: Anne Bell
Photos by: Bartek Biela
Cavers: Ian, Bartek, Firas, Dave B, Anne, Jon & Nick