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Friday, 29 June 2012

Wednesday 27th June return to Hilliers

This week's trip plan was for a revisit to Waterwheel - a fairly wet cave. Last time I wasn't quite aware of how wet it was going to be and got quite cold without a wetsuit on, and managed to trash my camera. I was preparing to wear my wetsuit on this week's trip and have a swim at the bottom.

Dave sorted out the key, but was made aware that the trip had a limit of 5 people according to the key owners. This complicated things as more than 5 people wanted to go. Tim played diplomat and suggested Steve & I could join him on an alternative trip. We didn't really have any time to organise keys/permits for anywhere else so decided to head back to Fairy Quarry for another Hilliers trip to see if I could remember my way around the cave and to take some photos.

As usual getting there took forever in the rush hour traffic, we got changed quickly though and went off to find the Fairy Cave exit to check it was open. We had decided to enter through Hilliers but exit through Fairy . To begin with we ended up on the wrong side of the cliff trying to find it. We backtracked to the gate and found a small path which lead round to the entrance. The entrance was open, so we headed back to Hilliers to start the trip.

On my way down the slippery slope into the cave I wondered if I'd ever feel good about going down the small drop. It was the 3rd time I had done it, and still didn't enjoy it. There is a hand line but I'm not sure if I'd be able to hang off it for very long if my foot slipped.

I'd bought a new cheapy handheld cree light for lighting photos from Ebay so had that with me. Once through the gravel crawls (which were very wet after the weeks rain) and past the boulder of doom we continued into some of the prettier passage and spent some time messing round with my camera settings and taking photos using the hand held light. I really need to spend a trip down in a cave with my camera just figuring out what settings to use. It had so many options there just isn't time to try them all on a caving trip. After destroying my last camera on a beach trip (sand in lens..) I've only taken this camera underground a few times, and it's not as easy to set up/use as my last one.













We continued through the cave and Tim pointed out the point you head up to go out through Fairy Cave. We continued onwards through the choke/s to Cambridge Grotto. More photos were taken but my hand held light ran out of battery. I'd forgotten to charge if before taking it out so the battery only had the charge it was sold to me with (which probably wasn't very much) I cursed myself for forgetting to charge it.













Spot the long stal in this photo










We got a little bit confused about the way on after this point - there were a few possible holes leading on!, as I made my way through another choke I wasn't sure it was the right way, so it was a relief to pop out into Brenda's chamber. My photos in this chamber weren't too successful - looking back at them we should have had Steve's light on a much lower setting. I think I preferred the ones from the previous week taken on Dave's Tough camera.





We then had a debate as to whether to continue on to the Red Room. The David Lynch fan in me really wanted to go see it. We looked at the survey and reassured ourselves that the distance to it was no further than the last boulder choke we had passed through. Mendip underground (cave guide) uses big capital letters to warn that the choke (suicide passage) it well dodgy, and great case MUST BE TAKEN. Tim had been to the Red Room before, Steve and I hadn't. With that in mind I lead the way through the choke.....

It actually wasn't all that bad - the trip in Eastwater the other week had felt far less safe. The way through the choke was pretty easy - a nice well worn boulder path through with lots of little twists and turns. As we got closer to the cavern the stals and formations were beginning to turn red.. We then had a short climb up into the chamber which was filled with red formations. We had a little explore and took some photos then had to head out as time was ticking on. I was really impressed with the chamber and really didn't want to leave so soon, but the lure of the pub and threat of a call out was looming so it was onwards and outwards. Looking at reports of other trips there I'm not sure if we made it as far as what is described as the 'Red room' in the guide - the photos I've looked at look as if there are more columns that the ones we saw in the chamber we entered. It's a good excuse to go back and have another look when time is less of a factor.







Should have probably turned the light down...







The way back from the 'red room/chamber' was straight forward and went much quicker than the way in. Passing through the squeeze after Brenda's chamber I made the other 2 laugh by trying to go down a small hole instead of through the squeeze (Steve swore blind I'd done exactly the same thing during last weeks trip).
On our way back into Cambridge Grotto Steve and I came out one way through the choke and Tim another way which confused us. Then it was onwards and outwards to the Fairy connection.

Enroute to the connection Steve and I went up through a squeeze and found ourselves in a decorated chamber - this was the same chamber we'd gone into in error on the previous trip too. Back through the squeeze and we were back into the big rifty bit where you have to climb up and head over a slippery muddy drop and into a bedding plane. We took it very carefully as one slip would have sent us down not a very nice drop. Through the pretty bedding plane we shuffled then it was another step over a drop and up to the squeeze. Tim went through first and got to the duck - we were trying to communicate with him and find out if it was doable. The whole cave had been much wetter than last weeks trip and we were worried it would have sumped. Tim said it was passable and went through it. The squeeze was easy, and the duck didn't look as bad as I thought it would. I still didn't want to do it though. I initially said I was going to head back, but then decided to give it a shot. I'm not that bothered by cold water (having swum in snow melt water earlier in the year) but something about sticking myself into the wet pool made my body go into cold shock, I felt like I couldn't breathe and my heart was going 90 to the dozen. I waited for it to stop and had a go at passing through, but I still couldn't get my breath and was worried I would panic mid way through. I came back out and it was decided Tim would head out through Fairy (not wanting to pass back through the nasty duck) and we would head back out through Hilliers. We agreed to meet by the gate and if we weren't out within the hour to look for each other. It wasn't the best situation, and probably an indicator as to why it's better to have 4 on a trip.

I was pretty cold after my submersion so we hurried our way through the bedding plane to the muddy bit over the drop. I took it very slowly as was worried in my state of cold I might not concentrate fully. Once over both drops we made quick progress out of the cave and were soon out. We were relieved to see Tim at the cave exit -having come out through Fairy five minutes earlier he'd wandered over to us. He'd had a little navigational wobble coming out of Fairy but had made it out without any further hitches. It was good to be out in the warm air of the quarry. The whole place felt quite eerily silent and Tim said it had felt a little creepy coming out on his own through the wooded section by Fairy Cave.

We got back to the car about 10.45, and agreed we were too late for the pub. So it was back to Bristol for oven chips, beer and rum..

Monday, 25 June 2012

New Forest 24th June - Fritham and the Royal Oak

Sunday morning found us in Salisbury for Steve H's daughter's ballet class. Post ballet class we needed some fresh air so decided to head towards the new forest. Plan was to do a short walk, pub lunch then longer afternoon walk over some of the (relatively) higher ground of the forest.

Getting there took us slightly longer than intended as there was a bike race on so there was allot of traffic about. By the time we got there both Lizzie and I were crossing our legs needing the loo! We parked up in one of the forest carparks in the open ground near an area marked as 'Claypits bottom' on the map. We then set off down the Bridleway towards Eyeworth wood. I like the mix of terrain the forest has to offer, on one side open heathland on the other big curly knarled trees (an ideal loo spot!) We then walked through the totally waterlogged woods towards the pub at Fritham. The ground underfoot was sopping wet and boggy - not good for small people! Lizzie valiantly found her way round the worst of it (on most occasions). Steve slipped at one point and ended up splashing himself all over his trousers. It was a good thing the wind was blowing and the sun was shining.

About 1/2 a mile away from the Pub Lizzie decided she'd had enough and it was sulk o'clock. Even finding a heart shaped wild rose leaf didn't cheer up the situation, and neither did the hilly lane leading to the pub. Away from the interesting woods there was less to look at, so the boredom was probably kicking in. Retrospectivly we probably should have played some word games of something to keep the motivation up. It's tricky finding the right balance with kids to push them a little beyond their comfort zone, but not push them so far they end up hating walking! I guess I'm used to Emma being able to walk long distances (my daughter who wasn't with us on this occasion) so it's hard to get used to what other children can do.

Thankfully along the next corner we arrived at the pub (Fritham) and it was all good again. We were surprised it wasn't doing Sunday dinners. The menu consisted of ploughmans, pies, quiches etc all served with home made salads, chutneys etc. I went for a cheese ploughmans and it was really good - although I got envy of Steve's huge goats cheese tart which on trying was delicious. We sat out in the sun shine outside and it felt very summery. Again the weather has got it wrong-  the forecast said grey cloud so another sun burnt face for me!  The Royal Oak was a really good pub, food and drink pretty cheap - just remember to take cash as they don't take card.

Post lunch we decided to cut short the walk as Lizzie was getting tired. We meandered our way back through forest tracks and trails - some on the map, some not. Steve did a first class job of navigation and we were relieved when we reached a brook which we could place on the map. Lizzie had fun dropping grass into the brook and using a stick to go fishing with. It amazing how kids can find fun in the simplest of things. I enjoyed looking at the birds flying about - there was quiet a variety of little birds, I had no idea what any of them were were though! I thought we might see some deer on our walk as there's was no-one about and it seemed like the ideal terrain for them - no such luck though.

We headed towards Studley Castle (remains of) on the the map. We found a big dip in the ground which we wondered whether it was where the hunting lodge had been. Still not entirely sure if we were in the right place or not! We then joined a forest track to take us out of the woodland & back into the heathland which again was very waterlogged. As it was the end of the walk we had fun splashing each other in puddles- Steve (being Steve) managed to find the optimum angle to jump to get the other person the most wet! Needless to say we all got very wt - my 'summer' walking boots had started to  squelch by the end and one very big splash from Steve managed to get Lizzie very muddy - she took it very well and laughed it off - the joys of being/acting like kids...

Still no camera so a few phone shots:



Sunday, 24 June 2012

Saturday 23rd June - Late afternoon - new discoveries

(sorry for the rubbish photos - used my phone camera)

Having felt ill most of Friday and part of Saturday some fresh air was needed. Steve H and his daughter Lizzie came by with lunch to cheer me up and we decided a river stroll and park might be a nice end to the day, possibly bagging some geocaches en route. Once a suitable distance away from the car the heavens decided to open. There was no rain forecast for the afternoon so I'd taken the unwise approach of leaving my waterproof trousers in the car (having carried them for miles and miles lately without having to use them it was a little bit annoying!) Despite the rain we pressed on finding the woods and trees gave fairly good shelter.

Our walk started at Snuff Mills - a riverside location about a 10 minute drive from my house. It's a walk we've often done as it can be started from our house in Horfield (passing through Stoke Park en route). Steve H had just acquired the outdoor climbing guide for the Avon Gorge which mentioned a crag in Snuff Mills. This was something I was intrigued to see as I'd never seen anything like that round there. UK Climbing has a little bit to say about it: http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=1545



Lizzie enjoyed messing round on the rock and Steve looked at possible places you could place protection. The rock was pretty crumbly and I'm not sure I'd trust it. I liked the look of the shape of it and wouldn't mid giving it go with a top rope on it.What amazed me was I'd never once noticed it - it's tucked away on the side of the river we normally cross over at. There's also another crag further down (Ivy covered according to the guide) which I wouldn't mind having a look at. Even with no plans to climb it it's always good to check out new things in places you think you know really well. Lizzie's enthusiasm for the walk and the area was catching despite the torrential rain, she had us climbing up over all kinds of things and again I went to bits of the woods I'd not seen before. Steve also enjoyed a bit of a work out hanging off the rocks. According to UK climbing the rock there is Pennant Sandstone which I'd not heard of before.







Further info about Snuff Mills and surround area can be found here




Saturday, 23 June 2012

Fairy Cave Quarry Wed 20th June - caving in Hilliers

Fairy Quarry was the first trip I did with Dave - must have been a few years back now. I've only had the chance to return to the quarry once since, and that was to go on a leader trip to visit one of the other really pretty caves in the quarry. I was keen to have a go at the navigation of the cave so I could potentially lead a trip there on a future occasion.

I wasn't too sure if the trip was happening or not as hadn't heard from Dave on the day of the trip with the meet up time. Starting to panic slightly I sent and email round and thankfully got a reply from Dave that the trip was on and it was just myself, Him, Scott and Steve B coming. Getting there went without too much of a hitch - aside from initially missing the hidden gate on the road. It was lucky nothing had gone wrong as we didn't have any phone signal & Dave rarely has his phone on anyway!

The gate for the carpark is locked with the CSCC key (a universal key with clubs hold which can open a series of caves across the Mendips). Dave chatted to some climbers who I think were a bit annoyed they weren't aloud to have a key for the carpark. Politics over and done with we quickly got changed then had the next challenge of getting the quarry gate open (it is padlocked with a lock which needs a code to open it with) -  this was an arrangement which was put in place by the management committee and owners as they were having issues with people misusing the quarry. Once in, the cave entrance was the nearest to our entrance point, it again unlocked without hitch, and I offered to test the bolt on the door  - which worked fine. It was me first - down a bit of a drop which has a rigged handline. Being small I didn't fancy wedging in so did a bit of an awkward climb to get to the bottom. Then we took a right turn to pass into a grovelly gravelly crawl to get into the system. Last time I went in this cave I remember commenting on how much I liked the smell of it - it still had the damp gravel smell but not quite as pungent from the last time we were there.

There were broken formations littering the floor in the initial passages - I'm presuming this was down to quarry blasting (the quarry is no longer a working quarry). There were also some rather dodgy looking rockfalls on the floor - I don't think any of them were recent, but it was a little unsettling, especially the 'boulder of doom' which looked like it was wedged waiting to fall.

Navigation wise the cave isn't difficult - it is mostly linear. There are smaller holes which you could probably go off and investigate but the way on is mostly in a straight on direction. We reached a section which was covered in tar which had dripped down from the quarry- I remembered this from my first trip into the cave.

I'd brought my camera on the trip but had ommitted to charge the battery, so was gutted I couldn't take any photos. We reached the section where we had to pass through some awkward squeezes - Dave opted to go first through these, then Scott so Steve and I could be the rescue party in the event they got stuck. The first one went without hitch, the second tight bit was a bit trickier and I was quite worried watching Dave, then Scott pass through the horrible looking hole. Once in it, it wasn't as bad as it looked but I was very glad to be small at that point, and thought the chaps were very brave pushing on through! I guided Steve through the squeezes offering helpful/not so helpful hints and we arrived in some really pretty passage. I can't recall which formations were in which section of the cave at this point, but there was a huge impressive curtain at one point and lots of columns and stals. The passage had a fair amount of water in it - going over the top of our wellys. We didn't make it as far as the redroom - we did another boulder choke, but headed out after that as time was ticking on and Dave wanted to save the redroom for another time (a section of the cave decorated with unusually red formations)

Our route back through the squeezes went without hitch - aside from me trying to descend down an impossibly small hole which wasn't the way on much to everyones amusement!, and I took over camera duties on the way out of the cave - Steve and Dave had good white light coming off their torches (rather than the crappy blue of my Duo) so I bossed them about getting them to light different things. Although the Olympus tough camera Dave has is pretty low spec it actually responded quite well when time was taken to put quite allot of light onto things. The good thing about Dave's camera is it's waterproof,can be dropped and is designed to get wet and muddy. If only someone could improve the spec of it I'd be rushing out and buying one myself. I am thinking of trying to get a second hand one to use on wetter trips though - I've just bought a torch on Ebay to light photos so hopefully I should be able to return and get some really nice photos.I think I'm starting to get my caving confidence back up again. Luckily next weeks trip is a wet one so I should be able to remove the thick layer of mud which has settled on my kit - the joys of quarry slurry!

Dave's shots












Some of my shots
















Pub!


Full set of photos







Sunday 17th June Wetmoor woods

I always feel a bit despondent when I have a free day but not enough time to get into the mountains. I've walked quite allot of my local area to death, and as much as I like it there's very little new places to discover. However there's one place I've been meaning to visit for a while - Wetmoor woodland. I had a day last weekend with Steve H so we decided to head over that way and check out a couple of Multi cache geocaches whilst we were there. For those who don't geocache it's like a virtual treasure hunt - you obtain the grid ref for the cache from a website then use your GPS to find it. A multi cache is one where you have to follow lots of clues to work out the co-ordinates yourself. I've only ever done one of those, and failed miserably, so my desire to have another go wasn't too high.

Wetmoor woods doesn't have a visitor centre, carparks or toilets. So if your visiting you have to be a little creative with your parking. Luckily the geocaching site gave us instructions that we could park tidily near a gate providing we weren't blocking it. We had to obtain the first clue from the information board by the gate - it was easily done. The board warned of the muddy/boggyness of the woodland, and advised anyone unsure on there feet to take a stick! They weren't wrong -it was very muddy underfoot, that sort of sticky mud which makes you slide back as you step forwards. Although the woodland is coppiced and well looked after by the Wildlife Trust it still has quite a wild, peaceful feel to it. At the start of our walk a red Roe? deer walked across our path in the distance. I know wild deer are pretty common but I still get really excited when I see one. I can't wait to go to Scotland one day and see great huge stags roaming about in the wild.

Our next way point took us to another notice board on the outskirts of the woodland. It was the same board but we had to obtain different facts from it. Once we had our co-ordinates we could then head off to find the cache. As we continued we could hear a blood chilling barking type sound, we soon realised it was a mating call of a deer. I got a bit scared as we crept nearer and nearer to the sound along a small woodland path. We suddenly saw the deer which saw us and soon scarpered. It was a smaller than the one we'd seen earlier  think it was a muntjac deer. On reading about them afterwards this seems to tie in as they mate all year round and don't have a mating season, wheras other common species of deer wouldn't be mating at the moment.

We came out of the woodland onto a broad bridleway which was a huge grassy tracked trail. The sun was shining, birds were singing and there wasn't anyone else to be seem. I couldn't believe such a quiet, beautiful area could exist so close to a city. In the long grass Steve spotted wild orchids which were everywhere.

I'd forgotten my camera so here's a shot of one Steve took from his phone:



After that we found the geocache location, after a bit of walking backwards and forwards we soon found it hidden in a tree. It was slightly exposed so was a little obvious. It had only been found 4 times this year which is indicative of how quiet this woodland is.

After this we decided to head towards Hawksbury Upton and visit the pub there (it would be rude not to). The sun had really come out and it was roasting (not what the earlier forecast had suggested!). Our way on took us over a footbridge which had a bunch of bullocks on the otherside. I have quite a healthy cow fear after being charged at a few times over the last few years. After some bravery by Steve H  - going over first and shoo-ing them away we continued, They slowly followed us up the hill - more curious than anything else. After that we had to pass over some very over grown fields on footpaths. Both of us started to really suffer from hayfever. There was the overall impression that no-one had walked this way all year as there was no evidence of the grass being trodden down at all, and some of the field exit points were rather interesting!



We came out of the fields onto a farm track  -the map didn't mark the small section of track as a right of way, but we figured a footpath wouldn't just terminate/start with no way of joining it - as we ended the track we saw the footpath sign pointing to where we had come from. I don't know why they don't mark it as a permissive way on the map. I was a bit nervous as there was a barky dog blocking our way past the farm, but Mr bravery Hobdell approached it and the dog stopped barking and wagged it's tail as the farmer called it over. We stopped to have a chat with the farmer, who said it was one of the worst years he could remember for farming - the harvesting of the hay had been delayed due to the wetness of the weather. He also agreed that not many people walked around the fields surrounding there. The dog turned out to be a big softie and I enjoyed stroking it and passing it's ball back and forth.

We soon headed onwards, are tummys rumbling. Not able to wait any longer we leant against a gate and sat on a dusty track to shove some sarnies in our faces. Then it was a slog through more fields to the pub.

The pub  was probably one of the nicest I've ever been to. The garden was proper country cottage and they did good cider to. We were a bit gutted we'd had our lunch already as the food coming out of the kitchen looked really good. It was so hot in the garden we had to move into the shade as I could feel my skin starting to cook. It was with heavy hearts we left the pub after a swift drink to continue the walk.

Earlier on, on the way to the pub, we'd seen a tower on the horizon - it was marked on the map as 'monument'. Some history taken from geograph: The Somerset Monument was built by Lewis Vulliamy in 1846 in memory of Robert Edward Henry Somerset. He was a general at the Battle of Waterloo of 1815, and died in 1842. He was a nephew of the Sixth Duke of Beaufort. The tower is approximately 100 feet tall and can be seen from the Tyndale 
Sadly the gates were locked and there was no info about opening times or if you can go up it which was dissapointing. Even an internet search post walk didn't shed any light on it.



We had another geocache to find - the gps was pointing down into a ditch through lots of vegetation, we thrashed our way through and eventually found it - an Amo (amunition) box one  - hurrah. I like these as they are usually filled with lots of things to swap. We didn't stay for long as it wasn't particularly pleasant getting poked by bits of bush etc!

We headed off along the re-diverted Cotswald way to our next destination  - another multicache. The way took us along a combe called  'Long Combe' to the site of where the first geocache co-ordinates were hidden. We had to use the GPS and clue to find it. We hunted high and low for about 20 minutes but had to give up in the end. There was a new fence which had been put in so we wondered if it had been removed. There were also allot of potential places for it to be hidden and the GPS signal wasn't great so it wasn't always clear if we were in the right place. In the heat of the day we then had to ascend to the top of the other valley and walk back in the direction we had come from. I'd nearly finished all my water and Steve had forgotten to bring his. Neither of us had realised it was going to be a hot day and the heat was starting to make me feel dizzy. I sat down in the shade for a short while and then ate an apple which perked me up a bit and it was onwards.

The last section of our walk took us through more unwaymarked fields - at one point I was so unsure we were in the right place I got out my GPS to check - Steve's navigation was spot on - we were in the correct location, it just didn't look like a way through - a bit of reinforced wooden fence, with no sign and no path onwards was not clear at all! After passing through another field we reached our exit point-  through a bog. In my typical gung ho fashion I didn't look before I lept and ended up putting a foot into the muddy bog. Thankfully it didn't cause too much damage.



As it was late in the day we decided to head back along the lanes, taking a short cut over Inglestone Common and back to the car.

Aside from the boiling hot heat and dying of hayfever all walk (and that's with taken antihistermines too!) this was probably one of the best local walks I've done in a long while. Will be returning to the woodland for more wanders soon I hope.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Wednesday 13th June - Eastwater Cave BDCC

It had been a long while since I'd been proper caving with the Bristol lot. After hurting my back I'd been taking a break for a little while, then hadn't been able to get a babysitter for the last few trips. Finally all plans fell into place and Steve B and I were off to the Mendips post work to go caving..

Now I've only ever heard bad things about Eastwater cave. Fellow cavers have told me about horrible moments they've had in there, my Dad has told me back in his caving days the whole place had a bad feeling about it, Mendip Underground the cave guide book even went as far to mention how loose the boulder choke is in the main entrance. Reading trip reports online did not help quell my bad thoughts about it (if anything it made them worse, full of tales of arduous trips!) The only thing which did ease my mind somewhat was the lovely friendly landowner - you pay a fee of £1 to cross the land and are allowed to park near the cave for the fee and change in her barn. She made us feel very welcome which was really nice.

On approaching the cave there was a man with a gun (not a good start!!) he'd set up a shelter and was clearly out to shoot some wildlife (a dead wood pigeon was on the path) this did not feel like good start to the trip! He bade us good evening and stood about rather shiftily (that could have been my imagination though..)

Pre Eastwater smiles - how those faces would change..



We started off down through the dodgy as hell looking boulder choke - Dave speeding off with me moaning about how unsafe it all looked (almost to the point of turning on my heels and heading out!) Dave did say that it got better, which reassured me somewhat. Through the boulders we followed a rope which guided us through a safest route - the safest route really did not look that safe. I did not want anyone climbing above me or near me so I waited for people to clear through before I would progress.





Once through we headed to the Upper Traverse - I've heard bad tales of this. It basically a slope with a low roof above you.  I think the approach is to lie on your back and sort of crab along until you reach the exit point. It narrows further down so you don't want to fall down and get stuck as there's a bit of a drop and it doesn't look nice down there. Dave went first, I looked at it as he progressed and in Dave's words I was on the point of mutiny at that stage, prepared to take my chances of exiting the cave alone and watching the all together more pleasant sunset instead. Not long after that Dave got stuck - I'm not too sure what was going on as I couldn't see fully down, but I think he got his helmet stuck trying to get through the eye hole squeeze at the end. Dave gave up and made very quick progress back to us and it was off to elsewhere in the cave to look at a different route on...

We tried another route on which involved getting into a small place and pushing up through a squeeze. Scott and Steve got up through it (Scott being the tallest member of the party a 6ft 4) but Dave had to give up as he'd lost his confidence in the traverse epic and couldn't get the right approach through the tightest bit. This wasn't the way on anyway, it was just a way of looking at the upper traverse we were told afterwards. Why the hell did we go up there then I muttered feeling less confident about getting back down it. Luckily all went well and it was onwards to the actual way on. The infamous 'woggle press' so called that because a boy Scout was crushed by a falling rock in the 60's - nice... No wonder the place has a weird atmosphere to it.
Despite it's name the press was a doddle for me (being of the smaller frame) and not overly bad for the others. We had a look at Dolphin Chimney/pot (one for another day) and some other sections of the cave. We looked at a bit called the Twin Verticals which was a pretty awe dropping drop. Mendip caves often feel quite constricted so it was nice to see something with some impressive depth to it. I looked down the drop without getting wobbly legs too.



Somewhere in amongst all that we looked at another pot hole which pretty calcite around it & also did somewhat less scary traverse which was good practise for the real thing to be done on another occasion.







We went out back the way we came - coming over a feature called the Canyon I enjoyed going low in the bottom of it (why go high when you can go low!) whilst the others traversed over the top.

Not sure what this big rifty chamber was called


We climbed high to have a nose to the back of it, it just kept going higher and higher so we came back eventually



The woggle press was easy on the reverse but Dave and Scott didn't have such a good time of it - Scott in particular. The other two had already started to head out whilst Scott was still trying to get out of it. I waited out of eye shot, but I think poor Scott felt he'd been abandoned. Poor Dave was pretty wiped out by the trip (Too much drinking the previous weekend with caver Ivan whilst exploring welsh caves I reckon!) We retired to the Hunters Lodge Inn for Chilli and cheese rolls. What better place to be post caving - cheap food till closing time and scrumpy cider, heaven on EARTH.

This Wednesday coming we are going to a somewhat prettier cave in Fairy quarry - I am hoping I will get time to have a mess round with my camera and get it on better settings for taking photos underground as I had it all wrong on this last trip (not used it underground before)

Have a pretty picture of one of the caves in Fairy Quarry to make up for the grimness of Eastwater!