Group: Mixed, including me and Will, Wayne, Rich, Duncan and a few others.
Time: About two hours? Maybe less, it was a really quick trip
This was my first time down Hunters Lodge Inn Sink for some time, due to the vandalism that occurred some time ago, and was also my first time down Pewter Pot. I had been over the top of the pot before, on to (I think) the Barmaids’ Bedrooms, but never down it. I didn’t actually read up about this trip before hand, as we were going with experienced cavers who knew the pitch, and wasn’t present when it was rigged. As such I was unaware of how long it was until I was on the ladder. I don’t have Mendip Underground to hand, but google is telling me that it is between 60 and 70 feet long. I appreciate that that’s not rediculously long, but for some reason I had it in my head that it was only about 20 feet long. I don’t know why I never thought of Hunter’s Lodge as a vertical cave, given that it is right next door to Hunter’s Hole, but I didn’t.
Manor Farm has long been a nemesis cave of mine. Having said that, I’ve only done it (in the loosest sense of the word) twice, and both were a long time ago. In fact, my first attempt at Manor Farm was very early on in my caving career and did not end well. It wasn’t disastrous – no one was injured – but it was the first time I felt properly out of my depth in a cave and that feeling (coupled with the feeling of letting the group down) has really stuck with me. I’ve since been out of my depth in a cave dozens of times, but Manor Farm has always been that one thing that I just can’t do, in my head.
Following that first trip, I went back down a second time with Will and Lucy in 2012 (and wrote this EXTREMELY HELPFUL trip report). Although I did successfully complete the majority of the cave (we turned around at Florence’s Bathtub), it was cheating in my head because we used SRT. This was primarily to practice SRT underground but still, I didn’t feel like it counted. It did teach me two useful lessons, the first of which was confirmed today.
1 – SRT-ing the entrance pitch is better. Wire ladders suck balls.
2 – Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to SRT up September Rift. It would be quicker, easier and probably more pleasant to simply buy a rolling pin from Wilko and thwack yourself repeatedly in the knees with it.
Anyway, to the actual caving, six years after my last visit.
This was a weekend trip to Whitewalls, taking advantage of the fact that it’s only half an hour further to drive from work than the Wessex.
We walked on Saturday, which was nice until we were rudely interrupted by a lost dog after a couple of hours. She was some kind of terrier, and she followed us all the way back down the mountain, and we then walked several miles up and down the tram road, knocking on doors and asking walkers. One nice lady lent us a lead, since dogs technically aren’t supposed to unleashed up there (sheep) but no one recognised her, so it was off to an out of hours vets in Abergavenny to scan her (via Whitewalls, where she played with the local chickens and munched a leftover sausage).
I was pretty attached to her by this point and had already mentally named her Iona (unrelated to the Iona I mentioned in my last post, but weird coincidence) but, happily, she was chipped. Unhappily, her name was Pixie (maybe that’s why she ran away). Shame because if she’d stuck around, I reckon she could have handled our trip in Aggie with no problems.
Group: Me, Will and Damon (James, Iona and Monica in the other group)
This trip was a Second Saturday trip organised by James. The plan was to do Honeymead Hole and Little Crapnell Swallet on the same day, as they are close together. Both caves have a group limit of four (I think) so we split into two groups. Me, Will and Damon headed down Honeymead with all the kit for rigging, and James, Iona and Monica went to Little Crapnell. Continue reading →
Group: Will, me.
Duration: About an hour and a half?
As I’m sure roughly no one has noticed, I haven’t updated this blog in a long time. This is due to a number of reasons, none of which it seems important to explain in much detail here. Health issues, new house, new jobs, etc etc. We have still been caving, but less regularly.
I didn’t write up my trips from the Wessex holiday to the Pyrenees and now, so long has elapsed that I suspect I never will (can’t remember the names of the caves, for starters).
Anyway, this was a fairly short trip down Welsh’s Green Swallet. We stayed at the Wessex the Friday night before and had the place to ourselves, which was unusual. On Saturday morning, when more people arrived, we asked their ideas on where to go and were directed to Welsh’s Green as a cave that we could do on our own without having been before.
A brief trip down to Devon, staying at the DSS hut for the first time. We were joined by Wayne, who had not previously experienced the amazing variety of caves Devon has to offer…
Saturday 16th May 2015 – Baker’s Pit We started with the obvious choice and headed down Baker’s Pit. The plan was to visit most of the cave and the Plymouth Extensions (although not Glorious Devon or Crystal Pool Passage, two of the most misleadingly named bits of cave I’ve come across). We did the usual – Boulder Chamber (or is it Boulder Hall?) to the Green Lake. Unfortunately, the lake has gone missing, which was odd because the rest of the cave was not unusually dry. The lake was completely dry, which is quite a large amount of water to just wander off. Not sure if this is a permanent development or if it was down to the weather – last time I Bakers’d (in February 2014 whaaaat) it was most definitely still there.
Each early May bank holiday, the Ring O’Bells in Compton Martin holds their annual Cheese and Cider Fayre, which is basically a fantastic excuse to eat huge amounts of cheese and drink scrumpy in a field. Last year, Will and I went down Hunter’s Hole with Max and James before the festival for an SRT refresher. This year, Will was ill and Maxine had inexplicably decided to go running instead of caving (some people have strange hobbies…), so James offered to lead a short round trip down Swildon’s Hole.
I’d only done the Short Round once before, back in 2013, and it was a bit of a confusing trip. There were a lot of cavers doing the same trip as it was a 2nd Saturday, and we also went down Blue Pencil. I ended up exiting the cave with an entirely different group of people than I’d entered with, and don’t really remember a lot about the trip other than being cold! I definitely wasn’t cold on this trip.