Video Highlights of the Caving Year

Video highlights of the caving year with members of Dudley Caving Club, featuring caves and potholes in Derbyshire, South Wales and Yorkshire. An amazing insight into the world beneath our feet. Why do we go caving? Are we mad? Could you do it?

Discover how to climb in perfect safety using the latest invention from the Dudley CC tech. team and see our top tip for getting larger team members through tight squeezes.

Matienzo July/August 2013, Pt 1

After not achieving what we wanted on our last visit the two of us are back for more, firm in our belief that we will make progress, hopefully. With unusually hot weather in the UK we are a bit worried about how hot it will get here, in fact we have already seen our first bush fire. It was a small fire but such things can turn into big fires.

Wild Mare entrance in the dry
Wild Mare entrance in the dry

Having arrived at midday on Sunday we went around saying hello to various people and somehow ended up in the same bar that served us such interesting soup at the end of our last visit. We didn’t eat.

Wild Mare entrance looking out at the hot weather
Wild Mare entrance looking out at the hot weather

Today we shifted all the dive kit into Wild Mare cave. Water levels are unsurprising low, both out and in the cave, so we are able to use the far dive base. Diving through sump of the wild eels in clear viz was a pleasure. Spread across the floor of the sump, on top of the silt layer, was some sort of growth pattern with small tendrils standing up between 5 and 10 mm high. After surfacing and clambering around in the rifts the ladder was rigged down through the breakthrough window. We recovered the kit that had been left behind last time and all was well. We then went on to look at the water in AGM bypass. It was clear, crystal clear. Prospects look good for tomorrow.

Jim, up in the rifts above the line for uninspiring sump
Jim, up in the rifts above the line for uninspiring sump

Ogof Ffynnon Ddu, Fault Aven Series

The Fault Aven area is a series of high level passages above the First River Chamber in the main streamway of Ogof Ffynnon Ddu. This area is unique in that Pom Pom Passage is the only part of the cave to be formed on the southern side of the OFD stream-way. Here’s a video report of the trip…

Bank holiday in South Wales

We spent the Sunday and Monday of the bank holiday weekend caving in South Wales. On Sunday we met Brendan and a new Dudley recruit, Laura, at Penwyllt, the South Wales Caving Club HQ. After numerous cups of tea we kitted up and headed up to Top Entrance of OFD.

Getting ready at Penwyllt
Getting ready at Penwyllt

Our destination was The OFD Columns, which are only available for viewing on bank holidays so that damage to these fine formations is restricted. This is kind of amusing to me, because The OFD Columns are supposedly anthropogenic, i.e. they were formed as a result of lime leaching from kilns on the surface. Apparently, as a result of not being true stal, they are more delicate than normal formations… hence perhaps why they need special access arrangements. Regardless they are very pretty.

The OFD Columns and Richard (photo courtesy of Brendan Marris)
The OFD Columns and Richard (photo courtesy of Brendan Marris)
The OFD Columns and Laura (photo courtesy of Brendan Marris)
The OFD Columns and Laura (photo courtesy of Brendan Marris)
The OFD Columns and me (photo courtesy of Brendan Marris)
The OFD Columns and me (photo courtesy of Brendan Marris)

After seeing the columns we headed to Salubrious Passage and then into the Sand Crawls before making our way out for more tea and cake (madiera) :-).

On Monday morning, we met Brendan and Laura at Luigis for breakfast.

It's such a memorable place that it deserves a picture!
It’s such a memorable place that it deserves a picture!

After a great feed, we headed up to Whitewalls for tea and then got kitted up. We went into Aggy with the plan to do the Inner Circle. Part way however, we decided that we’d had too many cups of tea and hence, a trip to the Coal Cellar Passage and the Coal Cellar was perhaps a more sensible destination in order to get out at a reasonable time. When we got to Coal Cellar Passage we explored a few side passages. The first one was extremely muddy and led to a chamber which was even muddier – very sticky, knee deep mud! After extracting ourselves from here, Richard then explored the next side passage, but decided it was too horrid to continue. The final side passage we explored turned out to be the Coal Cellar itself. It was a chamber, with black boulders seemingly appearing from a hole in the chamber roof. A good destination… but no pictures. On our way back from the Coal Cellar, we noticed some tracks in the cave which looked a bit like bike tracks. Given the number of boulders around, and given the entrance series, this seemed improbable, but then Brendan found this link

There are people more crazy than us by a long way!

We returned to Whitewalls and recovered by drinking tea. I also took a few pictures around Whitewalls of some of the more amusing wall decor…

This will be amusing for those in the know :-)
This will be amusing for those in the know 🙂
...neither do we...
…neither do we…

Matienzo epilogue

What follows was an email I sent to Pete, he thinks it will make a good blog post, I am not so sure. So, if you are in any way offended, upset or put off your dinner by this post please contact Tish who will no doubt deal with Pete in the correct manner.

So on our last day the ferry doesn’t leave until 8pm and we had to be out of the flat for midday. We drove around looking at sites and overflowing, muddy rivers. We stopped at a bar for food, our Spanish isn’t quite up to the job but we got the message across between the two of us using a mixture of Spanish words and animal noises. We ordered soup followed by steak. When the soup arrived we looked at it and it looked back. We understand now that a Spanish waitress will laugh when an English person orders ‘traditional mountain soup’ – it’s made from the soft bits of a sheep skull (all of them).

And Pete, I can only apologize for the lack of photographs in this post.