Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Brown’s Caving Tours. Part 3: OFD II, 17.09.15

SWCC: Phil Hughes, Claire Vivian
Beginners: Kate Furness, Colin Lawson, Tabitha (almost a new provisional member), Anna Zasheva.

Where is Mr Brown?? Adrian was missing tonight due to work pressures, but we still went ahead with our trip (and used Adrian as a callout!). Tonight was another beginners' trip in Top Entrance with two of my work colleagues (Anna and Colin) plus Phil and his partner, Kate. It was a first trip underground for both Anna and Kate, so a nice introductory trip to the Trident and Judge was in order. I had promised to take Anna caving over a year and a half ago, but due to one thing or another, we were never free at the same time, so this trip was a long time in the making. But now the ‘duty’ (not really!) is discharged and fun was had by all. When we arrived at SWCC, it was packed with a friendly visiting group using Penwyllt as a base for a team building exercise. We chatted with them for a while. They were curious about caving having seen the OFD survey, and were very complimentary about SWCC itself so, who knows, perhaps they may want to try caving one day. 
Colin, Anna, Tabitha, Phil and Kate ready to go

Having not been in OFD II much this year, Phil wanted to improve his route finding around Top Entrance. This was a nice introductory trip to enable him to do just that. Colin, Anna and I arrived around 6.00pm, but with the traffic bad in various locations we ended up waiting for some people until around 7pm. This wasn’t a problem, as neither Colin or Anna had had a look around SWCC HQ before, so we did that, had a look at the survey and also got helmets and lights sorted out and ready to go. 
Anna tries a squeeze (no problems!)
We all managed to get underground by 7.30pm and headed for the top of Arete chamber via Big Chamber and the mini traverses (Rabbit Warren) behind it. Some members of the group found these exciting and slightly challenging, but after taking them slowly everyone completed them and it was on to Arete, where the was slightly more water than last week, but still barely a trickle heading off the edge. 

Colin and Anna at the Wedding Cake

Moving on to tackle the boulder slope down to Salubrious, everyone was in good spirits and enjoying being underground. The Corkscrew proved to be entertaining for some of the party, but everyone arrived in Salubrious still eager to see more. Tabitha began traversing, she said she hated it and so needed practice, but she made it look easy nevertheless. Anna joined in and showed how useful it is to have long legs underground as she traversed all sections with ease and relished the thought of spending more time caving.
Tabitha and Anna enjoying traversing
Colin and Anna in Salubrious

We headed to the Trident and Judge and then on to Swamp Creek (more traversing from Anna and Tabitha here) to see some nice formations and then it was time to head back out via the top of Gnome Passage and the Brickyard this time. All in all, it was a successful trip. Anna and Kate enjoyed their first ventures underground and hope to be back at SWCC soon, and Tabitha got to meet some more SWCC cavers and see our HQ. 

Colin practicing his traversing skills
Tabitha in Swamp Creek (don't worry, she's not as close to the formation as she looks!)
Colin in the Corkscrew
SWCC will be having a beginners'/ provisional members' caving weekend on the 7-8 November this year. If you want to join in with the fun contact assistant_meets_sec@swcc.org.uk for further information, or if you want to join in with the evening trips. 
Kate and Phil at the Wedding Cake.

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