Weekend Trip 11/13th February 2005
Tetley, Jan + a gaggle of Westminster boys
'Right! The place we'll be staying is called Nordrach Cottage, it
belongs the MCG, its nice and new, since the last one blew up after a
gas leak, so keep the mud out. OK'
'Sir, is it a German building.'
'Is it German sir?
'Giles, what are you talking about!'
'Well sir, I beleive at the end of the last century mental asylums were
attempted to be built in the area, and they were in a German style.'
'Right. Thankyou Giles.'
'In the end the plan was scrapped.'
'Giles, didn't I just tell you, the place blew up.'
A surprisingly enjoyable trip to the Mendips last w/e. I'm not sure if
it was the pleasure of showing clearly really intelligent kids a new
sport and seeing them enjoy it and do it well. Or just I hadn't been
caving for a while. But i definitely learnt a thing or two.
I arrived 45mins behind schedule in Deans Yard, and dumped my rucsac by
a likely looking minibus, hoping i wasn't holding up proceedings i set
off to find Mr Hooper (aka tetley). 'Jan!'. A familiar hail came across
the yard 'Alright?', 'Seem to have lost the kids'. Phew. My tardiness
wasn't going to be a problem at least. Six eager looking kids were soon
arranged by the minibus, along with another teacher, Mark. A brief
haranguing/debrief from Sir (aka tetley) and we set off.
After breakfast, i had to do something to earn my keep, and i set-up a
ladder. Having forgotten slings, tethers or anyhting quite so useful I
resorted to rigging with bits of Mr Hooper's SRT kit, with some shonky
back-up off something shonky. Soon had all the kids up and down the
ladder, no problems there, so we tried some SRT and managed to get 2 or
3 up and down before Tetley got back from Well's, again no problem. I
had a feeling these kids weren't going to have any trouble in the caves.
The old classic, with a twist, down to the
Drainpipe in Goatchurch, then lights out and try to see your hands. Sit
in absolute silence and listen to the noises in the cave. Then we headed
out via the coal shute, this took a while, mainly because Mark got stuck
and had to get a leg up from one of the kids. The next bit was new, the
kids were allowed to go off and explore on their own, which they duly
did, I went along and was amazed to find myself following them down
numerous small and twatty side passages with a similiar excitement you
would get pushing new cave. Tetley parked the van somewhere, while we
went to explore Lionel's Hole, none of us had been there before, but it
wasn't huge, i just had the feeling maybe this wasn't a good idea, at
the bottom it got twattier and twattier, but that wasn't stopping the
more adventurous, 'Whats down here?' 'I don't know' 'Is this the way
on?' 'No idea. Have a look.' and off they went shouting back how tight
and nasty it was.
Final cave of the day was Sidcup Swallet, another new one for me, and a
bit more challenging including a slippery slidy hole called the Lobster Pot.
In the evening we got a blazing fire going and went throught the
classics, table traversing, baked bean can walking, broomstick yoga, egg
Wet-suited and booted, we set off to Swildon's just as it started to
snow, somehow it was only 9.30am. The streamway was fantastic, there had
been a fair amount of rain, and the kids were soon to fully appreciate
the term 'sporting'. Apart from a few places a couple of the boys
generally led the way as we visited Barnes Loop and Tratmans Temple,
then headed out.
We got back to London for 7.30am, a great weekend.