Fresher Trip 20th - 22nd October 2005
Freshers: Tharatorn Supasti, Ian Ashworth, Paul Hutton, Jutta Schnabelle, Alexandre Jeannier, Tim Osborne, Tom Brown & Marc Labuhn [8 Freshers!]
Lags: Dave (L), Gerardo, Rik, Chris the fluffy & Pip [5 Lags]
The Mendips are located near Bath, a long way west of London. After a speedy three hour bus drive and the wait for Jay's porsche (this just sounds wrong), another member in this trip. We dragged ourselves in front of the bar, minutes before last orders. Later, we found that we had the hut to ourselves that night.
In ICCC style, we didn't finish our breakfast until lunch; sitting around waiting for Chris and Pip , the other leaders who were travelling in from Swindon to join that morning. Unfortunatly they didn't know how to get there and sent us an sms, which we didn't receieve, saying they would be in the pub nearby. By the time we got our asses out the door it was nearly 2pm.
To delay our caving fun further, Tyning (our planned cave) was locked. We were forced to join the caver mass in Swildon instead (a popular caves for freshers). Considerably wetter than P8, (one of the caves sampled last weekend) the cave itself slowly descended down decending the 9m ladder pitch, decorated by calcitic formations. Then, we were challenged by series of rifty drops. From there, series of large connected chambers led to the sump 1, a metre long section of the cave under water, tempting some freshers to dive through muddy water to other side. It was soon decided that we (the first lots, including me) should head out before could exit though, we had to face the Bangkok-like traffic while waiting to ascend the ladder. By the time we reached the surface after becoming lost in navigation through a maze of cave system, it was already dark. The night ended merrily, singing songs with Oxford University Caving Club.
"Bring back. Bring back. Oh.. Bring back my ladder to me..."
We ended the weekend with an easy exploration of an old mine, Singing River. Located, literally, in someones backyard, its entrance was a 15m vertical shaft, from which all the tunnels branched chaotically. Unlike what the name suggested, it didn't have much water and even less flowing. Yet, it had blueish perfectly isolated waterholes, so still that interference fringes could be observed with utter clarity. It was soon time to confront the reality of London....
Thanks to David, who belayed roughly 14 of us down the first pitch and about 5 other cavers up the pitch.