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Before records began
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February 6, 2020 13:13

here is hugh penneys (ex cardiff memebers) experiences on migovec



Onion Bhajis and Deep-fried Mars Bars A personal look back at Mig 97 by Hugh Penney

Having finished surveying Bats Hit, Mike, Jim and Hugh went to look at Ride-on Lawnmower, deciding not to climb it, because we thought we would like to give someone else the excitement. And if you believe that you'll believe anything.

We returned to the chamber and after some furtling headed off over a rift, traversing a couple of areas of loose rock. After 40 metres or so the rift ended and there was a way on through a flat-out bedding crawl, which dropped 3 metres into a small streamway. We got down (funky!) and wriggled off down an attractive, narrow, meandering stream for………..miles, into galleries decorated with fabulous crystals…….Sorry, just my imagination running away with me, it ended at a 3 metre drop about 30 metres in. It appears to be the same stream as we had been above in the rift and is probably not significant in terms of the whole cave.

The name 'Onion Bhaji Inlet' comes from the food that fuelled its exploration. We had lived almost exclusively off bhajis for two days. The expedition diet seemed to vary wildly, from the relatively healthy to the, frankly, deadly. Before I got there they had been deep-frying Mars bars……I think the Evans boys must have been behind this as it is a renowned Scottish delicacy. We also made doughnuts. (It must be understood that you really crave fat when you are doing lots of exercise, this was not greed……) The dough kept growing until it was starting to look like the scene in Woody Allen's Sleeper, where he uses too much pudding mix; the first night we ate some, but the next morning the dough had just filled the wok again. In the end we managed to eat it all before the dough took over the camp, but it was a close-run thing.

In all seriousness, appetising food and a good camp are of vital importance to the success of any expedition. It might sound frivolous to be deep-frying things up a mountain, and it involves some effort in carting gear up there, but it is actually worth it in terms of morale and, well, happiness! A comfortable camp is also a prerequisite to a successful long expedition. Obviously on a short recce you can't carry so much up the hill, but on a six-week trip, you can afford to make yourself comfortable. The effect of this is that when you are on your way back to camp after a hard trip, you are actually on your way home.

Frivolous activities ( can a sweepstake on the number of flies stuck on the flypaper, be called frivolous? Yes - Ed) are also a good way to pass the time at camp. If noone wins the sweepstake there's a roll-over jackpot the next day, by the way. Other activities included 'hunt the dormouse' as these endearing creatures were interpreting the rules of property rather liberally vis-ŕ-vis the food. Animal impressions are always a good standby when trapped up a mountain for weeks on end with unusual people, and Alva and Shed both do quite a good marmot impersonation. Despite this foolery I was sometimes amazed to hear the conversation round camp go off into deep philosophical discussions about this or that…….but it always lapsed back into the lowbrow pretty soon.

An excellent week, and I look forward to returning in 1998. Maybe we'll deep-fry the dormice this year.