Otter Hole Leader - Paul Taylor
Trip Dates - 17th - 19th August 2018
Base of operations was the Beeches Farm Campsite. A fully featured campsite with a great view of the Wye valley...when it’s not raining…
|Sunday morning breakfast in the rain… Photo by Angie Peacock.|
Cavers were split across two teams on Saturday with team A having a very early start for Otter Hole lead by Paul Taylor whilst team B had a leisurely start visiting Miss Graces Lane down the road.
On the Sunday various people left leaving a core team of 5 joined by John and Tarquin allowing us to split into two teams for Wet Sink. John lead the faster team as Andy and Darren had a long return trip North whilst Tarquin thrashed the hell out of the rest of us taking us on a flat out crawling, chest crushing, high traverse knee shaking tour of the system!
A team of four from SWCC (Andy, Darren, David and George) lead by Paul Taylor were gone by 6am to ensure they were at the entrance as it opened. Andy and Darren pushed through to the bitter end whilst the others were content with getting as far as Long Straw Chamber. If you don’t fancy slogging through slippery mud for hours and tight squeezes then you can watch from the comfort of your armchair a short video on the making of a film of Otter Hole by Paul himself.
Miss Graces Lane
After my rigging was made safer we abseiled into the cave down the 28m concrete shaft.
|Team at entrance of Miss Grace’s Lane|
|One of the many spiders guarding the entrance…|
|Angie in Dogtooth Chamber|
On the return we decided to pop into the Winter Storm series, which turned out not to be some squalid failed dig but a surprisingly long section with Jill and Duncan pushing to the bitter end of some dig, well worth a poke around.
Meanwhile on the surface Barbara went on a circular walk taking in the local scenery.
Trip time was about 5 hours.
After freshening up back at the campsite, 5 of us visited the Devil’s Pulpit, a stone outcrop with a spectacular view of Tintern Abbey in the Wye Valley.
|Team enjoying the Saturday night meal.|
Today needed to be a shorter caving day for some as two needed to return to Yorkshire that evening. Consequently, we split in to 2 groups. One did the standard round trip in Wet Sink (John, Andy and Darren) and the other group added extensions on to the trip such as Flow Choke and the Snow Gardens (Tarquin, Duncan, Mark and Claire). This part of the blog records the longer trip.
Tarquin’s memory for caves knows no bounds. Despite this being only his third visit to the cave, he still had the survey and place names virtually perfectly in his head. Don't know how he does it!
We set a good pace and sped through the earlier sections of the cave. It was not long before we were up Zurree Aven, through the Graveyard and Gnome Garden then onto the Three Deserts where a mix of stooping and crawling was required, finally slowing us down. We first visited Flow Choke before heading back to look at the Dog’s Grave.
|Mark in a taped section of system.|
|Tarquin helping Duncan through the squeeze|
|Norman the dog|
|The spectacular Snow garden formation|
|Mark at the Snow Garden|
With Duncan de-rigging the entrance and Tarquin bringing a frog to the surface we exited the system around 6pm.
|A successful team (Tarquin, Duncan and Claire, Mark taking the photo)|