Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Mega Mendip!

Team: Andy Freem, Antonia Freem, Tim Lewingdon, Andrea Lewingdon, Brendan Hoare, Chloe Taylor, Collin Hoare, Duncan Hornby, Liz Bristow, Mark Lee, Tenzin Lee, Matthew Jones, Jill Brunsdon, Paul Meredith, Haley Meredith, Phill Thomas, Sanita Lustika, Simon Protheroe, Steve Johnson, Clive Westlake, Claire Vivian

Trip Date: February 9th - 10th 2019

With an astonishing 21 people meeting up on the Mendips there were trips for everyone. For a number in the group, it was their first away trip with the Club and it was great to see their enthusiasm! Most people turned up Friday with others arriving Saturday morning or Sunday for the Wookey Hole experience.

With so many people turning up we had a dilemma on how to assign people to appropriate trips. With some (beer powered) fast thinking on the Friday evening at the Hunters we worked out who should go with who balancing out experience alongside new trips for new people.

Curtain, back lit with lume cube, Upper Flood.


Team SWCC split into 3 teams: a group visiting GB Cave, a team visiting Swildons Hole and the remaining visiting Upper Flood Swallet.

The GB Cave team (6 people) had a dodgy start discovering the key that had been provided to them did not extend to Charthouse caves and they made a mad dash back to the Wessex Club to pick the correct key. With the correct key they entered GB and made it all the way to the ladder dig extension and Bat passage.

The Swildon’s team (4 people) walked to the cave from the Shepton and got as far as the main pitch but were deterred by the volume of water. It had been raining quite heavily the previous day, so a smart move. They took the opportunity to explore the upper reaches of Swildons, sections that people often pass through without a thought as they head for Sump 1.

The Upper Flood team (4 people) were guided by Mike and Mike reaching the famous Neverland and Pork Pies. Due to the high water levels, sections of the trip required laying flat out in 8°C water for what seemed unnecessarily long periods making for a very cold and arduous 5 hours return trip. As always the formations make up for the misery!

The Pork Pies, Upper Flood.
Mike and Claire, admiring the main pure white formations.
Freem Productions were busily filming in Fairy Quarry with local cavers.

Everyone met up early evening for a meal at the Queen Vic then eventually head back to the Shepton hut were Mr P. Meredith showed off his caving skills using the awesome caving table!

New Club members: Steve, Sanita, Chloe and Simon
Paul, squeezing one out...


Sunday was a bit unusual in that the organised caving trips were in Wookey Hole on the Wild Wookey experience. Again with so many members turning up we had to split into a morning and afternoon session. It was very entertaining, introducing people to abseiling, via ferrata, classic caving crawls, a short boat ride and even a zip wire! Whilst the more experienced cavers amongst us would have been familiar to many of these challenges there were members who had not done such things so for them it was blast!

With the trip integrated into the show cave there were classic crawls mixed in with show cave lighting which made for a surreal but entertaining experience.

Welcome to the underworld...
Traversing around a lake.
Andrea beginning her abseil.
Duncan climbing up ‘n’ out from the lake.
Stemple highway!
Formation in the part of the cave that was recently opened up to the public.

Our guides were Chris and Becca who were both professional and very knowledgeable about the cave, so many thanks to them!

Our newer members loved the trip and are now keen to try out SRT in caving as a result of it.

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