Caving Trip – Somerset, 24-28 January 2008
"Queen's do Mendip"


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Author: Catherine "BOSS" Telford

Present: Ffion Bell, TJ Connolly, Aileen Connor, Brenda Diamond, Tony Furnell, Nigel Jackson, Roisín Lindsay, Patrick McCafferty, Conál McCartan, Stephen McCullagh, John McManus, "Mad" Phil Rowsell, Cathy Storrie, Catherine Telford.

 

Mendip quivered at the thought; Thursday afternoon saw the arrival of the human elite, as we made our way to The Belfry on Mendip Kilns. We arrived in force with our finest women... and men.

After drinks at the airport (it was afternoon it is allowed) we made our way to the accommodation – the BEC's Belfry. A place of many stories. Interesting John fact: the club was set up by some expelled cavers*. First thing's first, we headed to a Tesco nearby, for supplies. That got many people excited. Maiden voyage of the shiny hire car, we were yet to experience the wonders of the underground world of cave. How would one cope, one asks!

With a boot full of booze and food, we were prepared and wasted no time. Friday night saw a tour to the local pub, where Butcombe is the local speciality ale. Not to be missed. As usual everyone behaved themselves. Bright and early... early afternoon for some, we headed. GB cave met Patrick, Aileen, Roisín, Conál, Terence "Bull" Connelly and John, who went in through mud passage and emerged out via the devil's elbow. Tony, Nigel, Cathy, Brenda and Catherine – Tony led and was victorious in breaking Nigel down the devil's elbow. A cracking cave, very picturesque, some larger and some smaller spaces; a gentle warm-up.

Saturday saw Bus, John, Roisín, Ffion and Cathy do Swildons, through sump one no problem, all the way to sump two. A wet cave, lots of waterfalls and hidden holes there to break an ankle. Tony, Aileen and Phil went digging for gold (or more cave) down Morton's Pot in Eastwater, I believe they enjoyed it. They dug so that explosives could be placed... As long as I'm not down there when it goes bang! Although I do trust the club implicitly.

Patrick, Terence "Bull" Connolly, Catherine, Brenda and Conál won the fight with Eastwater, we once again broke Nigel. Eastwater was a dry cave, before it saw the arrival of Brenda. Eastwater bites back, but we here do not give up so easily (we are hard, and not as easy to break... as say, Nigel is). Brenda fought and won and escaped a future as the filling in a rock sandwich.

Saturday night saw more fun and frolics down the local, this time another local, Roisín commented on the lovely aroma! Sunday saw John, Terence "Bull" Connolly, Brenda, Patrick and Catherine do Swildons through sump one to sump two, easy, we are very hard. Meanwhile Nigel, Bus, Aileen and Conál went for the Swildon's round trip and Tony, Roisín and Cathy were given a tour of St Cuthberts by Phil.

Sunday night activities climaxed with a celebration of games, old and new. It saw the return of the table traverse, well done Conál and Phil, chair squeezing, old challenge new chair. A contest involving a chair, two people and a tin of baked beans entitled 'Who can place the tin furthest'. Not sure the champion, the result was John looking very hard, don't mess! With the finale, a task again for two people, this time standing on a saucepan, the aim... to obtain the piece of surrounding rope and lift it above one's head. Mastered by Cathy and Roisín, an interesting video was produced, certificate 18. Sunday also saw Cathy get very very lucky. And I am told Roisín was also a lucky, lucky lady. (I think we are talking cards here!)

Monday morning, home time. Patrick went on a walk to see a site of Archaeological Interest, a henge, whilst Roisín (fellow Rock fan) slept, along with the other people who had expressed an interest in the trip.

Big thanks to all the locals who helped out, Phil (intact), Nigel (now broken), Jane, Tony and Henry. The BEC will always be warmly welcomed over to Ireland . Thanks to the leaders of our gang, John for behaving himself, not suggesting he doesn't normally! The chefs, 6 star service, food was BOSS**. And we look forward to the next session of madness of the fun kind.

*May or may not be factual information

**BOSS = very good indeed