Caving Trip – Aghnahoo (and Boho), Co. Fermanagh, 19-21 February 2010

Author: Sean the Miner

Present: James Armstrong, Steve Bus, Pavel Cesnak aka Harold, Penguin Kennedy, Roisín Lindsay, Phil Maxwell, Sean Major, Sean Miner, Steve Muh, Adam Ratyn, Jock Read, Conor Winchcombe, [other people I don't know as I wasn't there -Ed.]


Friday's personal goal was to sit in a country pub having the gas with old buck farmers about diesel laundering, cattle retagging, cut and shutting cars, how to tie up sheep, burning tractors etc., all within the warming radius of an open fire and hand reach of Guinness and ham sandwiches.

I was perturbed and it took several moments to overcome my disbelief that the town folk of Blacklion do not deem it necessary to open their public houses to entertain the man of leisure during the hours of sunlight.

Therefore I bounded over the border in search of some inviting snug. And thought feck it I'm going onwards to the metropolis that is Enniskillen.

On the way I thumbed a lift with Drew from Pointzpass in his truck, who knows Larry from my local pub back in Rostrevor. Just in time too as a big black cloud dumped its load on Belcoo. Drew was hauling starch from Belfast to Arigna to be added into coal dust briquets mmmnnhh tasty.

Golden Arrow chippie on the main street does good chips and provided live entertainment in the form of a cattle truck driver covered in shite intermittently shouting out the various lines from tunes on the radio.

Wetherspoons was the pub of choice; it has open fires, the bestest cheapest German beer and Australian rum. Wetherspoons too provided live entertainment of a fat old Glaswegian yelling out support and singing songs to the football team that was playing in his head only. Maybe it was where I was sitting but everyone in the pub was from Essex, Scotland or were Mocknies. So I didn't achieve my days ambition. But I would recommend Enniskillen for a random night out.

Before I keeled over with a collapsed liver Roisín and Al turned up for our onward journey to Tesco. I promptly bought 26 packets of crisps. My purchase turned out to be a universal tool, which with slight adjustment makes a comfortable yet noisy pillow that you can eat.

In no time at all we were in the mystical magical Bermuda triangle that is Aghnahoo where sobriety, mobile phone coverage and battery life and time diminish. Here some of the crew had heated up some dead bog and had already cracked a few cans. Sean Major was on cider... I think I tried singing the Wurzels' hit I Am A Cider Drinker (here introduced by Jimmy Saville and some sea scouts)

Harold (that's not his name) the Slovakian turned up with his gin bottle. The last time I came across gin it was in the Barents sea with an unstable Swedish ex foreign legionnaire crew of the Russian fishing fleet, an English conscript in the Norwegian army, James a Scottish seismic engineer, a fella I had built a log cabin for in County Clare, the Sami woman we convinced was James' wife, and Nick from work. The Norwegian police thought it all very funny, I didn't. Turns out though tonight the gin behaved itself (or maybe that wasn't gin we were drinking in Norway?)

Back at the ranch there was a tap on the window. What a silly place to put a tap. What else happened? errh??? There was a dance-off which photos do not do justice to, I think Roisín won it, I think the prize was the dregs of the gin. Someone (Conor? and James?) sang a near prefect rendition of some very random song. Was it Locomotion by Kylie? Cheezus, I cant remember but it was good singing whatever it were.

Next day we evacuated to Boho to eat Weetabix, egg and assorted pig parts in comfort. This cheered us up, and gave us the fuel to go caving. Dunno how many groups went where. But me, Phil, Al, The Major and Harold the Slovakian went to a cave sounding something like Pollmaholecurleywurleyhueyspewy [that'll be Pollnaraftra - Ed.]. I was grateful to be wearing hi-vis as there were dudes out there with guns.

The Barbie car was parked so as not to block the farmers from running tankers of green diesel northwards and also pointing downhill as it's a Landrover and would likely need pushing to start it again. (The designers even fitted handle bars on the back with this in mind.)

Walking in brought back memories of Nam back in the Trang, barbed wire, smashed machines, smoke, mud, leeches, everyone was on edge, expecting Charlie to pop up from a rice paddy and take a shot.

Fairly simple cave, longish, with a 11m climb up half way along, some mud, some water, squeezy channel section that took a certain position to get thru it (for me anyway), not a place to cut some cheese. There are a few variations of getting in and out, and half of us ended up in a mucky ascent on the right inbye about 100m outbye of the fixed rope.

At the rope some went on after ascending while the others geared up. There was some nice sucky mud up here. We stopped and turned around at a pool of white calcite deposit including stalactites and funky off branches s as Phil explained to us grow horizontally of the stalactite and in some case loop round on itself creating a halo. I would have taken a piccie but my camera was sensibly back in Boho keeping warm by the radiator, fuppin gasturd.

We met The Major and Harold at the top of the pitch, we descended and the two went on in. We waited for donkies for them to return, long enough to have a cuppa tea and solve the worlds problems.

By this stage on topside it was "WTF are they?", time. So when the two returned we yomped out quick smart no time for yodelling, or dance routines. That first squeezy channel section seemed to me to have doubled in length on the way back. Later in post op review Steve Muh reckons we had mistaken an alternative route on the way out. The air was noticeably colder the nearer we got to the portal.

Topside, the sun had disappeared and it were pitch dark. Back at the car there were 2 carloads of "WTF are they" yahoos waiting for us.

The thought of steak and chips I had had for the last 5 hours were quickly replaced by the smell and taste of wholesome pasta Bolognese. Thank you to all those involved in the prep and cooking of this feed, it was fanfuckytastic.

I had enough exercise for the weekend and knew I'd best not go caving on Sunday. So I bailed out on Sunday morning and headed home. Strangely without a hangover.

Since I haven't heard anything on the news today, I'm guessing everyone that went caving on Sunday is still alive.

Sean the Miner