Monday 28 March 2011

25th March 2011 - Ingleborough Cave

With sick notes coming in thick and fast from the majority of the team, a rather reduced party made its way from Clapham up the track to Ingelborough cave under clear blue skies. Even with only the background lights on, caving in a show cave is a peculiar experience. You turn your lamp off and it doesn't go dark. We quickly made our way through the opening galleries of what must be one of the prettiest show caves in Britain and stopped for some pictures at the first Gothic Arch. 
First Gothic Arch

At the end of the show cave lies the pool of reflection and again we stopped to try and get some good shots. Beyond this point the lights and concrete floor are left behind as you make your way through elegantly shaped passageway, floored with sand. John, Tom noted that this would make excellent building sand.

Beyond the show cave

A short pool led to the show caves flood defence gate before the sandy passageway continued, leading to a bend, which once rounded, revealed passage way adorned with curtains and the second Gothic Arch.

Second Gothic Arch

Up until this point the cave had been lovely and fluffy, but with a downward sloping sandy crawl the cave's nature changed dramatically. Comfy walking passageways were soon replaced with low bedding plane crawls and the comfy sand replaced with knobbly rock. Things could have been even worse, were it not for the nicely padded ladders over the wetter bits.

Beyond Giants Hall

Returning back up the sandy slope our hearts went out to egg laying turtles the world over. It's not easy to crawl up steep sand. Whether flippers improve or further impede progress is something we're left to ponder.
Huge thanks go to Sue and Bob Jarman for making this trip into their fine cave possible.

Sunday 20 March 2011

18th March 2011 - Lost John's in Derbyshire

Shares in British Airways have plummeted as John has found he doesn't have to travel all the way to South America to have an alibi for caving, Derbyshire will do just fine.
Those of us unable to make it to exotic destinations, however, found ourselves walking across the moors on a stunning spring evening towards a portal to the underground realm. So keen was Phil to once more be among caverns measureless to man, that he was 10' down the first pitch before it was suggested that he may wish to follow the time honoured tradition of attaching a rope to the pitch head and using this to aid (impede?) his descent. The initially restricted pitches soon opened out and we found ourselves descending down the side of a large chamber. Though the pitches carried on down to the roaring streamway below, we set off to explore the chamber and the passageway leading off from it.
After a good few stops for pictures during which the models and lighting technicians showed remarkable patience, it was declared time to head to the pub. The undescended last pitch serving as an excellent excuse for a return trip.
The Moon loomed large over a bank of cloud illuminating our return to the cars. Hopefully we'll still be wandering over the moors on crisp, still evenings such as these when the Moon is once again as close in 2029.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

The 2011 Christmas Party - March 12th.

The annual Easter Christmas Party was organised by John this year to be a trip down Browney Mine in Nenthead near Alston, followed by a meal at the Miner's Arms Nenthead.

The usual TNC team was swelled by a number of groupies keen to experience a fluffy trip and the party.  In addition to Tom, Phil, Dick, John and Ali, we were joined by wives Sharon, Rosie and Val and friends Brian, Holly and Anita.

The mines were fascinating, the over riding impression being of the skill the miners had in their underground world.  The sight of vaulted stone roofs, drystone walls and expertly carved tunnels made you wonder at their workmanship.  Still it was good to get out into the rainy, snowy night (not nice snow, more like slush) and to the pub for a great evening followed by a stay in the campervans and an excellent breakfast at the Miner's Arms before we split up for various Saturday activities.

One issue of note was the annual TNC Christmas quiz superbly organized by Phil.  The winner is not of importance as the quiz is just for fun but one couldn't help remembering the reaction of a certain member from last year on not winning see last years report here.  A year of swotting up on the lengths of every underground pitch in the Yorkshire Dales, the names of every cave in the Three Counties Guide and the terminal air speed velocity of the swallow were of no use when it came to this caving club quiz.  The excuses for poor performance were due in the end to the rigid thinking and inability to think 'outside the box' of the member who once again was left feeling that he had been robbed.