We started in the early nineties mostly as an alternative
to climbing on rainy days. At first caving will appear as a non-gracious
sport without any techniques or much scope for development. Having visited
your first cave you might come out thinking: "now I've done this: I've seen this
cave, now I've seen them all". If you stay with it for a while though
you will realize that this is far from the truth and that there is enough "in" caving
to last you a lifetime.
We became true cavers through a number of trips starting with our first
exploit underground into Goatchurch Cavern in 1992.
The followed years with mostly climbing on the menu with the occassional
trip down Swildon's Hole, Fairy Cave and other
classics around The Mendips in the UK.
Alongside the activities in the Mendips we enjoyed learning the skills
and techniques of SRT'ing with Tim on trips
up in North England.
A major event on our caving path was on our roadtrip to
Mexico and Guatemala in 1999 where we were driving around in Daisy - a
van full of caving gear (unfortunately no SRT kit). We had an divine trip
into a cave system called Lanquin and got a
taste of what real exploratory caving could be like. We also had a cave
diving trip into an amazing system on the Yucatan Peninsular.
Back in the UK in 2001 we made another trip of major importance to our
interest in caving - a day trip into Ogof y Daren Cilau in
South Wales. Considered one of the hardest caves in the country (that is
accessible) we had a great time in this cave of caves. We've been back
many times since.
Mathias moved to Grenoble, France - another major caving area of Europe
and the world and has had numerous exciting trips down the caves of the Vercors.
Caving is like applied yoga. Imagine you are doing yoga in a classroom,
learning how to extend your arms by nudging your shoulderblade a couple
of degrees to the right: this is all extremely useful in caving. Rather
than burling your way through a narrow squeeze you can apply your yoga
body knowledge and "yoga" your way through. It's an absolutely
brilliant combination of the two sports. You will discover how gracious
caving then becomes. In the extreme cases knowing how you twist and turn
your corpus is essential to get trough ultra tight squeezes.
We have loads of stories and photos from the caves
we've done. Check it all out, left right and below. If you're still
left with the "why do this", try reading
Read more about
Caving trip reports
- Dweebland Trip with Smoke Bomb - 7/11/2003
- Spaderunner - 9/2/2003
- Restaurant at the End of the Universe (REU) - 7/12/2002
- Hard Rock Cafe - first camp - 2/10/2002
- Ethical Return to the Antlers - 25/5/2002
- The Old Main Chamber - 30/1/2002
- St David's Streamway - 27/1/2002
- 4h.42m Antlers and back - 10/12/2001
- First trip to OyDC - 1/12/2001
- All our caving
trips are listed on adventurehut
- Our Timeline in OyDC
- Ogof Draenen 5 August 2003
Beyond Lamb and Fox Chamber, we passed the high traverse of Indiana highway,
the bold steps and ledge crawl to the Junction with MegaDrive and MegaDrive
North. Pushed down Megadrive for 20 minutes before turning back for the pub
- Ogof Draenen 25 June 2003
In 7:50 Out 10:30
In pub 10:50 (Rifleman's Arms Blaenavon late drinking and Food!?!-- Lamb&Fox
closed monday and tuesday)
- Box Trip was interesting 25 January 2003
We pushed on through the hole in the fence at Windtunnel (i.e. onwards from
where we looked last time). At the end of Windtunnel there is not open passageways
but a bankvault like door that looks like it would defeat even Roystons safe
- A Mendip through trip 7 October 2002
The trip started amusingly enough with Maurizios boots being far to large
for his feet and Caroline's being too small for her to get on. Rachel came
to the rescue and she and Caroline manage to share two pairs of wellies (each
wearing a red and green welly) This left me rather perplexed but relieved...
- Not the Swildon's Round Trip! 2 September 2002
This is the painful story of our attempt to do the Swildons roundtrip last
week (28th August). Frank got wind of the mud sump being open (at long last),
so I hastily scrapped my plans for Eastwater or Thrupe Lane. And jumped aboard
Franks planned trip, perhaps he will not be so willing to let me on in future!
- Fairy cave - without lager 27 June 2002
Jane and I (more Jane than I!) successfully brought my beginners (on their
second only caving trip) through a tour of the delights of the farther reaches
of fairy cave. We did the trip in just under 3 hours (I was back at the car
and getting changed before I looked at the clock showing 10:59). So we missed
the pub and Robin will breathe a sigh of relief that here as not on the trip!
- Pot 2 - Grosvenor style (expect we didn't have any
5 June 2002
The speleoteam was in good shape after the highly successful untick
of A2 by Martin and myself, and we were fired up after successful bottoming
of this highly recommendable set of shafts. Scialet Pot 2 was another story...
- Scialet A2 - Double Black Helmet 3 June 2002
It was not the best of days for a descent : it was raining gently, but we
just went for it. Finding A2 was not exactly easy. Portering in 250m of rope
was as tedious as ever, but at the end we had the added hassle of trying to
locate a cave in a dense pine forest with a not completely accurate description.
Mathias firstly located Scialet P2. This was somewhat uninspiring : we knew
we were on for something more significant.
- Ogof Draenen - second match to the cave 31 May 2002 - Warning: Long Report
Better turn out this week (there were 6 of us) and we made the pub, and everyone
learnt an important lesson not to trust my map reading and the value of a
compass. We headed for lamb and fox chamber and a path finding mission around
round trip. We did not find the lamb and fox chamber yet again even though
it was only 200 metres from where we were last time. We ended up exploring
the main 2.5 km streamway going around the round trip route the opposite way
around to my intentions. Last time we/I did not have a survey.
- Ogof Draenen - with 20 minutes to spare 16 May 2002
A first time trip down ogof draenen (for all concerned). Fred, Robin and me
(Dave). An ethical unethical caving trip, my bad luck on welsh trips persists
we made it back to the pub for around 10 minutes to 11 (it was only a 10 yards
from where we parked our car) to be told the pub was shut, followed by the
lights out. We returned to start the car for 10:57 very much dispirited, after
spending 5 minutes admiring the milky way while Fred ... Luckily we took returned
to R&R's house for refreshments and kept our unfortunate host upto 1:30! Oops. Read story...
- Craig A Ffynon - at last
24 April 2002
We picked up the key in Ebbw vale 15 minutes before time with only minor comment
on my driving. I had forgotten how decorated this cave was almost as soon
as we entered there were straws. I was trailing the speed merchants most of
the way leaving less time to observe the water pools and gours as the other
- Slaughter - speeding on to Kuwait Passage 7 March 2002
Everytime I have caved with you recently I am wrecked. You are pushing me
hard. At least this time I got to somewhere I have wanted to go for a long
time. It was almost worth the pain of being the weakest link in the speed
- Easterwater - in high water 4 March 2002
The Eastwater trip last week was interesting. I have not seen it with so much
water in the entrance series. It was supplemented with melt-water as there
was snow on the hills. The three others has not been down Eastwater before
and were a little unnerved by an episode where I spoke with 4 experienced
(!?!) cavers who had just turned back in the entrance series with cold hands
and frayed nerves.This somewhat undermined my authority and provoked a couple
of minor mutinies.
- Slaughter Stream Cave 16 January 2002
Despite a massive outbreak of childishness at the planning stage, a sub-section
of the HPCC made a well-executed, interesting, and, best of all, ethical trip
into Slaughter downstream series last night. We reached the start of the very
long Kuwait Passage, and made it back to the surface 3 hours 20 minutes from
- Drilling in Trou du Diable, Vercors, France 9 December 2001
I was completely fired up this weekend by the successful UK campaign and just
had to have more unrock. It seems people are getting more interested down
here and I might be able to recruit some porters if I play the cards right.
- Gaping Gill - Three holes ticked in one go Editors Pick 5 December 2001
The weather had held for weeks before Mathias's
return to these shores for a week of savage speleology. As he landed at Heathrow,
the weather broke and the rains returned. Throughout the week, I was stuck
in the office praying that the rain would hold off for just one more week.
Soon it was Friday and we packed up Tim's cavemobile and headed north.
- Success and failure in Ogof Ffynnon Ddu Editors Pick 30 November 2001
HPCC's First International Meeting requiured an
auspicious objective and President Cave Grosvenor had therefore obtained a
permit for Ogof Ffynnon Ddu - one of the crown jewels of South Wales caving.
We aimed to get through OfD 2, into OfD 3 and on to Smith's Armoury. Four
members of the AHPES were joined by a downcast Roy Unstone who had recently
been suspended from the Elite Section by Dr Beale, for a technical infringement
in Thrupe Lane Swallet. Nevertheless, the spirits of all were raised when
the President revealed that he had checked and serviced his lighting system
the night before, giving back to the underground mission the 45 minutes we
had scheduled for cave-side repair of Presidential illumination.
- Disaster in Thrupe Lane Swallet 15 November 2001
It is with deep regret that I have to inform you of the loss of a valued part
of the AHPES. While exiting from the Chimney Pot area of Thrupe Lane Swallet
Slocker, Roy Unstone took a wrong turning and ended up going down High Atlas.
He kicked the rope bag ahead of him and it now lies beyond reach at the head
of High Atlas.
- Swildons Hole 8 November 2001
Annelies, Robin and I arrived 15 minutes late
at Priddy to find Dave (shock, horror) was there already saying that he had
been waiting there with Alan and Stefano for half an hour, we doubted this
very much. So we all bundled over to Andy Sparrows and picked up the gear
and proceeded to get changed in the barn at Priddy. Robin and I were very
relieved to be able to use our new fleeces, helmets, kneepads, wet suit socks
and for Robin elbow pads...
- HPCC branches out AHPES group
The elite group of speleologists of the HPCC has formally
created a subsiduary of the mother club called Association of HP Elite Speleologists
(AHPES). It will still be under the firm leadership of Dave the Cave (aka
The President) and currently has members in both the UK, France and Denmark.
The AHPES will focus their activities on speed caving, big vertical drops,
hard approaches but above all, maintain the excellent standard of late of
making the pub in time for last orders and pursuading for the odd lock in.
- Adventure Hut opens up Caving Section 25 October 2001
Adventurehut.com (http://adventurehut.com), launched its caving section today,
with hundreds of caving ticks already in the database. Launched last November
as an online tickhut, Adventurehut.com is the No. 1 online hut for adventure
ticking people worldwide.
- A Note on Cave Ethics 19 October 2001
Readers of the HPCC newsletter may not realise
that these apres-cave pub visits are an essential component of a strict caving
ethic. They may be under the misapprehension that the likes of Dr Martin
Beale and Roy Unstone are alcoholic wastrels who cannot allow the earth
to complete a turn without recourse to the liquid of life: lager.
- Pot of Rod 18 October 2001
Unfortunately, I have to report that Rod's Pot
was a somewhat disappointing trip for the HPCC / ESS. The best bit of the
trip had to be getting to the cave and getting out (it is taken as read that
the apres cave was up to scratch).
- Manor Farm Swallet 11 October 2001
We had an exceptionally successful trip down Manor
Farm Swallet last night. We made it to the Boulder Fall Hall (?). This required
maypole techniques which were adeptly executed by Tim. The club performed
extremely well with all of the logistics about sorting out the maypole (and
ordering lager at the end of the affair).
- Longwood/August Editors Pick
5 October 2001
I really enjoyed it last night, I went somewhere
new, I went somewhere I had not been in 10 years, I had several periods of
self-doubt, lost four carabiners (although I know where they are I cannot
reach them!), made the pub, and got praise from Martin for the efficiency
of the evening!
- Eastwater Cavern 15 June 2001
Definite teutonic tendencies towards order here.
Good caving trips are ones where you go somewhere different. Such trips do
not always go smoothly. Anyhow I navigated rather than led and we had a strong
- Aggy Alwed Editors Pick 8 February 2001
The trip to Aggy last night was extremely successful. It was executed almost
to perfection. This cave has beautifully sculpted passages and fine streamways.
The intention was to get beyond the second boulder choke and out before midnight.
We actually ended up beyond the second boulder choke at 9.15pm. We appraised
our situation. We were clearly well ahead of schedule. The two options were
an attempt on the pub or a longer trip (one of the circles?). We opted for
the pub and attempted to speedcave our way out
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