To keep up with the spirit of only non Sheffield students writing trip reports I feel it’s only appropriate I write my take on the belfry “Pre Annual Dinner Rehearsal”.
So I never intended to make it although it’s so close but after hearing about a Crete expedition training event going on that weekend I managed to hitch along with some of the Southampton folk since I still needed to talk to the expedition leader about getting involved. After getting all hyped up about going to Crete earlier on in the year then completely failing in actually organizing it I felt it only appropriate to still go out but just in a less committed role.
I found out just the day before that I can make it so decided I wouldn’t inform the Secretary but would instead tease Mark with texts on the journey about how Mendips is the best etc. Anyway once they arrived they were quickly disappointed to see I had made it and rudely put my name down as Suss on the sign in list.
Being the Belfry the night was rather rowdy then I went to bed fairly early at 6 while the more hard core lot were going to sleep as other members in their club got breakfast on. The couple of people from Southampton introduced some of the drinking games we normally play to suss as well, including lick and stick which resulted in Tom Gamble skinny dipping in the pond and Mark who had already gone to bed getting a night of spooning with Helen had she been able to find him, so for the record Mark, Helen owes you a night of spooning.
The next day morale wasn’t high, fortunately this weekend required no caving so I sat through a good bolting session by Chris Jewel and laughed(cried inside) as people messed up the spit driving and split the rock several times.
Unfortunately the next session would be surveying and I’ll be honest in a cave surveying is bearable but above ground and while feeling crap I had to find an excuse to find the next worst thing. So I convinced Tom1 to go caving and somewhere different, after consulting a team of local specialists we decided a bimble in Singing river mine was appropriate.
Now I hadn’t intended to cave this weekend so had little gear and I didn’t want to ruin my clothes so I got in a large warmbac with just boxers and a shirt for a cave which I heard may involve swimming. We got to the entrance which is literally in someone’s back garden, descended the 10 meter electron ladder than immediately had no idea which way to go on, we spent about 20 minutes to find the way on which is less than 30 meters from the bottom of the ladder. The rest of the mine wasn’t that simple either, we often found ourselves wandering in circles but eventually found the main streamway downwards which led to an impassable squeeze so we headed up route to some impressive wet chambers with crystal blue water. We got to a point where we had to wade through waist deep water then reached a dead end, waded back and decided we had pushed most of the leads so either we’ve missed something leading to the main part of the mine or that this was quite simply it. So we quickly headed out after spending less than 2 hours down there. After getting back I checked the mendip bible and looking at the survey we had in fact gone down everything worth doing in the 1km mine. Although it was a short trip I would suggest going down without a survey/description, I had a lot of fun trying to find the way on and clearly a lot of other people do too since every route is well worn even the immediate dead ends.
The next day Sheffield planned on doing the Swildons round but I went home on the Saturday so one of them will have to write a trip report for the best cave in the country….