9th September 2017

9th September 2017

I was on a digging trip to the Gower this weekend, but a team did go to HR and Tav supplied the following report: “HR – 09.09.2017 Tav, Jon, Matt, Jake Jake texted that he would meet us at the dig so t’other three made their way up to the Tuck Shop, which was a scene of devastation. There was big pile of rocks on the floor with a couple of alarming lumps hanging out of the roof. With just three diggers we ‘ummed and ahhed’ a bit about the wisdom of carrying on and had just about decided to knock the session on the head when Jake arrived, which swung the pendulum back in favour of digging. We set about removing the spoil – Jake loading, Jon on the slope, Tav on haul and shuttle and Matt on the surface. 45 loads of rock and gravel were duly removed – a mere fraction of the stuff that remains in the Tuck Shop. Loads still to clear but the face (according to Jake) is ready for another bang. Raining on the surface so we applied the ‘old’ adage … When rain clouds form round Pen Hill mast, It’s quick lads, to the Hunters’ fast”

Incident 70/2017 – Sep. 9th Sat. 19.48 – Simon Fell Breast, Ingleborough, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

Incident 70/2017 – Sep. 9th Sat. 19.48 – Simon Fell Breast, Ingleborough, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

A Three Peaks walker’s knees were reported to have ‘given way, on Ingleborough, 7 miles from Horton’. After some delay, while a more accurate location was identified, a small group of CRO members met the party (f, 37, 30, 40) and assisted them down to a team Land Rover. They were driven down to CRO Base, in Clapham, then collected by another member of their bigger sponsored walk group. Volunteer…

Incident 69/2017 – Sep. 9th Sat. 10.40 – Humphrey Bottom, Ingleborough, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

Incident 69/2017 – Sep. 9th Sat. 10.40 – Humphrey Bottom, Ingleborough, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

A walker (f, 66) slipped, while descending the stone -pitched path from Ingleborough to Humphrey Bottom, falling and rolling about 30m. She sustained head, hand and leg injuries. After assessment, first aid and ‘packaging’, CRO members stretchered her about 100m to where an air ambulance could land. This flew her, initally, down to a road ambulance, but after re-assessment by paramedics, it flew her on to hospital. Volunteer hours: 60

Incident 68/2017 – Sep. 4th Mon. 22.55 – Three Peaks, Horton in Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

Incident 68/2017 – Sep. 4th Mon. 22.55 – Three Peaks, Horton in Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

Anxious parents reported two Three Peaks walkers (both f, 27) overdue from the walk they had begun at 07.30. The Police checked local roads, while the CRO duty controller tried to contact the missing pair by voice, text and SARLoc messages. The parents were supported by two Army instructors, who were camping in Horton and it was they who, just as the first CRO member arrived at the finish of…

Incident 67/2017 – Sep. 2nd Sat. 16.32 – Malham Cove, Malham, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

Incident 67/2017 – Sep. 2nd Sat. 16.32 – Malham Cove, Malham, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

A walker (m, 57) was reported to have chest pains ‘on the mountain’ near Malham Cove. Later information showed this to be three-quarters of the way up the steps to the top of the Cove. After assessment by, and treatment from an air ambulance doctor and paramedic, the patient was transferred to CRO’s Bell stretcher, then carried and ‘sledged’ down to the waiting air ambulance for the flight to hospital.…

Incident 65/2017 – Sep. 2nd Sat. 09.28 – Pen y ghent, Horton in Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

Incident 65/2017 – Sep. 2nd Sat. 09.28 – Pen y ghent, Horton in Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

A walker (m,68) felt unwell, approaching the summit of Pen y ghent, but continued to the top. Very soon after beginning the descent, he collapsed and lost consciousness. By coincidence, the next people to come along were all medical professionals, so when it was necessary they attempted CPR and kept it up, until relieved. A road ambulance, an air ambulance and CRO were all dispatched.

Incident 62/2017 – Aug. 25th Fri. 16.09 – Malham Cove, Malham, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

Incident 62/2017 – Aug. 25th Fri. 16.09 – Malham Cove, Malham, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

A climber (f,29) took a fall of about ten metres from one of the more serious routes on Malham Cove. Although her rope and belay held, she sustained a head injury from hitting the rock face (without helmet), during the fall. After attention from YAS/YAA paramedics, she was put into a vacuum mattress and onto a mountain rescue stretcher for lowering from ‘the cat walk’ by team members. She was…

Incident 61/2017 – Aug. 24th Thu. 23.03 – Horton in Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

Incident 61/2017 – Aug. 24th Thu. 23.03 – Horton in Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

A group of three walkers (m,30, m,11 m,6) and dog were reported overdue from their camp-site in Horton, having set out at 12.30 to do some unspecified part of the Three Peaks Walk and with only water and sweets to sustain them. By chance, the Duty Controller’s wife had seen such a group two hours earlier, walking along the road near Selside, in the dark and with inadequate lights.

Walking and trampolines

Walking and trampolines

19-20 August 2017 Team: Toby Dryden, Duncan Hornby, Barbara Lane and Claire Vivian A super fast journey up to North Wales by Toby, Barbara and Claire directly contrasted with the 6 hour epic drive had by Duncan. Nevertheless, we were all together to enjoy food and a pint on Friday evening. We stayed at the…

Caves in an Ancient Land – 17th ICS Conference, Australia

Caves in an Ancient Land – 17th ICS Conference, Australia

It was never going to be cheap, but it sure was a lot of fun! Two members of SWCC (Claire Vivian and Duncan Hornby) headed to Australia in July for the 17th ICS conference. We also attended the pre- and post- conference excursions (i.e. 2 weeks of caving with local cavers!). Our first stop was Margaret River, south of Perth.

Margaret River pre-conference excursion


The caves are hot in Western Australia and get hotter as you go further in! Lightweight overalls a must, often stripping down to just a t-shirt. Fortunately caving is relatively easy with few technical aspects.


The Margaret River pre-conference excursion team.

We visited 7 caves during the Margaret River excursion, with the jewel in the crown being Easter Cave; incredible formations from start to end and we were only allowed to see half of the cave! Below are a few photos that came out best and don’t do justice to the sheer number of delicate and impressive formations.


Helictites, Easter Cave
The Question (which is: Does the formation touch the roof or not). Photo: Tim Moulds

The Lemon, Easter Cave Photo: Tim Moulds

The Epstein Formation, Easter Cave.
Claire at the Helictite Table, Easter cave.
You have to be careful passing through Easter Cave as almost all of the formations are within touching distance

Best way to describe Easter cave, is get all of the UK’s finest formations and line them up, that is just the entrance series to Easter cave… Seriously it’s that well decorated!

Yet, not to be totally overshadowed were Strong’s and Crystal Cave. Whilst not as profusely decorated as Easter, they also contained some magnificent formations.


Duncan wearing the Judge’s Wig, Strong’s Cave.
Looking up underneath the Judge’s Wig, Strongs Cave.

Christmas Star extensions of Crystal cave

This pre conference excursion was run by the Western Australian Speleological Group and we thank them – especially Tim,Greg and Luana – for their time and organizing an amazing excursion.

Crazy cavers at the WASG hut. Rob, Duncan, Claire, Tom, Luana and Greg

Conference week (23 – 29 July)

It was much cooler in Penrith near Sydney and our accommodation was a caravan park 30 minutes walk away from conference venue. It was sunny and t-shirt weather in the day, yet, thick coat time at night. A dedicated marquee held the poster displays, club stands and the speleo olympics. Presentations were held in the main Panthers building.

Pete and Angie Glanvill attempt the speleo olympics.

It was not all work and no play, we attended a mid-week dry canyoning trip in the Blue Mountains.


Claire at the top of the second pitch,dry canyoning in the Blue Mountains.

Our canyoning team (there were actually two other groups following different routes)

The conference week past in a flash ending with the traditional banquet. This started with a traditional Aboriginal welcome followed by food and much drinking. A slightly sad event as we were saying our goodbyes to new friends.


Jenolan Caves post-conference excursion

But it was not over! On the Sunday we met up at the Panthers event site, crammed ourselves into the back of a “trooper” and headed to Jenolan in the Blue Mountains for a week of caving!

Caves House, Jenolan. We stayed in a hostel behind the main building.

This excursion was larger with about 20 people attending with 10 different nationalities! The organizers had arranged a week of sporting caving and access into the show caves.

Decontamination was taken very seriously, with peoples kit sprayed to kill off any fungus that could potentially cause white nose syndrome.


Rigorous decontamination was carried out before anyone’s equipment went underground.

We were very privileged as one cave (the highly decorated Barralong) issues only 2 permits a year and the ICS excursion took them both!


Cave pearls in Barralong
A huge curtain impressively lit within the show cave, helectites grow from the wall.

Tuglow was to be the week’s “main event” with the entire group visiting the system in one hit, splitting up into several groups: the photographers doing the “gentle trip” and the full on “mega trip” with a guaranteed misery promised with an icy cold swim! Of cause the mega trip was a red rag to a bull to us and Claire and I eagerly signed up! Getting there involved a river crossing.

The original date for Tuglow was brought forward for fear of overnight rains swelling the river crossing.

Tuglow entrance involved abseiling (100m in 2 pitches), a high traverse above the stream with a sh*t scary bold step, big chambers, more abseiling, a “refreshing” dip (for the first time ever, being short actually meant that Claire did not have to swim!), then ladders up and out through fantastic flowstone chimneys. We were the last out and did a quick stomp up and over the ridge back to the cars to find a nice cup of tea on the brew. To top off an awesome day our excellent Australian hosts provided a BBQ back at their cavers hut!


Claire in the mainstream way of Tuglow, probably the best sporting trip in our visit to Australia.
Mark at the impressive gour pools in the main stream of Tuglow.
The gang at the cavers hut for a BBQ (Photo: Leda Zogbi)

Our last trip was Spider Cave, a trip made serious due to 3 very tight squeezes. Rescue beyond these would be impossible. A fourth squeeze, a very unpleasant tight flat out crawl gives access to a chamber with the unusual Palantear formation.

 Csaba the Hungarian photographer preparing his shot, he has specialised in 3D photos, Spider Cave.

Duncan with The Palantear

Like the previous two weeks, our Jenolan week passed in a blink of an eye and it was all too soon to head home. We were dropped off in Sydney and did some last minute sightseeing, the Opera House and Sydney Eye tower. It was then back on the planes for a soul crushing 24 hours of travel.

This post conference excursion was run by the Newcastle & Hunter Valley Speleological Society and we thank them – particularly Andrew, Peter, Mel, Dan, Mark, Steve and Chris – for their time and organising an amazing excursion.

Oddly Sydney does not look so big when looking down from the tower…

Here is the proof showing Claire and I were on the opposite side of the planet!

Highlights?

Duncan – For me it has to be Easter cave and the stunning formations it held, another “highlight” was passing the fourth squeeze in Spider cave in Jenolan, right on the limit of what I can physically fit, not a place to lose your head! The lowlight, well I guess that was when I blew $5 on a “pokie” in Panthers in less than 30 seconds…

Claire – The caving and making plenty of new international caver friends. These conferences are a great way to meet more cavers and get access to special caves that would be pretty much impossible otherwise. My favourite caves were the blindingly pretty Easter Cave in Western Australia and the fun, varied, sporting trip in Tuglow (Jenolan Caves). Ooh! And I mustn’t forget the kangaroos! I saw loads of them, including a field full of around 40 wild ones at one point, but it still wasn’t enough. Even briefly seeing a Huntsman spider (read VERY big spider) was a highlight as I won’t forget that in a hurry. I was also delighted that Spider Cave did not live up to its name and be filled with spiders. Lowlight was the over 24 hours of travelling time to get there.

Incident 60/2017 – Aug. 14th Mon. 11.38 – Gaping Gill, Clapham, North Yorkshire – Cave Rescue.

Incident 60/2017 – Aug. 14th Mon. 11.38 – Gaping Gill, Clapham, North Yorkshire – Cave Rescue.

A caver was reported to have sustained serious head and chest injuries in the Main Chamber of Gaping Gill (Cause of injury not yet known to CRO.), but when the duty controller obtained up-to-date information he had been recovered to the surface by pot-hole club winch and was being sheltered in a nearby shake-hole. An air ambulance was able to land close to the casualty, before team members had …

Three Peaks area, Horton in Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire Aug. 12th 23.24 – Alert only

Three Peaks area, Horton in Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire  Aug. 12th 23.24 – Alert only

Seven walkers (5f, 2m) were reported overdue on the Three Peaks Walk, descending from Ingleborough towards Horton in Ribblesdale. From the description given by the caller, they appeared to have passed ‘Sulber Crossroads’. The caller was asked to drive the road between Horton and Selside, looking for lights on the fell. Meanwhile SARloc messages were sent to the four known mobile phone numbers, just in case they came into an…

Incident 59/2017 – Aug. 12th Sat. 18.00 – Ingleton Waterfalls Trail, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

Incident 59/2017 – Aug. 12th Sat. 18.00 – Ingleton Waterfalls Trail, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

A walker (m, 62) slipped from the path near Snow Falls, falling / tumbling about 12m down a steep wooded slope to the river’s edge. Having been given pain relief, he was put into a vacuum mattress (full-body splint), then onto a Bell mountain rescue stretcher for hauling back up to the path. He was further assessed by YAS paramedics, then carried to the Beezleys caravan park …

Incident 58/2017 – Aug. 8th Tue. 15.20 – Near Gaping Gill, Ingleborough, North Yorkshire – Animal Rescue.

Incident 58/2017 – Aug. 8th Tue. 15.20 – Near Gaping Gill, Ingleborough, North Yorkshire – Animal Rescue.

A dog owner reported to North Yorkshire Police that his dog had fallen down a pot near Gaping Gill. A small team was assembled to go to the assistance of the dog, but just as they left our Depot, a call was received from a team member at Ingleborough Cave to say that the dog had been successfully recovered by his owner, and our services were no longer required.

Incident 57/2017 – Aug 7th Mon. 22.21 – Horton in Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

Incident 57/2017 – Aug 7th Mon. 22.21 – Horton in Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

3 people (m,40 f,39, 9) undertaking the 3 Peaks walk, were unable to negotiate limestone pavement and field walls above Beecroft Hall as darkness fell, due to inadequate lighting. 3 team members with a local police officer located the walkers, provided them with lights, and escorted them down to a team vehicle before dropping them at their car in Horton in Ribblesdale. Volunteer hours:6

Incident 56/2017 – Aug 1st Tues. 03.21 – Horton in Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

Incident 56/2017 – Aug 1st Tues. 03.21 – Horton in Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

A call was received from North Yorkshire Police to two 3 Peaks walkers (m, 23, 18) who had become lost in darkness, and found themselves above Horton Quarry, and felt unable to safely proceed or retrace their steps. They had called for help when their last mobile phone was down to 5%, and the duty controller was unable to recontact them to offer advice, so a small party was arranged…

Incident 55/2017 – July 30th Sun. 12.26 – Whernside, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

Incident 55/2017 – July 30th Sun. 12.26 – Whernside, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

The team were called by North Yorkshire Police to a report of a fell runner (m,54) who had sustained injuries having fallen descending from the summit. On arrival, a small team proceeded up the hill to provide first aid, and found the casualty making his way down the hill assisted by walkers. At Bruntscar, the casualty’s facial and hand wounds were dressed by team casualty carers, and then he was…

Incident 54/2017 – July 23rd Sun. 20.00 – Horton in Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

Incident 54/2017 – July 23rd Sun. 20.00 – Horton in Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

An hour after the other three members of their sponsored Three Peaks Walk group had said that they were ‘ten minutes behind’ them, the ‘organiser’ reported that the final two walkers (m, f) had still not reached Horton Station. As a local CRO member arrived at the station approach, the pair emerged from the station gate. However, there was no minibus, no ‘organiser’ and no reply on his mobile phone,…

Three Peaks area, Horton in Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire Jul. 23rd 20.15 – Alert only

Three Peaks area, Horton in Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire  Jul. 23rd 20.15 – Alert only

A walker was reported overdue on the Three Peaks, some 14 or 15 hours after leaving home in central North Yorkshire. Her husband, who had called the Police, had no knowledge of her proposed route. As a local CRO member was setting out to find whether her car was still in Horton car park, she arrived home, safe and well. Volunteer hours: Minimal Meanwhile, back in Ribblesdale . . .…

Three Peaks area, Horton in Ribblesdale / Ingleton parishes, North Yorkshire Jul. 23rd 17.51 – Alert only

Three Peaks area, Horton in Ribblesdale / Ingleton parishes, North Yorkshire  Jul. 23rd 17.51 – Alert only

Five walkers were reported missing on the Three Peaks, in rain and poor visibility. They had last been seen on Whernside at an uncertain time. The duty controller said to give them another hour, but as a precaution asked team members for their availability and agreed that one local member should drive the roads between Bruntscar and Horton in Ribblesdale. Just as he arrived in Horton, to speak to the…

Incident 49/2017 – July 16th Sun. 15.36 – Robin Proctor’s Scar, Austwick, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

Incident 49/2017 – July 16th Sun. 15.36 – Robin Proctor’s Scar, Austwick, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

A climber (m,57) fell approximately 10 metres, sustaining shoulder and head injuries, whilst climbing at Robin Proctor’s Scar, Austwick. Team members assisted a Yorkshire Ambulance Service paramedic in accessing the casualty, and packaged him for a lower by stretcher down the scree slope below the climb, to a waiting team vehicle. He was then driven to Town Head, Austwick for transfer to the road ambulance and transport to hospital. Volunteer…

Incident 48/2017 – July 15th Sat. 17.05 – Southerscales, Ingleborough, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

Incident 48/2017 – July 15th Sat. 17.05 – Southerscales, Ingleborough, North Yorkshire – Mountain Rescue.

Just as team members were clearing away after the Ingleton Gala, a call was received to two walkers (m,f) lost ‘somewhere on Ingleborough’. The Duty Controller was able to speak directly with the walkers via mobile phone, and sent a ‘SARLoc’ message, which gave us their location on our mapping software. The walkers had followed another group onto the limestone pavement, and then lost contact with them in low cloud.…

Incident 47/2017 – July 15th Sat. 16.10 – Ingleton Playing Fields, North Yorkshire – Local Incident.

Incident 47/2017 – July 15th Sat. 16.10 – Ingleton Playing Fields, North Yorkshire – Local Incident.

Whilst providing first aid cover for the Ingleton Fell Race and Gala day, one of the last runners home (m,44) slipped and sustained a fracture to his right lower leg as he descended the grass slope just before the finish line. The casualty was splinted and given pain relief, pending the arrival of Yorkshire Ambulance Service. In addition, several runners were treated for minor cuts and grazes upon completion of…

Local Update

Local Update

Once again, plenty has been going on at and around SWCC. We recently had new provisional member, Lucy, spend a week in South Wales for some caving and walking fun. She met many new cavers, saw places she had not visited before in OFD, visited the Neath…