Jenga Pot - Excalibur pot
Saturday April 25th 2015
Members present: Alistair Rollinson, Andy Hurlbatt, Dan Boothby, Mark Sims, Matt Ewles, Rachel Findlay, Will Scott
I decided that the tour would not be complete without a lap of Chertnobyl, and then along the route we stopped to visit all the worthwhile excursions. I'll let others recount the particulars of the trip as my view of it is probably rather skewed, however, it was certainly an enjoyable experience for me to do the trip as a sporting caver: No multi-layer thermals or neoprene ready for hours of lying about in mud while hauling buckets; no drill and batteries in tow, no 6ft metal bar to yield and no scaffold poles being shuttled from one place to the next. Just plain, simple caving to enjoy the view (mostly brown) and the fine formations (mostly brown), the spectacular passages (mostly brown) and then afterwards, Dan's underwear (mostly brown).
We paid a courtesy call on Mr Gary Douchbag, resident of the Secret Dig, on the way past (actually he was single-handedly surveying it, the last part of the system to face the DistoX thus putting an end for now to surveying of this 2.5km system) and a shout along the bedding boomed back with his voice. Then onwards to Excalibur. Rachel seemed to positively love the experience, Dan was clearly tolerating it and everyone else seemed fairly impartial to the arduous crawls, the deep mud and the wet wallows.
Passing the Excalibur entrance, we soon caught up with Mr Adrian Turner and his merry men who had come just down Excalibur, and then we ventured down to the main streamway which was very low water. Downstream, upstream, and then out, total trip time of around four hours, about in line with what I was expecting.
It had become somewhat chilly outside while we had been underground, so we decided that rather than change twice we would wetsuit up in the Excalibur car park and drive down ready to go for Bogg Hall. So this is what we did! Into Bogg Hall (see separate trip posting) and we were instantly greeted by a dead bird at the bottom of the entrance. I have done Bogg Hall maybe ten times but the usually fresh scents on this occasion were replaced by less pleasant ones. Getting quickly upstream of this abomination was a great relief!
Onwards into the deepening water, Mark was clearly putting a brave face on his budget 3mm wetsuit. The water level was thankfully low and The Drain was passed without even having to blow the water out of our mouths as we went! Luxury! At the Font the highlight of the day for me was a sighting of the famous Bogg Hall otter, something I have only inferred previously from paw prints and otter poo! It gave us a couple of displays apparently undeterred by the neoprene clad humanoids bobbing in its favourite sump pool. Ms Findlay, who apparently though I was taking the proverbial in saying there was an otter in the cave will apologise in due course.
Outwards, and a quick wash of our gear in the river ended a fantastic day of caving. Then came the best part, the beer at The Crown in Hutton-le-Hole and curry in Pickering, in the company of good friends.
Anyone reading this fancy doing Excalibur Pot: Contact the CNCC permit secretary (a navigation guide is supplied with the permit)
Anyone reading this fancy doing Bogg Hall cave (and you should) see the navigation guide which can be downloaded from the York Caving Club website (no prior permission needed).