Friday September 11th 2015
Members present: Alistair Rollinson, Dan Boothby, Rachel Findlay, Will Scott
With our bodacious shopping completed we set off to find Lovettecannas, this proved to be a great deal more difficult than finding other Sardinian caves due to its location slap bang in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by a protective forest of spiky juniper trees and a number of rather wobbly limestone pavements. We were aided in our search for the cave by a description from a pair of friendly Sardinian cavers who told us that it was up an “interesting road” and you had to walk past 3 fountains and a couple of sheep pens (hell it was better than nothing).
After parking our car at the end of the road (quite interesting…to say the least) we located a fountain of sorts and decided this must be the right area, the next hour or so involved a trek through prickly juniper following the GPS (ESSENTIAL piece of equipment to locate this cave!). Nearing our destination we stopped for lunch on a limestone outcrop (salami sandwich again, very nice but you can only eat so much salami and after a week and my salami quota was pretty much full). It was at this point Will pointed out a small pile of juniper branches on an adjacent limestone outcrop and suggested that this was what we were looking for; I wasn’t convinced but as it happened Will was 100% correct and 5 minutes later we were standing next to perhaps the hardest cave to locate in Sardinia.
With no description to go on we decided to take a twenty metre hand line and a few bits of rigging kit, as it turns out none of this was required as there was in-situ tat where needed. Once In the cave we simply followed a series of yellow reflectors down and down and down, eventually we came a rather fiendish boulder choke. The boulder choke proved to be relatively easy to navigate as long as you actually follow the reflectors…oops my bad; due to a slight navigational issue on my part we ended up in a rather nasty dead end that had an evil downwards squeeze as an entrance but we soon retraced our steps (after a large amount of grunting and thrusting), found the next reflector and continued our downward journey.
After the boulder choke the cave opens up into a large rift that heads diagonally downwards. Lovettecannas is not a particularly pretty cave despite there being a large amount of (mostly brown) calcite. It was at this point where I was getting a bit hacked off with the continuous downwards direction that we found a stream way. For a short time the cave showed its better side with much prettier calcite and more interesting rock formations. From the steamway onwards we were following pieces of tape downwards as the reflectors stopped at some point (spot function very useful here), and not much can be said apart from the tape finished in a pretty section where no obvious ways on could be found; lacking a description it was decided by group consensus that this was the end of the cave. The next 15 mins or so were spent playing around and looking at the pretty stal’s, until we took the opportunity to GTFO.
The way back was as usual faster, much more enjoyable with interest being added by the more difficult sections of climbing and scrambling; we picked up our tackle sack, indulged in some laddish banter and emerged for the cave 4 or so hours after entering. Feeling quite good we set off to find the car (GPS again useful), and after an encounter with a number of rather noisy Sardinian cows we were back at the trusty Volkswagen… haha trusty
With our gear packed and everyone getting hungry we drove of home discussing returning to a nice swim in the sea since we had so much extra time. Or that’s what we tried to do anyway. We first took a minor detour in the wrong direction as none of us noticed the road we needed to take; upon locating the correct road and driving about half the way down it several things happened simultaneously.
1. We were talking about how well the car was coping with the horrendous roads
2. Dan and I’s heads hit the roof
3. My phone left Boothby’s hand, deflected off the roof and hit Rachel on the side of the head, at the same time as the central mirror was doing something very similar.
4. There was tremendous BANG!
With that we all jumped out of the car and a grinning Will informed everyone that we had blown a tyre, this was relatively amusing until we discovered upon opening the boot that there was no spare tyre…please imagine for a second 4 people standing, staring quite intensely into an empty boot hoping for a spare tyre to magically appear.
The next few hours consisted mainly of us attempting to get a local Sardinian farmer to understand us, failing to get a local Sardinian farmer to understand us, reversing the car out of the way, walking 5km to call David, huddling like sardines under my survival blanket and finally getting rescued. I should also point out at this point, that the game that everyone will soon be playing “what cave am I?” was invented while we were all jostling for warmth and looking for something to do.
Taking everything into account it was a rather good day and one I certainly will not forget anytime soon.