Author Topic: Tell us your flora and fauna tales for a chance to win a £100+ Exped Bag!!  (Read 3569 times)

Online Pegasus

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WIN AN EXPED BAG WORTH £100+



These bags are blummin brilliant, ideal for expeditions (which hopefully we be happening again one day)
Prize donation by UKCAVING.COM  ;D

Look what set up home in one of our digging buckets - wasps!  :o



... and what a fine home they made too.
We left well alone and eventually they moved house.

Gave me the idea for a quick competition - post on this thread telling us any caving/mining related tale abouts animals and plants.

The more unusual the better and photos are always good too.

3 entries max per person.  Closing date Sunday 29th August at 10pm.

Shortlist to be chosen by me then it's over to Random.org.

Good luck!!

Offline hoehlenforscher

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I remember about a week before Christmas some time ago we went down Little Neath River cave. The tight wet entrance crawl is always fun in its' own way, and it is always a relief to drop down into bigger passage at the end. Imagine my surprise when I reached that drop, to find a large, hale and healthy, full grown goose stood on a ledge just above the water! Can only imagine the poor thing had been washed in by earlier flood water, quite obviously from the farm just up stream. Anyway, we continued our trip to the lower reaches of the cave and on our return I took on the task of rescuing our feathered friend. Now the streamway, in reverse, is always more of a challenge, and manhandling a full grown goose in front of you didn't make it any easier! However, eventually daylight was reached and it was decided to return our friend to his mates back at the farm. Being a week before Christmas I had mixed feelings about doing this and, even today some 30 years hence, I can't help wondering if the goose knew exactly what he was doing and cursed us for taking him from his hiding place and returning him to a certain fate!

Offline howardlimbert

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Over the last few years we have been working down Son Doong cave and have managed to find 7 new species including white fish, white spider, white cricket, white woodlice etc. We have also helped scientists discover 6 very rare plants within the cave all in the endangered book. On one day we saw a white mouse running around deep in the cave about 3km in. There are no records of white mouse in this area of Vietnam so it could possibly be a new species. As we were planning on working with the BBC on animals in the cave they were very excited about this possible new discovery. On a normal tourist trip in the cave i asked a good friend of mine who is an excellent jungle man to see if he could capture this elusive white mouse alive. Alas my Vietnamese is not very good and next morning when i awoke in the cave i was presented with this pretty but dead mouse at the entrance to my tent. Since then we have not seen another white mouse and we have searched the area very well. The part of cave where it was discovered i have now named it extinction passage.

Offline yrammy

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Golconda Mine 1985. Always wondered what this could be growing all alone in the dark!

Offline yrammy

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In Thailand many years ago we went from Cave Lodge to visit Tham Plah is search of the blind fish. And yes we saw them but no photographs I'm afraid. But it is a good job Philip Klepto Smythe was not afraid!

(I make no excuse for the poor headgear - at least I had a cushion on my head)
 

Offline scurve

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From the pages of "Matienzo Caves Project: 2010-2019":


Ascending 117m with a venomous reptile, by Chris Scaife


On the 3rd of August 2013, my first ever trip to Matienzo was drawing to a close. For our last exploratory caving trip of the summer, Dan Jackson, Alex Ritchie and I went down Torca de Yusa, high up on the Hoya de Yusa, to look at a couple of possible leads up a steep slope.

We abseiled down the spectacular 117m entrance pitch, via several hanging re-belays and past an Alpine chough nest over 50m below the surface. At the bottom, with our hands aching from the effort of pushing down the handles on our Stops for so long, we were surprised to see a living snake, a Baskian viper, which must have fallen the full 117m of the shaft and somehow lived to tell the tale. Presumably the Pool of Fetid Ming, as the base of the pitch is called, had provided a soft, if not entirely pleasant, landing.

Off we trotted, up the slope, to explore two previously undescended pitches, one of which we named Space Serpent Pitch in honour of the plucky herptile. Both leads pushed to their limits, we returned to the foot of the entrance pitch to find our legless friend exactly where we had last seen it.

I’ve always been someone who thinks you should rescue animals you find stuck in caves and I reasoned that this small thing was hardly going to bite through my wellies or oversuit, so I picked it up and put it into a tackle sack. It seemed pretty docile and just stayed coiled up as I put it in. There then followed a fairly nerve-racking prusik to the surface, as the possible folly of what I was doing started to hit me. The tackle sack swinging between my legs contained a venomous reptile, and dangling on a rope with a great distance above and below me would hardly be the ideal place to receive the second ever snakebite of my life.

Upon reaching the surface, I was relieved to note that my skin was unpenetrated, so to celebrate I opened the tackle sack. No longer docile or coiled, the viper thrust its way out into the grass and slithered off into the sunset. I sincerely hope it stayed above ground after that. For all I know it could have swallowed its own tail like the ouroboros serpent of Ancient Egypt, and jumped back down the hole, thus continuing the eternal cycle of fall and rescue.

Online Brains

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This old girl had gone down the Walf climbing shaft before it was reopened, and finally made it into Hillocks when the route was dug open again

Online Brains

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A small well decorated mine trial in the Peak houses millions of mosquitoes that rest on the walls for quite a distance beyond daylight. The rocks appear furry and rounded off due to the coating of insects. Caving lamps and explorers cause lots of them to fly up into your face. Lovely. There is also a healthy collection of cave spiders living in the crevices but they don't seem to keep the numbers down very much...

Online Ian Ball

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Could the mouse be albino?

Offline Pitlamp

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There was a topic on here recently which mentioned the surprising lack of tissue moth sightings this year. I just happened to be passing Greater Kelco Cave this morning, which is a place they're often seen. So I nipped in and, as usual, there's plenty of 'em (see picture of one example).

It's also a good place to look for cave spiders - note this big boy in the other photo.

Offline PeteHall

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I'm going to cheat and recycle my trip report from here: https://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=28245

For those who didn't read it at the time, or can't be bothered to now, the long and short of the tale for this thread is that we spotted a fairly large (6-8") white trout in Otter Hole, just at the downstream end of Sump 5. It had taken us about 3 hours to reach that point, so I was very surprised to meet a fish!

The others in the group did relentlessly mock me for it, but I maintain that the fish was the highlight of a 10.5 hour trip.  :)

Offline crickleymal

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On a trip to Noxon Park in the Forest of Dean we encountered a large eel in the Crater entrance. It was swimming in the water that flooded the level and above and must have been 100ft below the surface. The eel itself must have been a good 2ft long. It's difficult to imagine where it came from as there are only very small streams in the area although Noxon farm a mile away does have a fishing lake.
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Offline Pitlamp

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This has been mentioned elsewhere before but seems to belong in this topic.

A few years ago I was laying line along a new passage in an underwater cave near Kendal. I suddenly met a large depigmented crayfish waving its substantial claws murderously at me, as if to say "You shall not pass!". The passage wasn't that big, so I couldn't scoot round it. We stared at each other for a while but it stood its ground and, eventually, it was me that backed off. Fortunately it wasn't there on the next visit, so the line laying continued unhindered.

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Creepycrawlies! This was from one of the visits to La Palma some years back; they're quite common. IIRC it's scutigera coleoptrata or summat'ish...


Offline El Agreb

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An idea as to what to call the hole if it develops.

Offline 2xw

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It's also a good place to look for cave spiders - note this big boy in the other photo.

That's a female, I'm sure she'd be very offended by your assertion. She's guarding her egg sac here (seperated from the wall by the silk, to prevent mould!)

Offline lumenchild

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I have a funny caving story,

I call this trip: Sunset Hangover with no Headtorch! ( My brain was the Vegetable matter)

In 2014 I was an active member of the Wirral caving group, along with other members such as Dave Tyson the president of the club, who has worked with Organisations such as the CCC,

Well the day before taking a trip to Sunset Hole, it was my birthday, That being Said as you can imagine Excessive amounts of alcohol was drank, having been celebrating my birthday with friends at a local Wirral pub,

When I got home that night I started to pack my kit for the coming Trip to sunset hole the next day, I was so drunk that I hadn't even noticed at this point I had not packed my helmet, which had my headtorch attached, but everything else I needed was packed, so I decided to camp behind my front door so that I didn't miss Dave Tyson knocking on the door to go on the trip,

Dave Tyson the next Day knocked loud and woke me up, I grabbed my kit bag and got in the car, and I remember thinking in the back of the car how much I had a hangover from the night before, and I hadn't eaten either,

The plan was to get to navigate the boulder ruckle semi helix twisting section to access lower series in sunset hole, which I had never been to,

so as we arrive in Chapel-le-Dale, park the car and start to don our kit, I had just got changed, this was the usual routine we all know, Undersuit on, then the oversuit, Then the wellies, The harness, then chest rig, then D-mallion and all your SRT gear,
I then pull out of my bag my hand-held torches, my headtorch battery, at this moment I notice there is no helmet in the bag  :o  I exclaimed quite loud, F*** SAKE!!   

Dave Tyson Replies whats the problem, to which I told him forgot my helmet with my headtorch attached whilst holding the battery for it in my hand, Luckily he had a spare helmet in the car, but it had no headtorch,

so with there being at least 5 of us on this trip, we decided that we would be fine to continue if I stayed in between those with head torches, and use my hand torches,

so we abseil down the entrance and then navigate through the cave to the bottom of the big pitch, a natural vertical shaft, that leads down to where there is a rope ladder going up to where you begin to access the lower Series,
Going up the ladder was no problem, crawling past the columns to get to the lower series was not an issue,

So after we'd reached the lower series we turned around and ascended back up to the upper series, and as I get to the rope ladder and if you've ever been there getting onto this ladder to get back into the natural chamber shaft is quite dodgy, and although you have a scaff bar to hold onto, the rope ladder sways away from you with your feet on it,
With no headtorch, you can't see it while your feet are on it, with the direction it sways, so as members of the club are ascending the main Pitch, I was stuck on this ladder frozen with fear because I knew if I fell it wasn't going to be cushioned there was a scree slope leading back into the main chamber under the ladder,

At this point in time, all I can think about is, if I fall or let go I'm gonna get hurt quite badly, and I needed a change of underwear, :shrug: I felt like the air in my lungs had frozen with fear of possible outcomes, it took me about 10 minutes before I had the air in my lungs to scream, for help,

At that moment Dave Tyson turns and looks and in doing so Literally Shines a light on the situation, from his beaming headtorch, I could see the ladder, then I had to compose myself and get down safely, which took a further few minutes to do, my grip on that scaff bar was so tight I had to almost pry my own hand from it, which spiders were crawling over my hands, and I am terrified of spiders, it was the first time in my life that i didn't care about those spiders, i had to get onto the ladder,

once I exited the cave one of the members that had earlier Begun to Ascend had heard me scream from close to the entrance, this is something we had a good laugh about on the way home, I learned a very valuable lesson about caving with a Hangover, but still to this day It makes me laugh, I have never forgotten my Headtorch since  ;D  :beer2:


always love life, remember you are made from stardust you where born to shine!

Offline Paul Marvin

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There are some very unusual little critters in here , if you dont want to watch the whole video although I think you will enjoy skip to 4:20 and also 5:54 , from what research I have done they shouldn't be here at all never mind under the water .

BTW it took us years to complete this waiting for perfect crystal clear water as its a popular training site and get very murky we had a LOT of dives when we didn't bother filming or doing stills .   :(

Any info on these would be appreciated guys   :thumbsup:

I dont know where I am going, but will know where I am when I get there.

Offline paulf

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2018 Exploring a new Cave in Vietnam - Hang La Xanh (Blue Leaf Cave)
A walk-in entrance which has the foliage shaking by the wind coming through it. This led to a large Chamber which had a plastic water pipe heading down a side passage on the right, this I went down it was 12ft wide & 8ft high & I was following the draught, the passage increased as it went downwards. The pipe headed up & I thought it was going to close down as I carried on only for it to open up with various ways on over & under large boulders, this eventually turned into a choke I squeezed through a couple of ways to find one of the smaller boulders loose, this dropped down a rift (I’d say about 30ft by the noise of it falling. At this point I thought time to leave as I was on my own. I took the right hand wall & joined some of the local men in another passage, I kept on the right & it opened up again to more boulders & some nice formations. I followed a local down the easy the left hand side as this avoided the very deep holes between the boulders. The passage now increased to around 30ft wide & 45ft high but still going as a canyon. The local started climbing up over boulders into a right hand passage, re-joining the draught. At the top the passage was completely covered in popcorn & the local was just jumping from piece to piece of covered rock. I was taking it easy as it was really sharp. The floor was turning back into smooth calcite flow & this continued until it got big again, well massive & then a skylight entrance. This is pretty with all the foliage facing the light. We headed round to the left into a massive chamber, full of steam so it was hard to see but with a great echo. We then went down lower passage on the right up some more flow this led to another entrance. This again had foliage but when you shone your light on it it changed colour from standard green to bright blue, this was amazing & why we named the cave.



Offline Paul Marvin

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Here's an interesting little chap , found as happy as Larry at the very bottom level next to the ladder of Long Rake Mine, I couldn't think of a more toxic environment for him   :yucky:  :-\

I dont know where I am going, but will know where I am when I get there.

Offline Tangent_tracker

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So the Alderley Copper mines have been known for entomopathogenic fungi, a rather gruesome end for flies, moths, and spiders entering the adit for a winter's rest for some time now, and indeed, although is not the only place! Once you see these little white cottony objects in the entrances to some of Derbyshire mines you will quite often start to spot more examples. Our secretary has brought an expert in at times to study these fascinating entombed creatures within the adit of wood mine.
It has also fascinated me for some time, and I have spent a fair bit of time scouring the passageways looking for evermore elaborate examples.
 It was when I started exploring one passage in particular, that doesn't see a lot of visitors that I discovered what could be described as the holy grail of these bizarre things. Known as Cordyceps, named so because of the shape of the fruiting body's which protrude from the creature's thorax, from wiki; The generic name Cordyceps is derived from the Greek word κορδύλη kordýlē, meaning "club", and the Greek word κεφαλή cephali, meaning "head" .
I think from the image below you will see this being a very good example of a descriptive name!



I had no idea they were even a thing in this country, but here I was, in front of a victim to this quite alien structure!

If you are interested and want to learn more about this fascinating fungus, type zombie ant on youtube, it really is something taken out of a horror movie!

Some more examples here:
Olly.

Offline Speleofish

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'Like' seems slightly inappropriate for something so gruesome.... Fascinating might be a better word

Offline Paul Marvin

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WIN AN EXPED BAG WORTH £100+



These bags are blummin brilliant, ideal for expeditions (which hopefully we be happening again one day)
Prize donation by UKCAVING.COM  ;D

Look what set up home in one of our digging buckets - wasps!  :o



... and what a fine home they made too.
We left well alone and eventually they moved house.

Gave me the idea for a quick competition - post on this thread telling us any caving/mining related tale abouts animals and plants.

The more unusual the better and photos are always good too.

3 entries max per person.  Closing date Sunday 29th August at 10pm.

Shortlist to be chosen by me then it's over to Random.org.

Good luck!!


Is it just me or does it look like a curled up snake in the bottom of this bucket ?
I dont know where I am going, but will know where I am when I get there.

Online Brains

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Two examples from the Peak and N Wales of the fruiting bodies of fungus, so neither flora nor fauna! If they dont count, well exclude them from the draw :D
Both are growing on timbers in old mines and appear to be dry rot

Offline Mr Mike

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Timber sprouting what looks like legs with nails - Wapping Mine.

Young frog, 30m below at the shaft dogleg - Longcleugh Shaft (aka - Frog Shaft), Nent Valley.

Single mushroom growing on timber - Groverake Mine.

Offline Mark

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A really weird experience when exploring Doolin River Cave (County Clare) occurred shortly before we  arrived at Fisherstreet Pot.

Whilst hands and knees crawling in deepish water, a shoal of Eels (100s of the buggers) swam past us at speed going upstream.

This was truly creepy with them all wriggling round us to get past.

On arriving at the Fisherstreet Pot entrance we tried our best to free climb out, but it was beyond our capabilities (we hadn't intended to do the through trip)

The only way out was back the way we came, which was like a horror movie, knowing that at some point the buggers would be coming back.

We didn't see them again, I don't know where they went maybe they went back while were were clowning around trying to climb out of Fisherstreet Pot

Online Pegasus

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Just loving the entries in this competition (studied biological sciences as Uni all those years ago, so finding your tales fascinating).  Thanks so much to everyone who has entered so far, do keep 'em coming  :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Offline MJenkinson

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I keep my tackle bags squished flat on a shelf at the back of the garage. One day, whilst pre-packing a load of rope for a trip (get me, all organised), I picked up a bag and thought "that smells funny". As usual I inserted my hand through the top and did the whole "flappy flap" to open up the bag.  As soon as I "flapped" once I knew I had a problem. The smell was overwhelming and as I opened the bag I realised I had now a very, very, very dead, aromatic ex-frog smeared all over my hand and wrist.

I immediately felt very bad, and also ran to my chemical shelf to liberally douse my hand in bleach to get rid of the smell. The tackle bag was deemed beyond rescue despite several baths in bleach.

As such I am one tackle sack down.


Offline lumenchild

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Moel Fferna Slate mine, North Wales,

In 2016 I decided to take a trip to Wales with a few friends, Mike and Pete, In the heart of winter, The hillsides were beautifully covered in snow in Mid-January the sun was shining, It was a perfect day for a spot of mine exploration, It was the first trip out in the new year.

While having an explore, I found this growing inside the mine i have no idea what it is, maybe one of the members of this forum will know


always love life, remember you are made from stardust you where born to shine!

Offline AR

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I think the first photo may be a slime mould of some sort?
Dirty old mines need love too....

Offline Tangent_tracker

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They are fascinating in their own right!
Olly.

Offline RobinGriffiths

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Indeed. I believe they have been used for biological computers. Modern classification puts them with ameboids rather than moulds.

Online Pegasus

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Bump - ends at the weekend  ;D

Offline AR

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I'm sure I've told this tale on here before, but  might as well tell it again...

Close Encounters of the Furred Kind

A few years back, I was on one of the very occasional inspection visits to Yatestoop Sough which on this occasion had been organised by John Gunn. I'd been late getting to the meeting point, and so followed the rest of the party upstream but when I did catch up, it was mentioned that an otter had been seen heading up the sough in front of the group. I didn't think more of it at that point, and headed up the branch to the main shaft where I caught up with John. He was preparing to take some water samples and asked me to hold his tackle back open; the water at that point being thigh-deep and swift-flowing. While he was filling his bottles and I was holding the bag open, all of a sudden the otter erupted from where it had been hiding and shot between my legs. Whilst it is a privilege to see an otter that close, it's also quite a shock and I couldn't help but think they have very sharp teeth and a strong bite, and this one had passed very close to an extremely sensitive part of my anatomy...
Dirty old mines need love too....

Offline pwhole

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Haha, I'd decided not to mention that episode. But now you have, it swam through my legs too as we were heading up the sough! Actually there were two of them, and they split up, one running off up the crosscut to Alice shaft. And they didn't even have headtorches. We found three 'nests' a long way up Magpie Sough too in 2018 that had to be from otters. A large trout swam through my legs right there on that occasion. The pic below was taken in Cromford Sough, 2015, on the last trip we did with Jon Humble.

Offline Caver Keith

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Cavers, Sheep and Wellies - 1

We've all heard the jokes about sheep being nervous when they see men in wellies. However after a trip to a well-known Yorkshire pot in 2011 it was us who were worried by the sheep!

https://youtu.be/5zdAUBf65SI?t=377

Offline Caver Keith

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Cavers, Sheep and Wellies - 2

The sheep theme was the inspiration for this scene from Hey, Hey, We're The Dudley

http://youtu.be/GYZcUyIy274?t=141

Offline PeteHall

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Sorry, another repost...

Rather than admitting to being lazy, I'm going with the fact that I usually share any interesting cave wildlife stories on here anyway, so I'm just ahead of the game  :ang:

Reached the terminal sump in Charterhouse (England's deepest cave  ;) ) on Saturday, to find a fully grown, healthy looking frog  sitting by the sump pool! :o

I can't imagine that it would have survived getting washed through the whole cave, even if the stream flowed that way (which it doesn't), so I can only assume that it grew there.

How on Earth did it get enough to eat to grow to that size, and how long must it have been there?

And for good measure, here's a photo of a different underground frog, in an old dig of mine 🐸

Online ditzy

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my first srt trip was water icicle and we found a tiny froglet at the bottom. it was all in the spare rope and well hidden til it moved. we think it fell down the shaft

Online ditzy

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we had a trip in spiney level and it was full of mozzies i had to pull my buff over my face to keep them out of my face  :o it was horrible there were thousands of them

Online ditzy

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we had a trip in wapping with two of my friends, one of them hates spiders and the other thought she was being helpful by warning her not to get too close on the climb in /out
being told there were loads of cave spiders right by her head and long hair did not make her day :o

Offline Paul Marvin

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Haha, I'd decided not to mention that episode. But now you have, it swam through my legs too as we were heading up the sough! Actually there were two of them, and they split up, one running off up the crosscut to Alice shaft. And they didn't even have headtorches. We found three 'nests' a long way up Magpie Sough too in 2018 that had to be from otters. A large trout swam through my legs right there on that occasion. The pic below was taken in Cromford Sough, 2015, on the last trip we did with Jon Humble.

We saw the same prints in Dale Mine .
I dont know where I am going, but will know where I am when I get there.

Offline Leclused

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During a solo prospecting dig (in 2013)  I had an encounter with a badger. The badger was kind enough to pass by a few times and I was able to grab my camera.



Sorry the text on it is in dutch.



Dagobert L'Ecluse (SC Avalon - Belgium)
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Offline Fulk

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Many years ago we found a live-and-kicking sheep at the bottom of the first pitch of Sell Gill Holes (dry way). It appeared to be uninjured, is spite of its fall, so we set up a sheep-harness and hauled it out. Although we plonked it down several metres from the hole, the poor thing set off straight back to the hole, and this time plunged to its death!

Offline pwhole

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Eweicide :)

Offline Fulk

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Did it fall, or was it 'tipped'?

Offline lumenchild

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Many years ago we found a live-and-kicking sheep at the bottom of the first pitch of Sell Gill Holes (dry way). It appeared to be uninjured, is spite of its fall, so we set up a sheep-harness and hauled it out. Although we plonked it down several metres from the hole, the poor thing set off straight back to the hole, and this time plunged to its death!

I'd of went straight back, I'd never pass up the idea of getting some free pre-tenderised mutton  :beer2:
always love life, remember you are made from stardust you where born to shine!

Offline Leclused

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During one of the 2019 Rigotte expeditions (France) one of the divers had an rather special encounter with a BLUE fresh water lobster.



Dagobert L'Ecluse (SC Avalon - Belgium)
http://www.scavalon.be
http://scavalon.blogspot.be

Offline mrodoc

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On my one and only visit to Penrecca Mine in Devon I came across this spectacular fungal formation that had clearly been growing for a very long time indeed. How long I don't know but there is a part of the mine I have a photograph of called Fungus Corner (sadly not showing any fungus) suggesting it might have been growing for decades. I would be interested to know whether anybody can identify it and what would be its source of nourishment over such a long period.

Offline mrodoc

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A really weird experience when exploring Doolin River Cave (County Clare) occurred shortly before we  arrived at Fisherstreet Pot.

Whilst hands and knees crawling in deepish water, a shoal of Eels (100s of the buggers) swam past us at speed going upstream.

This was truly creepy with them all wriggling round us to get past.

On arriving at the Fisherstreet Pot entrance we tried our best to free climb out, but it was beyond our capabilities (we hadn't intended to do the through trip)

The only way out was back the way we came, which was like a horror movie, knowing that at some point the buggers would be coming back.

We didn't see them again, I don't know where they went maybe they went back while were were clowning around trying to climb out of Fisherstreet Pot

This is fascinating. If they were elver sized they might have been migrating upstream from the submarine resurgence. If they were mature adults they might have entered the cave accidentally following the surface stream and been unable to exit via the resurgence so were coming back. I am sure eel researchers would be intrigued to hear this story. What does Graham Proudlove think?

 

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