No Hidden Earth and far too many months in 2020/21 when cavers couldn't meet up, so I was really looking forward to meeting up with friends at Kendal Mountain Festival for the Underground Session.
Steph Dwyer of Yorkshire Dales Guides did a marvellous job of hosting the whole evening. She reminded the audience that the session was being filmed, however the bar break wouldn't be mentioned so she couldn't either - was rather given away though with Badlad and Jason sat on stage holding pints!
First up was 'Caver Keith' with his top 10 videos. The choice of videos worked really well - who doesn't want to see Chunky in a corsett? Keith hit exactly the right tone and was hugely entertaining, with lots of laughter from the audience and a well deserved, loud round of applause. Good job, Keith
Then came Olivier Testa, a sponsored caver who told tales of caving in Africa. The video of crawling through liquid guano, surrounded by lots and I mean lots of bats flying around, looking for orange crocodiles was excellent in its awfulness
Many of the bats had ebola antibodies (or something, I was still thinking about caving with crocodiles) yet he said he liked this sort of caving
As someone who is extremely allergic to fireants, his video of millions of the bloody things underground put me off ever going caving with him in Africa - ever!
Bar break - having watched the Snow Session on Saturday, which lasted 3 hours with no break, I think the cavers got it right and skiers could learn a thing or two from us
Chris Jewell then introduced Becka Lawson, Rick Stanton, Tim Allen, Geoff Yeadon and Jason Mallinson who between them told the tale of the Three Counties Grand Traverse.
Chris compared the session with aplomb, introducing each digger/diver to describe particular stretches of the traverse and how they were connected. Everyone spoke with real knowledge and it was fascinating to listen to. Becka described some extreme digging in the Rift Ireby connection, Rick told of the discovery of Notts II, Tim recounted the final Three Counties connection, Geoff was asked one question about the Pippikin/Gavel dives and coudn't be stopped!! and Jason described the Witches/Shuttleworth dives + of course the traverse itself - and broke the 'no swearing' rule
Chris's slides were well done:
..and in a particularly touching moment he asked all those in the audience who were involved in the connection digs to stand, then asked those involved in supporting the Grand Traverse to stand - lots of cavers stood up - well deserved applause all round
A thank you slide.
I only filmed Tim speaking (It's a wife thing) so my apologies to the others for failing to capture their words.
Where to dig for the connection??
Why is the piano bar called the piano bar??
Tim reading out his diary entry from 'connection day'
Congratulations to all involved for a highly entertaining evening