Attendees: Adam, Jim, Ruth, Steve, Jon, Harriet and Caroline
We'd had some interest in joining the club from a few new people, and a few people who had attended an introduction trip previously, so a trip to Goatchurch was organised. Sadly a few people had to drop out so we only had 2 potential new members for this trip. Caroline who had a background in geology, and Harriet who works for the Avon Rivers trust who I'd met through volunteering.
We pointed out the sites of the way up through the Combe, the Rock of Ages, Avelines Hole etc, whilst I bemoaned the walk up to the cave, despite being someone who walks a lot in the mountains I always find it a tiring walk!
Jon was feeling a bit under the weather so opted to rig the handline in the tradesmans and meet us in the cave. We headed in with Adam giving the patter as to the caves history. As we made our way into the cave I asked Adam to head in via the midgets steps, which I think got lost in translation as he took the harder route through Bloody Tight (not that tight). Thankfully our beginners were very competent and made it into the cave without hesitation despite me offering to take them back the other way.
We did the usual route of down the Coffin Lid to reach the way on to the Drainpipe which our novices looked initially quite horrified about, with some gentle encouragement, and some misjudgement of the actual distance by Steve they were in, and through without issue, declaring they actually quite enjoyed it. Jon waited in the Water chamber to have a bit of an explore.
Jim and Adam (our club members) decided they wanted to revisit the dexion/the end of the cave. I explained to our novice cavers that it was tight, awkward, horrible and they really didn't want to go there. Caroline decided she really did want to go there after taking a took, so followed Adam, with Jim behind. Adam got to a point where he could no longer continue (declaring he must have been smaller on a previous visit) Caroline managers to turn around, but poor Jim due to his height had to reverse out backwards.
Excitement over with we headed back to the Water Chamber to take a look at where the stream enters/exits, and the fossils in the roof (including geology lesson from Adam). Jon also showed us some interesting writing on one of the rocks to which we debated as to whether it was original or not. I encouraged some of the others to drop down into the floor to squeeze through an awkward bit to look at some pretty calcite flow. Most of us squeezed through the upper part, but poor Adam, determined not to miss out managed to squeeze through the lower section which was an incredible achievement seeing as it looked impossible to some of our smaller group members!
We made a swiftish exit from the cave with our 'novices' so competent they refused the handline on the Tradesmans. As we finished the trip fairly early I suggested a quick look at the Adit in West Twin Brook as I thought the geology would be interesting to our beginners. The water was a lot deeper than my last visit to the adit, virtually waist deep, so most of us opted to do no more than poke our heads in. Adam, Jim and Steve though were tempted to get in and have a closer look, which resulted in them going all the way to the end of the adit whilst the rest of us yawned outside waiting for them to return. Returning brought them much hilarity as a couple of them got a dunking. I was interested to note I couldn't find any invertebrates in the river on the rocks I looked under, it would be interesting to return with a net to see what lives there as I'd have thought the stream would have more than it did (it was possibly due to lack of light that I wasn't noticing things)
All in all an interesting trip with our novices keen to return - thanks to the club members who helped with this trip.