Plymouth University Adventure & Expo Portland trip 24-26/05/24

Plymouth University Adventure & Expo Portland trip 24-26/05/24
Having never caved in Portland, we had a good chat with Tim Rose, narrowing our options to the Ariels Cave round trip and Grove Cliff Caves.

Day 1:
To beat the climbers to parking spaces on a bank holiday, we were up and out early, with 1 team going to each cave.

Ariel's cave team - After parking and getting kitted up, we received many funny looks from walkers and climbers alike as 4 strange climbers in wellies and warmbacs trundled down the path. After rigging the abseil the team entered getting some pretty epic pictures. now to the caving...(sadly we can't post all of them)
After a lovely crawl through bird poo and Portland cement mix, we made it to a Piccadilly circus, where we were able to stand up and take SRT kit off. After a navigational cock up from our glorious caving sec, ben.... the group ended up going down C & A rift instead of beginning the round trip, after some interesting rifts and squeezes eventually ending up at the junction before a hope in hell rift. mixed cave review between 6/10 and 8/10

Grove Cliff Cave team - After a short while searching for the entrance, the Group found allotment dig entrance, having a great bimble exploring the other cliff entrances as well as snapping some pics around ammonite corner before going for a swim and sunbathing to enjoy the nice weather.

Day 2:
Ariel's cave team - another awesome abseil in, this time taking the correct passage from Piccadilly Circus(Ben wasn't navigating this time...). After some crawling, and negotiating the bold step at the Grand Canyon we made it to the confluence. Some bickering, then the team finally found the way onto a very pretty and well-decorated fairy rift
Following on from Nutcracker Rift, the team made it back through to C&A Rift before tackling an exposed traverse back to Piccadilly Circus.

Overall everyone thoroughly enjoyed the caves, especially the round trip with the abseil and fairy rift being particular highlights! A big thank you to Tim Rose for providing information and advice on the Portland caves which proved invaluable to the success of the trip. Photo credits belong to Jess Brock and Anna Parnum, I apologise to any club members who have contributed photos but are not credited(my memory is fuzzy) Quite a few members expressed an interest in exploring some more of the holes in Portland, so hopefully this will become a classic yearly trip the club runs in conjunction with the usual Portland climbing trips.

Ben Ashley
Plymouth Uni A&E caving Sec


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