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Recommended Novice 'Wow' sites...

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Dep

Guest
Consider this:
A novice weekend, a few people (adults) who have never caved on Mendip (or anywhere else) before and have only the basic kit required for _dry_ caving. They are ok on very short simple ladder pitches but not too experienced at general climbing.

Itinerary: Saturday, practising for "The Big Trip" on Sunday.
Sat AM: Goatchurch
Sat PM: Sidcot Swallet.

Sun: ???

Where would be a good place, ideally NW Mendip to give them a good wow-factor follow-up but without doing anything that is too much, or where their lack of wet-kit and climbing experience would be an issue.

Any sensible suggestions gratefuly received.
 

Peter Burgess

New member
We did exactly what you have outlined with a small group of people with the same experience last year. On Sunday we took them into Swildons Hole having assessed them on the Saturday, and made sure they knew what to expect. They were well attended by experienced cavers and thoroughly enjoyed themselves, bar one person, and you know about that, I think! Yes, some were novices, and they were properly clothed. They hired oversuits from Andy Sparrow. Hire charge is very reasonable. They got the wow factor you want. We would not have taken them there had the water level been other than low.
 
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andymorgan

Guest
Swildons Hole upper series. With proper kit to sump 1.
 
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darkplaces

Guest
Does it have to be Mendip and does it have to be a cave. How about the - Cathedral - in Box.
http://www.c**tplaces.co.uk/phpBB2/album_cat.php?cat_id=64
 
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Dep

Guest
Thanks, guys, but I am looking for Mendip, natural limestone and dry.

Kit hire is an option although I suspect one or two concerned will be too strapped for cash.
Any info on kit availability: Where from and how much?
This might be an option if not too expensive.

But really I am looking for a dry site.

 
D

Dep

Guest
Actually just looked it up in Mendip Underground which lists it as VDC with an active streamway.
Are you sure - or is there an easy upper fossil series?
 

Hughie

Active member
I wouldn't say Cuckoo Cleeves has any wow factor at all - except when the new concrete entrance pipe took off in hot pursuit of LesW across the doline!

Have discussed this with Anne - and we reckon, considering the limited experience of your group, the only candidate would be GB (Graham pending). Definite wow factor there - and almost certainly dry/not very wet.
 
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Dep

Guest
Hughie said:
I wouldn't say Cuckoo Cleeves has any wow factor at all - except when the new concrete entrance pipe took off in hot pursuit of LesW across the doline!

Have discussed this with Anne - and we reckon, considering the limited experience of your group, the only candidate would be GB (Graham pending). Definite wow factor there - and almost certainly dry/not very wet.

GB would be ideal - a trip down into the main chamber is very easy - but would seem something of an epic adventure for anyone new. There is nothing to cause issues that far in, and I can't see how they would come to or do any harm.
However I am also aware of the no novices rule in there and would not want to cause issues for anyone.
 

graham

New member
The "no novices" rule is one of the reasons that G.B. is still so well decorated and has not suffered from graffitti and other such depredations.

of course it could not be enforced without a gate ...
 

Peter Burgess

New member
Dep said:
Actually just looked it up in Mendip Underground which lists it as VDC with an active streamway.
Are you sure - or is there an easy upper fossil series?

CC is not a wet cave and has about the same wow factor as the upper bits of Eastwater (without the water) not that I'm trying to put you off or anything !
 

Elaine

Active member
I still think that GB is the best bet for the wow factor that you are looking for. To be honest, I think that you are hoping for rather a lot if you want an impressive dry easy cave for novices that will really impress them. They have all been made into show caves!

However, they would have to do a few of the less interesting caves first to work up a bit of experience. I would not suggest they did GB until you had had opportunity to assess their abilities properly.

Anything with WOW is either wet or would need a degree of caving skill to get to. That is how they have retained their WOWness. Just look at Stoke Lane Slocker for example. Those big pretty chambers would look a lot different if they didn't have that hideous little sump before them!

Anyway, if you hope to wow someone into caving, they will soon get a shock when they find out it isn't all like that!

 

badger

Active member
wow factor difficult without getting wet
Rods Pot include laddering the hole you crawl over, sporting rather than wow.
swildons, in short dry ways. down forties back up water rift out long dryways, shouldn't to wet
water wheel, down to the canal is dry very interesting colouring on formations
singing river mines, can stay dry or if they want get very wet.
 
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darkplaces

Guest
Problem is you cant WOW without effort. The point is its not worth it if its too easy.

GB for novices would present some difficulty, the tight squeeze hole and the two freeclimbs are not easy for a novice and your limited on anchor points to life line. It can be done with a lifeline but the climber has to stick to one side as a rock sticks out with enough lip for a sling with a larks foot. The second climb requires help from below for footing. You need to make sure the people you take have the confidence to go for it, trust others implicitly.
 
D

Dep

Guest
graham said:
The "no novices" rule is one of the reasons that G.B. is still so well decorated and has not suffered from graffitti and other such depredations.

of course it could not be enforced without a gate ...

Hi Graham, I take your point indeed.
Having said that there will be no grafitti on my watch! (anywhere)
Novice is a relative term, some have plenty of local mines experience but are new to limestone.
GB Main Chamber and back presents no real challenges - Bat Passage on the other hand is a dfferent ball-game and of course out of the question.
 
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Dep

Guest
Peter Burgess said:
CC is not a wet cave and has about the same wow factor as the upper bits of Eastwater (without the water) not that I'm trying to put you off or anything !

Hmmm... You haven't exactly sold it to me... :(
 
D

Dep

Guest
Anne said:
I still think that GB is the best bet for the wow factor that you are looking for. To be honest, I think that you are hoping for rather a lot if you want an impressive dry easy cave for novices that will really impress them. They have all been made into show caves!

However, they would have to do a few of the less interesting caves first to work up a bit of experience. I would not suggest they did GB until you had had opportunity to assess their abilities properly.

Anything with WOW is either wet or would need a degree of caving skill to get to. That is how they have retained their WOWness. Just look at Stoke Lane Slocker for example. Those big pretty chambers would look a lot different if they didn't have that hideous little sump before them!

Anyway, if you hope to wow someone into caving, they will soon get a shock when they find out it isn't all like that!

Hi Anne, thanks for that. GB is indeed a big wow for very little effort.
But your later point is even more true and making me re-think what I really mean by wow!

And GB is not really representative, wow yes but so very few caves are like that without having to do extreme and definitely non-novice things to get there - personally I find streamways far more exciting and the main reason I go caving.

I am currently pressing those expessing an interest to get some wet kit even if they have to hire it, I was pleasantly shocked to see how cheap this is from our Mr Sparrow.
 
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Dep

Guest
badger said:
wow factor difficult without getting wet
Rods Pot include laddering the hole you crawl over, sporting rather than wow.
swildons, in short dry ways. down forties back up water rift out long dryways, shouldn't to wet
water wheel, down to the canal is dry very interesting colouring on formations
singing river mines, can stay dry or if they want get very wet.

Hi Badger, thanks. See my previous response to Anne, I am really keen on Swildon's Upper series, down to the Twenty and back and a mooch about the various routes. Its not too far in to get someone out fairly quick if they get too cold and I think it really typifies what caving is all about, a bit of everything in just a few hundred easily accessible metres.

Singing River is a nice site too, I've still yet to find the route down to the Lake and over.
 
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