Author Topic: Clearwell caves through trip - 25th November 2015  (Read 1497 times)

Offline dave_the_cave

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Clearwell caves through trip - 25th November 2015
« on: December 02, 2015, 10:14:04 pm »
who: the guides = Greg (ship-badger), Carl, John
         the tourists = Dave G, Jon D'C, Ruth R, Steve B, Tim T, Jim M
where: Old Bow mine, Old Ham mine, Lambsquay mine and Clearwell through trip
when: 25th November 2015
Link to my photo album

Clearwell through trip - 25th November 2015

Ruth arranged this trip with Ship-badger from ukcaving, who gave us a fanatastic tour and
wonderful storytelling throughout and so full of ethusiasm that made our evening. Mind you
the 2 and half hour trip was much longer than the races of his youth but then he did not have
us to distract his progress. Greg was ably assisted by Carl (a guide from Clearwell caves) and John who
was our tail end charlie making sure that no one was lost.

We were treated to a through trip through four mines - Old Bow mine, Old Ham mine, Lambsquay mine and Clearwell
(I think). We were treated to a complex route that Greg explained to Carl but for me went in one ear and out
of the other. Polite questions about surveys were tut tutted and explained that the clearwell caves had them
but the cavers did without! We would have appreciated a survey.

We entered old bow and came out of old ham, but how I do not recall - we were treated to a taster trip of all the different
mines on the hillsides. A nice taste too.

The trip was longer than planned and Gregs favoured pub was closed and we made our way back to Bristol without buying
our hosts the beer they thoroughly deserved. We stopped in the wetherspoons pub in chepstow, where we were treated to gourmet food just before closing (well compared to the hunters). Cheesey chips and Jon ordered a steak & onion sandwich with chips!

Here are some of the photos from the trip (Sadly I did not have time to get the trigger flash out)

Just inside the entrance - we assembled on the slope - the ceiling is well decorated

Before heading deeper into the system of mines

Passing formations as we headed down

John is tail end charlie m aking sure none of  us got lost

interesting rocks and colours as we headed deeper

The first challenge - a climb

A more interesting challenge - Steve thrutches up the hole in the ceiling

Time for a colourful rest

The clayball that fell after many years - the mines are constantly moving was a theme of many a story

The sword of Damocles - or the smallest pit prop in the world, apparently the matchstick is slowly getting crushed and has to be regularly replaced

A closer view of the sword of Damocles

Jim still listening to Greg in full storytelling mode with Carl between them

Ruth, Steve and Jon listening to Greg too

Greg shows the way down and on - the crawl was dug through by early explorers but others found the way over to the other side before the dig was finished - today it provides the easy speedy thoroughfare even though the dig was not needed

Greg disappearing through the hole

Ruth's turn for the crawl down

Ruth photographing on a dodgy ledge - this is slowly being eroded away. There has been much talk but no action yet about reinforcing it with steel as it is the main route through for the clearwell caves underground experience

Ruth beside one of the few pit props we saw as Greg explains

Greg next to Batty bat - the yellow remains of a dead and decayed bat carcass - there was talk of the yellow colour due to sulphur in the bats diet but we favoured yellow being the colour of the bacteria that had consumed the bat. Jim took a closer look but thankfully did not touch

Greg next to a tree trunk - it is unknown who or how the tree trunk got here. It is doubted that the trunk would have been useful to the miners, so possibly early re-explorers who needed a maypole!

Navigating around some holes in the wall protected by some rails (maybe)!

More safety rails or perhaps storage racks

A good trip and an ethical trip as Royston used to say!
Thanks for arranging the trip Ruth

« Last Edit: December 02, 2015, 10:24:26 pm by dave_the_cave »


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