Expo - Dinner, Achievements so far

Fri 04 Aug 2017
Rob W

As the expo dinner approaches and the halfway point looms close, what exactly has CUCC expo 2017 achieved so far? Well, we?ve worked out one thing: deep Tunnocks is a stubborn beast that refuses to reveal its secrets easily. So far 5 camping trips have been completed, and the finale of last years? big find, Song of the Earth, ended in a huge chamber choked by mud and boulders, which George nearly became part of after having crawled into a boulder choke, only to pull on the ceiling and then nearly become encased in the cave. So, the chamber, named ?Big Lad?, is now dead, at least for a while. The other camping trips have turned some seemingly less promising leads near to Octopussy into howling chasms, most of which need dropping within the next week. Lots to do on that front. There is still some good windy phreatic passage to go at as well, after Densham, Nadia and Haydon descended a pitch to a very muddy floor only to miss some very draughty passage 5m above the floor. However, it was very very very muddy. So that was left as well.


Fleur Loveridge silhouetted against the massive backdrop of Galactica, which sadly died after very few trips. Photo: Brendan Hall.

Whilst all this excitement was occurring, Balkony was also progressing steadily. Further leads above Galactica, in an area called ?Nothing to See? because it had been overlooked last year were pushed, but mainly found to link into Galactica disappointingly. This might have happened much quicker, but for a critical factor. One of the great problems over the last 2 weeks has been a problem with one of the drill battery chargers. The older drills are taped with electrical tape and Wookey has extensively fettled them over the years. However, this year there was no qualified Nerd to nurture and care for them. Consequently, Luke Stangroom was the man left in charge of their care, with that responsibility soon to be passed to me (or hopefully someone else entirely), meaning that no one can really be sure how they work. There is soon to be a full consultation, but for now they are rationed very carefully. This seems to mean that myself and Luke get the ones that are correctly charged each day, and everyone else has to bodge, survey, use naturals or just resign themselves to their fate. There has been enough battery for plenty of pushing at a deeper level in Balkony, however, with a lead called ?Sloppy Seconds? still going to previously unrecorded depths in Balkony.


Silverback Stangroom begins the Great Battery Auction. The batteries numbered 7, 8 and 14 are the Lucky Ones. Or is it all in the hands of one man? Photo: Becka Lawson

Aside from established classics, there has been some serious development of the system in a previously totally unexplored area. Early on in week 2, George and Becka refound a cave about which Andy Waddington proclaimed "we haven't a kitten's chance in heck of finding this again". This was called No Helicopter Hole, or 110 in normal speak, and was very miserable and ultimately a fruitless endeavour. However, after some prospecting in the vicinity of this cave, we broke into excellent passage after 4 days of trying. Gl?cklich Schmetterlinge H?hle proved to be an excellent and very windy cave, albeit very loose, quite wet and a bit scary. This cave is now over 100m deep and 500m long after 3 days of work and still carries a gale through it. Very promising! Whilst this was occurring, Nadia was busy waiting for Nathan to bolt the cave next door, also with a howling draught, and then pulling a large rock onto herself, causing her fibula to fracture. In addition to this injury, Lydia Leather, after around 4 trips, took a trip to town on the expo bike (retrieved from the lake a few years back) and got the European and British braking systems the wrong way round and mashed up her left hand, resulting  in a premature return to the UK.


Left: Rachel with a gamse skull in front of 110. Dead. Very much like all the leads in 110. Photo: Becka Lawson. Right: Nadia looking pathetic and unimpressed after walking for 5 hours on a broken leg. The brace on her knee cost us €150. Photo: Brendan Hall.

The other main source of excitement at Top Camp was the Mousetrap. No, not the 7 hour long play, but the contraption built by George to catch rogue rodents at Top Camp, whose sightings are recorded on the whiteboard carried up by our hoofed animal, Adam Aldridge. This inhumane creation managed to kill a mouse via either drowning or hyperthermia, resulting in rage from the environmentalists and delight from disgusting people like Luke. The mouse had a sky burial and no further animals were harmed. We had a slight water shortage, but this was dealt with by shovelling some snow. Brendan has started to go caving again after he discovered that he could store films on his phone and then watch them in a group shelter whilst other people bolted pitches. Plus lunch, obviously?


This is horrid. What is it? Luke considers wolfing down the extra protein before deciding instead that it deservved greater respect and that another more deserving animal could eat it. Photo: Brendan Hall. And, on the right, comedy character and farmyard beast Adam Aldridge is doing an excellent job of carrying a lot of things on the outside of his very small bag. Huge! Photo: Luke Stangroom.
Blog Author: nobrotson

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