Freshers Trip 2010

Freshers Trip to Clare 8th - 10th October

On the 8th of October the members of the DIT Caving Club embarked for Doolin, Co. Clare with a precious cargo of first-time cavers. It was the first trip of the year, taking our new recruits to the Burren to introduce them the fine sport of caving.

The DIT Caving Club has been knocking about in one way or another for 18 years now and this trip is now something of a rite of passage for those seeking adventure and excitement. Clare, as well as having some stunningly beautiful lanscape, has some of the best caves in the country, generally long, high, sculpted passages winding their way through the limestone. The caves are perfect for those starting out in Caving – unintimidating, fun and easily accessible.

After our convoy of cars arrived in Doolin we found the nearest pub and bedded in. When our drinking was done we headed to our base for the weekend – the Upside-down House, so called for the kitchen and living room being located in the attic. The next morning we pulled ourselves together and got into the club’s caving clobber. We split into two teams and headed to the first caves of the day – Polldubh and Cullan 2. My group, heading for Cullan 2, got the rest of their kit on at the side of the road and undertook the short walk to the cave entrance. It was a lovely day and some of us were sorry to be going underground into a dark cave. These traitors were quickly silenced and climbed down into the cave. A short crawl and we were into walking height passage. After 200m we reached the streamway and splashed happily along, the leaders pointing out various formations and rock types along the way as well as explaining the cave’s formation. We passed through Dome Chamber and then Lake chamber before reaching the terminus of the cave 1km from the entrance, a 10m drop into a lower passage. On the return we decided to take a detour into Year Passage, an alternative way back to the exit. After a lot of crawling and some nice calcite formations we eventually found our way out of the cave, very muddy, tired but satisfied.

After refueling in the Upside-down House we headed en masse to Pollnagollum – the longest cave in the country with 15km of passage in the country. After negotiating the steep entrance we split into two groups, one going through a tight crawl into the Branch Passage, the other descending into the Mainstream passage. After an hour and a half of caving we returned to the fading daylight and climbed out of the pothole. We returned home to a warm house and a large pot of Spaghetti Bolognese.

Arising the next morning we were split into the groups who still wanted to cave and those who were too traumatised by the yesterdays experiences to go caving again. A crack team of cavers was assembled and we drove to Faunarooska Cave. The cave is situated high above the sea with beautiful views of the Aran Islands and as far as Connamara, unfortunately it was too misty to see any of these properly but at least it was nice and warm. Faunarooska is an interesting cave, having a tight winding passage with cascades that emerges after half an hour into a big passage. There then follows some fun climbing and traversing high up in a passage roof. It also has impressive formations. The cave is 94m deep, unfortunately we could only get to about -55 as we didn’t have enough rope.

All our caving done for the weekend we packed up and headed home. Congratulations to all the guys and girls who went caving for the first time over the weekend – Rob Slater, Kevin, Eoin, Steve, “Fresher” Steve, Dearbhla, Dave Ramsey, Assima, and Narkes.

Dave