After weeks of stress and study, I put down my pen in my last exam and after a whirlwind journey across Dublin, packing, eating and celebrating simultaneously, I was in a car off to the caves of Fermanagh! We burst through the door of the scout’s hut less then 3 hours later where our fellow DCU cavers had already bought our food and claimed their beds.
We were barely in the door when we were invaded by the D.I.T. Caving Club and Queen’s Caving Club who for drinking safety reasons were all wearing lifejackets! After stealing said jackets we settled down for a night of drinking and banter. We were very fortunate as we caught a rare glimpse of the Fermammal. A rare sight that is only ever seen by cavers in the Fermanagh region!
The next day after sleeping the morning away we set off to the excellent cave of Pollaraftra. With very vague directions we travelled around Knockmore until we reached a dirt road that led us around the cliff face of Knockmore through some massive floodwater and after a short walk we arrived at Pollaraftra and the adventure started!
The cave was very impressive, after a short descent and a good clambering around, we arrived at the main chamber. We split up for the next part of the cave which was a fun few metre traverse and a slightly awkward crawl. As usual I needed a few tries before I could successfully navigate my way through! An easy downward climb led to the main stream way. It then turned into a good sporting trip with many clambers and climbs down waterfalls and boulders. There were huge caverns with many very impressive formations.
On our way out of the cave we came across a wellie on a sand bank just after the waterfall. We thought it strange as we didn’t see it on the way down and we put it in our bag and then started to climb up the waterfall. There was a large amount of water coming down the waterfall. After loosing a sling I had to be manually lifted up it. There goes my caving pride again! After reaching the top I realised that I had lost a wellie. Some of the more nimble climbers went down but sling and wellie were lost to the cave.
After walking out of the cave and back to the car with one wellie, we returned the wellie to its rightful owner, Eszter. We arrived back to the scout’s hut and cooked our DCU specialty spaghetti Bolognese! Straight after dinner a few lively people cleared the table and in typically caver fashion started to traverse it. A specially mention goes out to Barney from Queens who completed his first full table traverse and to our Shane who was the only one to traverse length ways.
Next was onto the squeezing. Barney was removed from his chair as people tried to make their way through the arms of the chair. Which is a lot harder then it sounds! Next we went window traversing with compulsory caving helmet. They keep us safe from more then just caves! Then we went on a lovely midnight stroll up to the Marble Arch Cave for a nice look around. This was a very fun trip and it was very good craic especially mingling with the other caves and lets just say there was a lot of mingling!