Cave softly ...

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Juan

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Oct 25, 2008, 3:23:51 PM10/25/08
to Matienzo Caves
Here's a page from an American volume called Cave Conservation and
Restoration. Read and discuss!

http://www.matienzo.org.uk/ethics.pdf

Footleg

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Oct 25, 2008, 4:46:23 PM10/25/08
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It does not cover the correct procedure for removing formations using
a lump hammer when there is open passage visible beyond!

Regarding the bit about checking gloves for mud, dirt and holes; rest
assured that my gloves pass on all three counts. It does not tell us
whether it is OK to bleed in the cave through the holes though, when
we touch that razor sharp Matienzo limestone.

Footleg

2008/10/25 Juan <juanc...@matienzo.org.uk>:

Phil & Hilary

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Oct 25, 2008, 5:00:06 PM10/25/08
to Matienzo Caves
It also does not explain the ethics of using drills and other heavy
engineering techniques to remove parts of the cave including any
formations that may be in the way.
I think in the spirit of international exchange of information, Juan
should send the link to the video of John D's stal removal technique
to the author, along with an instruction to take some Valium prior to
watching it!

Phil

On 25 Oct, 20:46, Footleg <drfoot...@googlemail.com> wrote:
> It does not cover the correct procedure for removing formations using
> a lump hammer when there is open passage visible beyond!
>
> Regarding the bit about checking gloves for mud, dirt and holes; rest
> assured that my gloves pass on all three counts. It does not tell us
> whether it is OK to bleed in the cave through the holes though, when
> we touch that razor sharp Matienzo limestone.
>
> Footleg
>
> 2008/10/25 Juan <juancor...@matienzo.org.uk>:

Pedro

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Oct 26, 2008, 12:29:59 PM10/26/08
to Matienzo Caves
I'm sure most of what the Americans say is completely over the top and
not practical for the way exploration is done in Matienzo. But there
are ideas that could be used to generally "raise the standards", so
that in the future things will be done better than they used to. In
the past I've certainly been guilty of dumping carbide in the caves,
and fortunately that isn't an issue any more. But this year, thanks to
the good men of Pringle Tours, we've been privileged to explore a
beautiful and absolutely pristine cave. Maybe we should think about
what state it's in after just one year of exploration and whether
anything could have been done differently.

Alasdair Neill

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Oct 27, 2008, 5:11:25 AM10/27/08
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It does seem unfortunate that we ended up probably removing half a tacklebag full of rubbish at the end of the summer from a cave which had been pristine only a few weeks before. This included sweet rappers, newspaper, wire etc.

 

Ali.


Tony Brocklebank

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Oct 27, 2008, 5:55:25 AM10/27/08
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Seems easy enough to me, don’t let the Yanks in caves?

 

No seriously, levitation, whilst smoking into a plastic bag and peeing into a nappy.  That’s all that’s needed.  Until we develop the first no point worrying about the rest. Oh, and make sure you drop the children off at the pool just before the trip, preferably not just outside the entrance.

 

On the concept of pristine caves. Caves are natural sewers (that’s “God’s waste disposal system” to any watching Americans) and every form of debris known to man and some that isn’t has washed through them from the surface over the years.  Most of it has disappeared.  Occasionally we’re bound to step in something smelly that hasn’t, especially in Matienzo.  Can’t be helped. (Mr Sherrington please take note and try not to leave any more Dingle deposits lying in entrance passages).

 

For example, there are lots of bear scratching in Matienzo, but I’ve never noticed any flakes of bear skin or discarded bear hair lying about, have any of you? No, because it’s disappeared.  The cave ate it.

 

Obviously it makes sense not to leave stuff lying around in fossil passages.  Unless of course you fancy setting a challenge to a thirty fourth century caver, trying to work out why the early dweller used multiple lengths of plastic pipe underground to live in when houses had been invented for years?

 

And Pete, shame on you, why didn’t you wash the carbide out in the streamways like the rest of us did, thus getting rid of any nasty waterborne parasites at the same time, and forsing the fish out to the surface where it’s easier to catch them?

 

I notice they didn’t mention the idea of not painting huge great arrows on the wall for the benefit of the confused, perhaps the ones that tried this technique haven’t found the way out yet and weren’t able to contribute?

 

 

Tony

Carmen Smith

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Oct 27, 2008, 6:31:02 AM10/27/08
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What would Pablo say....

Bloody ecologists!!!!

 

I guess one way to destroy microbes left by dirty filthy organics (cavers) would be to ensure the consumption of large amounts of alcohol the night before a trip, the alcohol released as fumes into the cave atmosphere may wipe out many of the germs....

 

Genuinely sorry to hear all about the rubbish though Ali, that is a concern that could easily be avoided....

digscaves

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Oct 27, 2008, 1:51:13 PM10/27/08
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Hmmm page 266.
Could be lifted from some EU council directive..

To show willing we have however installed a dustbin in EU blue (as per
the directive) in site 2988.
See underground photo A5.

Said bin is suspended in mid air which minimised the desired impact.

Just got to fill in these forms now so we can get it emptied and the
contents, and bin recycled.



On 27 Oct, 10:31, "Carmen Smith" <nucl...@omicbomb1.fsnet.co.uk>
wrote:

Footleg

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Oct 27, 2008, 2:04:10 PM10/27/08
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I hope you are not proposing to damage the extensive deposits of 20th
century broken glass and animal remains in the entrance area of said
cave!. These pristine deposits should be preserved exactly as we found
them when the cave was first discovered. I shall take care to remove
all pieces of glass ware from my knee pads after each trip and attempt
to replace the fragments in their original positions in the entrance
crawl.

Footleg

2008/10/27 digscaves <digs...@yahoo.co.uk>:

Juan

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Oct 27, 2008, 7:20:00 PM10/27/08
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Pete and I went into Cubio Reñada (site 48) today (27th Oct) to look
at the effect of more than 40 years of caving on the system. We tried
to "think American" but with mud up to knees and water up to waists in
the entrance passages this proved rather difficult. We went as far as
Sanatogen Passage and spent some time looking around the Blood Alley
area. We were fairly happy about the damage to the cave walls and
floors - most traffic seems to have kept to the same trails and damage
to formation appeared minimal - there was some mud (and candle wax!?)
on some of the red stal but this should be quite easily cleaned off.

What was very disappointing was the damage caused to Blood Alley. This
cleft is about 80m long and generally a 2m wide, mainly inactive
streamway in black limestone and "popcorn" - a passage in the floor
very close to the main trade route - which had a red / orange floor
with orange crystals in pools and red calcite flows on the walls. The
floor is now coated with mud and the pools are lined with the same
brown deposit.
The dismal scene is not anyone's "fault" - it just happens to be very
easy to miss the route out when coming from Azpilicueta and wander
down into Blood Alley. Any mud on boots and clothes forms a film on
the floor and gets washed further down and into the pools. The
evidence is shown here at http://www.matienzo.org.uk/ugpics/0048-2008a.htm
where a photo taken by Frank Addis in 1977 can be compared with what
we saw today.

The "good news" is that it may be possible to clean up the whole alley
with medium pressure water (from backpacks), pumps and sponges, and a
lot of cavers with changes of clothes and goodwill. After a cleanup,
the Alley could be taped off and cavers directed to the trade route
and a "viewing platform" a few metres aboved the cleft where the pools
and floor could be appreciated.

If a laissez faire attitude prevails in Cow Pot we're going to end up
with muddy / ruined formations before the cave is visited by Spanish
groups, including Hornedo locals. We should be taping these routes,
columns and other cave resources.
Juan

David Bell

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Oct 27, 2008, 8:33:37 PM10/27/08
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This sort of cave conservation ethic is certainly an important and wide ranging subject.  I've seen some of the finest cave passage ever in America; I've also witnessed some of the worse deliberate desecration of caves possible.  A lot of American caves have a "nerd trap" - a difficult feature (squeeze, climb, pitch, etc.) beyond which the cave is pristine; before it, it has suffered damage that could almost be described as criminal.

 

In Mendip garden water sprayers have been used, very successfully, to clean what once were (and are now again) pure white formations in GB and Charterhouse.  In Charterhouse epoxy glue has been used to successfully rebuild broken columns.

 

The caves administered by Charterhouse Caving Company have a conservation policy, part of which is a regular photo shoot; shots from defined points showing the same views – this enables a record of any changes to be seen over time – overkill for Matienzo, perhaps, but maybe worthwhile in some of the “tourist areas”.

 

Looking at the pictures from Blood Alley, sat here, the damage is much worse than I've ever "noticed" when I've been there.  Certainly "we" are able to come up with the resources to put some of this right - even if that were to involve small portable aqua-vacs, containers of clean water, and garden sprays.

 

In Cow Pot we ought to make some serious efforts to "repair" not just "John's" stal, but others too.  I know that I'm not completely free of blame, so I'll be the first to offer to help.

 

Perhaps we could all offer “1 day” of next years Matienzo caving towards conservation ?

 

 

 

 

 

Dave.

 

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Matien...@googlegroups.com [mailto:Matien...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Juan
Sent:
27 October 2008 23:20
To:
Matienzo Caves
Subject: Re: Cave softly ...

 

 

Pete and I went into Cubio Reñada (site 48) today (27th Oct) to look

Pedro

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Oct 28, 2008, 4:40:07 AM10/28/08
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It looks like there would be work for "1 day conservation volunteers".
And I'm not sure regular photo shoots would be an overkill, not in the
days of digital photography. Incidentally, about the big red stal in
Juan's photo A2, has anyone got a photo of it taken from that side
(the muddiest side now)? So far I've located 4 or 5 pics, but all from
the other side.
Pete

Tony Brocklebank

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Oct 28, 2008, 6:10:10 AM10/28/08
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Hi Juan,

I'd be happy enough to help out for a day or two but I must admit I
intensely dislike littering caves with tape, I prefer the look of damaged
formations to red and white plastic everywhere. (and it doesn't work very
well anyway as it gets damaged too easily)

Could we not adopt a policy of building low walls round better formations,
when possible, which at least fit in with the surroundings and provide semi
permanent protection and create "natural" viewing spots?

Tony

-----Original Message-----
From: Matien...@googlegroups.com [mailto:Matien...@googlegroups.com]
On Behalf Of Juan
Sent: 27 October 2008 23:20
To: Matienzo Caves
Subject: Re: Cave softly ...



Footleg

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Oct 28, 2008, 6:14:11 AM10/28/08
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I'm with Tony on this one. One of the things I enjoy about caving in
Matienzo is the fact that the caves are completely natural, without
plastic tape spoiling the look of every pretty corner link most caves
in the UK now. It is a real privilege to visit caves in such an
unspoiled state, and I agree we should take steps to protect areas
from increased traffic when we discover them. But please can we find a
way to do it that is sympathetic to the places we are trying to
preserve?

Footleg

2008/10/28 Tony Brocklebank <to...@laptopbits.co.uk>:

Tony Brocklebank

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Oct 28, 2008, 6:23:54 AM10/28/08
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Hi Chris,

The blue bin looks lovely but I'm not familiar with the directive.

Could you confirm whether this is suitable for all waste, or is it intended
simply for recycled material, and if so how do you suggest we separate
bottles, cans and cardboard? Will you be making separate provision for non
recyclable waste?

I understand that under WEEE directives which are finally in force batteries
and electrical items must also be disposed of separately and correctly, will
you be arranging this or do we make our own provision?

To avoid confusion will it be emptied weekly or fortnightly?

Good news from the Environment Agency on waste disposal, the following is
lifted word for word from their web site:

"Householders are not banned from disposing of WEEE in their bin"

So need for separate toilet facilities!


Tony

Footleg

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Oct 28, 2008, 6:44:40 AM10/28/08
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Excellent! With several householders in Matienzo, we can simply give
them our WEEE for disposal.

Footleg

2008/10/28 Tony Brocklebank <to...@laptopbits.co.uk>:
>

digscaves

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Oct 28, 2008, 9:25:45 AM10/28/08
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Hi Tony,

I believe the next collection of this bin is due at Easter.

On our surface explorations its staggering how much material is being
dumped into caves or shakeholes around Matienzo.
Old tyres seem to be one of the more popular items, but there's far
worse.

Last time we were out we came across and avoided, fortunately, medical
waste!
The jungle is sharp enough without having to contend with this.

Regarding underground, the original explorers might be best placed to
work out routes.
Best to keep the numbers down in new stuff ? maybe? until some/any
conservation measures are in place.
Would help avoid trashing passages that can be bypassed if suitably
marked.
Bound to be controversial though...

Chris
> > Ali.- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

Juan

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Oct 28, 2008, 12:36:27 PM10/28/08
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I think plastic tape (in small amounts and in a few selected places on
trade routes) has definite advantages:

1: Easy to lay out.
2: Easy to remove for photos and reinstate afterwards.
3: Easy to remove if some better method is suggested!

Walls (in Reñada at least) would look just as "out of place" as tape,
i.e. some would have to be built on calcite and would easily be kicked
or knocked over,. possibly onto the very resource we're trying to
protect

There is no suggestion from anyone (I hope) that "every pretty corner"
will be taped off, just the suggestion that "at risk" formations
should be protected.
Juan

Footleg

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Oct 28, 2008, 1:36:18 PM10/28/08
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Some tape to keep people from wandering off the beaten track (e.g. as
is across the start of Photographers Passage in Cow Pot) is a sensible
approach. I would not like to see two lines of tape down the middle of
every passage with a nice mud or crystal floor, or around the base of
every stal in the passage. I hope that we can be responsible enough
cavers in Matienzo to know that you don't touch stals or walk across
flowstone floors unless it is unavoidable, and then stick to the path
of least damage or follow existing footprints.

The difficulties come when people want to just go and see the
pretties. Caves like Los Hoyos spring to mind, which became a popular
'Sunday afternoon trip' as word spread around the expedition group of
the pretties and interesting Bones down there. I was one of those who
went to see because it looked cool from other peoples photos. A cave
like that inevitably suffers when it gets high traffic no matter how
careful people are. But you can't start controlling access to places
without losing the superb all inclusiveness which is one of the things
that makes Matienzo caving expeditions so great to be a part of.

L Mills

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Oct 28, 2008, 1:52:57 PM10/28/08
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Juan, Attached are a number of photos in  Renada, I took some but some will be copies of Franks. May be interesting to compare with what you found yesterday.
 
I feel it would need a bit more than a low pressure spray on Blood Alley but feel the technology is available!   Cheers,   Lank





> Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2008 16:20:00 -0700

> Subject: Re: Cave softly ...
1-30-2008_001.JPG
1-30-2008_002.JPG
1-30-2008_003.JPG
1-30-2008_005.JPG
1-30-2008_008.JPG
1-30-2008_009.JPG
1-30-2008_012.JPG

Juan

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Oct 29, 2008, 6:02:18 AM10/29/08
to Matienzo Caves

The only mud I can see on any of these slides is on Tony Waltham's
suit and boots and his particularly disgusting left hand! There also
possibly lumps of gunge dropping off him onto the floor!
It's a pity that scanning old slides can't bring out the richness of
the original cave colours, eg 1-30-2008_008 where the crystals are
more orange; but Lank's slides again give food for thought.

Juan

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Oct 29, 2008, 6:32:03 AM10/29/08
to Matienzo Caves
Underground resources in Spain belong to the State and we get our
permission to explore underground ultimately from the Cantabrian
government. (This was explained to me by Pete a couple of days ago!).
The land we wander over to dig or get to cave entrances is generally
privately owned (often by farmers).
It will be defined somewhere where the interface actually is :
farmer / state ownership. This brings up interesting issues, eg How
far do you have to dig before we are under state permission rather
than farmers' permission? Also farmers may be perfectly entitled to
dump old tyres into shakeholes, and may provide a facility for the
farms for miles around, but if a tyre falls down a shaft then this
could legally be a no-no. Of course, if they are set fire to, the
poisoness chemicals produced will drain down into the groundwater and
eventually drinking water. (This happened when tyres overs the mine
workings at Whitworth, Lancs were set fire to and the liquid residues
produced drained into a nearby reservoir).
There are a lot of tyres in depressions over the Cobadal / Wild Mare /
Aguanaz areas. (See http://www.matienzo.org/descrip/2782.htm).
The solution to all the "medical waste" and tyres noted by Chris is
education, cleaning out the current mess and providing the means to
dispose of future rubbish. But this may have to be "enforced" under
EU rules as suggested by Ian in the Conservation thread.
Juan

Tony Brocklebank

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Oct 29, 2008, 7:12:51 AM10/29/08
to Matien...@googlegroups.com
Hi Juan,

I take your point about not wanting people kicking over walls to damage
formations, but I still think a wall would be far better protecting say a
stal boss such as the one in your photo than tape. I think they look far
better than tape at least?

I suspect if we rely on the EU to solve the problem most of us will be long
gone before they do.

One thing we haven't mentioned is signs, if I read a fairly discreet sign on
the way into a cave (in Spanish and English) asking me to take care,
explaining the cave was looked after by us, asking me to report any
problems, bring out litter etc I would take note, OK not everyone will but
it could help.


Would we not be better agreeing a series of practical measures?

Why don't we set up a Matienzo Adopt a Cave Scheme, and encourage individual
cavers or small groups who regularly visit Matienzo to adopt a cave each?

This could involve a few simple enough measures:

1. Visit the entrance occasionally armed with a bin bag or three and where
possible tidy up the entrance
2. Same underground, collecting any rubbish and bringing it out
3. Where needed arrange a few volunteers to clean up formations
4. Take some measures to try and protect better formations, taping, walling,
signs or whatever
5. Where possible open up dialogue with farmers to try and stop them
dumping, perhaps try and bribe them with a few photos from caves on their
land, copies of surveys etc, even a quick trip, try and instil a sense of
pride etc etc

The aim of this would simply be to provide a bit of focus and encourage a
little more conservation than we are currently involved in. It might be
handy to keep a list of who looks after what cave on the wall in the bar and
on the web site for example.

I suspect on an ongoing basis it'll work a lot better if it is formalised a
little, otherwise we'll all rush out there at Easter, help out on a couple
of clean up trips and then it'll probably all be forgotten for another five
years.

Tony

-----Original Message-----
From: Matien...@googlegroups.com [mailto:Matien...@googlegroups.com]
On Behalf Of Juan
Sent: 29 October 2008 10:32
To: Matienzo Caves
Subject: Re: Cave softly ...

Terry Whitaker

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Oct 29, 2008, 8:24:48 AM10/29/08
to Matien...@googlegroups.com, Matienzo Caves
Dear All,
The dire situation of Blood Alley was noted by me a couple of years ago (it was pristine the year before) and I think that it was caused by a single party (not of the Expedition) doing the through trip from Coteron and not knowing the route. You have to deliberately climb down into the gully and cross the crystal pools. It's really our fault, being remiss in not taping off the access to the gully and  providing  a large marker for the way out (There are plenty of those in the system already).
We really should identify places of high scenic value or extreme fragility at an early stage in exploration, even though this may distract from exploration fever. I was dismayed that in Vacca,  in a lot of the mud floored passages, all the floor of a wide passage had been trampled. I may be in a minority but I do think that tape markers can help in keeping people to the side of passages where a minimum of traffic damage can occur and preserve remaining areas of pristine, if boring, sediment formations. I don't need to elaborate on my opinion of people leaving rubbish, human waste and carbide in caves.
Actually mitigating, or hiding, damage in well known caves is more difficult and will probably involve a variety of methods, many already suggested,  but all depends on an ethos of conservation and consideration being widely adopted by the expedition.
Let's grow up! act responsibly, and not let the Matienzo caves go the way that Easter Grotto, the Painters Palette or the stal columns in Mongo Gill have been destroyed in the Dales.
Regards
Terry


At 16:20 27/10/2008 -0700, Juan wrote:

Pete and I went into Cubio Reñada (site 48) today (27th Oct) to look
at the effect of more than 40 years of caving on the system. We tried
to "think American" but with mud up to knees and water up to waists in
the entrance passages this proved rather difficult. We went as far as
Sanatogen Passage and spent some time looking around the Blood Alley
area. We were fairly happy about the damage to the cave walls and
floors - most traffic seems to have kept to the same trails and damage
to formation appeared minimal - there was some mud (and candle wax!?)
on some of the red stal but this should be quite easily cleaned off.

What was very disappointing was the damage caused to Blood Alley. This
cleft is about 80m long and generally a 2m wide, mainly inactive
streamway in black limestone and "popcorn" - a passage in the floor
very close to the main trade route - which had a red / orange floor
with orange crystals in pools and red calcite flows on the walls. The
floor is now coated with mud and the pools are lined with the same
brown deposit.
The dismal scene is not anyone's "fault" - it just happens to be very
easy to miss the route out when coming from Azpilicueta and wander
down into Blood Alley. Any mud on boots and clothes forms a film on
the floor and gets washed further down and into the pools. The
evidence is shown here at http://www.matienzo.org.uk/ugpics/0048-2008a.htm
where a photo taken by Frank Addis in 1977 can be compared with what
we saw today.



+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
Dr Terence M. Whitaker,
4, Crowtrees,
Low Bentham,
Via LANCASTER
LA2 7EE
UK
Tel +44 (0) 15242 62269
Mob O2 +44 07895025359
Mob Orange +44 07891856724
Skype contact name "terry-whitaker"
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Quin, Andrew

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Oct 31, 2008, 5:34:34 AM10/31/08
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Morning all,

                        Does anyone want to do a talk on Matienzo to the Manchester Geological Association on Saturday November 8th? I am away that day and can’t do it. This is part of a themed meeting that they are holding ‘’Karst Landscapes and Processes’’. I have spoken to the organizer and they are more than happy for the presentation to be an illustrated talk about the caves and exploration rather than a more scientifically based lecture. I have copied the email from them below.

 

cheers

 

Andy

 

‘Doing my bit for cave conservation these days’

 

 

 

Andy Quin

Departmental Superintendent

Geography Division

Lancaster Environment Centre

Lancaster University

Lancaster

LA1 4YQ

 

01524 510267

a.q...@lancaster.ac.uk

 

 

Dear Mr. Quin,

 

I am the Indoor Meetings Secretary of the Manchester Geological Association, which is the local geological society for the Manchester area.

 

We are having a meeting on the afternoon of Saturday November 8th, between 1.00pm and 5.00pm, entitled "Karst Landscapes and Processes", with talks on caves and karst.

 

I noticed on the web your notes on the Matienzo caves, and wondered if you could do a talk about that. I am sure that almost anything you could say on the caves or karst of the area would be of interest.

 

Perhaps you could let me know if you are available or not. If you are, could you let me know the title of your talk and provide me with an abstract. If not, perhaps you would know the name of someone who might.

 

I look forward to hearing from you. My address details and some general notes on our meetings are below.

 

Jim Spencer

 

 

Lecture Theatre

----------------------

 

The Manchester Geological Association holds its meetings in the University of Manchester. This meeting will be in the Samuel Alexander Building (the Arts Building). I can post or e-mail you a copy of the Campus Guide for Manchester University, which contains a map and directions, should you require one.

 

The theatre will seat a maximum of ca. 120 people, and is equipped with :-

 

* Powerpoint projector with a PC - presentations can be down-loaded from CD or memory-stick, or you can connect up your own lap-top.

* Laser pointer

* Blackboards and pointer

 

It would help if you let me know your requirements beforehand.

 

The lecture slots can be a maximum of an hour long, so allowing for a fifty-five minute talk with five minutes for questions would be about right, if you would like to take questions.You can do less if you want.

 

Audience

-------------

 

The audience usually consists of both MGA members and non-members. The members are largely amateur geologists with a few professional geologists. Many of the amateur members have studied some geology, and in some cases have degrees or higher degrees in the subject.

 

Non-members are also welcome to attend MGA meetings, and consist of interested members of the public or other neighbouring geological societies.

 

The skill level of the audience therefore varies between relative beginner to fairly knowlegeable, presenting something of a problem for speakers. A level of presentation assuming first- to second-year undergraduate knowledge would be about right.

 

It is unlikely anyone in the audience will know as much about your subject as you do.

 

Publicity

------------

 

Lectures are publicised in the regular MGA newsletters, and also on the MGA web site (www.mangeolassoc.org.uk).

It would be helpful to have a few paragraphs on your talk to include in the newsletter. An example of the notes we produce for a meeting is attached

 

Of course, you are welcome to write a summary of greater length if you have the time.

 

Expenses

--------------

 

The MGA will re-imburse you for out-of-pocket expenses. The Treasurer will make himself known to you during the event and settle up with you. From the auditors' point of view it would help the Treasurer if you have receipts.

 

The MGA would be happy to get you a meal before or after the lecture if that helps with your timetable.

 

Jim

 

Jim Spencer

APMS Service Delivery Manager 
Security Solutions & Services Division

Thales
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toby chilton

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Oct 31, 2008, 7:19:43 AM10/31/08
to Matien...@googlegroups.com
When I first came to Matienzo, 1986?, I was asked to keep away from Blood Alley as it was being destroyed by mud deposits.  I was told that the blood red stal in the pools was gone and that it was no longer worth a visit.  I kept away.  In the early 90's Jane and Ray Duff had a photo trip in there.  They carefully cleaned off before entering but said that they had wasted the effort as it was trashed, with mud over everything.  It was in such poor condition that Ray only took 1 photo which, although technically good, is an 'owt or nowt' caving shot. 
We can't blame others for this state of affairs.  I know of several parties who have, despite being asked not to, had trips into Blood Alley who have not cleaned themselves or taken clean suits, boots etc.  If it was in a 'pristine' condition 3 years ago we have nothing at all to worry about and do not need to avoid the area as it is obviously periodically cleaned by being flushed out (or by the nice cave fairies?).
Can Terry describe what he means by 'pristine' and had he seen it before many people had been in?  Of particular interest is whether the red stal in the pools was visible as, at least since 1986, this has always been reported as covered in silt which was thought to be impossible to remove.
 
I agree in conserving caves BUT I do believe we have to be careful of taking unilateral action without contact with Spanish Speleo. Orgs..  If I found a load of signs put in Yorkshire caves by cavers from another area, let alone from abroad, I would be somewhat angry and only likely to obey them if they told me to do what I had intended doing anyway!  We've all had a bit of a laugh at the American advice,  why should the Spanish have a different reaction to us telling them what to do in their own caves?
 
Don't like the idea of building protective walls around stals, tape is horrible but can be moved easily.  Taping off passages is as good as putting up a sign saying 'pretties this way'.  More care in the write up of new finds will help.  Ensure the best route through is well described and DONT put that the best formations in the world are 50m along that side passage!  Leaving passages off the description would only lead to their 're-discovery' by other cavers.  In older caves we can only tape, educate and hope!  As to litter in the new finds,  I suggest that the people who left it realise that we have no divine right to this area,  some Spanish cavers are totaly against permits being given to non spanish groups (a view I admit to finding hard to argue against, apart from that I'm a god and therefore have more rights than others) and I'm sure there are groups waiting in the wings who would love to stir things up a bit and see if they could 'win' this area back.  If the roles were reversed wouldn't you?
 
Lastly, thank God I hear you say, we don't appear to be leaving our home caves in such a mess.  Why are we doing it abroad?  PLEASE don't behave in a way that wouldn't be acceptable over here just because you are abroad.  Not underground and NOT ON THE SURFACE EITHER!!!!!!!!
Stay drunk,  Toby.
 
Toby. 
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2008 12:24 PM
Subject: Re: Cave softly ...

Tony Brocklebank

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Oct 31, 2008, 8:26:02 AM10/31/08
to Matien...@googlegroups.com

Toby refers to two points which I’ve raised, which I’d like to clarify.

 

Firstly on signs, I don’t suggest we be telling anyone what to do on these, or that there should be loads of them, simply a small notice near the entrance of a few more popular caves in Spanish and English saying that the cave is “adopted” by the expedition giving contact details and asking people to let us know if they notice any damage or rubbish, and hinting they may like to not leave any extra crap in there.  So far as us telling the Spanish what to do, by all means see if the authorities agree with this approach before going ahead but in a sense it is “our” area, we have a permit to explore and perhaps this gives us a moral duty to protect a little – if not why are we having this discussion?  It probably comes down to how it’s worded – make it clear the aim is conservation not “ownership”. Better still invite the local Spanish cavers to help out and do it as a joint venture?  Someone in Northern Spain is pretty proud of the caves there, as evidenced by the signs everywhere at the side of the road.

 

On walls this is something that have been used at Alderley for example, as an alternative to tape.  I’m not suggesting a three foot high dry stone wall, just a simple line or ring of small rocks around better formations, or at either side of a path in a delicate area. These have the effect of making people think twice before they step over them, don’t fall down and look better than tape.  Unlike tape they are semi permanent, but can be easily replaced if people do move them.  I know tape can be easily replaced but only if it’s still there or you have more with you.  In other words they do the same job as tape without littering the place!  I still believe tape should be a last resort.

 

Plus me and Footleg can’t tell you how much we hate the stuff!  Any time you want to make a cave look like a building site or crime scene just pop a roll of tape in your tackle bag.

 

Realising Toby is a god I’m reluctant to argue with him, but what the hell, I’m pretty much an atheist anyway J

 

Anyway, Juan told us to discuss, but you must have had enough from me for while, so I’ll shut up.

 

Tony

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + <BR

Juan

unread,
Oct 31, 2008, 9:31:57 AM10/31/08
to Matienzo Caves
In the particular case of Blood Alley, it is feasible that some the
lower crystal pools may be washed out in heavy flood. There may be
enough water to create some flow and turbulence further downstream.
Hoiwever, I think Terry must be mistaken - I haven't seen a "pristine"
Blood Alley since the seventies.
Juan

On 31 Oct, 11:19, "toby chilton" <m...@tobychilton.freeserve.co.uk>
wrote:
> evidence is shown here athttp://www.matienzo.org.uk/ugpics/0048-2008a.htm

Terry Whitaker

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Oct 31, 2008, 10:23:18 AM10/31/08
to Matien...@googlegroups.com


Hi all:
Tony has some good suggestions which we need to consider and I am sorry that he finds tapes visually disturbing but as a scientist I am totally against moving stones to act as markers. As a conservation action its a non starter; producing the least permanent disturbance is what is needed. Cave sediments (including larger stones) are important in interpreting  cave history. The underneath of larger stones are often the habitats of rare creepy crawlies. We don't have many of these in the UK but in Cantabria they are quite common and often restricted to a single habitat in a single cave.
Cheers
Terry

At 12:26 31/10/2008 +0000, Tony wrote


Toby refers to two points which I’ve raised, which I’d like to clarify.
 
Firstly on signs, I don’t suggest we be telling anyone what to do on these, or that there should be loads of them, simply a small notice near the entrance of a few more popular caves in Spanish and English saying that the cave is “adopted” by the expedition giving contact details and asking people to let us know if they notice any damage or rubbish, and hinting they may like to not leave any extra crap in there.  So far as us telling the Spanish what to do, by all means see if the authorities agree with this approach before going ahead but in a sense it is “our” area, we have a permit to explore and perhaps this gives us a moral duty to protect a little – if not why are we having this discussion?  It probably comes down to how it’s worded – make it clear the aim is conservation not “ownership”. Better still invite the local Spanish cavers to help out and do it as a joint venture?  Someone in Northern Spain is pretty proud of the caves there, as evidenced by the signs everywhere at the side of the road.
 
On walls this is something that have been used at Alderley for example, as an alternative to tape.  I’m not suggesting a three foot high dry stone wall, just a simple line or ring of small rocks around better formations, or at either side of a path in a delicate area. These have the effect of making people think twice before they step over them, don’t fall down and look better than tape.  Unlike tape they are semi permanent, but can be easily replaced if people do move them.  I know tape can be easily replaced but only if it’s still there or you have more with you.  In other words they do the same job as tape without littering the place!  I still believe tape should be a last resort.
 
Plus me and Footleg can’t tell you how much we hate the stuff!  Any time you want to make a cave look like a building site or crime scene just pop a roll of tape in your tackle bag.

etc.

Tony Brocklebank

unread,
Oct 31, 2008, 11:23:17 AM10/31/08
to Matien...@googlegroups.com

Hi Terry,

 

I know I said I’d shut up but sometimes the temptation is too great J

 

From my earlier email: “just a simple line or ring of small rocks around better formations”

 

i.e. small stones, not some poor spiders home, the sort of thing that moves anyway when you tread on it.

 

Anyway, back to conservation.  Every marine biologist in the world has been harping on about the effect of plastic bags in the oceans for the last few years, surely tape is the underground equivalent.  The little creepy crawlies eat the tape, bigger creepy crawlies eat the little ones and so on.  Before you know it you’ll have altered the entire ecosystem you are trying to protect!  Excellent, an even better reason to hate tape!

 

Still think small rocks, say up to brick sized, are better.  Nothing new is introduced into the cave environment, just a bit of re-arrangement.

 

Tony

 

From: Matien...@googlegroups.com [mailto:Matien...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Terry Whitaker
Sent: 31 October 2008 14:23
To: Matien...@googlegroups.com
Subject: RE: Cave softly ...

 

Steve Openshaw

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Oct 31, 2008, 11:39:42 AM10/31/08
to Matien...@googlegroups.com

As a former cave scientist I would thoroughly recommend employing PhD students (or cheaper undergraduates) to remove all formations from caves thus potentially preserving them for future generations. To comply with EC regulations the misshapen ones can be turned into useful palaeoclimatic records by dissolving them in acid after bombarding them with intense magnetic fields. In place of each formation a photograph (laminated for longevity) can be left so that visitors can appreciate them without damage. In fact using this technique it’s also possible to increase or decrease the “pretty value” in any particular passage thus diverting the masses as required. I believe we tried a similar tactic with the Elgin Marbles and that seems to have worked very well.

 

<activate spam filter>

 

On a more serious note. Massive intake of breath. Terry is correct… any movement of stones, boulders or sand in any cave is doing precisely the same sort of damage and is often done on some sort of conservation grounds which it clearly isn’t. It’s totally incorrect to discriminate between pretties and the rest of the cave and if this is done then there remains a lack of understanding about the whole process. Tut Tut Tut.

 

As Juan notes and as I have seen myself, the moment a cave is found it does tend to get worn on the through routes, be it broken stals, mud on the walls, a track through sand, carbide marks and Lanks infamous albino tomato plant. I admit to all of these! The vast majority of cavers do care but it’s the sheer volume that causes the problems. I have also never seen tape that lasts more than a few months.

 

The ultimate solution? Gate every entrance…not really very practical!

Cleaning parties? Can’t see that being very effective or frequent?

Signs. well ok it would be seen as doing something politically correct but again I can’t see them reducing the traffic.

Permits / more permits…. Pirates / more pirates.

 

Perhaps being pragmatic is the best option. Whilst Blood Alley is/was fantastic I personally know of far better areas in distant parts of many caves in Matienzo, some of which only perhaps myself and one other have been to. Like Toby I’m sure we all know of such places and because they are remote or difficult to get to they will always remain untouched. I can live with this.

 

BTW Congrats on the promotion Toby. Jane never mentioned the “God” thing last time I saw her! Nic and I were talking about moving house the other day…would you be able to lift it over to Calgary for me?

 

Steve

 

 

____________________________________

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Principal Consultant

Bentham Geoconsulting Ltd.

 

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Wennington,

Lancashire,

LA2 8NP.

U.K.

 

Tel: +44 (0)1524 222122

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From: Matien...@googlegroups.com [mailto:Matien...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Terry Whitaker


Sent: 31 October 2008 14:23

To: Matien...@googlegroups.com
Subject: RE: Cave softly ...

toby chilton

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Oct 31, 2008, 3:20:40 PM10/31/08
to Matien...@googlegroups.com
Hi Steve and Nic, about moving your house...um.  I dont like to show off (no, I don't think I can get away with that one) well I'm only a very little god (not even a capital g) and I'm a bit new to the job, and I've been poorly.  Oh yeh, my glass back!!!!  Sorry mate, up to you to move your own house.  (Nothing to do with the lack of prayers and worship at all at all).  PS Yes, Terry makes a very good point on habitats etc.

Pedro

unread,
Oct 31, 2008, 4:28:20 PM10/31/08
to Matienzo Caves
As Footleg has suggested in his posts, every cave is different and
what is needed in one cave may be wrong in another. Surely, under the
"Brocklebank Plan", it's upto the people adopting each cave to decide
the best way of conserving it, always based on sound scientific advice
from former cave scientists. By the way, I'll offer to adopt Risco, as
I'm visiting it a lot lately for the re-survey. Although cleaning up
the entrance won't be easy...
And god, I agree that the Spanish won't mind about signs, these
groups you mention are more likely to "stir things up" if they saw
the caves being damaged. Signs are only needed to explain why a
passage is taped off, and that should only happen in special cases -
like Blood Alley. In any case the caves aren't too bad, apart from
Blood Alley and a small number of stal, Reñada was still looking
pretty good 35 years on. I hope your glass back will let you come back
and see it again for yourself.
Pete

toby chilton

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Nov 1, 2008, 8:42:46 AM11/1/08
to Matien...@googlegroups.com
Hi Pedro, I'm hoping to get out and see you all next summer. Jane is
coming over for a couple of weeks at Easter. Sounds like there has been
some really good stuff going on in the past few years and I'd love to see
some of it but the prognosis for the back isn't too good. Being unable to
tolerate booze is also a bit of a draw back when considering a visit to the
happy valley!
I'm slightly worried that having a formal arrangement to clean up caves
could become a too heavy commitment for the expedition. On the whole I've
been very impressed with the attitude of both British and Spanish cavers to
the cave environment and agree that clean ups are only needed in very
special cases but if people know that a group is dedicated to removing
litter etc isn't there the chance that they may be less bothered about
leaving it? This is an attitude that I have heard stated with referance to
National Park Wardens in both the lakes and the dales.
It's good to see different people expressing varied ideas about the problem.
How about a contribution from some of the younger cavers who I've heard have
made such valuable contributions to the expedition? After all, they inherit
the damage that us crinklies have left in the past, the caves are their
future not ours.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Pedro" <smith_p...@yahoo.es>
To: "Matienzo Caves" <Matien...@googlegroups.com>
Sent: Friday, October 31, 2008 8:28 PM
Subject: Re: Cave softly ...




daniel hibberts

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Nov 2, 2008, 7:32:08 AM11/2/08
to Matien...@googlegroups.com
Hi all,
I have heard that there is a new ferry crossing going from Portsmouth to Santandare, which is the same price as the Plymouth crossing and a similar amount of time on the boat, it starts the beginning of next year.
 
Dan


From: Carmen Smith <nuc...@omicbomb1.fsnet.co.uk>
To: Matien...@googlegroups.com
Sent: Monday, 27 October, 2008 10:31:02

Subject: RE: Cave softly ...

What would Pablo say....

Bloody ecologists!!!!

 

I guess one way to destroy microbes left by dirty filthy organics (cavers) would be to ensure the consumption of large amounts of alcohol the night before a trip, the alcohol released as fumes into the cave atmosphere may wipe out many of the germs....

 

Genuinely sorry to hear all about the rubbish though Ali, that is a concern that could easily be avoided....

From: Matien...@googlegroups.com [mailto:Matien...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Tony Brocklebank


Sent: 27 October 2008 09:55

To: Matien...@googlegroups.com
Subject: RE: Cave softly ...

 

Seems easy enough to me, don’t let the Yanks in caves?

 

No seriously, levitation, whilst smoking into a plastic bag and peeing into a nappy.  That’s all that’s needed.  Until we develop the first no point worrying about the rest. Oh, and make sure you drop the children off at the pool just before the trip, preferably not just outside the entrance.

 

On the concept of pristine caves. Caves are natural sewers (that’s “God’s waste disposal system” to any watching Americans) and every form of debris known to man and some that isn’t has washed through them from the surface over the years.  Most of it has disappeared.  Occasionally we’re bound to step in something smelly that hasn’t, especially in Matienzo.  Can’t be helped. (Mr Sherrington please take note and try not to leave any more Dingle deposits lying in entrance passages).

 

For example, there are lots of bear scratching in Matienzo, but I’ve never noticed any flakes of bear skin or discarded bear hair lying about, have any of you? No, because it’s disappeared.  The cave ate it.

 

Obviously it makes sense not to leave stuff lying around in fossil passages.  Unless of course you fancy setting a challenge to a thirty fourth century caver, trying to work out why the early dweller used multiple lengths of plastic pipe underground to live in when houses had been invented for years?

 

And Pete, shame on you, why didn’t you wash the carbide out in the streamways like the rest of us did, thus getting rid of any nasty waterborne parasites at the same time, and forsing the fish out to the surface where it’s easier to catch them?

 

I notice they didn’t mention the idea of not painting huge great arrows on the wall for the benefit of the confused, perhaps the ones that tried this technique haven’t found the way out yet and weren’t able to contribute?

 

 

Tony

 

From: Matien...@googlegroups.com [mailto:Matien...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Alasdair Neill


Sent: 27 October 2008 09:11
To: Matien...@googlegroups.com

Subject: Re: Cave softly ...

Carmen Smith

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Nov 2, 2008, 2:54:08 PM11/2/08
to Matien...@googlegroups.com

Hi Dan, if you do use that ferry please give me a shout, we need to get the mole phone stuff across for easter. At the mo it is very likely I will fly out (no room for mole phones) so am on a mission to find any one that may pass by Mendip (or there abouts) that can whip it over there.

 

Thanks

Carm

daniel hibberts

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Nov 3, 2008, 6:58:53 AM11/3/08
to Matien...@googlegroups.com
Hi Carm,
yeah no problem, Johnny and I will both be driving to the ferry just waiting for people to book so that we i have an idea when most people will be there.

Dan

Sent: Sunday, 2 November, 2008 19:54:08
Subject: RE: New ferry crossing!

Quin, Andrew

unread,
Nov 3, 2008, 8:14:00 AM11/3/08
to Matien...@googlegroups.com

Afternoon All.

 

Unless there is a completely new company operating that I am not aware of there isn’t actually a new crossing! Brittany Ferries are simply changing one of their twice weekly routes from Plymouth to Santander to Portsmouth to Santander. So from 18th March next year the midweek sailing to Santander will leave from Portsmouth whilst the Sunday departure to Santander will go from Plymouth. Just to make things interesting the return journeys are depart Santander on a Monday going to Portsmouth depart Santander on Thursday going to Plymouth. However at times through the year Wednesday sailings become Tuesdays and Thursday sailings become Wednesday and on top of that departure times can vary! What can possibly go wrong? I can see ups and downs with the new schedules and the up side there should be more space on the ferry as lots of people will get the day/time/ferry port mixed up and on the downside the ships captain probably has a good chance of getting it wrong and even if you manage to get the boat you could end up in France!

 

Cheers

 

Andy

 

Andy Quin

Departmental Superintendent

Geography Division

Lancaster Environment Centre

Lancaster University

Lancaster

LA1 4YQ

 

01524 510267

a.q...@lancaster.ac.uk

 

Footleg

unread,
Nov 3, 2008, 8:22:32 AM11/3/08
to Matien...@googlegroups.com
And that does not mention the added potential for chaos caused by the
additional drinking time on board now that sailings have to cover the
extra miles along the channel when sailing to/from Portsmouth!


2008/11/3 Quin, Andrew <a.q...@lancaster.ac.uk>:

Tony Brocklebank

unread,
Nov 3, 2008, 10:40:10 AM11/3/08
to Matien...@googlegroups.com
Could be fun if you decide to park up in Portsmouth and go out for ten days
as a foot passenger.

Tony

-----Original Message-----
From: Matien...@googlegroups.com [mailto:Matien...@googlegroups.com]
On Behalf Of Footleg
Sent: 03 November 2008 13:23
To: Matien...@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: New ferry crossing!

Les Williams

unread,
Nov 3, 2008, 12:38:00 PM11/3/08
to Matien...@googlegroups.com
Hi Carm
We will probably be going out in the Land Rover and will be able to take
the mole phone with us if needed
Les

daniel hibberts wrote:
> Hi Carm,
> yeah no problem, Johnny and I will both be driving to the ferry just
> waiting for people to book so that we i have an idea when most people
> will be there.
>
> Dan
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* Carmen Smith <nuc...@omicbomb1.fsnet.co.uk>
> *To:* Matien...@googlegroups.com
> *Sent:* Sunday, 2 November, 2008 19:54:08
> *Subject:* RE: New ferry crossing!
>
> Hi Dan, if you do use that ferry please give me a shout, we need to
> get the mole phone stuff across for easter. At the mo it is very
> likely I will fly out (no room for mole phones) so am on a mission to
> find any one that may pass by Mendip (or there abouts) that can whip
> it over there.
>
>
>
> Thanks
>
> Carm
>
>
>
> *From:* Matien...@googlegroups.com
> [mailto:Matien...@googlegroups.com] *On Behalf Of *daniel hibberts
> *Sent:* 02 November 2008 12:32
> *To:* Matien...@googlegroups.com
> *Subject:* New ferry crossing!
>
>
>
> Hi all,
>
> I have heard that there is a new ferry crossing going from Portsmouth
> to Santandare, which is the same price as the Plymouth crossing and a
> similar amount of time on the boat, it starts the beginning of next year.
>
>
>
> Dan
>
>
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> *From:* Carmen Smith <nuc...@omicbomb1.fsnet.co.uk>
> *To:* Matien...@googlegroups.com
> *Sent:* Monday, 27 October, 2008 10:31:02
> *Subject:* RE: Cave softly ...
>
> What would Pablo say....
>
> Bloody ecologists!!!!
>
>
>
> I guess one way to destroy microbes left by dirty filthy organics
> (cavers) would be to ensure the consumption of large amounts of
> alcohol the night before a trip, the alcohol released as fumes into
> the cave atmosphere may wipe out many of the germs....
>
>
>
> Genuinely sorry to hear all about the rubbish though Ali, that is a
> concern that could easily be avoided....
>
> *From:* Matien...@googlegroups.com
> [mailto:Matien...@googlegroups.com] *On Behalf Of *Tony Brocklebank
> *Sent:* 27 October 2008 09:55
> *To:* Matien...@googlegroups.com
> *Subject:* RE: Cave softly ...
> *From:* Matien...@googlegroups.com
> [mailto:Matien...@googlegroups.com] *On Behalf Of *Alasdair Neill
> *Sent:* 27 October 2008 09:11
> *To:* Matien...@googlegroups.com
> *Subject:* Re: Cave softly ...
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mandy MUSC

unread,
Nov 19, 2008, 11:03:44 AM11/19/08
to Matienzo Caves
Just to get the ball rolling:
9 MUSCketeers will be embarking on the Plymouth-Santander ferry on the
5th April and leaving Matienzo on the 15th April.
Myself, Jason and Lloyd will *provisionally* be booking soon getting
out on the 29th March, probably also leaving on the 15th (minus a
Jason who is leaving us to play in the Picos). Probably booking as
foot passengers, and getting train/hitching a lift back up north if
there is space available in anyones cars?

Looking forward to seeing you all out there!

M

On 3 Nov, 17:38, Les Williams <l...@les.williams.name> wrote:
> Hi Carm
> We will probably be going out in the Land Rover and will be able to take
> the mole phone with us if needed
> Les
>
> daniel hibberts wrote:
> > Hi Carm,
> > yeah no problem, Johnny and I will both be driving to the ferry just
> > waiting for people to book so that we i have an idea when most people
> > will be there.
>
> > Dan
>
> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > *From:* Carmen Smith <nucl...@omicbomb1.fsnet.co.uk>
> > *To:* Matien...@googlegroups.com
> > *Sent:* Sunday, 2 November, 2008 19:54:08
> > *Subject:* RE: New ferry crossing!
>
> > Hi Dan, if you do use that ferry please give me a shout, we need to
> > get the mole phone stuff across for easter. At the mo it is very
> > likely I will fly out (no room for mole phones) so am on a mission to
> > find any one that may pass by Mendip (or there abouts) that can whip
> > it over there.
>
> > Thanks
>
> > Carm
>
> > *From:* Matien...@googlegroups.com
> > [mailto:Matien...@googlegroups.com] *On Behalf Of *daniel hibberts
> > *Sent:* 02 November 2008 12:32
> > *To:* Matien...@googlegroups.com
> > *Subject:* New ferry crossing!
>
> > Hi all,
>
> > I have heard that there is a new ferry crossing going from Portsmouth
> > to Santandare, which is the same price as the Plymouth crossing and a
> > similar amount of time on the boat, it starts the beginning of next year.
>
> > Dan
>
> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> > *From:* Carmen Smith <nucl...@omicbomb1.fsnet.co.uk>
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