Sunday, July 21, 2013

Speleologising ...

Into the underground at Burrington Coombe this afternoon with our leader, speleologist Chris. First off was Aveline's hole, where we got to see the  lines of crosses below, deep at the back of the cave. Chris is of the view that it's probably late palaeolithic, c. 14,000 years ago. As to why some bored hunter-gatherer sheltering from Arctic conditions post ice-age decided to scratch an upside-down version of Pascal's triangle using Xs is anyone's guess.

'Mesolithic' cave art in Aveline's Hole
Then on to Goatchurch Cavern where we slithered down way too many slippery steps into utter darkness. In the picture below Chris is pointing to some faint 'VV' inscriptions - warding symbols against the evil spirits which tend to blow out candles. The offending air-currents are caused by pressure changes as the water levels vary in air-filled cavities, often accompanied by shrieks and groans as the air is forced through small gaps in the rocks.

Clare and Chris ward off the witches deep underground
Goatchurch Cavern looking back to the entrance

Our leader's business card
I think we concluded that speleology is not for us.