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The End is Nye or is it?

Steve Woolven

Having spent a week in the Dordogne in July we couldn't leave without visiting the Grottes de Saut de la Pucelle.  Echoing Vince Simmonds article: 'it's a superb fun trip' we also took 6 ladders, 1 rope and various slings, belays etc.  The problem we would like to clear up is the END???!

Graham Nye and myself entered and followed the main stream passage leaving ladders at every would-be pitch and jumping in and swimming the deep pools, even though there was some kind of drought on and only a trickle of water flowing through the cave.  After having laid out all the tackle, we passed a very large deep black pool by traversing to the right some way down the cave only to come up to a 30' pitch which definitely needed a ladder.  Rather than call it a day I back tracked to our last ladders and took them back down (Quite a few of the first pitches are easily free-climbable, so don't make our mistake of laddering everything that can be laddered).

From here we followed the streamway down quite a considerable distance, with very nice formations, till there was some breakdown and boulders, followed quickly by an insignificant pool of water.  Here we could find no way on?  After a good look around; there being a lot of writing in the mud on the walls where other people had stopped; one thing bothered us!!  Where is the Plaque to Martel?  We could not find it (Ref: Vince Simmonds article, May '90).  We concluded either: -

1)       Somehow we missed a small hole that passed this sump? or

2)       Some buggers nicked the Plaque as a souvenir?

Can anyone put us right?

I would like to thank Trebor and Steve Redwood who supplied us with literature on this area, which helped us tremendously.  Apart from the trout in Vince's article we found an evil looking lizard sitting static on a rock, about twice the size of the outdoor ones.  Black in colour with orange markings down its back; which I thought a fake rubber one until Graham gave it a prod (That's another beer I owe him).

I would also like to say hello to Peter and Maria from Speleo Netherland, who were caving on our ladders and left a note on the car, whom we never did meet.

U.B.S.S. - Sessional Meetings 1990-91

Members are invited to attend these illustrated talks, which will be held in the UBSS room on the 2nd floor of the Students Union, Queen's Road, Bristol between 8 pm and about 9.30 pm on Wednesday evenings.

31 October 1990.           "The Exploration of St Cuthbert's Swallet" by Dave Irwin.

5 December 1990.          " New Mexico 1988 including the Carlsbad Caverns" by Chris Howes

13 February 1991.          "Cave diving beneath Cheddar Gorge" by Rob Palmer