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Anti-Valentines weekend escape to Cheddar Gorge

  • Feb 14, 2014 · 7:00 PM

Don't you just hate London on the Valentines weekend? The entire city turns into sugary and stressful commercial hell, covered with hears, roses and cuddly stuffed animals. While the shopkeepers and restaurant owners rejoice, depression, guilt and disappointment bubble to the surface in the general public mood.





So let's escape the madness together! What could be better than spending the weekend with a bunch of like minded people? Chedar Gorge is a perfect location to acheive this goal. It may sound like a place where you get fat on cheese, but it’s actually England’s version of the Grand Canyon, and the enchanting, twisting cleft in the Mendip Hills demands exploration. It was voted Britain’s second greatest natural wonder in a Radio Times poll and 
the country’s oldest skeleton was 
also found here, as was a popular type 
of cheese, of course.

What will we do?

We will be caving/climbing, hiking on a spectacular cliff top walk, visiting the famous wookey hole and the witch, learning about cheddar production and of course trying some local food. The detailed plan of the trip is below. 

Price: early Bird Price of £180 applies if you pay in full by the end of December 2013. If you pay before 15 January 2014 you can still get the discounted price of £195. After this date you will have to pay the full price of £215.

Cave view of stalactites / stalagmites inside the famous Cheddar Gorge, Mendip Hills in Somerset Stock Photo -[masked]

Deposit: : of £100 (+paypal fees) needs to be paid through http://www.meetup.com/Curious-Kat-Adventure-Club/events/155498382/ on RSVP to secure your place. (This trip is organise by Curious Kat's Adventure Club, so your place will only be secure once you pay the deposit there.)

The reminder of the money needs to be paid into my bank account two weeks before the trip the latest. For isntructions on how to make the payment and for the bank details please follow this link:http://www.meetup.com/Curious-Kat-Adventure-Club/pages/Bank_account/. Please note that if the payment is not received in time your name will be removed from the RSVP list to make space for others and your deposit will not be refunded.


What is included: all transfers, 2 nights accommodation, selection of cereal, milk and tea and coffee for breakfast (you will have to take care of any special requirements though), Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company visit, half a day climbing or caving; cliff tops hike, wooky hole entrance fee.

What is excluded: lunches and dinners


Disclaimer: 

IMPORTANT: By signing up to this trip you have agreed to the following disclaimer: 

'While safety is our top priority and although we never take unnecessary risks, we do recognise that any outdoor activity/trip involves a danger of personal injury or death. Remember that you should be aware of and accept these risks as you are responsible for your own safety and you should not undertake anything beyond your abilities. It is also your responsibility to be correctly equipped for the weather and activity you have chosen to participate in.' The organiser only facilitates the group, and doesn't take responsibility for your safety during the trip.

INSURANCE:

You also confirm that you will be responsible for my own insurance and make sure that it is at an appropriate level for this trip and activities you will be participating in (if in doubt, check with your insurance provider). 

Plan of the trip (subject to change) 

Friday, 14 February 2014

6:30pm  meeting at Clapham Junction

7pm - 10pm - drive from Clapham Junction to Cheddar (included)

10pm checking in to the hostel and early night (please make sure you have some food with you for the way as there may be no open shops at the time we arrive and the restaurants are not likely to serve food any more.


Saturday, 15 January 2014

9am - 9:30am Tea, coffee, milk and a selection of cereals will be available for breakfast (included). As there will be a limited choice if you have any specific requirements, please make sure you bring the things you need with you.

9:30 - 10am driving to the caves (included)

10am - 12:30 caving/climbing (included)

Goatchurch Cavern is the ideal venue for most beginners groups. It is dry and offers the choice of an inviting walk-in entrance or a more exciting rope-slide alternative.  The cave is quite a maze which means there are routes suitable for all abilities.  Keen cavers can wriggle through the 'Superman Squeeze' while the less adventurous take a more spacious route. The trip will start gently with walking size passages where you will see cave formations and maybe a sleeping bat. As your confidence grows the instructor will gradually introduce you to more challenging routes involving crawls, slides and scrambles. You will see spacious chambers and strange rock formations in the secret world of the underground.

Our trip into Goatchurch will last about one and a half hours. With all the preparations and instructions the experience will last around 2.5 hours.

You can also choose an option to climb instead, although this may be weather dependant. Please let me know that this is your choice when you sign up, otherwise you will be added to the caving group by default. 

12:30 - 14:00 we will return to the hostel to refresh and grab some lunch for lunch in Cheddar. Lunch not included.

14:00 - 16:00 hiking (national trust trail) (included)




This is a moderate 4-mile (6km) route along paths. Several stiles and kissing gates, rough walking in sections and some steep climbs. Spectacular views and a varied community of specialised plants and wildlife, many of which we’ll get the chance to spot on this exhilarating circular walk.

It is not advisable to attempt this walk in foggy or very windy weather so it may be cancelled if the conditions make it dangerous to complete.

16:00 - 18:30 free time 

18:30 - 20:00 dinner (not included) I have booked us into Frank's restaurant. You can look up their menu at this website: http://franksrestaurant.co.uk/menu/a-la-carte-menu/

Sunday, 16 January

9am - 9:30am Tea, coffee, milk and a selection of cereals will be available for breakfast (included). As there will be a limited choice if you have any specific requirements, please make sure you bring the things you need with you.

10:00 - 11:30 Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company and shop visit 

11:30 - 13:30 lunch break (not included) 

13:30 - 14:00 transfer to Wookey Hole (included)

14:00 - 16:30 Wookey Hole tour (included)

Loved by some, hated by others but visited by all, so we will also give it a go. It is a series of caves inhabited for some 70,000 years. The first ever cave dive in Britain was made in the Witch's Parlour cavern of the Wookey Hole in 1935. Twenty five caverns have so far been discovered, with further exploration still pending. The cave's most notorious inhabitant is its witch, who can still be seen at the bottom of Hell's Ladder, on the shore of the subterranean River Axe, her eyes fixed on the river.

16:30 - 19:30 transfer to Clapham Junction (included)

Reflections, Cheddar Gorge Cave - Landscape

Some more info about the sights: 

Wookey Hole, a series of caves inhabited for some 70,000 years. The first ever cave dive in Britain was made in the Witch's Parlour cavern of the Wookey Hole in 1935. Twenty five caverns have so far been discovered, with further exploration still pending. The cave's most notorious inhabitant is its witch, who can still be seen at the bottom of Hell's Ladder, on the shore of the subterranean River Axe, her eyes fixed on the river. Of course, she has been turned to stone now. According to folklore, a monk from Glastonbury faced her in her lair and sprinkled her with holy water, thus petrifying her and making it safe for the cave- and history-loving public to explore her former home. In 1912, an archaeologist named Herbert Balch found the almost complete skeleton of an old woman, the bones of two goats, a dagger, some household items and a polished alabaster ball among other Iron Age remains near the entrance to the Hole. Whether or not these remains have any tie-in with the legend of the witch makes for interesting conjecture.

The new Sound and Light Show has recently been opened, with visual effects from Patrick Watkinson Design and sounds from RealWorld (the company of legendary musician Peter Gabriel, who is a native of the region). The lights are used to enhance the natural beauty of the cave's rock formations, giving visitors a chance to truly marvel at the scale of nature's sculpture here beneath the earth. However, only some of the caverns are open to the public as many are only accessible to experienced divers, submerged as they are beneath the waters of the river.




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