Just a brief report on Saturday's rescue practice at Ogof Draenen. The practice was very well attended with 44 participants including a good contingent from Gloucester CRG and a good number of new faces.

The scenario was a broken lower leg in White Arch Passage that required a stretcher evacuation out of the Rescue Entrance at the end of the Nunnery. The practice covered the hardest sections of this route, namely White Arch, Lamb & Fox Chamber and Indiana Highway. The key outcomes from the day were :-

  • It is possible to get a large volume of cavers and rescue kit in and out of the entrance series without too much congestion.
  • The Surface Control function was a major focus of the practice and the trainee controllers and assistants got a lot out of the day.
  • We gave the new Cave Link comms system its most serious challenge to date and we were able to easily get reliable comms from White Arch to the surface. Previous attempts with Heyphones were at best patchy, due to the coal overlying the cave. Later on in the day we did experience problems and loose contact, so more commission work is required.
  • Trainee Underground Controllers and First Aiders performed well.
  • Lots of new people had a go at stretcher carrying over the particularly tricky bouldery terrain of White Arch Passage.
  • The short climb out of Lamb & Fox chamber into Indiana Highway was rigged as a pitch haul.
  • A recce of Indiana Highway was particularly fruitful in identifying a low level route that avoids virtually all of the tricky traversing and a cunning means of bypassing the roped traverse at the far end of Indiana Highway was also devised.

20 or so of us adjourned to the Lamb & Fox pub for a well early drink afterwards. Thanks to everyone who took part, I hope you found it a useful and enjoyable experience. Thanks to everyone who helped with the kit cleaning on Sunday.

The next practice is scheduled for Saturday 17th January, the day before the AGM. Details of this practice will be added to the website soon.

Ali Garman
Training Officer - SMWCRT