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The Unexpedition to Lot / Dordogne

by PCW ~, 10 September 2010

Report and pictures by Jules Carter.

Last years 'expedition' to the Annecy area of France saw the kids having a fantastic time (as did the adults). It was thus suggested by the Hyland family we have an 'unexpedition' this year in France for the families to again get together.

Queen Hayley and her servants On the Dordogne River
Daren Drums are large enough for small children! Arwen relaxing on the river (with Emily safely in the drum . . .)

A plan was hatched and Dom, using the fabulous Denise Knibbs translation services, suggested a meet-up in the Lot region of France close to Gramat and the Dordogne river. The trip attracted more than just the families and included cavers from Tony and Denise's speleological club in Toulouse as well as a wide mix of the usual SWCC crew. At one point over 35 people were part of the trip. Great fun was had during the two weeks.

Kit nice and clean after a trip in the Pucelle Family trip into the Pucelle
The spectacular entrance to the Revillion Wading in the Miradol

Classic caves in the area were visited such as the Igue de St Sol, Gouffre du Saut de la Pucelle, and the Revillion. The French cavers also sorted trips into caves we knew little or nothing about such as the wild cave of the Fossiac showcave system, the Miradol which involved walking along the rail line of the tourist steam train, and the Gouffre des Jonquilles. All of these were excellent trips. Great fun was also had with a couple of canoe trips on the Dordogne where somehow 20 odd of us got together and hired canoes!

Interesting attire for canoeing Barbie night!

The area was great for a whole mix of people to meet up as there was plenty to do for both the adventurous and not so adventurous. Highlights for me were the 'kiddy' trips we did into the Pucelle system, the second of which saw us get to halfway in the cave with three 8 / 9 year old kids, the Miradol trip with the French cavers, watching Tim Lewington attempt to master SRT in a tree at the campsite and the last day's canoeing on a grade 2 section of the Dordogne with about 20 of us. Overall a great family holiday. A big thanks to Dom and Barbara for putting the trip together in the first place, and to Denise Knibbs for sorting the campsite and cave information out.

Superb calcite in the Fossiac system On the way to the Miradol! Tim getting in a sweat with SRT

All Jules' pictures are here

Unexpexpedition members: The Hyland / Lewingdon / Carter-Mabbet / Meredith / Lisa and Pete families. Gary Vaughan, his lads and partner, Allan Richardson, the Dobsons. Brian Clipstone, Steve Tomalin, Paul and Chrsitine Tarrant, Lel and Iain. Denise and Tony Knibbs, with friends form their Caving Club:Jean Marc and Claire, Michel and his wife, Didier (their Club President) and some others whose names I have forgotten!

Words and Pictures by Jules Carter.