Why Register?
Forgot Login?

Ardeche 2012 - the UnExpedition

by PCW ~, 20 September 2012

Words and pictures by Jules Carter

This year the informal and family orientated SWCC 'Un-expedition' was again initiated by Dom Hyland, who using the skills and contacts of the ever wonderful Denise Knibbs, found us a superb camp site on the Ardèche plateau near the gorge. Numerous families and non-families made the hot drive down to the Ardeche. At one point 48 SWCC related souls were on the campsite!

The Ardeche was a major contrast to the soggy UK summer, being very hot and predominately dry. The campsite offered a great deal of space and a decent pool - the results being the children were rarely seen (though often heard!). A host of activities were enjoyed from admiring Roman remains and taking in French culture to canoe trips on the Ardeches and yes, caving. See lots more of Jules' pictures here.

The Ardèche Gorge HMS Garman with additional children

Highlights for me was somehow getting 40 of us together and enjoying a 12km paddle on the Ardèche to finish at the Pont d'Arc. As expected the area was crazily busy but it all added to the adventure! A smaller group later paddled the whole gorge, which went from being complete madness with canoes everywhere, to having the gorge to ourselves - achieved by having a couple of long lazy lunch breaks and letting the crazy canoe train pass.

In addition some great caving trips were had which included a number of visits to the Marcel system, including the classic through trip of the system, some superb trips to the highly decorated 'Aven d'Noel' and the fabulous Rochas to Midroi through trip on the sides of the Ardèche Gorge itself.

Close to the show cave area of St Marcel James on Deux Aven
A thoroughly good week or two was had by all. It was a fine social occassion and quite a few too many units of alcohol were consumed and good company enjoyed..... big thanks to the Hylands and Knibbs for getting the trip rolling. So where next?
Into Aven Noel Fine formations in St Marcel . . .and more
Cobbled back-streets Sue and Emily on via-ferrata Arwen jumping in