Steve Gray, Heather Gray (and 2 Kids), Dalek, Djuke Vedhuis, Tony Rooke, Stuart Bennett, Edvin Deadman, Kathryn Hopkins, Adam Milward, Mark Shinwell, Hugh Davies, Paula Davies (and 2 Kids)
After an uneventful drive through France, we arrive at “Camping le Vecors” in Autrans just about Lunchtime on the Saturday.
This is a lovely site staffed and run by friendly people who are happy to accommodate cavers on the field. It has a pool and is only 2 mins walk from town.
We were shown to our field, complete with a thousand molehills! After kicking these flat we pitched up and others started to arrive over the next 24hrs.
I drove to Grenoble for 10.30pm to collect Dalek and Adam from the train. Finding Adam was no problem, but Dalek was another matter as he’d forgotten his phone and didn’t know I was turning up!
One loud shout of DALEK, in the middle of the concourse found him and had the added bonus of confusing all the French tourists, as this strange looking man waddled out of the crowd with a rucksack on that was bigger than him!
Back up to the site for the two of them to pitch up after stopping on the way back to watch some spectacular lightning.
Quote “ Dalek what’s that?”. “That’s my tent. I bought it for Woolworths for £15. I’ve put some karabiners on it to stop the top letting the rain in.”
About 4am I got up for a pee and to watch the Storm to be met with the sight of Dalek bailing his tent out with a Billycan.
Quote” Do you need a hand?” “No I’m alright it’s nearly empty now, at least the Karabiners holding the top down worked.”
“How did it get wet then?” “I left the door open for ventilation as it sweats inside.”
Thank God for the moles as all the rain sank straight down their holes never to bother us again!
We woke up to sun and humidity and guessed another storm was due. As it was we had two days of iffy weather and then gorgeous sunshine for the rest of the trip.
Sunday was spent shopping, getting our bearings, and swimming with a quick trip down the Malatere for Dalek, Djuke and Adam.
It was an excellent Holiday with something happening every day and on occasion a couple of things.
The two families thoroughly enjoyed it, with the two 8 year olds achieving their first canyoning trip in the upper Furon, and all the kids and non-cavers enjoying a trip into the Bournillon. My son even learnt to ride a bike.
There was plenty for everyone to do and a very chilled out atmosphere was present, despite some quite hard trips that were completed.
Plenty of Beer and wine was consumed; in fact, we drank a local bar dry towards the end of the second week. (Admittedly they only had 2 rounds worth of Beer to start with, then they pinched some back off other customers when they realised we were going to spend more!!)
Lots of Bread and cheese were eaten and Dalek appointed himself as The Netto ambassador to France, and tried to deliver baguettes to a poor Frenchman camping miles from anywhere in the Mountains, scaring him witless in the process! If you see Dalek or Adam ask for the details, it’s a very funny storey!
We completed numerous caving trips including The Malaterre, the Bournillon, Trou qui Soufflé, Pot 2, The Gournier, Goules Blanch and Noir, Reseau Christian Gathier and a number of smaller caves not mentioned in the Guide books but found when we cycled down the riverbed South of Meaudre.
We completed 3 Via Ferratas and one via Corda, 3 canyons including the Lower Ecouges and the Furon, Lots of walking, Lots of Cycling (especially by Dalek) and some roadside and multi pitch climbing. We even went up on a couple of cable cars and chairlifts and visited the Berger entrance.
A full report of the trip including the funny bits will follow when we get time to write it.
We have taken pictures of all the signboards at the start of all the vias and canyons for future reference and will attempt to put these on the website as they are not all in easily available guides.
I have been asked to possibly organise another trip for next year, as there is a lot we didn’t have time to do. I am also possibly looking at a Berger trip for two years time. Please let me know if you are interested in either.
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