11th - 13th June 2010 - Nigel Dibben
The Matienzo expedition was started by MUSS in about 1970 so 2010 is the 40th anniversary of the first real expedition and also 50 years since caving started seriously in the valley. To celebrate this, we went to Dalesbridge near Clapham in Yorkshire for a weekend of fun and frivolity mainly focused on the Saturday when there were talks, a raffle, a meal, live band and a great deal of drinking.
A number of members arrived on the Friday to set up tents and caravans or take up B&B and bunkhouse places. In total, there were nearly twenty DCC members or partners. On Friday, the first task was obviously to set up the rocket (what else would the DCC do?). This was up by late afternoon and soon attracted the curiosity of the other campers. Amazingly, none of them drove into the wall on their way to the main camping field. After most had arrived, we hit the bar at about 8 and were told it was closing at 9 so the party continued outside and everyone had a drop or two more than perhaps they should have (see picture right).
Any way, all settled down later and most people were up at a reasonable time for a slow start to the events on the Saturday. First, there were practice runs through the squeeze machine and on Steve's Splat The Bat game just to get in the mood and then at 1100 the bar opened and at 12 there was the first talk by Juan on the prospects in Matienzo for 2010 and future years.
Below 1: The Rocket Below 2: Strange behaviour after dark Below 3: Sheryl tries to splat the bat Below 4: Kieran nearly stuck at over 9 inches gap
There were four talks on: the area by Juan; diving by Phil; the geomorphology by Andy Quin; and the archaeology by Steve and Pete. Between these, there were suitable breaks for lunch, looking at the displays, buying raffle tickets and so on. After the first talk, there was a demonstration of the Earby pump used to drain siphons. This was turned by Tony into a giant washing machine which Steve found useful to clean his overalls. After the talks had finished, seven hopefuls watched as Jane judged the tortillas and decided that Lank's was best (he cheated by using garlic) followed by our own Sue.
Below 1: Andy Pringle opens the conference Below 2: Juan talking about potential caves in Matienzo Below 3: Phil talking about dives in Matienzo
The evening started with a meal of sorts laid on by Mr Grumpy and his mates followed by the welcome (???) return of the Fluffies after nearly 17 years, their last appearance being at Pindale at the Cavers' Fair. Granville's place was taken by Paul who did an admirable job of leader while the team was infiltrated by Bolton member Steve. For reasons best known to the choreographer, her husband was kept well out of the way! Lugger kept himself busy trying to get a picture up Steve's skirt but he needn't have bothered if he had just followed the team round to the rocket. Use this link to go to the Fluffies page where the videos of Pindale and Dalesbridge can be viewed.
Below 1: Testing the Earby pump in a closed loop Below 2: Steve doing washing his dirty linen in public Below 3: Jane judging the tortilla contest
After the Fluffies appearance, the evening turned into the stomp with the two-piece folk and blues band who did two sets up to about 11 pm. During the interval, the raffle was held and the quiz was scored. Many fantastic prized had been donated, no that's a bit of an exaggeration, various lofts had been emptied and we won some prizes including Nigel getting back a bottle of whiskey he had been trying to get rid of. The evening went quickly and it seemed (to me at least) that people drank a bit less than the night before so there was no party in the field. This probably wasn't helped by Mr Grumpy running out of all draught beer by the end of the night - something it seems he has a habit of doing (Matienzo Gold ran out by about 8.30).
Below 1: Sue winning a bottle of wine for her tortilla Below 2: The Fluffies under the leadership of Paul Below 3: Posing by the rocket ... Below 4: ... and showing off their assets
The next morning, Sunday, saw people starting to leave and the rocket coming down to go back into its box until next time. The Dingle's van seemed to suffer some sort of mishap but was left happily wrapped in plastic. Tony and Allan threatened to actually go caving which meant that they might get to Bernie's before midday for once.
All in all, it was a great weekend and well worth attending. A particular mention should be made of the Alderley miners who made the trip despite not knowing all that much about Matienzo but mainly so that they could support the Fluffies.
If anyone wants to know more, we have pages about Matienzo on this site or go to Juan's excellent expedition site.
Below 1: Andy getting into the mood Below 2: Juan reading out the answers to the quiz Below 3: The grand raffle, some lucky person wins a stethoscope Below 4: Andy continues with Keith when the music resumes