Day Four : 8th January 1999

The Saga of the Torn Pants

Off we went in search of Cova Sa Campana. Followed Des Marshall's route description and it was a pile of pony - nothing new !!!! After much scrambling and climbing we finally ended up in the col, with bugger all idea of where to go next. To make matters worse I had torn my splendid pants on some sharp limestone and I was immediately drained off all my magical powers. After an eternity the cave was located, but by this time it was too late in the day to launch an assault. Making our own way back to the car by a far more sensible route, we decided to re-visit Freda and keep Campana for later on in the week.

Diving over to Cap de Formentor at maximum warp, we parked up by the forest and proceeded to kit-up in the dark. No sooner had we begun when a team of Forestry workers turned up and not being used to nocturnal cavers, told us to get lost. Now, suffering the indignation of a double set back, we headed off for a night on the town to drown our sorrows. Much drink was drunk and many women were leered at before we decided to call it a night, by which time it was 6:00 am. Day Five was shafted before we'd even started.


Day Five : 9th January 1999

The Saga of the Bat Cave

The day dawned bright and full of promise but the Pendle International Squad were still in bed after a night of excess alcohol and poetry readings !!! Hence we decided to leave Campana for the next day and do the Cova de C'an Sion, otherwise known as the Bat Cave, which was supposed to be easy to find and full of stal and bats.

After conversing with some mad old blokes about where the farm was we drove Tezza's "Beardfest" up the steepest hill we could find until the temperature gauge got up to 110oC !! We parked at a large villa that had a swimming pool and after a quick recce found it to be empty.

It was decided the best plan of action was to recce the way to the cave just to be sure we were going the right way. 5 hours, numerous goats and countless scratches later we realized we were incompletely the wrong place. However, we had found the right path now so know the way for a future trip !!

Enroute through the thickest Mallorcan jungle that even the most determined goat couldn't penetrate we found a feral goat kid stranded on an outcrop of rock. Andy approached the kid and climbed above it and was mad for bashing the life out of it with a rock, skinning it with my Whitby Rescue Knife and taking it home for tea. Thankfully he had worked off his pent-up aggression by torturing me during the day so was easily persuaded to let the goat live !!!


Day Six : 10th January 1999

The Saga of the Big Dig

Up late as usual, breakfast then off to do Campana. First though we had our club dig to sort out. Having purchased a big hammer and chisel the night before from the Hypermarket in Inca we were confident that we could break into our discovery and descend into Caverns Measureless to Man !!

Andy was the first to attack the overtight entrance, but his woman like blows were never going to move anything more than dust. Plan B, and up stepped the only manual worker in the team who quickly produced a Channel Tunnel sized opening with a minimum of fuss. Bolts were placed and, rope was tied and Andy started his descent into the abyss, whilst the other two brave boys got soaked through in the cloud burst that had just arrived


Andy's tale
After an epic jungle bash on day 4 when I found the virgin shaft of the bearded goat I was gagging to explore the caverns measureless that lay ahead. John appeared to be born to smash fuck out of rocks, either that or the spell of pokey at Strangeways on hard labour detail did him some good.

Anyway, I squeezed through the razor sharp limestone of the entrance with the sheath of the rope being flayed at every inch of descent. Down I went to a stal deviation. A quick sling went on, before Mulu foot set in and off I went. It was black, black, more black. From the beam of my Kirby I could just pick out the bottom of the shaft around 48.5m further down. The boulder strewn floor slithered with a seething mass of oily snakes, 2m long centipedes and giant badgers. Slowly I continued my descent, with each meter I went down I began to realise the Dante-esque proportions of the shaft. Looking at the formations on the way down I could tell the place was at least eons old.

Far above my head I pick out John's concerned face. A pinprick in the distance. "How's the rope doing John ?" I asked. "It's nearly cut through Andy," he sobbed. "Weaner Boy has gone for a lie down - the excitement is too much for him."

Knowing I had only I had only minutes to complete my exploration, and without fear or favour I shot down the rest of the shaft. At the bottom I bravely ignored the cave fauna. A mighty draft ripped through from passage that lay ahead. Sadly most of it was choked with boulders the size of Pearshapes kit-bag, unshiftable my mortal man. Save this for another day I thought, and looked upwards.

"Andy, the core's almost through. Don't be a hero, come back to the surface." Reluctantly I agreed and climbed hand over hand up the rope. Swiftly I entered the light and saw John's sweating face at the entrance. I made one final haul up before the remains of the rope split and snapped in two. "Fuck my boots," I exclaimed and lunged with a superhuman dyno to a limestone flake. It sliced through my hand, with blood gushing from me like a stuck pig I reached the safety of John and Weaner.

"Nice one Andy," said Dave, "I'll see if I can get some money off your subs from Pearshape, like !!".

"Well done son," said John. "I'll buy you and Weaner Boy an ice-cream for that one."

"Alright," I said. " Enough of this pile of pony - Campana awaits us."

And now back to reality!!!!!

Description of Avenc del Cabra con Barba

It turned out that Mountain Boy's discovery was a 32m shaft that belled out at the bottom to land in a nice chamber, which was choked in all directions, although a strong draft was felt from the eastern end of the chamber. A few rocks were moved with comparative ease, but to mount a full scale dig would have been well beyond our time scale. So we reluctantly decided to leave it for the future.

The shaft's entrance, when located on the map is well above any other known cave in the area and when comparisons are made to, say, Campana, the depth potential is much greater. So much so that we gave serious consideration the notifying a Mallorcan Caving club so as they might give the hole a good looking at. Sadly we were unable to locate such a club, although one is believed to exist in Inca. Further inquiries will be made on our return to Britain.

Survey of Avenc del Cabra con Barba.


Cova Sa Campana

John's rack rigging on the first handline pitch put me right off the fuckers, big style. Swiftly down and into the Sala de Giants. I went for the candle to leave at the top of the chamber but found it had been left in Beard HQ. DOH !!!. Luckily somebody had left a nice large red one so that was duly lit and we trundled off into extreme darkness, no walls, no ceiling, just boulders.

The second pitch was soon apon us and John rigged like a beard possessed so he would have to spend as little time on his rack as necessary !! The pitch was a very long flowstone ramp that led to another decorated chamber and a nativity scene left by the Grup Espeleologica d'Inca. At the bottom of the chamber we followed the draught through a mess of muddy crawls, slides and climbs into another large, sloping chamber filled with the most wild array of formations I have ever seen in my life. The walls and ceiling were alive with glistening fingers of calcite that defied gravity and grew in helix's, twisted and warped , straight out but, never straight down without a couple of loops to add to the effect !!. The place was truly magical. The cave led on downwards through an arch into another larger chamber that echoed as we lobbed rocks off the ledge we were on into the stream below. The first Mallorcan cave stream!! . Sadly we hadn't brought enough rope to descend this slope and so a slow retreat was made from the cave marveling at the formations that adorned the cave.

An exciting tab through inhospitable Mallorcan limestone jungle peaked with me losing a boulder at John, which he dodged with extreme skill. Had he not, he would have been cream crackered on the rocks below. John almost topped my boulder lob by throwing himself into a foliage covered pit and landing on his head. A sense of humour failure followed as he struggled to right himself with a huge bag bearing down on his back, but eventually we made it back to the car in one piece.

Back to Beard HQ for extreme curried veg, pasta and omlettes. All on the same plate !!!

The PISS had finally got it together and done the finest Mallorcan cave yet !!!


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