Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Our London Trip - The National Showcaves, Wales

As I had written in my earlier posts about our London trip, one on Kew Gardens and another on a Small English Town, we continued to explore the rare locations in the U.K. My niece and her husband had planned to take us to the much unheard of, The National Showcaves, in Wales.

The National Showcaves, named Dan yr Ogof, means, 'Beneath the Cave', the Morgan brothers, who explored the cave, have named the cave after their farm (Welsh).

The 17-kilometre long cave system in south Wales, was first explored by two local brothers in 1912, Tommy and Jeff Morgan, using candles and primitive equipment. Completely unsure of what they would discover, they armed themselves with a revolver. Read further...

These caves are mainly famous for their stalactite, i.e. limestone deposits which hang from the ceiling of the caves. We saw this type of cave for the first time here. Later on, I came to know from Swaram's post, that these types of caves are here in India, in Vizag, called Borra Caves.

We started from home early in the morning after breakfast with our lunch packed (Tengaai saadam (coconut rice), lemon rice, curd rice and sandwiches and fruits!). I think we drove for around 2 hours. Both sides of the road to Wales were full of greenery and apart from one car overtaking our car from the wrong side, the ride was smooth and event less. They follow the road discipline strictly, so it is easy to drive in the U.K.

Now, let me write about our exploration of the caves with pictures! The door to the entrance was quite small. We had to bend our heads and enter, though I was lucky because of the height, I went in straight! They gave us some flash lights also because the inside of the caves was quite dark with some small spot lights at some intervals.

The entrance to the caves.

This opening is not in use and covered by bricks, now.

The Morgan Brothers!

Stalactites (type of speleothem - secondary mineral - that hangs from the ceiling of limestone caves. It is a type of dripstone).

This is called Stalagmite (same like stalactite but forms from the ground)
This looks like a family, mother and her children, don't you think so?!

The calcium deposits in the caves after several thousands of years, have joined up from the top and bottom - stalac(ceiling)tites and stalag(ground)mites - and created this huge column.

These drops are chemical drops and they stand like stone strings and it was wet everywhere and a bit skidding too! If people are not around and if we are alone, the eerie feeling will make us get scared! I was worried about the dripping water, for it might contain chemicals too, but my niece said that if it was, the authorities would not let us in, in this area!

These green growths (moss) were found inside the dark caves, near the area, where the spot lights were kept...the heat from the lamp must have helped them to grow!

Morgan must have explored this cave like this, with a lamp in his hand (with suit and hat!).

This area is called 'cathedral cave' (you can see some wedding pictures in the link, click on the name of the cave!) and real weddings take place behind the water fall!

Myself and my relatives stood there in couples and took pictures and drenched ourselves with dripping water from above us! It was fun! My niece said that a wedding took place behind the waterfalls according to the bride's wish, just a week back here and came in the newspapers!

We also took some pictures here, but they are not this clear. So this one is from the Caves link.

We came out of the cathedral caves via this route (the picture above). The water from the lake is flowing inside the cave and it was wet and cold. The border to the 'water flow' is artificially made. My brother in law was saying that we could conduct our grand nephew's wedding here and then use this border as table and have wedding lunch and wash our hands in this water, like typical Indians!

By the time we came out from the cathedral cave, all of us were hungry. The above dining area in the picture was very inviting for us to sit on the wooden tables and eat, while enjoying the green surroundings. We had our tummy-full of our Indian lunch and had English Tea from their canteen, later!

We saw many tourists on that day, though it was a week day. Baby Thomas, a small boy, entertained us during our lunch! All of us played with him. My brother in law gave him an orange. He gave it to his father to peel and ate the fruit happily. Then his father gave him a tissue to wipe his face, he did it and walked upto the waste basket and dropped the tissue in it! We were really astonished at the nature of the small child...even we, elders are not particular about throwing the dirty things in the waste basket!

This is our Thomas:

The toilets also were clean like other places in London! Our ticket included the 'Iron Age Village', the 'Dinosaur Park', the 'Farm' etc. The Shire Horse Centre also was included in the ticket but it was closed on that day. This post seems to be getting looooong, so let me write about the rest, in the next post!


wordsndreamz said...

It is wonderful, isn't it? The showcaves? We have been there - and we loved it!

Wonderful pics, Sandhya!
Reading this, brought back memories of our trip there :)

Sandhya said...

wordsndreamz: We liked it a lot! We had never seen this type of cave, until then! Thank you, Smitha!

R. Ramesh said...

The toilets were clean like other places in London! hahaha sandhya, i was thinking of chennai vivekandanda road, thas ice house..haha..road is used as a toilet near marina beach...

Bikramjit said...

WOWOW.. Now this is something which i did not know of and I LIVE EHRE .. wowow
so thank you .. I usually go for a week each year to wales why i did not hear of this I dont know .. so hey 2011 wales week you know what i will be doing ...
I love going to wales its a beautiful place like scotland ...


varunavisworld said...

The showcaves are similar to bora caves near vizag,they are also formed by lime stones.

Beautiful pcs :)

Sandhya children learn from us only.We indians when we live abroad we will also behave in a decent manner not throwing the thrash in the road etc,the moment we land in india we will throw the thrash on the road and our kids pick that from us only.

vimmuuu said...

wow wow wow !! Cavessss !!!! When will i ever go to such places? The Missus didnt let me explore the Bat Caves in Malayasia; she is scared to even go under the bed !!! :( :(

Thanks for sharing ! :)

Deepa said...

Very nice indeed. And I am reminded that I have not posted anything in a long time - even though I've had some lovely trips in Nov and Dec. :(

Swaram said...

Woww! I luv such places Sandhya and ur write-up is amazing :)

I luved the placing of one of the Morgan brothers with a spotlight there :)

And ya thatz a gr8 place for maduve oota :)

Chemical drops are splendid!

I have seen 2 such sets of caves in India, in AP alone. One of them in Araku as u mentioned and the other one named Belum caves, near Srisailam-Mahanandi :)

This is the link :)

Renu said...

wonderful pics! I am very scared of going in any underground things.

Children learn the things early, and when they grow uo, habits remain the same.

Sandhya said...

Ramesh: That is the reason I find the contrast from us over there! It is not very difficult for us to follow them in this matter, if we make up our mind, Ramesh!

Bikram: This has won many awards. The link shows about these awards.

Go there with your friends, Bikram, not alone.

varunavi: Yes, I have quoted Swaram's post about these caves.

I have heard about this habit of throwing the trash wherever they want, as soon as they land here, in our airport and then come home and appreciated those countries!

vimmuuu: That is too bad, is she so scared of the caves? Hahaha....!

Deepa: I haven't read your posts for a very long time, please start writing, Deepa.

Swaram: The picture is very natural, with the lamp in his hand.

Yes, we can enjoy these places more when we go with a group, alwaa?!

Yes, they are!

One day, I must visit the AP caves. Thank you, Swaram!

Renu: Visit these places with a group, then it is fun!

What you say is very true, Renu!

Destination Infinity said...

"Tengaai saadam (coconut rice), lemon rice, curd rice and sandwiches and fruits!" - Podhuma?? Here in Coimbatore, I consider myself lucky if I can get any two of above at a single time... and you go to UK and can eat all of them at the same time!! Lucky you. :)

The caves look quite fearful. Wonder how you crossed the last stretch in the photograph, should have been tough!

Destination Infinity

Sandhya said...

Destination Infinity: The London weather helped us to prepare all the food items the previous day itself. We didn't keep anything in the fridge even. Still the food was good for the next day's lunch!

That is the reason I have asked everyone to visit this place in groups. Otherwise it is a bit scary with water dripping on our heads and stone needle like structures waiting to poke us from the ceiling! The company was good and we enjoyed our trip thoroughly!

kanagu said...

thats a wonderful writeup with the history :) liked it :)

those caves were pretty exciting.. let me try to go to Borra caves..

actually there is a cave nearby Chennai too.. I forgot it.. I found them on net while searching for a trip..

the pics were good :) :) could have posted more...

sm said...

great shots

Aparna said...

They look wonderful!
I have not been to Wales. Would love to go there and see these...thank you for sharing this with us.

Roshmi Sinha said...

Great pics1 Thanks for sharing :)

"We were really astonished at the nature of the small child...even we, elders are not particular about throwing the dirty things in the waste basket!"

... Well, as they say: 'Child is the father of man'. They realise it... and teach them young. While in India... even educated folks think nothing of letting/making their kids pee in public @ parks, in the greeen grass that is, on roads, pavements, etc. What a pity!

evanescentthoughts said...

Nice pics! I always wanted to visit caves but never got a chance to visit.. After reading this post, I reallyyy want to visit one!

deepsspeakingup said...

Lovely snaps, Sandhya! And so informative too. Yes yes the particular stalagmite does look like a family of mother and her children :)

Sandhya said...

Sorry, I don't know how I missed acknowledging your comments. Though late, here they are:

KANAGU: I have posted many photos already. Yes, the place was very very interesting. I have never visited a place like this before!

I must visit the cave near Chennai!

sm: Thank you, sm!

APARNA: Please visit this place when you go to the UK next time! I feel awkward to acknowledge your comment so late, Aparna! I know you won't read this!

ROSHMI SINHA: You are very right, Roshmi! It has never changed even after so many years, after so many people visiting foreign countries.

EVANESCENT THOUGHTS: Have you visited now?!

DEEPSSPEAKING UP: Yes, they do look like a family, don't they?

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