3 reasons you should always do a recce

BORENORE – 13 – 15 May 2022
MSS has a trip on the calendar for August, but it didn’t sound like there was going to be much caving on offer so when NHVSS put on a trip for this weekend I decided to go and see if there was more to Borenore than what I’d heard.  The weather forecast was released for the weekend, I really didn’t want to go to Borenore (freezing cold) and when rain was forecast I was doubly not that keen to go.  But Garry didn’t have a big group, so I decided to go.

We drove up on Friday afternoon, stopped at Bathurst to pick up the cave key(s) and then found the Molong Showground where we’d be camping, good thing I did come along on the trip as Garry would have been camping here by himself (the rest of the group were staying locally with family).  We set up camp and had a lovely evening with no rain (so much for the forecast).

Next morning we set off for the caves, we were supposed to meet the rest of the group (Belinda & Gus and Kate & Jason) at 9am at the entrance to the reserve.  We set the road we should be on into the SatNav and headed off.  At the road, not knowing which way to go we turned left, and started driving.  When we got too close to Orange we stopped and asked a “local” and she sent us off on another road.  After far too long on this road, we decided to backtrack (never trust a local lol), set up the SatNav again and eventually passed the road that we’d first turned left on – should have turned right – reason #1 (know where you’re going) why you should do a recce (I was sort of doing a recce for the August trip).  Anyway, we met up with the others (who had travelled down from Tamworth for the weekend).

The plan was to take a look at The Arch, then walk a couple of k to check our Verandah Cave and Tunnel Cave.  The others had looked at The Arch while waiting for Garry and me, so they cooled their heels while Garry and I set off to The Arch.

The upper entrance to The Arch (photo Garry K Smith)

The river level of The Arch (photo Garry K Smith).

And now my photos – not a patch on Garry’s – but after all he was taking photos for a book, and he’s a great photographer – looking out through The Arch.

Where the water flows under another arch and out to the the car park and picnic area.

This is in the tourist area of The Arch and that silver thing you can see is a hand rail for the tourists to get up to that level, it’s very slippery and was challenging – I doubt anyone’s done a proper risk assessment on it (lol).

On our way through old farm land to The Verandah and The Tunnel caves (photo Garry K Smith).

Along the way the boys found another cave to explore, apparently it’s pretty good once you get past the crawls (BN55).

Eventually we arrived at The Verandah cave, I wondered why it was called a cave as I couldn’t see a “dark” area (criteria for being called a cave), but apparently there’s a small passage off from the “verandah” which has a dark section.

Panoramic shot of The Verandah cave (photo Garry K Smith).

The Verandah Cave taken from the other end (photo Garry K Smith).

And now my, not so good photos

Garry taking the above shot!

I braved the cold, fast flowing water to go and check out the cave. View from in the pool looking back with Belinda and Kate in the background..

Fungus growing on the side of the creek.

Garry crossing the creek.

You have to admit, the overhang is pretty spectacular!

We then made our way up the hill behind Verandah Cave to look for the entrance to The Tunnel Cave.

We saw a sign off into the distance so his mother sent Gus off to investigate it (poor kid).

Eventually we found one of the multiple entrances that there are.  This cave is closed from May to September because bats roost in it, we were very fortunate to be able to go into the cave.

It was a very sporty cave with lots of obstacles to get around in the streamway. This section we chimney’d in order to keep dry.

The final obstacle to avoid, dropping down into a pool. I managed to stay dry by doing the slippery route off to the left.

The end of Tunnel Cave, a slippery slide down into the pool (photo Garry K Smith).

Group shot at the end of The Tunnel Cave (photo Garry K Smith).

Me at the end, to prove I was there lol (photo Garry K Smith).

I have to say that I really enjoyed this cave and will try for a permit for us in August (the sign that says you can’t cave between May and September was a little ambiguous).

We tramped back to the cars and made arrangements for the next day, then Garry and I headed off with my GPS to find tomorrow’s Cave, Cathedral Cave.  Reason #2 for a recce (know what other caves are in the area and where they are) … we tramped all over the hillside, we didn’t have a topo map so had to rely on a GR we’d been given.  Tramped back and forth, trying to figure out which way the GPS wanted us to go, neither Garry nor I were any good at reading the bloody thing!  After about 45 minutes, we finally stumbled upon it, in a spot that neither of us had expected it to be.  Certainly cut out a lot of looking around the next morning! And if I hadn’t gone on this trip with Garry I would never have known the cave was there!  So, early next morning we headed off again for the Reserve.

Garry setting up the caving ladder for the dodgy 2m drop down the hole.

Caving ladder set up and “we’re going in” (photo Garry K Smith).

The route in wasn’t the friendliest I’ve ever done, some drops through the rock pile that you had to be wary of.

Another drop, you had to watch your foot placement so you didn’t slip down.

Down the bottom and there’s the barrier to prevent tourists from going further. A pipe with a lock. Garry and I had picked up the key for this cave on Friday as we went through Bathurst on the drive up.

Try as he might (and those of us with smaller hands also gave it a go), but the just wouldn’t fit into the lock.  Reason #3 to do a recce (do the keys work?)- in August when we go to do this cave, we’ll have to make sure it’s the right key that we get!  The “gate” to prevent people going into the good part of the cave (photo Garry K Smith),

In actual fact, it was sort of a blessing that the key didn’t fit, as we sat around bemoaning the fact we couldn’t go any further, Gus explored up another small passage and found a gold mine so to speak.  A passage off that you wouldn’t have bothered with – really special with old rim pools (photo Garry K Smith).

The rim pools (photo Garry K Smith).

There was also a nice shawl in this small passage.

What you had to go through to get to this small passage!

And then we’re all out, muddy, a bit disappointed in the key not fitting, but having found a good passage anyway – that others would probably overlook!

Thanks Garry for a great trip, although I was reluctant at first it turned out to be a magic weekend, and the weather was GREAT.  Thanks for your company on the drive to Orange!

So, for our trip in August, I know a few pitfalls to avoid, how to find the caves, and which ones to apply for a permit for – recces aren’t a bad thing (lol).

Banner:   The group, photo Garry K Smith, Thank you sooooo much for your professional photos Garry.

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2 Responses to 3 reasons you should always do a recce

  1. Kathy Leslie says:

    Good morning , Marilyn!
    I am binge watching again and enjoying all of your treks from my easy chair on a rainy morning here in Minnesota. Raining on a lot of Memorial Day Parades today. We have been having a very stormy May.
    Are you making any plans to come to the US ? At one time you mentioned wanting to see Bryce and Zion and Southwest. Spectacular scenery there!
    Thanks again for sharing!

    • marilyn says:

      Hi Kathy, love it when you binge watch! It’s freezing here at the moment, put the central air on last night it was so cold. Hopefully this cold front will pass through before the weekend. No, haven’t got any plans for US atm, there’s a lot of trips coming up in Oz and NZ over the next 12 months, so will be flat out with that!

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