Keen to return to Býčí Skála after my first visit during SpeleoForum a few months ago, I got in touch with Štěpán from ZO ČSS 6-01 who could speak English (I continue to feel terrible about my lack of Czech communication skills), who kindly allowed me to join with a surveying/photography trip with himself and a chap named Honza.
So back to the little green hut by the road I drove, on a crisp December morning just before New Year at the end of the dreadful 2020. It’s really cosy inside, and with just a glance inside you can feel it’s steeped in memories and good times – I’m very jealous.
In the previous article on Býčí Skála, I’d been shown the digging face of their latest project – attempting to connect an area lower in the cave to a passage striking out from the large entrance chamber – providing a 10 minute shortcut to far-flung parts of the system
The good news was this connection had been made very recently, and now shaved at least half an hour off the travel time to lots of newer areas requiring surveying, photography etc. Today we were going to take advantage of this to survey Hrušková Chodba (Pear Passage) – a generally inconsequential little loop of passage branching from the main route near the new connection.
The passage floor was deep, wet, porridge-y mud – up to knee-deep. We followed Štěpán with his tablet and nifty bluetooth-linked Disto into a low section whose mud was thankfully only ankle-deep. I found inner peace laying on my back in a wormy passage sinking very slowly into the porridge, with a bonus laser light show.
Along sections of the new connection, my guide Štěpán had some photographic documentation to do. With Honza holding a slave flash and me awkwardly posing, he got around 15 great pics, with his lighting sorcery. Hopefully they’ll make it online so I can link you to them.
Particularly impressive were the varves left in the alcoves and along the sides of some of the passage. These are sediment beds deposited layer upon layer with each flood event – an important geological record.
This bit was fun, a 45-degree polished-floor tube, excellent fun to slide down on the way in, but when you’re covered in slippery mud on the return journey, the handline is definitely a welcome aid.
Another interesting artefact hidden away in a small alcove – some sort of pipe coupling encrusted with calcite crystals from years of pumping cave water.
My thanks go again to ZO ČSS 6-01 (the Býčí Skála club) for indulging my cave cravings, in particular to Štěpán for speaking English all day. Fingers crossed for being invited back again!