We are involved in a number of video projects, some of which are now available on DVD. Our big project at the moment is ‘Otter Hole’:
Otter Hole Film Project
Otter Hole Cave was first visited by cavers in the mid 1970’s and by 1976 the Upper Series had been entered and the fantastic collection of formations that it contained attracted the attention of many cavers. In 1980 caver and Film Cameraman Sid Perou visited the cave with a view to making a film about the cave.
I was involved with this project but it is fair to say that this initial film was in no uncertain terms a disaster for many reasons but fortunately this did not put Sid Off. He came back a few years later with a much more secure financial backing and I became involved again. The outcome was the production of “Otter Hole” for the Realm of Darkness television series.
In 2009 a long standing caving friend of mine Dave “Sparky” Parker out of the blue asked me “How about a trip into Otter Hole for me”. To be honest you could have knocked me over with a feather, I was completely taken aback as Dave had made it quite clear in the past that he would never go back into Otter Hole. I did not dare question him as to why he had changed his mind but just said “YES”. It is worth pointing out that Dave was the very first caver to go underground into Otter Hole in 1970 and he was now 72 years old.
So on the 22nd May 2010 with Nicky Bayley and myself running two cameras, a team of 6 supporters plus Dave now aged 73 we made a 12.5hr trip back into Otter Hole. Dave visited for the first time the Upper Series and saw some of the formations it contains including going to the Hall of Thirty.
Out of this trip came the Film “Otter Hole Cave 40 Years On 1970 – 2010”. There were two showings of the film at the Palace Cinema in Cinderford with Trips in Stretch Limos raising £1000.00 for charity, along with third prize for the film in the Napoli Film Festival.
Making that film and thinking back to Sid’s film made me realise that Otter Hole had so much to offer. There are so many things about the cave that most people do not see or know about. It is also a very challenging place to film with all the mud.
The seeds for a second film or fourth if you count the others were sown and the new Otter Film Project was underway. I was however well aware that this was something that I could not undertake on my own and I made contact with Gary Cullen who had in fact been in the cave in 2010 when we were filming Dave and had supplied some footage for that film.
I asked him if he would be interested in helping out. It did not take him long to say YES and he in turn suggested that we invite Footleg (Paul Fretwell) to get involved. So he was approached and like Gary was very quick to say “yes please”. With these two onboard I started to mull over what I wanted to achieve with the film and I hope you will not mind if I do not divulge all of the details as we wish it to be a surprise. Suffice to say it will be different from the previous ones.
Work started in 2013 and has been slowly progressing with the aim to have a finished film ready for June 2016.