Application for Grant Aid

Submitted on: 28 Feb 2018

Expedition details (GPF2018a-007)

Expedition Name (& Club): Maaras 2018 (Wessex Cave Club)
Destination country: Greece
Region: Macedonia
Lat: 41.3335 Long: 21.3463 Elevation: 257 m
MEF funding: none

Leader: Mr Malcolm Foyle
Total cavers: 15
Cavers ≤25 yrs old: 3
Cavers 25-35 yrs old: 0
UK/nonUK cavers: 15/0
Eligible for grant aid: 0
Alex Pitcher nominations: 2
Expedition dates: 25th Aug 2018 - 8th Sep 2018
Duration (days): 15
Man-days in field: 225 Man-days travelling: 30
Brief Expedition objectives:

List a short summary of the main Expedition objectives.

To further explore three ongoing sumps within the known Maaras Cave. To further Film and Photograph the furthest limits of the known cave. To bolt climb some known high level leads in the known river cave beyond sumps. To search for unknown high level entrances in the hills above the known cave. To explore one known entrance 1 vertical KM above known river passage.
How can the GPF support your Expedition?:

Please explain the aspects of the trip which make it eligible for Ghar Parau funding.

The financial help of GPF will assist in the purchase of required equipment and support materials which will bring down the overall cost of the trip especially for the younger members of the club who wish to participate but may be barred by the cost.
Detailed description of objectives:

Give a more detailed account of the purpose of the trip, including any particular known caves you intend to visit, specific areas where you will explore for new cave, and scientific experiments you will attempt.

Maaras ( Aggits river cave ) is possibly one of the largest river caves in Europe with a max flow recorded of 36 cu mex. The main river passage is 7.8km long to the terminal sump. There an inlet sump at 3.2km and another inlet at 6.2km. Also there are various other passages in the further reaches than need digging and pushing. The total surveyed length of the cave is 11.8km. The interesting thing is that no one inlet issues the bulk of the water. All three main inlets visualy seem to emit about the same amount of water.

We intend to dive the sump at 3.2 km. This was previously dived in 2010 by Luigi Castrati on a French expedition to the cave. The sump is 1.2km long and 64m deep. It reportedly ends in a choke. The inlet at 6.2km starts with a sump of 20m long and is 3m deep. There follows 1.5km of passage to a 120m long 7m deep sump. This is followed by an on going sump that is 35m deep and still wide open. This was dived inconclusively by Greek divers several years ago. We intend to push this.The terminal sump was dived previously by French divers for a relatively short distance. We dived it in 2016 extending the French line and all exhaust gas appear to be rising in front of the diver. Indicating that possible we have passed the elbow. Visibility in this sump is very bad and there are whale backs of compacted sand to negotiate.

When at the cave in 2016 we had divers through the short sump at 6.2km and several high level passages were noticed that need climbing/bolting into. To passage is estimated to be up to 90m high. Also there is one known shaft on the hill above this branch. Gouffre Christos. Looked at by French cavers in 2010 and photographed and surveyed by Greeks in 2016. We need to look at this again to check for any parallel shafts or windows. This shaft is a vertical Km about the river passage.

There is still about 4km from the terminal sump to the sinks and we have a bit of information about some other know caves in the local area that appear to be sort of South West of the main development. The area that the sump at 3.2km appears to be heading in.

We are also going to carry on photographing the main river passage and possible do some film footage.

There is opportunity for surface work to do all around the area of the Falarako mountains. We also have the caves to look at that the local club for Thessaloniki have told us about. In one of which exploration was halted because second world war mines were found.
Previous work in this area:

Give details of any previous work in this area by your own and other teams. Include references to reports and articles published on the area, and the names of any local cavers or academics with whom you have discussed the Expedition.

The local Greek club from Thessaloniki have worked in the cave on and off as have Speleo ( the Athens base club ) who we have been working with for the past 13 years.

The French have been to the cave at least twice over the years the last being 2010 and produced a detailed report.

I have a reasonable amount of information on the cave and area. To much to attach to this application. Phil Rowsell is coming with us this year and has copies of all the relative info.

Expedition Finances


Travel plans:
Most will fly out and hire cars. Freight some equipment stored in Athens to the North. Some are talking about driving out to transport gear needed from the UK.

# from UK: 15 Travel costs breakdown (for personnel leaving from the UK):
Total costs from UK: £6,735 Flights from UK to Thessaloniki approximately £ 251.00 each
Hire car split between 4 people for two weeks = Approx. £ 198 each
Flights total £ 3,765.00
Hire Cars £ 2,970.00

# from outside UK: 0 Travel costs breakdown (for personnel leaving from the UK):
Total costs from outside UK: £0 Have no idea what the Hungarians or Greeks will pay.

Travel total: £6,735 Travel p.p. from UK: £449
Travel p.p. from outside UK: £0


Total: £1,425 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £95 Food per person based on € 7.00 per day. = £ 95.00 each based on 15 days
Accommodation will be free.



Total: £570 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £38 Freighting equipment from Athens to Maaras. Cost as yet unknown but thought to be about £ 250.00.
300m 9mm rope approx £ 320.00. All rigging kit is personal equipment
Small SDS drill and dry bag for work beyond sump
Exped Total: £8,730 Exped cost p.p. travelling from UK: £582
Exped cost p.p. travelling from outside UK: £0
Mean Exped cost per person: £582

Other Funding

Total: £0 Comments:
Total shortfall: £8,730 Mean shortfall per person: £582

Referees and Report

Please give the names, addresses and phone numbers of two suitably qualified people whom the Committee can contact. You should ensure that they are aware of the objectives of your trip, and that you have their permission for the Committee to contact them.

Referee 1: Mr Jonathan Williams
Affiliation: Caving Friend

Reason: Known Jon for years. He attended one of the early recce trips to the cave so will be able to answer any question posed.

Permission obtained?: Yes
Referee 2: Mr Clive Westlake
Affiliation: Caving friend

Reason: Not actually spoken to Clive but, has done it for us before. Well respected member of the caving community. Has also been on the recce trips. So know the cave and potential.

Permission obtained?: Yes

Expedition report author: Malcolm Foyle