Southampton University Caving Club

Wessex Table Challenge

Wessex Table Challenge


The weekend of The Wessex Table Challenge (a semi-annual event nestled neatly between The Ashes and The Ryder Cup in terms of international prestige) was one of intense highs and lows for all involved. It started with Rupert, Dan, and I strapping an extremely heavy table to the roof of Paul’s car. We then set off for the two hour journey to Priddy with high spirits. However, during the journey, our minds were poisoned by Paul, leader of the SLAG team - our main rivals. By the time we arrived we were convinced that the best course of action was to share a bottle of whisky between the three of us.


The actual table challenge was an absolute shocker. Out of the 5 events, the table traverse was won by SUCC. In all other events we came dead last. This was due in part to how wasted we were, but also because our table was so unbelievably heavy. We didn’t even remove the expanding middle segment because we needed that to play beer pong on the table between rounds. I don’t remember much of the rest of the challenge except that our table got smashed to bits. After that I blacked out for a few hours and the next thing I remember is playing trout and egg in the evening.


The next day I was supposed to be going to a friend’s holiday house in West Withering (a plan I had told the others about), so when Sam sat down next to me in the morning and asked me what time I wanted to go on the trip, I answered “Well I was hoping to get on the train from Southampton at around 3”. Sam gave me a confused look and said to me “What are you talking about? We’re going down Swildons.” Sam was my only ride home, so I had no choice but to go caving.


Sam, Dan, Grace, Rob, and I took the short round through Swildons. It was the hardest cave I had ever done, with three ducks and a sump. Rob was intensely hungover and had a small breakdown about halfway through the cave. Dan broke wind as he went through one of the ducks before me, causing me to have to breathe 100% fart. All in all it took us around 4 hours to get through, led expertly by Sam who loves a sporty cave. I never did make it to West Withering that day, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable trip and I can’t wait to do the short round again.


Ben McKechnie

By Benjamin McKechnie