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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Back To School - to Cheddar Gorge

In the rolling Somerset Hills lies Cheddar Gorge, home of cheese. Vertical limestone cliffs rose up around us and then we were there, at the rather cheesy village of cheddar, full of gift shops and twee tea houses. Apparently it is true that cheddar cheese was first made here, and during the tour of Gough's cave, we saw some wheels of cheddar cheese maturing, and a cheesy aroma (mixed with bat) floated through the air...dubious mmm? We, meaning 3 teachers, 3 parents and 60 kids, were on an educational school trip for the school day. Whilst I, would have been happy at a cheese tasting - it was not to be. My first responsibility was to ward the children's safety through the bowels of the Gorge...ah but I learned a decent amount!

The cave we visited was discovered in 1890 by Mr Richard Gough who retired to Cheddar in 1881 - he was a sea captain, and thus an adventurous soul. A beardy Victorian gentleman, he had 7 children. Together with his 5 sons, he discovered and cleared the mud and boulders away, year after patient year, to reveal the caverns before us.

The cave walls were chill and smooth to the touch, and everywhere was dripping water. Formed by the ice-melt of million year old glaciers it was the old riverbed, and an underground river still ran beneath us. There were some beautiful formations in the cave - my phone camera cannot do justice to them - though not bad for phone-cam!

A calcite "waterfall" - an airpocket in the earth caused the water to form in pools, and as the water evaporated and the level went down, formed each level of the "falls".
My favourite formation - King Soloman's Temple (yes, Mr Gough was a grand old Victorian wasn't he!) - I was really impressed! All this knowledge made up for the ear-splitting volume of the trip, despite behaving well. Needed a good lie-down in silence after, and probably some lavender water in the victorian theme!


Kenny Mah said...

Cheddar's a place? *keeps forgetting cheeses are named after regions and places of origins*

I wonder if they will ever name a cheese after Malacca. Oh wait, we got Gula Melaka, right? They named a sugar after my hometown. That counts for something, right? :D

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

waterfall looks like cheese. haha. thanks for the education dear. Makes me feel nostalgic about some place I've never been to about that, huh? hehe.

msiagirl said...

Mmmm Gula Melaka is my favourite and will gladly exchange for cheese! So difficult to get the good stuff.

Hope you two having some fun taking your friends around.

Big Boys Oven said...

hmmm reminds me of caves in scotland and gua tempurung in Perak. Nice pictures!

msiagirl said...

Hi BBO! Thanks, I've never been to Gua Tempurung, may be check it out on a visit next time - I discovered I quite liked caves...though possibly not with 60 children in tow, however well behaved! Kept worrying about losing them down a crack in the earth or something.

Lee Ping said...

Gosh, this is perhaps my third time coming by your blog. It is very easy for me to write comments on a food blog or a mommie's blog. However, I have to think hard on what comment to leave on your blog.

Perhaps it is hard because I am trying to look smart by writing a smart comment like everyone else.

Kenny Mah said...

Yup, had great fun bringing them about, and they bought gula Melaka in Melaka itself! I'm so proud of them... I'll be posting some blogs about the makan-makan we had soon... ;)

msiagirl said...

Hi lee ping! I come to your blog too and have not left a comment if I have no comment hehee like I know nothing about bamboo shoots :) but I still come over and visit and when I have something to write I will :) that's the nice thing about comments. I didn't comment on Kenny's blog for a while until I saw he liked a same movie I liked, then suddenly I was commenting all over the place! Aiyah!

msiagirl said...

Kenny dear, look forward to your posts on your friends visit - I'm sure they had an unforgettable visit with you. I spent ages looking for proper gula melaka to take home, so lucky they went to Malacca to get some!