Tony Jarrat

It was hard to find a sensible place to restart this journal, so i had a quick look through some of my older images to find some that kind of show where i’m coming from. This image is from 2000.

Tony Jarrat, (or Jrat as we all knew him) was one of the most fantastic people i’ve ever known. Most people knew him as the owner of “Bat Products” the caving shop that used to be in Wells (he had previously been a surveyor for Ordnance Survey), an Aladdin’s cave of a place where all manor of cavers and outdoor people went to buy their equipment and to find out information on where to go or try to get some insider information on the latest cave discovery on Mendip of which Tony was the instigator of many.

Tony was a key member of the Mechalaya Exploring group being active in the discovery of many 10s of kilometers of new cave passage in India.

Tony could usualy be found in either The Hunters or the Queen vic in Priddy where he could be found holding audience depending on how the opening times worked out and where ever he had abandoned his landrover the night before. I remember on one occasion having to pull Tony out of the open fire in the Vic where he had fallen asleep and toppled in. After putting out his smouldering down jacket and waking him up, we noticed that in classic caver style not a drop of his pint was spilt. we recon he must have had some form of gyroscope in his drinking arm to prevent such unfortunate incidents.

When tony was told the end was near, he decided that he wasn’t going to miss his wake, which he had quite rightly figured would be the best party Mendip had seen for years. He was there, oxygen cylinder in one hand and a pint of Butcombe in the other. A week later he was gone.

The photo was taken in Hunters Lodge Inn Sink on an old Canon D30 with only 3 megapixels, showing that you don’t need all the kit for a good image. You wouldn’t take anything expensive into a cave dig would you really?

This cave was a fantastic discovery in the carpark of the pub of the same name. During the foot and mouth crisis, it was not possible to travel across fields to caves, so to help out, Rodger the landlord suggested exploring the old soak-away in the corner, and there is was (after months of digging and blasting) one of the most important cave discoveries in the area of many years.

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