SCUBA Travel

Underwater guide to Lot & Dordogne

Meet the Author: Andrew Ward

Andrew Ward relaxing after a day's diving

Andrew Ward's book Underwater guide to the Lot & Dordogne, France describes one of the greatest cave diving areas in the world. The three rivers, Dordogne, Lot and Céle in the central, southern region of France offer over a dozen classic cave dives including some of the longest and deepest siphons in the country.

The first time Andrew Ward visited the Lot/Dordogne area, in the mid 1990's, he had a few bits of paper with site locations on (but not many). Towards the end of the trip some French divers pointed out more locations, but his group still missed many of the sites. At that time no Fench or English guide existed to the cave dives and so he decided (with Cave Diving Group backing) to produce an English language guide to help others UK divers. There followed many hours trawling through caving literature, mainly in French, to find more information.

Andrew's favourite dive in the area is The Ressel. It was his first dive in the Lot and he always starts and ends his trips to the area with a dive in the Ressel. He and his companions leave a few bottles of beer to cool in the entrance on the last day's dive, to drink as they float back to the landing point. And outside the area? "There are a few sites I like: Hurtle pot (Yorkshire Dales) is a nice dive as is Gothic sump in OFD (Ogof Ffynnon DDu cave) but if pushed I would go for Blane Hepste resurgence (South Wales) through sumps 1 to 3. Myself and Garth Hardman found the way on in the cave from sump 2."

We asked Andrew about any bad diving experiences he has had.
"I have been lucky ! I have never had a heart stopping event. With cave diving it is normally binary if it goes wrong in a cave (alive or dead)."

Born in 1959, Andrew Ward is an electronics engineer. He started caving in 1977 on Mendip (England), and cave diving with the Welsh section of the CDG (cave diving group) in 1983. He is a member, qualified diver and examiner, of the CDG and South Wales Caving Club (SWCC). In the UK he normally caves in South Wales or the Forest of Dean and tries to get to the Lot two or three times a year.

Besides caving he loves Cricket and is captain of Cam Cricket Club Sunday team. He also enjoys mountain biking. "I'm lucky to live in a house on the edge of extensive woodland near Cam Gloucestershire so have a large area to play in."

Andrew has been married to Sue, a superintendent radiographer, for 20 years. He has two sons, David and Chris, and three Guinea pigs (Fudge, Bungle and Boddington).

You can buy Underwater guide to the Lot & Dordogne from http://www.lot46.com/. (Aven International Publications, Swindon, SN2 2AZ; e-mail: [email protected]; £7 plus Post and Packaging.) For more details of cave diving in France see our Cave Diving section.