Mark R, TomTom
Mark had somehow convinced me to return to Nettle pot to have a scratch around in Derbyshire hall for the evening. We met at the lay-by at a time far too late for sensible people and promptly got changed. On the walk up to nettle I realised I was pantin-less, I decided I wouldn't go back for it, which was both a mistake and a good move. A mistake as it would have really helped, and a good move as it was in fact at my house.
The way on was as per usual, Mark rigging at terminal velocity and me trying to catch up. It's quite fun sliding down the entrance pitch but probably not the best for newbies as I rarely got to look at my descender most of the way down. The way to Derbyshire Hall is wank and generally involves flat out crawling through mud or trying to get your mud filled chest croll to close onto the rope. We managed to spread out a bit but regrouped at the pitch that drops down to the Freeze Squeeze since the rope was in my bag. This pitch head has approximately nine hundred bolt options, although they all seem to start at the head of a muddy slope of doom.
The descender was essentially useless for the descent due to now being some sort of large muddy stick but we reached the bottom in some sort of controlled fashion. I left my SRT kit in a puddle in the hope that cave monsters would wash it and went to catch up Mark through the squeezes. Upon reaching the Freeze Squeeze I came to the conclusion that there was no way a human could fit through it, so I took off my helmet and proceeded to mop up some mud off the floor with my hair. It actually looks far worse than it is and I somewhat popped through with only mild effort.
The way on from here was fairly easy now with a few ducks and crawls leading to Derbyshire hall. I'd not been here before so I had a quick look around on the way down the slope to what appeared to be a vaguely started dig. We poked around for a few minutes and formulated a plan that would require the most effort. Mark wanted a shaft wide enough to install a commercial elevator so we got to work building a wall away from the dig and then digging around the dig to fill behind this new wall. The digging was simple as it's all loose spoil that's already been moved once, but could be done far faster with a spade. There was about 2ft of loose rocks over the cave glued rocks to move and we managed to put in a fair effort. It would only take a few trips to make a big difference down there, and in reality Derbyshire hall is a easyish 45min cave from the surface.
Eventually we called it a day and thought about making a break for the pub. We squirmed our way back out through the squeezes to find that the Freeze Squeeze was easier on the way out (if a lot more mud in hair inducing). SRT kits back on and then a slippy climb up to freedom with our mud caked crolls soon got us to the base of the main pitch. My suit had several tons of stowaway mud caked into it and my crolls were still fairly useless at closing on their own by now. The entrance pitch would be much easier with a pantin, especially the tight bits, but with only moderate faffage I emerged at the surface.
As is traditional we wandered around a bit in the field before heading in the right direction and managed to be changed into lighter clothing by around 10:45pm. We shot down to Castleton and for our sins we cheated on the Cheese and went to the Peak Inn.
A successful nights starter dig, just a shame that it leaves you as some sort of mud monster.
Much cleaner LUPC trip down Bar Pot on Sunday!