The weekend started like any other caving weekend with a 4 hour miserable drive (damn those 50mph M1 road works and half term traffic) up to Badger HQ from London. Upon arrival I was greeted by some friendly badgers and a bottle of Hobgoblin , oh and Holly.
The evening was spent sorting Badger related admin stuff and arrangments for the up-coming AGM weekend.
Rowter Hole Mark W. Dig and Giants Hole faffage.
Mark R, Chris H, Robbie S, Adam P and Mark W (Giants)
Saturday 23rd October
After a long nights drinking, chatting and a small amount of sleep we rose to tea and pork products. The plan for the day was to have a dig around in Rowter Hole followed later in the day by a brief bolt climbing trip to Giants Hole. We drove to Rowter Farm and after changing hauled ourselves over to the hole.
After our descent Mark and Adam started to install the 2nd layer of Maccaferri catch netting to enable us to deposit the spoils of our digging efforts. Meanwhile Robbie and I cleared out a load of loose material from the top of the dig pitches and built a small retaining wall to tidy things and reduce the amount of loose material gradually finding its way down to the dig. This could also be used as a nice t-making shelf.
Adam was first at the coal face scratching and shoveling loose boulders, pebbles, grit, sand, mud and water into buckets while Mark hauled bucket after bucket up the pitch. I joined Adam and after a few minutes of shuffling and some very lightly filled buckets we started to get into a rhythm and increased the pace of our bucket filling. Robbie and Mark worked at hauling our often overfilled buckets until a change of pace was ordered by Mark. He and Robbie swapped with Adam and I and so our hauling efforts began. Bucket after bucket was hauled all too slowly for Mark but we got there in the end and shifted a good amount of material.
We left at 2.45 in an attempt to exit in time to change and drive down the road to Giants Hole where we were due to meet Mark W at 4. Adams slow prusik meant it was a hasty whipping off of oversuits followed by a drive down the road wearing furries, wellies and helmets to get to our next location.
We met Mark W and donned our oversuits to go and find something in Giants that Mark had heard about on the grapevine. We wandered down the passage until we reached an awkward climb up into a small tube. Mark R climbed and wriggled his way up and once we heard his voice echoing a call to follow him up Mark W climbed up to join him. The squeezy tube however seemed to be all too much for Mark who was forced to beat an embarrased retreat back down the climb. Robbie and I climbed and squeezed with little effort to join Mark R. Adam and his ample derriere decided it best to remain with Mark W. The aven went up for about 10m as far as we could see but will have to wait for another try.
We changed and drove back to Castleton where we tasted the delightful beverages on tap at the Cheshire Cheese followed by dumping kit at the TSG (our resting place for the evening) and a bunny pie at the George pub. Merryment continued when Robbie and Gina returned from the Masson AGM and the beer flowed long into the night.
Peak Cavern all Badgers tourist trip
Mark R, Chris H, Robbie S, Gina and Tim N
Sunday 24th October.
After another heavy night we arose to tea and Gina's pork product fry up - thanks Gina! We had to be in Peak Cavern by 10am. We were only 10 minutes late.... Looks like the badgers are finally brushing off the bad habit of getting up late after our nocturnal activities.
After a bit more faffing - mainly Tim trying to make his camera kit waterproof - Robbie led us into Peak Cavern. Mark and myself were looking forward to this as it was our first time in Peak Cavern and for Tim this was his first revisit in 15 years.
We trudged through the show cave entrance and down the slide and on and on into the cave. Having been told about deep sections of water by Robbie I was worried that my diminutive stature or being a 'short arse' as Adam and Mark like to remind me would lead to some near drownings however this deep water (or at least nothing above my testicles) never reared its ugly head. Robbie's tour of the numerous passages and sumps - all 6 of them makes me wonder if he has a secret desire to do some cave diving, either that or he just likes sitting and looking at deep still bodies of cold water.
We had a good walk around lots of lovely passageways interspersed with some photography. Mark, Tim and myself had cameras with us and Tim had treated himself to a couple of Firefly flash units. After hearing his stories of testing them in the bedroom we were interested to see how they would fair in an underground environment. They worked but caused ALOT of swearing as Tim couldn't get the flash firing to synchronise with the camera flash. This scenario went on for some time with one or the other going off a second or two after the other and usually when you least expected it.