Chris Adams, Robbie Shone, Mark Richardson, David Harley (SUSS)
Mark Richardson’s Birthday!
10th Feb 2011
The evening begun as Mark and I sat eating a birthday celebration meal of ‘Rowter’ (so named as the meal eaten before going down Rowter Hole which this time consisted of pasta, cream, cream cheese, prawns, smoked salmon and some other stuff what is nice init...). We were a little late leaving Mark’s house but definitely had the entrance rope so didn’t need to turn back. As we arrived at the farm gate at around half 7, Mark admitted that it had been a long felt want of his to drive the wonderful and all-powerful fiesta, so after a quick change of drivers we bumbled along to meet Robbie and his friend from SUSS, Dave Harley. Mother nature was evidently aware it was Mark’s birthday as we were able to change into our caving gear enjoying the tranquil calm of the star lit rolling hills of Derbyshire without wrestling with the elements and sheltering from sheet rain.
On the walk over to the entrance, it was proclaimed that we would need to be in the pub relatively early this evening to ensure enough beer was consumed to validate the passing of 25 years since Mark graced the planet with his presence. When we arrived at the hole, the covers had been removed and there was a 100m rope rigged with the word ‘Dransfield’ written on the end, bemused as to whom else had ventured into our hole we descended the multi-pitch to the dig face.
No one appeared to be in the main chasm at the bottom of the shaft so we continued on down to the dig face itself and didn’t uncover any new faces there either so Dave and I got to work digging and filling buckets as Robbie and Mark begun hauling. After approximately 4 minutes (or what felt like...) Mark and Robbie decided that it was time to leave and headed off. Dave and I weren’t sure if they were joking but when a lack of response came from our questions, it became clear they had already begun to head out after what was probably close to 10 buckets.
Before Dave and I reached the bottom of the pitch Mark had found the mysterious cave dwellers and identified them as TSG members who were just having a look about and were currently exploring above the pitches which descend to the dig face in Rowter’s main chamber.
Mark and Robbie headed out on both ropes then I begun to climb once the first pitch was cleared followed by Dave. At the top we rocked on to the cars and got changed then headed to the Red Lion by what was now about 9.30pm. We met Tim Nixon, Bob Dearman (current chairman of DCA) and a few of Robbie’s friends in the pub and listened to tales of days gone by from some of the more experienced cavers around the table. Eventually we were ushered out after closing time so Robbie, Mark and I went back to Robbie’s for a few more drinks until 1am when we called it a night and bid each other fond farewells.
An enjoyable evening of digging, drinking and old caving stories – Happy birthday Mark!