Buttered Badger Potholing Club
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BBQs, Parties and Tight Wet Passages

Addy P, Daddy Badger (Mark R), Joe R
Sunday 18th November 2012

Hillocks Mine (through trip)

It all started after Adam expressed an interest in a spot of caving on a cool November weekend, Daddy Badger was completely behind the proposal and Joe only took moderate levels of persuading before he cracked like a cheap piñata being attacked by an axe wheedling child. To set ourselves up for the cave we were invited to stop by at Mark Wrights tower for a spot of BBQ and beer with a bunch of other cavers. Though the beer and music was good, we were somewhat left at a loose end when everyone decided to nip off to bed at 11pm, though being good badgers, we found our own entertainment at a conveniently located dance party next door, where the beer was moderately price and the tunes almost banging.

We awoke to the sound of our well rested colleagues from the previous evening stomping around our heads in the kitchen, clearly unaware of our late night party fun and uncaring of any hang overs which may have resulted. Taking the hint, we packed up and shot back to BBPC HQ for some breakfast, kindly prepared by a surprisingly awake Lizzy, who was super happy we’d taken her up on the offer to fry off the bacon for us at 8am.

Bacon consumed we headed out to the mine. I’ve been in Hillocks mine a few times now, but never made it past the second chamber for reasons to complex and legally incriminating to mention. On arrival Mark disappeared over to one of the shafts to drop down a 70m rope for our exit later, throughout he kept giggling to himself about Meccano, lord knows why.

Exit arranged we hit the main entrance and before long were at the first pitch. Being brave badgers, Mark decided it was my turn to rig (ummmm….) which was achieved with only a modicum of faff and a dribble of pain. It was amazing to see all the work done by generations past to carve out the mine by hand, all so the lead could be stuck on roofs throughout the land (modern man has unfortunately realised it is easier to remove said lead from their local church than to mine and process it themselves, tusk).

Much crawling, head first sliding down some steep bits (with generous use of the face brake method), getting lost and naff rigging later brought us to Meccano and Mark’s laughing became more regular, followed by an apology and the explanation that freedom lay at the end of a 20m crawl through icy water in a 300x300mm passage, and everyone loves icy water followed by a wait at the bottom of a 70m pitch!! In the end the deed was done, and not as bad as it sounds.

Passage and pitch done, we coiled our rope, packed our kit and headed for home. Another good trip done.

Up the badgers!!