Buttered Badger Potholing Club
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Giants Hole, facing your fears….

Adam P, Vannie P, Vanny M, Pete Fay, Tony Fay, Jamie Soughton

Apologies: Dom Clarke – Dislocated Ovary and flower pressing engagement.

The origins of many great ideas in history (atomic bomb, the crusades, extended licencing hours) can be traced back to a night in the pub, so it was when I agreed to take a group of novice Liverpool locals down a cave after a few ales on Lark Lane. Reasons for taking on the challenged ranged from facing fears of cold enclosed spaces (Vannie) right through to not wanting to appear wimpy in front of friends (me).

After literally minutes of planning, I assembled my group of willing hero’s at the public car park on Winetts pass on windy Saturday morning. I had feared I was dealing with amateurs, however the group faffed like pros and managed to arrive over a 2hr period in the assigned location, just like normal then.

We made haste to the “Hole” to ensure Vanny could get back to the midlands in time to not see his parents and dressed the group from a pile of LUPC and BBPC off cast clothing and kit. I was impressed to see the ingenious use of gaffa tape to secure clothes back together, betraying Pete as the true professional he is. A quick photograph was taken in case needed by police/memorial manufactures at a later date, and we were off.

Things started well, with us arriving at the ladder pitch in good time for me to warn people of the dangers of ladders (having to coil the dam things after use), then, one at a time, belay them into the depths.

As ever the crab walk presented different challenges to each person depending on physical form, with those of reduced height nearly drowning in each puddle, and the better fed of us having to crawl and squeeze more than would be liked. Just before the fixed metal ladder, two of our number decided that “crabbing” wasn’t for them and decided to head out with assistance from Vanny, leaving myself, Pete and Jamie to complete the round trip.

Shortly after we left our comrades, we encountered the turn off towards the Giants Wind Pipe. Although I must have been in this cave dozens of times by now, I always get a little lost at this point. Not wanting to lead the group astray, I set out alone to confirm the way on…….. the way on which was a lot further away than I remembered, leaving the group still wondering what “’ll be back in a few minutes” meant some 40 minutes later.

Way on identified we set off to our destiny, having been given the impression by someone (cough) that the worst was behind us. This may not entirely have been true as the windpipe and its warning of death appeared followed by a slippery walk 10m above our way in (and certain doom).A few panics aside, we mastered the upper levels well and returned quickly to the ladder and the exit.Pausing only to record some “bucket challenge” shots in the water fall, we were on our way out and to warmth.

As is legally required, photographs and public nudity followed before we headed back to Liverpool and a well needed pint, bottle of wine, gin, pub dinner and some booze.

I’m not sure if the group will ever be convinced to return, but they all did a fantastic job, with barely a call out triggered…

Up the badgers!