BBPC: Luke, TomTom
LUPC: Ben, Emma, Jack, Jack-mu, Louise, Rachael, Zoe
It was a cold and fearsome night when we arrived in the fields by Giants hole, everyone was pretty manly about the situation and no passing comments of 'pub' were made, ehem. We kitted up our overly keen freshers and then I took Jack-mu ahead to do some rigging of Garlands ahead of the main party. Fortunately the cave was full of 8 year olds so hopefully this showed freshers that caving is easy peasy, there would be no cold and wet tonight.
The rigging of Garlands didn't get very far before the others caught up, they were only a couple of minutes behind us in the end. A bit of jiggery pokery went on as Jack-mu got the Y-hang in just the right spot, or at least a spot that aesthetically pleased Luke. We hopped on down and then waited as one by one Luke guided our keen freshers onto the rope. Garlands was moderately wet this evening, you could mostly keep out of the spray at the bottom though. Sooner or later we were all back together as a happy family and we set of into the crab walk. I am always surprised to be reminded quite how long this goes on for with much squeezing and ducking required to navigate the tight bits. Unfortunately sometimes the only way through is to lie down in the river, which isn't as pleasant as you might assume.
With the dunking at 'The Vice' ticked off we were teased by the crab walk opening up into strolling passage. Sadly it wasn't to last as we entered our last bit of crab walk, fortunately though this soon turned into the 'Eating House', the pool that marks the furthers parts of our travels. A quick check-up on how people were feeling gave the consensus of 7% enjoyment, good enough. We had planned the round trip which meant finding the 'Giants Windpipe' and then our way back down. We made our way into drier passages and then I decided to get the obligatory wrong turn out of the way (best to do it early). 5 minutes of wasted crawling later and Luke the saviour had us back on track.
As we watched Rachael trying to get up the first handline we shouted much helpful advice such as 'do it less bad' and 'try a more successful technique', I don't think it went down all too well. I'm not entirely sure what went on up there but I'm fairly sure some sort of hauling assistance was used for a few people. I think we managed to not get lost after this, apart from my brief suggestion of going into a passage that blatantly was 1m long...
The walking and climbing was fairly easy going and we soon found ourselves at the Giants Windpipe, we told the freshers to ignore the sign that suggests certain death is a certainty and I was volunteered to go first. I don't like going first down there as I know sooner or later it will actually be sumped, and thats not my thing. I crawled through and rejoiced when there was indeed space to inhale gas rather than liquid. Crawl crawl crawl and then out to drier freedom, listening to the shouts of awe as the others came on through.
Once we were mostly back together we made a move again, not wanting to cool down too much. The caving from here to the pull through was pretty brief and in no time I was showing Jack-mu how not to tie a pull through. I looked back to our happy freshers, all of whom seemed totally happy. Lousie had decided she was too warm and so donned a foil blanket to save the others from the radiating heat.
The descent off the pull through is a bit squeezey if you are new to SRT and so it can be a bit awkward, especially if your body is suffering the effects of being too warm. We didn't want people hanging around too much so we split into smaller groups to get to the pitch out whilst Luke and myself (Luke) made the pull through more pull throughable.
By the time we had got to Garlands a good few people were already on their way out, and after not much time at all just Ben, Luke and myself were left. We de-rigged and neatly stuffed the knotted rope into the bag, I couldn't have been wetter so that was a problem for tomorrow Tom. Run run stubble run and we were out into mildly more tepid air, great success.
The journey home was pretty quick, what with it being 2am or something. We stopped for food on the way home at Maccy D's lad and inadvertently did a drive by on some sort of chav car meet.
All in all success, with freshers even claiming to have enjoyed it... total success then :)