Chris A, Jack, Luke, Rachael, Steph, TomTom + (Naomi and Ryan)
27/28/29 March 2015
As is now tradition, by the time Friday had arrived the sum total of what is left of LUPC had almost entirely dropped out of the trip. The hut booked for 15 people had become an excessive space for 8 people. We met Ryan and Naomi at the hut fairly late on and after being frowned and tutted at by the locals headed off to bed at something o'clock in the morning.
Our plans for the weekend were the definition of loose and we had only vaguely decided on todays trip the night before. After the lunchtime breakfast we agreed that Jingling pot was the one for us and so Luke and myself went to see what ropes we had. They weren't entirely ideal but they'd do the job. Luke spent 7 hours untangling and coiling one (Which Jack would later recoil for reasons we still don't fully understand) whilst I packed a 80m into a bag designed for far less. The end result was a tackle sack denser than lead for the Lateral cleft (gigidy) route and a coiled rope for the main drop.
Ryan and Naomi had pulled out of the trip due to some sort of cat washing reasons and so there would just be 6 of us for the descent. Much like drop outs are now obligatory so is our ability to walk in the wrong direction, and so after a quick tour of the moors we arrived at what was definitely Jingling.
Luke went to go play with the tree whilst Jack was given the honour of rigging the Little gully. As Jack went to work we watched Luke and his mystical ways which eventually resulted in a rigged drop. Since Steph was very new to SRT it was decided that she would go down the gaping chasm, after all what better way to motivate a newbie than free hanging over a 50m drop. I was somewhere halfway down the cleft route when I looked through a gap to see Steph passing, she wasn't travelling at terminal velocity and so I assumed that all had been a success at the top. Rachael jointed Steph down the main drop as Chris and Luke caught us up down the cleft route whilst Jack was just finishing with the rigging on the last drop, so far so good!
I have no idea when we started or even what time it was now but we all seemed to get to the bottom in a reasonable-ish amount of time. We skipped out the last pitch and just diagonally free climbed it, it's pretty easy and saves a lot of faffing. Chris and Rachael tried to convince us that the dig down there went somewhere but we were too wise to their ways, instead turning and heading for daylight, or at least more daylight.
Luke activated international rescue and carried a frog out in his tackle sack, scaling the main pitch like a scalded whippet. Everyone else had decided on the cleft route with me manning the front. The way out went more or less to plan, the SRT isn't too difficult and so continuation of teaching was possible on the ropes. Some encouragement was needed on the pitch heads from time to time and eventually we convinced Steph that certain death wasn't imminent.
With the promise of a victory hug we managed to clear the traverse and up the last few prussiks to the surface, which was pretty dire with some light sideways rain. One of the benefits of being first is that you get to wait the longest in this weather.
Once we were all out it was a quick stumble back to the car and into warm cosy clothes. Apart from the carrots in the spag bol deeply upsetting Rachael the evening meal was a success, as was the cake! More gin and games and it was again something o'clock in the morning and time for bed.
It was another lunchtime breakfast with the most vague of plans for the day. There was some pushing for more SRT today but fortunately Luke and myself were able to outrank them all and decided on Great Douk (bliss). Weirdly I (and everyone else but Luke) had never done this cave before so it was nice to finally tick it off.
As we changed in the layby I was given a phone to take into the cave by Steph, she had requested some photo's to be taken. I did question how likely this would just end in disaster but she proved her point by dunking the phone in a nearby puddle.
The walk was assisted by some more sideways drizzle but after a sensible amount of walking we arrived at depression where the stream appears from nowhere then equally disappears to nowhere. We didn't read any descriptions of the way and so it was inevitable that we were not able to complete the full through trip. Having just read the description it actually sounds simple, although seeing how wet Jack got from almost completing it makes me glad we were not able to.
To say we bimbled through the cave would be over selling it, we were much more casual than that. The singing was much more important and we even managed to pick up a new song or two on the way. It was a nice little jaunt on a Sunday afternoon anyway, cleaned my caving gear as well which was nice of it. In little to no time we were back out again and heading back to the cars to get changed.
Shame so many dropped out but what can you do, bloody students!
South Wales next weekend with Badgers at full force,