Buttered Badger Potholing Club
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Joining the cete

Tom Tom, Adam Walmsley, Mark S, Mark R
6/6/15

Joining the cete [1]
Over the years after first encountering the Badgers back in the Vercors in 2011, it was with increasing frequency that I found myself tagging along as an interloping Yorkie, be it to their usual stomping grounds of Rowter, Nettle, Rowter, or Rowter, or be it on one of their excursions abroad to the Dales or China. I suppose inevitably the day came when a presumably bemused postman delivered a letter addressed to Mr B. Badger, ticking the box to confirm my intention to join their ranks.

A weekend got pencilled in, and a request was put forward by Mark R for a "dangly classic". With a good forecast ahead, Black Shiver was picked as our pot of choice. After a leisurely breakfast at Inglesport, largely spent proposing ideas to Jane for Gritty Grindr, the soon-to-be-added dating section of UKCaving [2], we were soon battling our way against the wind over to the entrance. Mark seeming particularly impressed with the sail-like qualities his Meander was exhibiting.
My vacated role as interloping Yorkie had been filled by Walmslers, who demonstrated a remarkable memory of where the entrance was, where we were greeted by a heap of rotting ovine remains. Crawling through the water flowing from said remains, I pondered how homeopathist cavers cope with the presumably increasing effects of such carcasses as they descend. Thankfully, that's not my cup of tea (speaking of which, does a homeopathist's tea get weaker as it brews?), so the influence soon wore off and we started the good bits.

The "air of foreboding" in the guide book and in my memory seemed absent this time around, and we made steady progress down to the base of the big rift, aided by the p-bolts placed since last time I was there. I'd entirely erased the subsequent crawl from my memory, but it didn't last long, and it wasn't too many minutes before we reached Black Shiver's foamy conclusion and were on our way back out. Unlike my previous visit, there was pleasingly no need for a wallow in the Black Dub this time around, and we were soon greeted by the stench of the entrance occupant. 3 hours underground left plenty of time for tea drinking, eating a cracking dinner (thanks, Jane!) and pub crawl to the Wheatsheaf to round off a top day.
Here's to my first exploits as a badger, and to (hopefully) many more to come. Who knows, I may even pay my membership fee now.

[1] Schott, Ben (2002). Schott's Original Miscellany. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
 
[2] This is not true. Without this caveat I suspect I might not be allowed to stay again.