I arrived at Leek High School at around 9 Friday night and met up with Geoff Ward and Tim Nixon (new member of the club for the last quarter of this year). We pitched tents and went inside for some beer. The hidden earth had set up a bar in the school canteen serving a great beer, they had 36 barrels of it!
I was there to help Mark Wright with the SRT races- there was an SRT course, ladder climbing, knot tying, bag packing and a speed ascent of a 30m rope during the day time but the evenings were for drinking, chatting and generally having fun.
The first night was great- supposed to be pretty quiet but ended up being a big party, met lots of new people I’ve never met before and heard about some of the amazing things they have done in their lives- expeditions all over the world, cave diving trips, digging breakthroughs… it was never ending and inspiring to hear!
The days were full of lectures and talks in 3 theatres about all manner of cave related things. There was a gallery of photographs, art gallery, slideshows, speleo olympics (cool little obstacle course) SRT races, gear shops, book shops, BCA stall, BCRA stall, stalls from clubs all over the country and a school canteen serving beer and food- what more could you ask for?!
Saturday night was relatively tame compared to Friday but still ended up being a late one. Sunday saw more of the same daytime shenanigans in the exhibition hall and I went to watch the Peak district round up (a summary of the year’s discoveries and new leads or ongoing digs). I had no idea quite how much stuff was being dug by so many different people in the peaks and up in Yorkshire and new things are still being found all the time!
The whole weekend was great, there were several university clubs there en-masse (would like to see LUPC there next year!) and I met a lot of the people from the Berger expedition again. The BBPC was plugged and talked about at every opportunity, I also enquired about the DCA- all we have to do is get in touch and BBPC club membership will be free.
All in all a very, very good couple of days, met some fascinating, amazing people, drank lots and lots and lots of beer, bought a couple of books and now have a brain full of ideas about digging projects, expeditions abroad, places to cave in Yorkshire and the Peaks, places to go and photograph, club huts to stay in, even found a company there who embroiders and prints clothes- cheaply!
Final verdict- 10/10 Badgers!