Chris Haigh, Robbie Shone, Mark Richardson
Chris and I awoke bleary eyed on Robbie’s futon to the sound of cups of tea being made downstairs. The night before in the Red Lion saw us sample every beer on tap, and then try some again just to make sure- I settled on the Barnsley Bitter but only because the Absolution was so bloody strong! We slowly got up and had breakfast where we all tried to read the description for P8 to refresh our memories, for some reason nothing was going in so we decided to just wing it instead.
I’m not sure who was most pleased to see us leave the house, Gina or the Sakai the cat but both were left in peace to get on with what they had to do- catching mice and small birds, reading papers on sea level change indicators during the penultimate ice-age and whatever it was Gina was doing. We got to the cave and changed into damp over suits and were treated to some more of Robbie’s welly dancing, this time with a demonstration of the 19th way to wear a buff, as some sort of dance aid… very interesting!
Although I had been to P8 only a couple of years ago, I couldn’t for the life of me remember the way there, luckily Robbie’s memory was better than mine and the three of us were soon approaching the entrance, hoping for it to be dry.
When we got there, we were somewhat surprised to see the entrance almost full of ice with just enough space to squeeze through, not enough to stay out of the water though. We got through the ice OK and slipped down the cave, stopping to admire the overly complicated but never the less effective rigging Robbie came up with for the first pitch. The second pitch was tackled on a ladder and within a jiffy we were at the bottom. Chris, being the only one of us not to have been down there was, of course encouraged into the sump to have a look at the rock face at the very very end, which he did!
On the way out we went to look at a dig and heard stories about Keith ‘Ben’ Bentham from Mr Shone, he sounded like an incredibly dedicated guy and his sad death came as a loss to the Derbyshire exploration scene. Within a short period of time we were out of the cave having received only a minor dampening from the icy water and were soon safe and sound in a tea shop in Castleton…. not a pub I know but tea somehow seemed more appealing than another pint!
An easy bimble for the Badgers but still a lovely little cave, certainly worth the visit again!