14, 15, 16/01/2011
The weekend started with some classic faffage (the 4 people who had worked till 5 beating the 2 unemployed people to Yorkshire). The 6 of us who had decided to come up on the Friday (Simon, Chris A, Adam, Joe, Sarah and myself) decided to start on the weekends alcohol until we got hungry at about 1am and decided to then eat 1kg of Cous Cous and sausage. Whilst cooking our feast we made a polite call to Chris H to ask him to buy more booze as we had drunk our weekends supply. Eventually we remembered we were doing a cave in the morning so we went to bed. Apparently Chris A snored like a train that night, but I did not hear a thing so I think it’s just a plot to steal Dilly or something.
We awoke to moans about Chris’ snoring and the rain literally being blasted against the hut, mmmm cave weather. We had a sausage sandwich breakfast and arranged to meet our fellow cavers in Clapham. In the short drive to Clapham I somehow left Chris A and Simon behind even though I was doing about 20 due to the road being mostly a river (more Faffage on his part I believe). Once we got to Clapham we sat in the cars and discussed the merits of the pub over caving in the weather currently trying to blow my car over into a flooded river. Upon the arrival of the others we manned up.
Our Caving team now consisted of:
Mark R, Chris H, Ben, Chris A, Simon, Adam, Joe, and myself.
We would be joined by team photography later on.
The walk up to the cave was as pleasant as ever, with much worrying about sun tan lotion and the such. Upon arrival at the cave we decided that any mildly damp entrance would be a no no, so we picked Bar Pot and Small mammal pot. Team Epic (Joe, Simon, Chris A and myself) would do small mammal, whilst Team B (Mark R, Chris H, Adam and Ben) would do Bar, hopefully meeting at the big pitch.
Joe rigged the first pitch whilst doing the splits and descended down until he almost fell off the rope. After some moaning about a lack of a fig8 at the end of the rope (which ended 4m off the floor) he rigged a knot pass. I was second down and full on failed with the knot pass, no idea how but these things happen. I eventually made it down and went off to find Joe to help him find the way. After a short discussion we agreed it was down the tiny hole to the next pitch and I went to watch as he started to rig. Unfortunately the rocks I was standing on whilst watching Joe rig decided to move, sending one down the hole and landing far too close to Joe’s hand, lucky!!! Joe went down the pitch and when Simon and Chris A found us I went down the hole. That last statement was a lie, I could not fit through the hole due to my bulging 6 pack or something so we sent Simon through to cave with Joe and Chris A and I went back up the first pitch to go and do Bar pot. Bar pot is equally tight at the top but we both squeezed through with the help of gravity to begin our chase of the others. We got down to the main pitch fairly quickly but it had traffic issues due to another group. Simon and Joe where there rigging a mostly wet pitch and by the time they were finished the dry pitch was free, so I obviously went down there.
Chris A and I where caving on our own again so we chased after the others down the tunnels that weave their way to Main chamber. We passed the returning Chris H, Adam and Ben on the way there who told us of the epicness of main chamber in flood. We eventually reached Main chamber and it was a brilliant sight. Enough water coming down to completely block any light coming in through the shaft, and the noise made shouting at people 1 metre away seem like a whisper. It was time to begin our return journey, we weaved our way up down, left and right through the tunnels until we met the tail enders at the big pitch. Chris A and myself were left to de-rig Bar whilst the others headed out and de-rigged small mammal. I said I would de-rig the wet pitch as I was pretty warm so Chris A shot up the dry pitch like a whippet. I de-rigged the wet pitch and enjoyed the 30secs which I got to spend out of the water. When I did get to the top I didn’t realise it was the top, and so when I did realise I was quite happy. I required Chris A’s help to get myself and 70m of wet rope over the last climb (Thanks Chris). We started our journey out and I stumbled my way to the last pitch (Again with Chris A’s help). I went up the last pitch first and took my bag to the exit for some gangly caver to carry to the car. I went back into the cave to “Help” Chris A de-rig the last pitch and help him with the two bags he had strapped to him. Once we were out in the wet moors we decided not to hang about and get back to the cars at a fairly brisk pace. We chuckled at the thought of us having the way in to 50% of the cars but the others probably weren’t so happy waiting at the bottom. We eventually made it to the cars, got changed and got warm.
We headed back to the hut for food and drink, this journey was somewhat hampered by the road again only being 11% tarmac and strangely flowing. Food wasn’t far off ready when we got back so thanks to all who got involved in that. After we were well fed it was safe to break out the alcohol and go to town. Standard drinking activities soon started and after a trip to the local that never seemed to shut we came home. It appears that chair caving wakes up people so we got a little bit told off for that. Good night!
We awoke to the sweet smell of bacon and so we decided to get up and be useful. After we all buzzed around finding things to do we decided to go laugh at, I mean fix Mark R’s car. The wet roads had caused it to have a midlife crisis/be possessed, which was quite amusing. After videoing evidence that the car was a bit strange (only way to turn the engine off was to brake, warning buzzer for wipers, wipers doing some Morse code, the usual) we decided to try and do something. To fix this problem we called the RAC and went for a walk. It was raining again and Yorkshire was flooded so we soon gave up. Eventually Mark R’s car fixed its self (mostly) so we all headed off after a very enjoyable weekend. Thanks for the company Badgers!