Yorkshire - Fireworks
Jan, Pete, Mark
Plan was to do Simpson - Valley Entrance and derig on the Sunday, but due to the cave having too many pitches, it turned into a 'how many pitches can Pete rig on a single rope' trip.
Being the most efficient and well organised group in the Kingsdale faction we were first underground, paying repects to Dave Elliot on the way. The streamway looked ok in Valley Entrance so we chucked a ladder down and headed to Simpson. The start looks worringly Swinstow like (ie. wet crawls), so it was a relief to get to Five Steps waterfall, we rigged it with one rope and thinking we had saved a rope overkilled on the next unexpected obstacle, a 2m traverse, with a 17m length. Buoyed on by our expert skills, we forged ahead, Jan polished off his ropes and Pete took over with just a 25+65m in the bag we decided smugly the end must be near. On the next pitch Mark attempted the old Fresher Clutch-and-Plummet Technique, only thwarted by his long cowstail. Next up was the duck, with cave air rushing through 2 inches airspace you were practically sucked through it. We moved on considerably wetter, one rope left and we were expecting the Great 40m Aven instead we got a twatty 15m pot. Pete rigged down with 65m, at the bottom there was a climb and the rift continued to a similiar hole, so on he rigged, again the rift continued and down a few climbs, by this point Pete had disappeared in a fruitless, rigging frenzy, while Jan and Mark were left following a trail of rope! And surprise a little further on another small annoying pitch. A pleasant streamway exited at the bottom and we met Pete coming back, having found the Great Aven, we had succeeded in miscalculating our rope by three pitches! (some kind of record). To add insult Petes Crunchie had mysteriously completely dissolved. We exited to a clear night and lots of dew on the ground so we oversuit surfed down the hill (Which must be attempted in a more serious capacity, due to being excellent fun). Only to have to climb back up to rescue the Jingling team. Top trip.
Colm, Ben, Pui Yan, Fish
Flood - Bar exchange
Flood:Darryl, Shed, Dave, Rik, Lyndon
Bar: Andy, Goaty, Moritz, Neel
Saturday saw us do a Flood-Bar exchange trip, so we walked up Ingleborough and had a look a very wet Gaping Gill before heading to our respective entrances. I wanted to practise my rigging so I rigged while Dave checked my knots. Everyone conquered pitch 1 easily, despite the awkward takeoff, and we headed into the crawl between pitches 1 and 2. Down the very short pitch 2 brought us to my favourite pitch of the cave - an excellent free hang, where you can just whizz down the rope. It took more time to get my stop off than to get down! Through the rift and down another short pitch brought us to South East Pot, the big pitch, and Shed took over the rigging. Obstacle out of the way Rik continued and Dave went down while Lyndon went to the rebelay. I watched Lyndon do the rebelay from the top of the pitch. I was getting cold so I put my generator down my oversuit and to my horror, managed to push the carbide tub out and down the pitch. “Shit, BELOW” I cried, hoping it would miss everyone, which it did, although I couldn’t understand how it missed Lyndon who was making a big target at the rebelay below me. I then made my way down rather sheepishly and recovered the offending pot of carbide, which had nearly hit Shed at the bottom of the pitch.
Dave headed out with the Bar group up Flood, while the rest of us went to have a quick look at Gaping Gill main chamber before derigging Bar. Bar is quite strange in the fact that you go up 2 pitches and a slope, and yet the cave is as deep as Flood, which has 5 pitches and a lot of crawling. Anyway, it wasn’t long before we were at the bottom of the 1st pitch. I headed up amid complaints from Shed that he needed his spare battery as he had no light. Too late, I was half way up in the awkward bit, and I wasn’t about to go back down so I waited at the top, shining my light down the pitch while he struggled up.
Some fresher stole my wellies so I borrowed Pete Hamley's which were a size too small. Hobbled up Ingleborough and then proceeded to rig Bar Pot. This would have been easy, were it not for the three SRT parties and one Mendip ladder party who had got there before us. Bastards. Quintuple rigged first pitch, a tight squeeze at the best of times (well, for lard-arses) and painfully made it through infamous 'Bar-Pot Wormhole'. Rigging would have been OK had I been able to get a maillon through P-hanger already crowded with crabs. Goaty was under fire from ladder party throwing ropes with crabs on the end 30m down last pitch. Bastards. SE pot looked wet with no sign of the others, so we ran off to the main chamber to catch the last glimpse of daylight up the shaft. When we got back to the bottom of Flood entrance the others were just arriving. Froze tits off waiting for them to come down (while being bombarded by carbide containers, bastards). Rope got caught round a flake, so after Moritz expertly reversed prussiked back down I went up to free it (with a bit of help from Goat-man pulling me into the waterfall. Bastard). Quick exit with Goaty derigging was only hampered due to a bat trying repeated to fly into my face. Then painful walk back down to Clapham.
Saturday night is what we were all looking forward to. Once we got back from the cave, the lags had the food ready, so we demolished that very quickly and awaited the GG crowd who had taken the tap for the barrel! In the mean time, Pete was perfecting his aim with the carbide and Pringles container mortar. As soon as Shed pulled into the carpark, Pete aimed a beer can at him, while Colm wrenched the tap from his grip - the beer was ours.
We were lucky in that there were 6 Belgian cavers staying who'd brought a generous supply of Duvel, Geuze, and Hoegaarden. Yum yum. We abandoned our warm English beer quite rapidly. Fireworks ensued, a bit pathetic, but then the serious stuff got going - Carbide Bin's. All those of us inside could see was the occasional fireball illuminating the gleeful faces outside. Rik and Andy worked on the ultimate carbide explosion (ongoing research....) Unfortunately, the fun had to stop by 2AM as the farmer is notoriously bad-tempered and has been known to spray the assembled cars with manure!
Jan, Edd, Neel, Joachim
Quick trip down the little known Aygill, smoothly negotiated to the bottom of the first pitch, where Ed and Neil chickened out of the tight slot into streamway crawl, admittedly I was bit nervous in case it rained some more. Joachim was keen so we just went to look at the top of the second pitch, far enough to hear the roar of the main drain. Hyperactive Ed went for swim in the river after we got out. Good trip, easier with SRT.
Bull Pot of the Witches
Colm, Mark, Fish, Pui Yan
Cow Pot - Rigging Group
Cow Pot - Second Group
Darryl, Rik, Moritz
This trip was meant to be a Lancaster trip, but when we got to the entrance there was a 9-person queue, so we headed into Cow Pot on Pete’s rigging instead. In and out in an efficient 2 hours.
Dossing in the van
Feet hurt too much (tons of gushing blood) to go caving on Sunday, so had a snooze in the van. Then went to rescue Pete.
Tom's neofleece got stolen, and my bed was swiped by some unscrupulous member of some shitty Mendip club, but I'm not linking the two at all........