On Friday 8th of November, the cavers prepared to head North to chilly depths of Yorkshire. After loading up the minibus with kit and ourselves with ginger beer, we eagerly left London at 7pm. The minibus sped up the highway, with a merry Eli serenading the group with a mixture of Adele and premature Christmas songs. As the ginger beer bottles emptied, the bus filled with laughter and mischief. Finally 6 hours, and one huge Tesco trip later, we arrived at our final destination; NPC; a caving hut in rural Yorkshire, where we unloaded into a fire-lit living room and embarked upon a feast.
Tamzin, Peter, Eli
Thanks to the efforts of the kitchen elves (Rhys, Medhi and Eli) we were awoken by the tantalizing smells of a classic caving aka full English breakfast. Soon after this, we set off. For the expedition the team separated into three subgroups, each one heading to different cave system; Jingling, the Easegill system and Gaping Gills. Every group got the opportunity to use SRT (Single Rope Technique) at some point in these caves, climbing and abseiling, for some of us this was for the first time.
With height phobia, we set off to a large hole in the ground with some trees on the side (with Dave, Medhi, Sam) The first one is filled with human so we decided to move on with life and went to another hole, I mean cave lol. Having barely any experience in SRT, we moved like a snail sticking to the wall, apart from 00Eli who move smoothly like Bond. Also we were .warmly. welcomed by the weather in Yorkshire, within 10 minutes the weather changed from rain to hail then to snow (how friendly is that?) As singing .what do we do with drunken caver. is too mainstream, 00Eli decide to sing the Phantom of the opera, of course out of tune version, due to the .amazing. voice of that caver, we sped up significantly. Sliding down the mud slider, aka frozen ground, we made it to the car and finally got back to our warm lovely hut.
Eli (I assume)
Experienced cavers, Andy and Mike led this group. We made our way through the Easegill system (the largest in Britain with over 70km of passage) via wretched rabbit. The descent began with abseiling two abseiling short pitches, at which point we bumped into another group of friendly cavers. From this point Andy navigated us towards a cavern whose ceiling was lined with beautiful pale stalactites. We paused for a while and turned off our head-torches, plummeting the group into serene pitch-blackness. Mike, who took a slightly different route, navigated the way out and safely brought the group back to the valley where we had begun.
The biggest group went down Gaping Gill, through three separate entrances; Flood, Bar and Stream. After four hours of scrambling and abseiling, the groups reconvened in a large cavern; where they lit sky lanterns, which gracefully floated into the waterfall to be promptly extinguished. The groups all exited through a new route and by around 10pm clambered out into the starlight Yorkshire valleys.
Meanwhile, back in the warm cabin, the games had begun. After a brief game of Carcassonne, the marathon of a 1000 piece puzzle had begun where some bleary eyed cavers began a staring contest with small chunks of “Europe” that progressed into the following morning. The other cavers played notorious caving games and drunk themselves under the table *cough cough Sam.
Bright-eyed and bushy tailed the cavers awoke and embarked upon another Michelin star breakfast. At around midday (according to Rhys caving before 12, in the absence of Jarvist, is bad luck) we divided into two groups: a group of cavers who headed to Notts 2 and walkers who went for relaxed stroll in the surrounding hills.
At Notts 2 the group traversed what appeared to be caver-made scaffold and waded chilly streams until the cavern was so narrow, even Rhys couldn.t squeeze through it. At this point they decided it was in the best interests of everyone to head back. The climb out was challenging, but fuelled by crunchy caramels and Tesco.s finest chocolate bars, they ascended into the glorious northern sunlight. Here they joyfully reunited with the walking group, who had been patiently waiting for them, with bountiful chippies in hand. Together at last they drove off into the sunset, listening to the dulcet tones of Eli.s rendition of Paparazzi (Lady Gaga).
Oh, and by .distance. we mean a foot and a half trench on the road-side where Sandeep had carefully selected the optimal turning area. It was a low point for the mini-bus, a really sticky situation. In order to appease the ditch gods, Saber bravely sacrificed his finger, and as if by magic the bus was freed. Meanwhile Rhys, Tamzin and Sandeep had begun a game of sardines with a friendly farming family. Finally, the group got organised and back on the road to NPC. After some speedy cleaning we began the return voyage to London, arriving at around 1am, sleepy, worn out and incredibly satisfied.
Tamzin, Peter, Elirequire('../footer.php'); ?>