Ben Honan, Dave Kirkpatrick, James Perry, Jarvist Frost, Jennifer R, Peter Ganson, Rebecca Diss, Úna Barker
Friday involved the usual faff before we hopped into the minibus, with 9 seats to spare. The going was slow, and I think we traumatised Jarv slightly with the playing of Sandstorm over the bridge. We visited the biggest TESCO complex I’ve ever seen in the UK, with a Holland & Barret inside the store and subway and various other shops underneath. Being the all-powerful leader that I am, I decided we were to cook a slightly more extravagant dinner as well as scrambled tofu for breakfast. Something about codes and keys and Perry and DKP didn’t occur. The SWCC was so big and so empty that we each basically had a bunk room to ourselves – madness.
I stumbled downstairs to find plenty of people awake so I got to just stand still frying eggs and abysmally failing at waking up. All the baked beans ended up spiced and I missed the eggy bread though I appear to be the only one to prefer it. The morning was rather sluggish and it was eventually decided that me and Diss would go into OFD2 to learn some route finding with Dave and Jarv to stop us from getting too lost. We dragged ourselves into the cave around midday after having the rowan tree near the entrance being pointed out. The hope being that we would at least be able to find the cave by ourselves.
Inside we decided to have a bit of an explore in the entrance series, avoiding the quickest route to allow Peter and Ben to get ahead of us. We had a poke around of shale chamber, found a way on that was probably a route to gnome passage but likely was the flat out crawl one then rejoined the main way in. I was happy to find I remembered the turning to corkscrew and we took the time for a few photos. I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to play with my new camera but I know I will be aiming to cave with those that own the better lights (Dave). We then headed on to Edward’s shortcut, easily finding the turning. I followed the example set by Dave and wedged myself down the climb instead of whatever I had attempted my last time through, saved me falling a chunk. Edward’s shortcut was as I remembered and Diss voiced her typical objections to OFD and the lack of ropes.
Diss is far superior to me at reading the survey, crossroads makes no sense to me. Couldn’t get it to line up with what was in front of me at all. We went down to maypole inlet where I enjoyed the climbs down. Where we will be rigging a fresher friendly ladder we instead used the route down that we had used on the BCRA weekend, it’s a very comfortable traverse along then a short climb down, takes a bit of effort to go below the chockstone though. We then went to top waterfall which was “egh water, can people go in front so I can see it’s not going to consume me whole” for me. Diss as always loved the wet, Dave forgot I hated it and I don’t even know if Jarv knew. To be fair the streamway was fun that weekend. The waterfall was pretty epic and we didn’t save the frog.
Left with a different climb to how we went in, apparently the old ICCC route till someone had fallen, then went up salubrious to corkscrew and left. Pretty fun trip and gave me a lot more confidence on finding my way round!
Tea was a rather extravagant curry, it ended up rather delicious as well. Me and Jarv had a rice competition where the only difference to be noticed was the presence of cardamom pods in his. We once again proved that a kilo of rice is quite a lot of rice, eventually we will remember. Plenty of drinking occurred then some good old caving games. Thankfully no one got stuck in the bench.
Up at around 8ish to get the breakfast going. As there were only 8 of us we had fried eggs instead of eggy bread and it all went down well. Una had apparently not slept all night so was again doomed to a Saturday not caving. The weather had sadly been quite wet so our plans for epic through trips were forgotten and we ended up with a group of two (Ben and Peter) going to OFD3 and a group of four (Jarv, DKP, Jennifer, Me) doing a fresher’s trip route familiarisation sesh in OFD2. We ended up in the cave a little after 12 to keep the caving gods at bay. Jennifer had a new camera so we stopped at a few landmarks for photos. Jarv (and DKP) let Jennifer and I lead, with the purpose of us learning the route and how to read surveys. We went down Edwards shortcut and eventually down to maypole inlet where we found the streamway to be far drier than expected so we headed to top waterfall. Some nice deep pools lead to underwear soakage but we got to the waterfall with far fewer near drowning experiences than previous trips for some. The waterfall is pretty impressive and somehow had a ladder hanging from the top to halfway down. I certainly wouldn’t want to climb that. The way out was probably uneventful. I wonder if I’ll ever learn to write trip reports in a timely fashion.
We cooked a slightly more decadent curry than usual which went down well. Sadly the ingredients for crumble were forgotten so we went puddingless.
OFD 1: Ben Honan, Jarvist Frost, Jennifer R, Úna Barker
First up is always a bit grim but I was soon joined by Diss. I enjoy cooking breakfast but it is rather sad when you discover the bacon has spat fat in your tea.
Jarv, Una (sorry you know I don't know the keyboard shortcut for the accent), Ben and myself decided to go to OFD 1 which was great but I was the only one to have gone recently so had to remember where the entrance was. Luckily it turned out to be rather painless. On the way in I pointed out the springtails to Una, I think slightly confusing Jarv and Ben who had to wait ahead for us. I vaguely remembered bits and Jarv is super competent so we found our way into the streamway without too much backtracking. Explored upstream and I now have most of the parts of the through trip, it will happen but I do need to be confident the streamway is low. There were some very beautiful parts and Jarv got some photos. The pots in the streamway had scaffold poles to use to go over them, I felt surprisingly stable on them and was very happy to have them. We left in good time and then made copious amounts of egg fried rice.
The journey home was mildly terrifying at points on account of the very bad bus with its many warning lights but we made it safely.
Betty the sex doll, White Lady Cave and some intentional sliding into murky pools occurred.