Andy Jurd, Arun Paul, Cecilia Kan, James Perry, James Wilson, Jennifer R, Rebecca Diss, Rhys Tyers, Saber King, Ana Teck, Lucie Studena, Luca Mehl, Leo Antwis, Filip Maron, Oxmi Kelruc, Mia Jones, Daniel Mihalik
I left the lab a little later than planned because I was distracted by very important science i.e. making a nativity scene out of lab supplies. Nevertheless, I got to the infamous Peterborough Asda before the train humans and was once again denied toilet access. I roamed around a bit waiting for the humans to appear and we then all collected our foods for the evening. One of the novices was disturbed by the purchase of tomatoes as part of my dinner but I informed him of his incorrectness. We all made the mandatory shisha bar stop to utilize the facilities and hopped the Asda fence as is natural. We then zoomed to the NPC with a quick pitstop to obtain the zoom liquid and managed to get there before 12 am.
We were greeted by a sleepy Jennifer and a partially completed puzzle featuring a unicorn. Naturally the wisest of us stayed up until 2.30 am frantically finishing the puzzle, high on the rush of finding the correct pieces. There was some worry that there would be pieces missing, and when we reached the end we did realise there was one unaccounted for. Thankfully it was just on the floor and we all placed the final piece together. I believe we were all devastated when it was over and unsure how to proceed with life, which had for 3 hours become solely puzzle.
Mayday Hole: Arun Paul, Rebecca Diss, Ana Teck, Mia Jones
Lancaster Hole: Cecilia Kan, James Perry, Rhys Tyers, Saber King, Daniel Mihalik
County Pot: Andy Jurd, Lucie Studena, Filip Maron, Oxmi Kelruc
Cow Pot: James Wilson, Jennifer R, Luca Mehl, Leo Antwis
The weather promised to be grim and wet so we were limited to “dry” caves. Ana and I were quite keen to do Mayday again and we recruited Arun and Mia to the cause. Rope was packed and the usual debate over the best way to tie knots in the ends was had. The day had started quite late and we left the NPC at maybe 12 pm.
Arun was our designated vehicle mover and we made the short journey to Dowlass Moss. 2 minutes from the parking place, we met a tractor whilst going uphill. Arun reasonably pulled over onto the grass to let them pass and we naturally then spent the next 30-60 minutes struggling to get the car off said grass on account of excessive mud and spinning wheels. Some big vehicle drove past, which Arun tried to wave down, but they were uninterested in providing aid. We tried several times to push the car with no success. Finally a very nice human with several adorable sheep dogs appeared in a 4-by-4 and towed the car back to the road with ease. An excellent start to the trip. I was certainly not losing motivation to cave and dreaming of the warmth of the NPC fire.
As soon as we got to the parking space, extreme rain commenced, and we had a very wet change before trundling up the hill to the cave, aided by Arun’s phone and our vague memories of our previous visit. The walk seems to always be longer than expected, but we got there and Arun started rigging. The entrance is less grim than I remember but there was a lot more water than previously. Ana went in next, followed by Mia who did an excellent job of not getting stuck at the tight pitch head or the following traverse. The going was relatively swift but very cold due to excessive drips.
At the top of the third pitch, the others waited for me so I could take over rigging because the pitch head was pretty wet and Mia and I were the only ones in PVC. I got down to the bolts and was immediately very damp and slightly grumpy. Once I got to the rebelay, which is basically just sideways from the Y-hang, I was finally out of the water. I descended and hid round the corner at the bottom in an attempt to hide from the very loose-looking sloping floor above me. The others all appeared fairly quickly and Ana provided delicious hot squash. By the time Arun came down we decided it was wise to leave because, although the cave was definitely safe, it was cold as balls and I was certainly freezing. I went up first and felt excessively weighed down by a beastly tackle sack. I waited at the top of each pitch for Mia, who had a bit of trouble getting up the third pitch. It’s quite awkwardly tight and you ascend at an angle but Ana managed to figure out how to help from below and she was then soon at the pitch head. I did have to sit in the waterfall whilst I waited which made me very cold but I later discovered that the PVC had kept my torso dry. After this there was really little cave drama and I waited just inside the entrance until I was forced to emerge into the shakehole which was partially protected from the sideways sleet. Thankfully everyone was very quick and there wasn't too much waiting around on the surface. Mia did madly climb up out of the shakehole and bask in the sleet despite my protests. She did not seem phased.
There was minor confusion on my part about the direction back to the car, but Arun’s phone was highly informative. You do walk towards the lights.
After a very cold walk down the hill, with a very very cold Ana, we got to the car and changed as fast as we could. I helped Mia open her central maillon with somewhat numb hands and was yet again reminded of the excellence of the triact.
We got back to the hut and began to slowly prepare dinner, which was sausage and mash with gravy and misc green items. Ana dutifully diced garlic and Mia provided wafer thin onion slices which I then caramelised for what I can only assume was hours. The masses were recruited to peel a thousand potatoes and enough mash was made for approximately triple the number of us that were actually present. We made a brief excursion part way to Bull Pot farm with hot beverages as one group was very close to their callout but they informed us of their imminent return so we headed back to the NPC without much actual stress. The highlight of the meal was the perfectly cooked peas (read: peas which we just thawed and forgot to cook but that everyone complemented were perfectly cooked).
An excellent evening of caving games commenced, featuring squeeze machine, table traverse and pot and sling. I managed to squeeze so hard as to seriously bruise my hips (which would only become apparent two days later), successfully table traverse (and naturally seriously bruise), and win at pot and sling with Mia.
Notts II: Arun Paul, James Wilson, Lucie Studena, Luca Mehl, Leo Antwis, Oxmi Kelruc, Daniel Mihalik
After our cold trip yesterday, Ana, Mia and I had discussed a chilled day in Inglesport with a possible walk. This did occur and we managed to persuade Jennifer and Filip to join us. Inglesport provided the promised shiny kit and I was convinced to buy a third rab hat. We spent a while drinking hot things, and some consuming food items, in the cafe before venturing into the cold outdoors for some form of leg movement. We decided to drive out towards White Scar and parked on the side of the road. There was a bit of very movable barbed wire fence which we limboed under and we were then on a hill which featured an actual real cave. We then ran up to a high place to get a good view before bundling ourselves back into the car for warmth.
There was still a bit of time to kill before we were needed back at the hut so we opted to visit the famous cheese shop. We were given many a cheese to try and Ana, Mia and I all purchased some sheeps cheese. Jennifer was generally unimpressed by our selections.
Back at the hut, there was the usual chaos of packing up and my car left at maybe quarter to 5, giving us plenty of time to get to Peterborough for the 9 pm train. Or so we thought. There was in fact horrific standstill traffic for approximately two hours on the motorway which led to them missing their train. It did however mean we got to play an excellent 4+ hour game of contact which kept me wide awake.