Monday, 31 October 2011

Yorkshire Dales

29th and 30th October

We headed up to Bull Pot Farm to meet up with CUCC this weekend. Becka and Julian were also threre so I volunteered to help them, and Andy, in a dig down Ireby on Saturday. After dropping me off at Masongill, Becka and Julian immediately set off back to the farm to pick up two helmets and two lamps that had been left behind (I'm sure they could have fitted them in the back with me rather than doing a shuttle run, but never mind...). So Andy and I headed into Ireby together. Or rather, Andy headed into Ireby at lightening quick speed and I toiled hard trying to keep up! We did a bit of housekeeping at a couple of digs near Duke Street, until Becka and Julian arrived and we headed up into Skylight Passage towards another dig near Duke Street II.

It was fairly civilised as digs go, enough room to just about wield a small shovel and easy digging in dryish sand. After 60 odd drag trays full, the air was getting a bit stale and we headed out to a drizzley evening.

T/U 7 hrs

Feeling fairly broken the next day, I'd already been up for a couple of hours by the time the CUCC breakfast machine was swinging into action, so I went to help Becka and Julian survey Witches Cave, which is about 40 odd metres long, unless you're a cave diver. Other than various sumps, the main notable feature was a squalid, muddy 4m climb up on a hand line too greasy to hold. After floundering around like a beached whale, 1m off the ground for a few minutes, I gave up and watched in disgust as Becka levitated up the climb as if she was on a chair lift, with placating remarks about "having a grippier oversuit or something like that...". Suitably chastened, I had another go, and was rewarded at the top by another 2m of cave and a pitch down.

T/U 1hr

The weekend ended, like all good weekends should, with tea and a bacon and egg bap in Inglesport.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Summer Shenanigans and Autumn Antics

Some furtlings in various caves over the August-September period.

28th August - Flood Resurgence Number 2
Whilst visiting Toby, we had a trip in their exciting new find in Applecross (which is really very pretty in places). Our visit (also with Richard) coincided with BBC Alba filming a short piece for their local news program in Gallic, so we helped carry some gear in. You could just about see us getting changed in the background on TV, and there was a fine shot of Kathryn's back underground. Since then, life has been a whirlwind of agents, film premieres and fashionable London cocktail parties, but I think we've managed to stay pretty grounded. About 4 hours TU. Toby took some photos of the trip.

17th September and 5th October
Trips to Peak Cavern and Bagshawe (DCRO training). Total 6hrs TU

8th and 9th October Chris' Birthday Caving in SWales
Cracking weekend at the Croydon Hut in Ystradfellte (which isn't pronounced that way). Somewhat bemused to see my Austria article from Speleology a couple of years back pinned to the notice board, so I left an autograph on it...
Saturday saw some nice easy, wet caving in Bridge Cave, White Lady Cave and Town Drain (aptly named) and Porth yr Ogof (and Little Neath for some).
On Sunday Kathryn, Nial, Jess, Bela, Djuke and I went to see some pretties in Draenen - very nice indeed. Total 5 hrs TU

13th and 16th October - Peak District Caving
Kathryn and I spent an hour and a half in Bagshawe Cavern, in our first proper mid-week, after-work caving trip - a very satisfying thing to be able to do! We had a look at most of what you can see that isn't gated off: the streamway, the Glory Hole and the Lower Series.
The following Sunday an excellent 4 hours was spent down P8 with CUCC novices. It was wetter than I had seen it previously, with a huge foamy head on top of the sump pool, but my gear has never been so clean as a result!