19/02/17 - Day 3 and we allowed ourselves a bit a of lie in, but it wasn't long before all the rowdy, silver-haired walkers arrived at the hut and invaded what had been our private house for the weekend. After a slow breakfast we set off and met Syd at the end of the track at 10am. Claire arrived soon after and we once again kitted up and trudged off across the field with our kit already plastered in mud from the days before. It was Claire's first visit to Titan and when offered to go down first, didn't hesitate and shot off down like she was descending Garlands, completely unfazed by the place.

We regrouped at the top of the choke and decided on our separate plans. Rob and I were heading back to FSE to derig the new Valkyries pitch and retrieve the rest of the kit we had up there, whilst Syd and Claire were going for a sight-seeing tour of Minor and Major Sump. We parted ways at the junction and it wasn't long before I was heading back up our 8mm shoelace into the darkness. We both had another good look on the way up for anything intriguing heading off, but nothing really jumped out. I guess one day we could traverse across to the shaft dropping in from the north just to check if it does go up into Balcombe's Way, but it more than likely does. The whole Stemple Highway/Balcombe’s Way complex really is like a massive block of Swiss cheese. We decided to strip the hangers, as despite being an awesome pitch which would probably be a star attraction in a lesser cave,  we thought it was unlikely to be repeated anytime soon, owing to all the other mega stuff in the area. On the slimmest chance that anyone does fancy a look, we left the stainless bolts and nuts in place just in case (they’ve been over-drilled so can be knocked in if need be). You’ll need 5 hangers, 1 deviation and a 70m rope and can start the pitch by rigging a large Y from the existing bolts approx. 2/3 of the way along the RoTV traverse.

Rope and hangers retrieved (top job by Rob as it wasn't an easy derig) we collected the rest of our gear and headed up the two short pitches and back down Calcite Aven. Despite Rob nearly snapping his ankle between two boulders on the way through Stemple Highway we were soon battling with our bags up through the Titan choke. Whilst waiting for Rob to negotiate the tight vertical section, I put my head down for a quick break only to find myself nodding off, the knackering-ness of the last couple of days suddenly having caught up with me. The last bit through the choke with the kit became a struggle and Rob offered to take 2 bags of rope up out with him, leaving me with just the Titan ropes to derig.

After what felt like (and was!) a lot longer than the previous 2 days, I finally arrived at the top of the entrance shaft to find Rob jogging about in the cold trying to keep warm and Syd and Claire having already been back to the cars and changed. Lid locked up, muddy gear stripped, we headed off back to the hut to meet up with everybody else for dinner and beer. A good few days finally done! (Rob, Mike, Syd, Claire)