January 13th:

On a cold, pleasant and light winter’s morning, after a week of low cloud and very grey weather, the walkers gathered in Edale car park at 9.15 a.m. Mike Johnson mindful of his rescinded parking fine coupled with a failure to obtain a parking ticket from the parking machine, was eager to park elsewhere, inspire of feeding the machine some of his pension. As we left the car park Axel, always mindful of careful budgeting especially during a double dip recession, managed to extract £4 from the parking machine and duly returned it to a grateful Johnson. As we reached Cooper’s Farm Tony peeled off from the group and headed alone across towards Jacob's Ladder with the hope of a reunion along Brown Knoll.

  • Streaks: Streamway sumped at entry to Nervous Breakdown. Pushed small tube at top of rift above streamway, heading North. Back out upper entrance. (Rob, Mike)

  • Streaks: Back in the roof tube - got through tight squeeze to dog-leg, then checked out West Choke. Back out upper entrance, took wood shavings and other rubbish with us. (Rob, Mike)

  • Eldon Hole: West & South wall, up to Damocles rift and out. Ed’s first SRT. (Rob, Mike, Jon, Andy, Ed)

  • Streaks: More roof tube - Saw round dog-leg, continues on but can't get round. Bend needs corner taking off to get thru. Minus 2 outside and felt draught in passage for first time.  Left via lower entrance to show tuthers the through tirp. (Rob, Mike, Ian, Ed, Phil C – in ski suit)

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Suicide Cave: SRT practice for Jon and Ian. (Mike, Rob, Ian, Jon)


February 17th:

A prompt start was made in thick mist from the Directional Stone in the village square.  The leaders had decided to do the circuit clockwise starting at No 1 - seemed logical.  We first went along the road towards Youlgrave and then down into and up Bradford Dale remarking several of the Sites on the way.  Leaving the stream we crossed  through fields  (passing Sites 5 and 7) to Smerrill Grange, a little beyond which there is a carved boulder by the lane side (Site No 8).  As we went up over the top from Smerrill Grange we suddenly emerged from the mist into wall to wall sunshine with the remnants of recent snow on the ground. We dropped down to Site No 9 before going up Long Dale to Sites 10 and 11, and then up the road towards Friden and onto the High Peak Trail.  Having viewed Site 12 at the junction of Green Lane and the course of the roman road, lunch was taken bathed in sunshine.  We were making good time which allowed us to  divert to The Jug and Glass on the A515 to wash down our sandwiches.

February 17th:

The Cavers entered Peak Cavern with the intention of squirming their way through into Speedwell. They managed this, unfortunately they didn’t get much further. Due to the recent snowmelt up on Rushup Edge, water levels in Speedwell Canal were very high - or at least this was the impression we got gawping up at the wall of water forcing its way out of the canal and down towards us through The Bung. Half-hearted attempts were made to climb the ladder, but the pummelling force of the water overhead made it near impossible to raise an arm up to the next rung, let alone climb it. With a column of white dominating the entirety of the mini shaft we decided against it, and headed back into Peak.

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Whalf Climbing Shaft: SRT practice for Jon & Ian. (Rob, Mike, Ian, Jon)

  • Oxlow: Up into New Series. Pilgrim’s Way to Boulder Chamber/PB Sump and back. Heavy snow, super cold. Forgot shoes. (Rob, Mike, Ed)

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Winnats Head Cave: Down through chokes into Fox Chamber then down to first big sump and sewer. Very wet! Water pouring down through choke, very cold/sketchy getting thru squeezes. (Mike, Rob, Ed)

  • Peak/Speedwell: Through Colostomy to the Bung and tourist round in Peak and into Moss Chamber. (Mike, Rob, McBain, Ian, Andy)

  • Streaks: Dig

  • P8: Down to Sump 1 via high-level 1st pitch and low-level 2nd Pitch. Frozen outside – very cold water! (Mike, Rob, McBain, Jon)

  • Hole in the Wall/Carlswark: Went for an explore and photo practice (Rob, Mike, Jon)

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig

March 17th:

A large Gaggle of Cavers (Brace of Cavers? Flock of Cavers?) met at the TSG on Sunday morning. The largest turnout for a long time, and after sorting paperwork and payment soon set about getting changed. 

Jon was dressed in a blue boiler suit, giving the impression he was on his way in to fix the show cave lights. The two Grayson brothers looked like a couple of tramps who had just been picked off the streets of Sheffield. Only the Old Man and Martin had waterproof oversuits - one 20 years old, borrowed, with no knees, the other brand new and still blindingly shiny. They all looked, for lack of a better phrase, like a bunch of cretins.

Luckily Team A were slightly better prepared. And after walking together through Castleton, we soon arrived at the impressive entrance to Peak Cavern where we split up and said our goodbyes. Leaving Team B and its merry band of bizarrely dressed cave botherers behind. Would they all return?

March 17th:

A & B parties assembled in Castleton at the TSG (Technical Speleological Group) Chapel HQ roughly 9am, Martin having just driven up from London. The Grayson brothers’ looked under dressed - Bob as if he was going shooting. Various bits of kit were handed out to the needy.

The TSG organiser was very helpful (Martin Grayson – no relation) and after he escorted us up to the cave entrance and B party streaked off to complete the technical and time consuming White River Series, he gave the A party a guided tour of the historical cave entrance, after which the T’Owd Man got his team together and headed off through the show cave system and then crossing a fence, into the ‘wild’ interior.

A wet taster in deep water was followed by the Mucky Ducks, the original limit of exploration (and hence DPC exploration) until it was passed in 1949. The initial low stoopy arch brings your head uncomfortably close to the water and then after a couple more not so bad, you were back onto dry land. And then it was easy walking in the large passage, past Pickering Passage which leads to the infamous Moss Chamber, to arrive at the splendid view point of the Surprise View, and a 20 feet ladder climb down to the Main Streamway.

  • Titan: Up Titan Streamway through boulder choke into Revelations. Up insitu rope to Frozen in Time and Lake District. Amazing formations, had to be very careful. Missed Absolution, as we didn’t have a clue where we were going! Jon went as far as Event Horizon, Old Boy as far as Breakthrough Window. (Mike, Rob, Syd, Ed, Jon, Old Boy)

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Knotlow: Climbing shaft/Engine shaft exchange. SRT practice for Ian. (Mike, Rob, Ian)

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Peak: White River Series  Block Hall into White River down Ventilator (Mike, Rob, Ed, Syd, Ian)

  • Streaks: Dig

  • JH: Stemple Highway – Salmon’s Cavern – Major Sump, Speedwell – The Bung – Main Rising – Cliff Cavern – Bathing Pool – Back out JH. Awesome. (Mike, Rob)
  • Burbage North

April 19th - 21st:

The meet was based at the Mid Wales Bunkhouse, located about 6 miles from Rhayader, an area previously unknown to the majority of the party.

An advanced scouting party (Chatburn, Harris and Crowther) had left early, and checked out the Elan Valley Centre, and loosened up with a short walk. They then set out to investigate the local pubs, as did most of the later arrivals. Those pubs that were found were generally found to be wanting, so members retired to the bunkhouse and got stuck into some Kelham Island and home-made soup.

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig

 

  • Stanage Apparent North

  • Birchens

  • Stanage Popular End

  • Horseshoe Quarry

May 17th - 19th:

Ascent of Cnicht and the Moelwyns.  Starting from the car park in Croesor the intrepid trio ascended the SW spur of Cnicht in good conditions - and with quite a few photo shots.  From the summit the descent continued NE and E to the rather complex col of Llys-Dafydd-y-foel.  Lunch taken somewhere in the wilderness preceded the ascent of Moelwyn Mawr.  The descent traversed the impressive rocky crest of Craigygarfn - (hands required on the final part!) - before bagging Moelwyn Bach.  A boggy descent down the W flank of Moelwyn Bach led to the minor road back into Croesor.  This was a good round of some 8-9 miles.  We had hoped to encounter the caving team on their way back from exit of the mine - but no such luck - we had to finish off the reserve flask of whisky we had taken just in case!

 May 17th - 19th:

The Croesor – Rhosydd through mines trip:

…or how HMS Homer saved the Day!

 A new venue in a small but ‘friendly’ hut, belonging to the Clogwyn Mountaineering Club, made better by dry weather and a good pub not far away!

Most folk arrived by tea time Friday, and a walk was suggested by Andy to ‘suss’ out the mine approach for the following day, as an alternative to going immediately to the pub. A walk along and up the valley from the car park in Croesor, saw six of us rising up and contouring along the side of the valley to end up below the old slate quarry, where tomorrow’s mine entrance was eventually located. A steep descent followed down one of the old inclines to the valley floor and a return along a good track, before a visit to the pub.

  • Titan: Rigged for next day’s through trip. Down to bottom and back. Got from bottom to Breakthrough Window in just under 20mins. (Mike, Ed)

  • Titan: Peak through trip for the old fella's birthday. Old Boy super chuffed. (Mike, Rob, Old Man, Syd)

  • Titan: Derigging. Got George down to Window. (Mike, Rob, George)

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Croesor – Rhosydd: Canoe pulley system didn't work. Luckily HMS Homer saved the day. Photos below. (Mike, Rob, Andy, George, Syd)

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Agden

  • Wild Cat

  • Lawrencefield

  • Stoney

June 27th - 30th:

Muir cottage is owned by the Cairngorm Club and is the most comfortable and best equipped hut we have used in Scotland. It is in a superb position on the banks of the river Dee about a mile before the Linn of Dee. Over the week-end we saw red squirrel feeding at the feeders outside the cottage and young stags in the nearby trees. So one could say a perfect location and the only question remaining was whether the plague of midges that descended on the club members when the leaders took them to Glen Etive three years previously would again become aware of our presence north of the border. Either the midges were busy tormenting poor souls elsewhere or the long cold winter had killed them off but thankfully they did not appear and the weather also co-operated and kept mainly fine and dry throughout.

June 27th - 30th:

Mike, Rob, Geoff, Ed, Syd and Rod braved ticks and midges on Thursday for a quick climb near Dunkeld just off the A9. Craig-Y-Barnes seems to have become an obligatory stop on the journey up to Scotland, with ‘The Groove’ being the usual route to yield to our topflight rock climbing skills. Although in contrast to last time, when we climbed here shirtless in beautiful sunshine, it was humid, damp and the midges were getting very rapey. So we fled after just two routes.

On Friday, Rob, Ed and Mike did a 20 mile round walk in order to climb the Classic Rock route ‘Square Face’. The walk was nice, the climb was done entirely in the pissing rain - which was also nice. Ed admitted to having “butterflies” as the rain came lashing down whilst we were halfway up the route. Such honesty was dealt with very maturely by the remainder of the party, and we did our best to comfort him - largely by offering to carry his handbag.   

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig

 

  • Millstone

  • Ravensdale

  • Stanage Wall End

  • Aldery Cliff

July 21st:

After several years of gentle persuasion from my father I had finally run out of excuses to spend a whole weekend with the old man and packed my bags for sunny Derbyshire/Staffordshire, safe in the knowledge that there was to be no let up in the heat wave. A strenuous walk with master navigators followed by good food and drink in the infamous 'hut' was the promise. I'd heard tales of 25 mile walks, mountain peaks and extreme survival skills and I was ready to rise to the challenge, forgoing my normal Sunday stroll along the Thames towpath to the local pub. How wrong was I?

After waking to find that it really is 'grim up north' I was already beginning to regret packing only shorts, t-shirt and sunscreen - a damp mist stretched for as far as the eye could see obscuring any indication of it being breathtaking countryside.  No matter, the view from the coffee shop where the day started with coffee and a tea-cake was just fine - a great introduction to an extreme mountaineering event. 

July 21st:

2pm on a Saturday and the phone rings. ‘Who’s this at this unsociable hour?’ I ponder. (I was just having my breakfast). Picking up the receiver, an anxious voice hurtles down the other end. It’s the manager of Peak Cavern in Castleton, ‘The Devil’s Arse’; one of Derbyshire’s finest showcaves. “We’ve heard a loud bang!” he cries, “a loud bang and a rumble” he continues, “the punters are shitting themselves”, he concludes. “We need a Mine Inspector down here now, know anyone?

I pause for a moment, stroking my beard in thought. I’m not fooling myself, its going to be a dangerous job; whoever’s going in there has to be one tough mother. A moment passes and almost subconsciously my hand moves up from my beard to make contact with my moustache. As soon as finger touches ‘toosh,’ it hits me.

 “Don’t worry,” I reply. “I know just the guy.”

  • Titan: Went to rig 1st and 2nd pitch. Went in shorts, t-shirt and trainers. Managed to lose lots of skin off my ankles ascending entrance shaft. Shorts aren't SRT friendly. (Mike)

  • Titan: Got George down for him to exit via Peak. (Mike, Rob, George, Ed, Syd)

  • Hanging Flat Mine/Watergrove Sough: Only got ~30m in WS as water was ridiculously high! (Mike, Rob, Andy)

  • Roaches Upper Tier

  • Wild Cat

  • Curbar

  • Rainster LH Side

  • Stanage End

August 18th:

The ever dependable team of Chatburn, Crowther, Goodier, Lett and Peppit Senior, complemented by our VP, Glynn Hughes, and Clowes, who should be complimented on making the meet from their homes in the SE, along with the Meet Leaders swung, both metaphorically and physically, into action in reducing the pile of uncut wood into an orderly store to be consumed over the winter in our fine new stove.  The additional source of wood from our President’s forest failed to materialise as the gate was locked but Johnson and Lett nonetheless managed to cut timber for later collection.

 Meanwhile back at the Hut the combined DIY and technical skills of Chatburn, Clowes and Harris transformed our collapsed and seriously dilapidated wood store into a fine replacement which was then filled with the cut timber and all trace of the old store and redundant equipment in it was removed from site.

  • Giants: Down to East Canal then out via Windpipe. Birthday trip. (Mike, Rob, Ed)

  • Nettle: Elizabeth – Beza Exchange. Ed couldn’t get his arse through the Sting. Left hangers on bottom pitch and Syd did Elizabeth twice after leaving rope bag at bottom. Otherwise good trip! George bottomed Eliz then left solo for BBQ. (Mike, Rob, Ed, Syd, George)

  • Wharncliffe

  • Burbage South

  • Harborough

  • Rowter Rocks

September 13th-15th:

The warning signs were there, but ignored:

Why was there plenty of room in the hut? Did nobody else want to come?

Why did we all receive an email from the President during the week with a Friday evening pub menu attached?

Why did Jon Hood cancel the taxi that was to pick up his son from Foxfield station at 9.45pm, and allowed the President’s party to do so instead? What drove him to this rash decision?

Why was Jon allowed to drive off by himself from the hut in search of his son sometime before midnight, with the guilty conscience that he might still be waiting at the railway station? It was to no avail, he was lost by the time he got to the Newfield Inn.

Why did the President’s party not arrive until gone midnight, with Jon’s son driving the car?

  • Winnats Head Cave: George as far as Fox Chamber. Rest through to first up pitch. McBain got stuck exiting sewer. (Mike, Rob, McBain, Ian, George, Sam)

  • Rowter: Explored the digs (Mike, Rob, Ed, Syd, George)

  • Titan: Took Phil and Becci down to Breakthrough Window (Mike, Ed, Becci Samp, Phil)

October 19th:

In a cunning attempt to get an extra 2 hours sleep on Sunday morning, We (Rob & Mike) headed up the day before, with the plan of descending Alum Pot then staying the night in Horton in Ribblesdale.

The cave went smoothly, reaching the sump and Diccan Waterfall via the Alum Pot main hang - an airy abseil of some 70m.

However, on the way back to the car, nonchalantly strolling atop a grassy hillock carrying an array of steel ironmongery and reams of wet rope, we were narrowly missed by a pant splitting bolt of lightning which struck an adjacent field no more than 100m away - completely without warning. Suitably terrified we ditched the gear and waited out the rest of the storm at the bottom of a grassy bank, getting piss wet through and far wetter than we had during the actual cave.

We can only assume that the lightning strike was a warning shot from Alan Thrippleton  - telling us not to be so cocky.

October 20th:

Most people arrived at Clapham at the allotted time of 9.15 after early starts. (Note: there is plenty of roadside parking instead of the pay and display car park). It was raining to start with, indeed the day’s forecast was of heavy showers. However, it cleared sufficiently for the walkers to help carry the cavers gear the long slog up to Gaping Ghyll, arriving about 11 am. The two entrances having been located by the cavers, the walkers left them to it, and began a slow ascent of Ingleborough to the cloud line. John, whose initial intention was to walk as far as the cavers destination because distant Ingleborough somehow resembled a cloud capped Kilimanjaro, was encouraged to continue and indeed he completed the round and put on a brave face though had sore feet. Leader Laura, was trying out her new managerial role and drifted to the back of the party claiming this would encourage members upwards into the mist. Others were uncertain about this new role, but it later turned out obvious why: she did not want to be crushed by the falling bodies of the elderly members. The Hon Treasurer wobbled a few times but peaked when he did a parachute roll the SAS would have been proud off, whilst the Hut Warden’s fall was so dramatic that he ripped his over trousers. The others stayed upright on the slippery, wet limestone pavements, but once again the question arises: Is walking now more dangerous than caving? Perhaps the Hon Treasurer ought to conduct a long term survey to establish if there is any truth in this. We await his future results…

October 20th:

The leader had sought written permission for access to the Gaping Gill system from the Ingelborough Estate Office. In response, a written permit was issued with the following condition “Do not get changed in Clapham Village, use official car park or change on the fell”. The leader duly requested in his meet notice that everybody should park in the car park.

Needless to say, as the leader drove into the sleepy village on the Sunday morning, the first thing he was confronted by were two half naked Sampsons parked at the side of the road directly in front of some old ladies house.

Luckily the walkers had arrived in good time and had all their clothes on. Tackle bags were distributed between the walkers and cavers and the long sweaty walk up to Gaping Gill was undertaken. Lionel kindly carried a 60m rope in a bright yellow tackle bag as if it was a brief case and he was on his way to the office.

Unfortunately the heavy rain over the previous few days scuppered the original plan to descend into the main chamber via the Dihedral route, so a slightly drier exchange trip between Bar Pot and Wades Entrance became the days objective. The tackle bags were taken off the walkers, at which point they were instructed to leave us as they were now surplus to requirements and they were likely to start cramping our style.

  • M'wood Sough – GM: Up sough to ladders and then took a look at the Boil Up (Mike, Rob, Andy, Ed)

  • Carslwark: Gin Entrance though Dynamite and out Flowerpot. Used homemade rope ladder to exit - didn't work very well! Last Wednesday Night meal. Syd wrote off his car on the drive out, but still provided the food. What a hero. (Mike, Rob, Ed)

  • Knotlow: Climbing/Engine Exchange (Mike, Rob, Ed, Jon, George)

  • Alum Pot: Main Shaft down to Diccan waterfall and sump. Nearly got struck by lightning walking back to car! (Mike, Rob)

  • Gaping Gill: In through Flood out through Bar. Went to Main Shaft and Mud Hall (Mike, Rob, Syd, Ed, George, Ian)

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Carlswark/Streaks/Nickergrove: Sumped out! (Mike, Rob)
  • Baslow

November 22-24:

Parked at Idwal and a long steep slog up the Pen Yr Olywen ridge to the snowy and bitterly cold plateau. Across the plateau to Dafydd, with the sun sometimes reappearing. People wearing crampons were mocked until we had to descend the steep and snowy slope from Llewynn, where we wished we not only had crampons but axes as well.  Descended down to the road by 4pm, but a dilemma whether we would make the AGM as it was 3 miles to the hotel or the car in either direction. Fortunately at that point the problem was solved as Martin fell off the stile and ‘dislocated’ his finger (report from him at home: “Self administered twig splint and tape. Another case of overacting by the Aspirant Secretary”), and a kind lady took pity and gave me a lift to the hotel for the car. On Sunday, minus Martin, we had a delightful ascent of the east ridge of Moel Siabod- long and rocky- a most interesting way up a hill climbed countless times before by different ways.

November 22nd:

Four brave climbers left Derbyshire early Friday morning, piled into Rob’s home brand-Audi and headed off to Anglesey with the intention of doing A Dream of White Horses on Gogarth. (This was primarily to shut our Old Man up who’s done nothing but talk about it since climbing it in 1984).

Each member of the team had been carefully chosen, specifically selected for their own experience and unique skill set. I brought the documenting skills of photography (I had a camera) coupled by great headwear to the table. Ed had been brought along for his immense span (both leg and arm). George was called upon to utilise his skills as ‘Derbyshire’s Top Slab Climbing Specialist’. (A title that both Sport England and the BMC dispute as being “misleading and potentially dangerous; bearing little-to-no resemblance with reality”.) And finally, Rob was invited along so there was an even number.

  • JH: Originally planned Peak tourist trip with Bowzer & Co, but water too high. Went down JH instead. Very wet. Bitch Pitch and ‘Dry’ Pitch wet. Connection to Far Sump full of shit and would have to be bailed (didn’t bother). Speedwell Streamway flowing over the Boulder Piles! (Mike, Rob, Ed)

  • P8: Dead sheep just upstream of entrance. Yuk. (Mike, Rob, Ed, George)

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig
  • Gogarth: North Wales

  • Tremadog: North Wales

December 15th:

Homemade mince pies, real coffee and a splash of spirits (ironically the ghosts of Christmas past from the hut's kitchen cupboard) greeted an eager band of intrepid walkers.  The group was soon made slightly smaller as the Good Doctor elected to look after his patient (Mike Johnson) on a shorter route.  Richard Harris joined them.

At 0930 coffee cups were drained, pastry crumbs brushed off and, a most un DPC fashion, 11 members set off in the same direction.  Our route took us into Coombs Dale and Pierce began to show his true mischievous colours by suggesting the 'best way'.  Unfortunately the leader humored him and within seconds realised his mistake!  A little bushwacking took the group back to the correct path and on up to Bleaklow.  We made our way across the fields to Great Longstone and arrived to the chiming of the church bells.  With no time to stop we made our way onward to Monsal Head, through Miller's Dale and, crossing the river via the wier at Water-Cum-Jolly into Cressbrook Dale.  Again at this point a well meaning route suggestion was made but having learned his lesson the leader chose to ignore it and carry on up the valley to Peter's Stone.   The stone was not climbed however as the 1300 hours rendezvous in the Three Stags Heads with the cyclists was approaching.

December 15th:

Five of the club’s elite cave bothering unit met at the perennially windy Rowter Farm Sunday morning (a place which holds the dual honours of both ‘Windiest campsite in Britain’ and ‘Angriest dog in Derbyshire 2013’). Our plan was to descend JH, make our merry way towards Cliff Cavern, climb the pitches, explore the two opposing high level passages, then return the same way. It was going to be a big old trip so we decided to meet early - “unseasonably early” according to Griff, (who arrived in a balaclava, looking like an elderly member of the IRA).

Farmer paid, rabid dog avoided, the JH lid was unlocked and I set off down first, descending into the depths just before a young woman (described by one member as “an attractive girl in a figure-hugging wetsuit”) arrived and asked if she and her group could use our ropes. No doubt if she'd been a bloke, he’d have been told to piss off, but everyone on the surface must’ve taken quite a shine to her, as it was agreed that she could. And by the time Griff reached me at the bottom of the shaft, it was noticed his glasses had steamed up.

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig

  • JH – Cliff Cavern – JH: Great trip. (Mike, Rob, Griff, Syd, Sam)

  • Streaks: Dig