• 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:

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)
  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig

 

 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
  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Streaks: Dig

 

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)

  • 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)

  • 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:

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)

  • 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

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