January 19th:

As planned, all turned out with various degrees of enthusiasm, the weather was blanket fog and it was raining. The trip over Brown Knoll was wet and reliant on a good sense of direction. In the long held tradition of the DPC, the tactic, as always, was to wait until we were lost before consulting a map.

Fortunately the low cloud lifted and views started to appear as the top of Jacobs Ladder came into view. The walk up the hill to CrowdenTower gave an atmospheric view across to Mam Nic, swirling clouds and the promise of sunshine.  Then eastwards along the edge of the Kinder plateau to Grindslow Knoll where the views were now opening up and the sun warming the day.

Lunch was taken at the knoll and spirits lifted mostly from 2 hip flasks that made an unexpected appearance. With Rod winning the Gold award for the peat smoked 16-Year-Old Lagavulin, very rich and thick, good fruity sweetness; unlike Rod.

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Titan – FSE: Went with George and Ed to Major Sump then they began heading back out. Meanwhile, Rob and I went up Calcite Aven/Vortex II/Western Highway/Balcombe’s Way. Will have to come back to do RoTV. Got to top of Titan bottom pitch just as George was starting the main hang. Timing! They'd been having a picnic at the Event Horizon like a couple of old ladies. (Mike, Rob, Ed, George)

  • Streaks: Dig

  • Lathkill Head Cave: Went in via Top Entrance, 2 fun pitches into impressive chamber. Climbed down through boulders into/towards? Lathkiller Hall to find streamway pumping through it. Not surprising considering how wet it’s been! Conservation tape underwater. Will have to return in summer. (Mike, Rob, Ed, Syd, Andy)

February 16th:

There was a good turn out of 12 for the walk as follows:

Crowther, Eastwood, E.Shawcross and guest John, R.Shawcross, Cotton, Pierce, Clowes, Browne, Brown, Johnson, Chatburn. D Grayson came for tea, Chatburn did not.

The walkers met at Hope station the plan being to take the train to Chinley and then walk back to Hope via Kinder. Joint leader Cotton was surprised by several extras who had replied to his Tiscali e mail which he had not been monitoring. Fortunately joint leader Pierce later used his culinary skills to stretch out the meal.

It was a lovely winter’s morning, and from the train we could see traces of snow from a recent snowfall, so all looked well for a good winter walk. The conductor on the train was generous to joint leader Cotton. As having said he would collect the fare for his ticket as he came back up the train as he didn’t have the right change on coming back he said he wasn’t going to charge Cotton and resolutely ignored the barracking from the DPC walkers who had paid for their tickets.

We took slightly the wrong route out of Chinley and had to take a footpath which crossed some quite rough ground before getting back on track for the route towards South Head. As we got high up to the track leading to South Head looking back we could see that Crowther seemed to be struggling in the vanguard on his own below. Johnson, Cotton and Shawcross E dropped back down to see how he was. Whatever it was, Crowther was clearly not going well and Johnson kindly offered to accompany him off the hill and said they would meet us later for tea which they did and Crowther by then seemed fine.

February 16th:

A very cold get together above Winnats, the wind whistling from the west – which would be conveniently blowing the walkers along from Chinley.

As far as I am aware, Maskhill had not been descended before on a Club meet. It had always had this serious and loose reputation and the laddering was awkward. The young Peppits, Syd and Ed Shawcross, had completed this exchange for the first time one evening last year, when they emerged disgusted that they had missed the pub. Of course, the exchange was completed with ropes, not ladders, as was the intention today.

And so it was on this cold Sunday, a bright day in between many storms, we geared up, paid our £2 to the farmer, and headed up the hillside to the two entrances, Oxlow situated lower and a few hundred metres away from Maskhill.

The party split into two, The Peppits’ descending Maskhill, whilst Ed and Syd rigged up Oxlow. Ed and Syd drew the shorter straw, for although Oxlow’s four pitches were straightforward, they had a long wait, whilst Mike rigged up the more complicated Maskhill descent, and Rob looked after the Old Man. Consequently, it was relatively straightforward abseiling down the 230 metres of rope, and sporty, with a Tyrolean to avoid the 40m Waterfall pitch, within sight and sound of the Oxlow party, to descend into the West Chamber.

  • Bagshawe: Pissing wet outside, went down Dungeon into lower series. Very little airspace, had to hold breath and go for it. Ed was unstoppable, exporing his home cave. Went down to bottom sump, but we were being a bit thick and couldn’t find Agony Crawl for the roundtrip - so headed back up Dungeon via the nasty ducks. Then went up to Hippodrome and Glory Hole. First time down Bagshawe, good trip! (Mike, Rob, Ed, Syd)

  • Eyam Dale House Cave: Got key off JB then abbed down the entrance shaft. Would be much better/easier laddering it as there's a few rub points. Through crawls into ‘The Other Side’, very impressive rift. Like a big crevasse, felt like Joe Simpson.  Then wallowed to the end of the dig heading towards Dynamite Series. (Mike, Rob, Ed, Syd)

  • Maskhill - Oxlow: Exchange. Ed and Syd down Oxlow, Me, Rob and Old Man down Maskhill. 2 other groups arrived later, meaning 3 different ropes all the way down Maskhill, bit of a mess! (Mike, Rob, Ed, Geoff, Syd)

  • Hungerhill Swallet: Down the ladder, through the grotty entrance crawl down the squeeze and into top of Deep Space. A lot of water! Thought twice about it, but went for it. Was in that grey area between fun, a bit silly and dangerous. Got soaked to the skin on descent so only went as far as Bag of Worms before holding breath and jamming back up double-quick. Could do with a 3rd rope-protector just before the pitch opens up. Put a deviation in, but didn't really work well. Still rubs a bit. Impressive place though. Will have to go back in the dry to see the rest - and take our time on the pitch next time! Swallowed quite a bit of grotty water on the way up, so will probably get cow-flu next week. (Rob, Mike)

  • White Rake: Moved flopjack to bottom (Mike, Rob, Syd) 

March 16th:

There were no cavers or climbers due partly to the broken femur sustained by Rob whilst cycling to work.

Members arrived at the Lett Inn at the allotted time, and were then lead away by Bob Grayson whilst the landlord breathed a sigh of relief and went back to work.

Various routes eventually took us to Ilam, and a brief stop was allowed to refuel before heading over to a windy ascent of Thorpe Cloud and another refuel in the lee of the summit. The descent blew one or two of their feet, which did not bode well for the number of inexperienced looking making the ascent. A very busy traverse of Dovedale was made with Syd and Geoff reminiscing on the routes climbed in their ‘youth.’ Hulme End was reached, then Alstonefield, followed by ascents of Gratton Hill, Narrowdale Hill and Wetton Hill (not by all), and a descent to Wetton and the Royal Oak and a welcome from Mein Host. Beer and meal followed.

April 25th - 27th:

Friday

Tony Crowther and Axel met Richard Harris and Mike Johnson on the East side of Haweswater close to the old corpse road to Swindale Head. 

Richard led us up the corpse road, initially steep and zigzag, until it levelled off.  He then struck off South to Selside Pike (655m - 2148ft) where there was a primitive shelter from the wind and we ate our lunch.

We then proceeded in the cloud along the fence to Artlecrag Pike (713m - 2338ft), passing the Pillar on the way.  Descent, then, to Gatescarth Pass and down the steep track to Mardale Head where it came on to rain quite hard and we got wet walking back to the cars.

Saturday

Richard and Axel left the Starkey Hut in light rain and headed up to Boardale Hause, from where we took the path to Angle Tarn. Climbing up, we proceeded to Beda Fell where it was quite windy and we wondered how our friends would be faring on Striding Edge.  By the time we got to Beda Head the sun was out and the day much improved. Richard rang home on his mobile to enquire if his wife had bought a horse while he was away.  She had!  We then went down into Martindale and past St. Martin's church to take the path over to Steel End and Howtown.  On the way we stopped on a bench, with a good view down the valley which runs towards Sandwick, to eat our lunch. After lunch we made it to the Howtown Hotel for a drink and hoped to meet Mike and Tony who were walking there by the lakeside path. However, it later transpired that they must have left by the front door just as we entered by the back.  After waiting some

April 25th - 27th:

Some 14 ex 16 members and guests attended. Casualties (absentees) included the co-leader (Griff - unwell) and the VPs guest (Mike White - traffic problems). 

After meeting Geoff & Brian at the hut c.1pm Syd, Rod, John E., Geoff and Brian B., headed for Lower Grisedale. Despite drizzle, ropes and block and tackle were taken.  Having eventually found Thornthwaite Crag and decided it to be suitably moist Syd led a couple of routes - Grisedale Slabs (D) and Kneewrecker Wall (VD) some runners were used and several seconds followed.

Despite appalling weather 9 mountaineers including the P and VP headed up Grisedale with Striding Edge in mind. In view of strong wind and rain the party was mindful to avoid the crest and instead took the leeside 'path' and on reaching the final slopes gained the summit either by the gully or the ridge scramble. Thanks to Rod for leading the party on the Edge and to Syd for acting as sweeper at the rear. On the summit of Helvellyn a debate on the descent route was decided by a vote: 8 for Dollywagon: 1 for Raise. The President was in the minority of 1! Feeling frisky, 7 of us ascended Fairfield, the VP somewhat delayed by scientific  studies.  Uncharacteristically the DPC waited for him to catchup.  Meanwhile at Grisedale Hause, Hugh and Glyn had decided to opt out of Fairfield and returned to the hut over St Sunday Crag. The magnificent 7 continued from Fairfield over St Sunday Crag to the hut.

On Sunday Rod, Syd & John E took a not so gentle stroll up to Angle Tarn, returning to close the loop back to the hut via Hayes Water.  The weather was kind to us - rain came only in the last 2 km.

Many thanks to all of you for mucking in on catering and bottle emptying so helping to offset the loss of Griff.

  • Curbar Boulders

  • Burbage North

  • Birchens

  • Ladybower Quarry

  • Horseshoe Quarry

May 16th - 18th:

Friday

Mike P and Ed Samps arrived at Clapham hut around 13:00 to unload supplies and sundries, to be joined by the 'Wolf' (Syd) 15mins later. There had been rumours of 'Bunny' Brown, having left the hut just that morning, suggesting the inadequacies of cookware and the need for better pans for frying. One can only assume that he had been on holiday with Sainsbury in the Yorkshire Dales. Once fry-ware issues were deemed acceptable a relaxed afternoon climbing was soon to ensue. 'Robin Proctor's Scar' was sighted as the closest crag of reasonable grade to attempt, with a pleasing outlook and fair weather promising an enjoyable afternoon. Three initial routes ranging from 5 through to 6a+ were dispatched with notable delight, on sound and positive limestone. The afternoon concluded with the ascent of 'Knocking on Heaven's Door' 6a+, a fine flake to face climb, well worth doing. Enjoyment had by all.

  • Lathkill Head Cave: Back down top entrance for quick trip. Dry as a bone, no raging torrent this time! (Geoff, George, Mike)

  • Titan: Down to streamway and up cascades until the stoopy section then back out. Evening trip for Hobbit-Rob. (Mike, Rob Mennell)

  • Meregill: Started late, found the entrance even later, went down, came back up, got very sweaty, went down again, got halfway, came out, went sunbathing. Typical DPC cock-up (Rob, Ed, Mike, Syd, Glyn)

  • Digging: Castleton

  • Gaping Gill: Stream Passage Pot - North West Extensions - Main Chamber - Flood Entrance (Rob, Mike)

  • Digging: Castleton
  • Stanage

  • Rheinstor

  • Robin Proctor's Scar: Yorkshire Meet

  • Eastby Crag: Yorkshire Meet

  • Rivelin

June 19th - 22nd:

It was Rob & Mike who first enthusiastically suggested a meet at the CIC hut, and it was Syd who therefore booked the 12 places. A shame then that only eight of us took up the challenge, one of whom was a re-emerging Pete W, one guest, and two members from the London section. We rendezvoused at the Fort William Morrison’s car park on the Thursday afternoon, where the London Chef took control as he had compiled a moderate menu, taking into consideration the portering up, but had had the foresight to stop off at his now regular Kingussie butcher shop to purchase the obligatory venison. Chris was given the task of choosing the two boxed wines, but in his haste and lack of Club knowledge, one of the boxes turned out to be Ribena-esque! However, the malt made up for it. After the purchases, everybody re-assembled at the North Face car park at Torlundy, a few miles outside Fort Will. Here, the portering was divided up, the heavy packs loaded and the two hour plod commenced up what turned out to be an excellent, dry 3 mile track all the way up to the hut, on a beautiful, warm and clear, late afternoon – and no midges to boot!

  • Digging: Castleton

  • Digging: Castleton

  • Digging: White Rake

  • Stanage
  • Ben Nevis Up: North East Buttress via Raeburn's Arete. Down: Tower Ridge. Wet! (Rob, Mike P)

  • Ben Nevis Castle Ridge (Geoff, Syd, Pete)

  • Ben Nevis Ledge Route (Syd, Geoff, Martin, Jon H, Chris, Mike P, Rob, Pete)

  • Roaches

July 1st:

Villagers kept awake by screaming woman…

From our special correspondent on the scene:

An end of an era took place at the headquarters of the Derbyshire Pennine Club in Stoney Middleton on Tuesday evening, on 1 July. The annual Boule evening and get together took place, and it was afterwards that the organisers, Mr and Mrs Benton from Taddington, announced that after circa 20 years they were standing down, citing old age as the reason. Mrs Catherine Peppit, a full time cake maker and wife of a prominent and younger member, offered to take over the future role, which was accepted with alacrity by the group. Her husband, who was present at the proceedings, was unavailable for comment.

July 18th - 20th:

The weather in the preceding weeks was glorious and all promised to be a wonderful day out with 9 taking to the bikes for an historic inspired loop of the Peaks. As the day approached the weather turned and a less than glorious day looked likely. Accidents happened and excuses were made leading to 5 setting out on the day. The 55 mile L’Eroica Britannia route was followed as planned but with slightly altered ins and outs the days mileage was closer to 60.

We met at the hut for 9am and a quick decision was made to have another coffee to try and let the heaviest of the rain pass by.  With a break in the weather appearing the group set out in the direction of Hassop. The break in the weather did not last long and we only made Calver crossroads before the rain started again and set in for much of the morning.

July 18th - 20th:

The Climbers had a good day at Castle Naze, where after the initial murk and low cloud, the day developed into a fine one. Many routes were soloed or led, at varying grades of difficulty. Rob was coping well leading with his ‘peg leg’ and Ed with his recent injury of falling down a manhole, although rumour has it his arse prevented him plummeting too far. They left leaving themselves time for a quick beer at the Wanted Inn, to arrive at the allotted time of 6 pm, to find George impatiently tapping his watch and bemoaning the fact that the walkers had not yet returned. A quick phone call to the Hood, found them at the Wellington’s Monument after walking via Pilsley, Chatsworth, and Birchens, and the Devonshire Arms and the Robin Hood, and leaving behind in their wake many upset and possibly now suicidal walkers who were unfortunate to meet Johnson on what was initially their quiet ramble in the Derbyshire Peak. A rescue car was despatched to pick them up at the Curbar Gap, and a fine tea was then had, cooked by Pip, but all praise received by George. (Rob P, Nick J, Ed Shaw, David A, Geoff P, Syd, Mike P)

Leaders: Rick S & George Samp

July 18th - 20th:

A tiny trio toiled tirelessly in seemingly tropical heat and humidity round “Johnson’s route”. The Londoners were somewhat left standing by Mike’s vigour, particularly along trails made invisible by shoulder-high bracken. Luckily Mike was persuaded to slow his royal progress with various stops for excellent beer, ice cream and people watching. Despite traversing delightful countryside few people were encountered away from the pubs and Chatsworth itself. However, the few unlucky souls who did come close to Mike’s wobbly trajectory had to endure the usual unappreciated public utterances. Despite strict prior warnings from Hood, one such was a request of a mother for Mike to have his way with her daughter on a style. The Londoners “made their usual excuses” and hurried on to Curbar car park where all the naughty boys were found to be out too late. They were admonished and escorted securely back to the hut in “Mummy” Geoff’s car for a splendid tea. (Mike J, Martin C, Jon H)

  • Peak Cavern: Evening trip up Victoria Aven. Up into Victoria Chamber, then back down and across into Elephant's Head Chamber and Victoria Line etc. Awesome place. (Rob, Mike)

  • Digging: White Rake

  • Digging: Castleton

  • Wildcat

  • Stanage, High Neb

  • Stoney

  • Curbar

  • Ravensdale

  • Castle Naze

17th August:

The ever dependable team of Chatburn, Crowther, Eastwood, Goodier, our VP Rod Brown and the Meet Leaders swung into their well oiled routine, the wood cutters drawing admiring comment from one of our neighbours that they would have put to shame men half their age.  An excellent job was done by them in reducing a mountain of ill-assorted wood into a neat pile of essential fuel for the stove.

The hut was given its thorough clean, the VP spending most of the day on his backside in the showers removing ingrained scale from the tiles.  The bathroom and dormitory windows were redecorated and the nett result of the day’s activities was to leave the hut in a clean and gleaming state of repair.

The Chantry Bequest was similarly cleaned and the hose is now in full working order for the cavers use.

An excellent meal rounded off a very satisfactory meet.

  • Peak: Quick evening Tourist Trip (Glyn, Mike, Jenine, Alice)

  • Winnats Head Cave: Glyn showed us round his old digs at the top of the up sections. Pretty good up there, would be a great through-trip if linked to the surface. The tight tube before Glyn's old dig looks like the best/safest place to make upward progress from. Fun trip! (Rob, Glyn, Mike)

  • Digging: White Rake

  • Agen

  • Black Rocks

  • Harborough Rocks

  • Chatsworth

  • Harpur Hill

September 18th - 21s:

A lovely long weekend was held at the Climbers’ Club’s five star hut on the north Cornish coast, not far from Lands End. Unlike our last visit in April 3 years ago, when the hut was particularly busy, this visit was a lot quieter with only a small number of CC members, which was a surprise as the weather forecast was good.

Those enjoying the meet were: Glyn H, Jerry L, Bryan B (till Saturday), Rod B, Tony C, Syd G, Chris G, Richard H, Geoff P, Rob P, Mike P, and Ed Samp. The Hon Treasurer had also intended to come, but as his calendar was running a day slow he missed the allotted pick up by Richard, having gone out for a walk! Sympathy was not forthcoming and it was suggested he should still be charged for the weekend! Many thanks, once again, to Peter Greenaway who sent a donation which covered the cost of beer.

  • Merlin Streamway - Carlswark Bedpan Sump: Not rained for a while, so decided to have quick peek down Merlin to see if the sumps were clear. First time down to streamway, quite an impressive place (stoney-wise), sump 4 was a bit sporty in the water, but made it to sump 5. Had a poke about then took a look at Shag’s sump, downstream. Rob then went out to save his hip, whilst Syd and I  went via Gimili’s into Carlswark. New connection had run in on Merlin side so we took a while digging it out, determined not to have to go back around again! Met Rob at Carlswark connection after he'd re entered by Eyam dale shaft. Went up to big dig and other end of Shag’s Sump to close the circuit. Syd then powered off to Bedpan Sump, whilst me and Rob nodded off in the dark, (out caved by a 72 year old). Back out via Eyam dale shaft. (Rob, Syd, Mike)

  • Digging: Castleton

  • Froggatt

  • Lawrencefield

  • Willersley

  • Bosigran: Cornwall Meet

  • Sennen: Cornwall Meet

  • Gurnard's Head: Cornwall Meet

  • Stanage

19th October:

On a pleasant, sunny Autumnal morning, the walkers gathered in the lay-by at Cutthroat Bridge at 9.15 a.m. With the greetings over and the good-natured banter that followed, Graham lead the party down the road and crossed onto the moors below Derwent Edge. A leisurely ascent through the heather followed and on gaining the track at the top of Whinstone Lee, the view opened up below us of Derwent Reservoir bathed in sunshine.It was noted that the reservoir level was high due to the earlier wet August. Along the track from White Tor, the Salt Cellar, and Dovestones Tor, the Peak Park Authority was reconstructing parts of the path with the help of large earth moving machines in an effort to combat erosion. There was also signs of Archaeological digs nearby.

  • Digging: JH West

  • Digging: White Rake

  • Yoga Cave, Streaks Cave, Streaks: Was supposed to be joining some of the TSG guys on a trip down JH, but too much Saturday night beer ensured I didn’t make it. Headed out to Stoney in the afternoon to do a bit of a solo recon for the Xmas Cave Crawl. After faffing around trying to find a place to park, as everyone seemed to have descended on Stoney Dale to go caving, I headed for the Rubbish Bag entrance of Yoga Cave. Not been down before, but it’s fairly easy to find the way. It’s essentially one long crawl intersected by a few chambers. Did the through trip then headed up the hill to Streaks Cave. This ones only a short'n, you follow the mined rift in for about 15m then climb up some boulders then out through a crawl at the top. As it was still early I decided to nip through Streaks just to see if there’d been any changes with the digs since we were last down in Jan(!). No stream until Nervous Breakdown which was surprising and Born Slippy had desumped itself, which is good news, but it was probably a bit silly going up there on my tod... Canal project’s made about a foot of progress. Headed out the lower entrance to complete the through trip. The cave crawl is going to be a beast, felt pretty tired after just doing those three. (Mike)

  • Digging: White Rake

  • Yarncliffe

  • Burbage South

  • Baslow: Club Hut dinner!

14th - 16th November:

Glaramara, Borrowdale

Present: Barnes, Brown, Browne, Chatburn, Clowes, Cotton, Crowther, Eastwood, Goodier, Goulden, Grayson, Griffiths, Harris, Hood, Hughes, Johnson x 2, Lodder, Lovatt, Milne, Peppit x 3, Pierce, Sampson x 2, Shawcross x 2, Skelton, Stout, Travis x 2, Willan. Guest: Mike White, FRCC.

We were looked after well again at this friendly hotel. Excellent food and accommodation and the weather was good as well, although greasy underfoot, with the recent heavy rain.

The AGM, saw a change to the Committee and Officers. Rod became new President and Lionel Vice President. Geoff resigned from the Committee and Rob replaced him with different responsibilities. Mike P was thanked for his creation of the Club website, and now serves an off the Committee role.

Speeches were by Griff, Rod, Mike P, and an unfortunate Mike J who replaced Richard at the last minute. Rod entertained, but the best fun was had in the early hours when Sainsbury was strung up and found hanging from a noose from the banisters in the morning.

  • Digging: White Rake

  • Digging: White Rake

  • Digging: Castleton

  • Digging: Castleton

  • Digging: Castleton

  • Digging: Castleton

  • Lay-by Pot:  Another solo recky for the Christmas Cave Crawl. Not done Lay-by before so thought it would be best to work out the route before we all pile in there in December. Lobbed the ladder down the shaft (10m works fine) and headed off along the passage at the bottom. A bit of hands and knees through pools leads to a crawl up into a chamber where you then head right and pretty much follow that line all the way out. You pass through a few chambers on the way, the penultimate one being a bit of a surprise as it's quite large and quite impressive relative to the rest of the cave. A quick climb up the hand lines then brings you up to the bottom of the lower entrance. Fun quick trip. Just Level 7/Hope Shaft to check out now. (Mike)

  • Shepherds Crag: Borrowdale

21st December:

Warm home made mince pies and coffee laced with a wee dram. What could be a better way of starting a walk from the club hut. The weather looked fair for this time of the year as we set off round the back and on to Knouchley Farm, thend own to the River Derwent. Already now with mud on our boots, we started to climb the steep path up to Curbar Edge. Nothing like a steep climb to start cracking up the party, but we pressed on past the ‘Eagle Stone.’ This was the first time on a meet that I have not seen at least one attempt to climb it. After walking along the top of Gardoms Edge we made a sharp turn left so that Geoff could direct us to an ancient stone said to be about 5000 years old. On inspection we found it to be made of fibreglass (you can’t fool us Geoff) and apparently the original is in a Sheffield museum.

21st December:

The plan was to link all the possible through trips in Stoney, working our way east down the dale. Ten set off, nine made it to the end. 2 caves unfortunately had to be missed due to high water levels (Streaks) and the size of the party (Level7/Hope Shaft), but it was a good attempt! Maybe next Christmas!

Thanks to George for driving us all up to Layby Pot.

The Crawl:

1. Layby Pot
2. Yoga Cave
3. Streaks Cave
4. Streaks Pot (2nd duck sumped - too wet)
5. Nickergrove
6. Level 7 (Too many muddy folks for the 30m Hope Shaft)
7. Merlin
8. Carlswark
9. Triple Hole
10. Keyhole Cave
11. Bossons Hole

For anyone stupid enough who wants to have a go, the survey showing the route taken can be found here. Good luck!

Cavers: Rob P, Ed Samp, Mike P, Syd G, McBain, Brian G, Tom B, Matt B, Sam G, Angus

Christmas Twothousandandfourteen:

It was the best of caving trips; it was the worst of caving trips.

A damp morning greeted all those that travelled down dale on that Sunday morning to alight at Carlswark Cottage. It was a dark and foreboding morning, a morning that mirrored the apprehension of those that had arrived to see it. The shrewd had disembarked the night before and slept soundly in their cots, warm from the many tankards of ale consumed in the local tavern. These were the wise ones, for the extra hours slumber afforded to them by their choice of lodgings would allow them to cave long into the day, long after others had flagged, abandoned, or broke ribs in self-punishment for being fat.

  • Level 7: Last little recky for the Cave Crawl. Headed into Level 7 with some old rope to rig up a handline and have a look around. Went in via the middle entrance which involves going down quite a tight rfit into a cartgate-like level. Lots and lots of stacked deads above you to avoid at this level. A crawl up eventually brings you out at the bottom of the Hope Shaft entrance. Bottom section certainly climbable, but 30m is probably a bit too far for 10 people to solo. Headed for the pitch down to the lower level and spent a little while rigging up a handline to get down. Pitch takes you down between stacked deads and I wandered out via the lower level. (Mike)

  • Digging: Castleton

  • Hope Shaft/Level 7: Went to check out Hope Shaft with Rob and stash mince pies and beer for the following day’s Cave Crawl. Picked up all the ladders we could carry and made our slippery way up the hillside. Took us a while to connect all the ladder’s together and sort them out (because we’re useless with ladders). I headed off down and with a bit of thrutching made it to the bottom. Decided against doing it the following day. At 30m it would've taken us forever to get 10 people out, and it’s a bit loose in places, so decided it would be best to miss it out. Rob waited on top and I disappeared along the middle level to retrieve the handline I'd left on the 2nd pitch a few weeks before. Up and out and back to the hut for a curry. (Mike, Rob) 

  • Stoney Dale Cave Crawl  (Rob, Ed Samp, McBain, Mike, Syd, Griff, Matt B, Tom B, Sam G, Angus)