• 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:

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) 

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

  • Digging: Castleton

  • Digging: Castleton

  • Digging: White Rake

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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)

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)