17th December:

Christmas Candle Cave Part II:

After wriggling our way through the Dynamite Series with nought but candles last year, we decided to go for something a little wetter to make things a bit more interesting. Seeing as we've done Streaks at least 40 times, we guessed we could probably do it with our eyes closed - or at least with only being able to see 1m in front of our face with a candle.

The four of us met at the hut, got changed, compared candle carrying contraptions (Ed won) and got a lift up to the bend in Rob's van. It was difficult enough getting up the hill to the top entrance, I'd gone for the glass jar approach and holding it out in front of you meant all you could see was the candle - and nothing else. It felt a little hairy traversing over the pitch, not really seeing where your feet were going, but once on the handline, the slide down the rift was no problem. Down through the choke, the squeeze and into the streamway - which was flowing but reasonably low, and out through Nervous Breakdown for a quick regroup. The candles were working well, except Sam's, which by now kept going out, meaning he did quite a bit of the section through to Donkey Dong and beyond with no light at all. It was a bit of a squeeze getting Sam's barrel out through the lower entrance and apart from Rob accidentally riding the lid down onto the road - everything went pretty well. Quick change and off to The Moon, where Glyn, Glyn and Glenn (it was just as confusing at the time) joined us for food. (Mike, Rob, Ed, Sam)

18th December:

Stoney Dale Cave Crawl Part III:

This year's cave crawl was again not really in Stoney Dale and actually turned out to not really be a cave crawl - more of a trip into a mine then a halfhearted attempt to crawl into a fox's toilet. The plan was to have a guided tour (thanks to Phil W of the TSG) of two fairly recently re-explored mines then bimble on back to the hut via Fatigue Pot.

The morning arrived and those staying at the hut had their breakfast whilst the stragglers turned up. Hearing there was a mine to inspect, the Inspector made an appearance, shortly followed by a slightly worse for wear tree surgeon who’d just driven up from London in about 20 minutes. One of the 3 Glyn, Glyn, Glens from the previous night was planning to join, but he'd somehow hurt his neck at the dentist the previous day and resolved to give a few of us a lift over to the entrance before driving home to console himself with some grumpy homebrew. So we were down to 6, and after meeting up with Phil , we kitted up, fought through the brambles and arrived at the first entrance. Scrambling down the pipe, we were advised not to touch the shale roof, which, for the Mine Inspector, was not a good first impression of a  mine and the quivering in his toosh suggested that the coveted ‘5 tooshes out 5’ rating was unlikely to be awarded. Phil guided us round the various workings which were very interesting, down a pitch, up a pitch, a bit of climbing, a bit of thrutching. The highlights included the hungover tree surgeon destroying an insitu rope, the Mine Inspector’s legs being too short everywhere he went and Syd passing a knot (not in the lavatorial sense).  Shortly after entering the upper workings, the Inspector declared he was late for his Christmas choir engagements and so we had to about turn and make our way out. It was now about 3, so the trip into the other mine would have to wait. We said our goodbye’s and thank you’s to Phil for guiding us round and also said goodbye to David who made his way back to Grindleford, presumably to throw up.

But we were not done yet, Fatigue Pot was still on the way home, so we set off across the fields to Coombs Dale in a bid to ensure George really was going to be late for his singing. After a short walk up the dale, we lifted off the lid and the sickly smell of fresh, runny fox shit filled the air. McBain drew the short straw and spent the next 10 minutes with his face pushed up against some sloppy doings, debating whether to continue. Muffled enquiries of “If I crawl through this, you’re coming through after, right…. RIGHT?” weren’t answered very convincingly, but still he remained, inserted headfirst into a hole with just his wellies poking out the ground and his face centimeters from a colossal patch of animal bum gravy. One can only hope that Mr Fox was at the other end of the passage, wondering “why is there a man in my toilet?”. Unsurprisingly we aborted, pulled McBain out by his feet and continued back over the field accompanied by the most amazing sunset. Back in Stoney, three of us had a quick trip up Moorwood Sough as far as the first ladder, just to clean off, before heading back to the hut for food and beer (and a shower). Good day!  (Rob, George, Syd, McBain, Mike, David, Phil - TSG)