07/01/17 - Good turn out for an impromptu trip down Oxlow. Rob and I had been meaning to see the new stuff at the end of New Oxlow for a while now and Le Gourmand, on a brief visit from across The Channel, wanted to get some caving in whilst he was here, so Oxlow was the perfect choice.

We arrived about 11ish, to find everyone else already there, kitted up and trudged up the hill. We knew it would be quite steady going with 7 of us, so Rob and I shot off down the entrance pitch to get rigging and we all regrouped at the top of the pull-through into Pilgrim's Way. Pilgrim's Way felt as long as I remembered it, it must've been a great bit of cave to have found, but when you're just there to see what's at the end of it, it becomes a bit laborious. Soon enough though, we found ourselves at North Chamber and headed up the new bypass pitch, which avoids having to go down North Pitch and up the Main Inlet Series. A short muddy squeeze brings you out into a passage before another low section of about 4m finds you in a chamber. Le Gourmand, at his full winter feasting weight, took a few attempts to get through, eventually taking off his SRT kit and slowly squirmed through like some colossal French snail. David, who by now was slightly edging George in the Roseist Faced Caver Competition, struggled through next - shortly followed by Sam, who simply barrelled through like a barrel.

15/01/17 - On the bleakest, wettest, coldest day of 2017 so far, we (when I say 'we' I mean McBain) decided to go down Eldon Hole. George, Rob and I arrived slightly late (after having a toasty warm fryup and brew at the Yonderman’s Cafe) and drove up through the slurry to find two teachers attempting to get changed in their car and a rosy faced tree surgeon outside in the cold, already changed, SRT kit on and ready to go – looking, if anything, slightly too warm. After giving David 15 minutes or so to cool down, the rest of us slowly emerged from our respective vehicles, begrudgingly got changed and headed off up the hill into the cold.

Snow was still banked up around the edge of the hole and it was decided that McBain would work his way down the West Route to get a bit of rigging practice in, whilst Rob guided Rachel down the North Route - this being her first proper SRT trip. Pretty steady progress was made whilst the wind blew stronger and the rain continued to lash down and just as we made it down the first couple of sections, David self-mutinied and shot off home for a bath. The rest of the idiots carried on down and after a short while regrouped at the base of the hole which provided no shelter at all, as whatever was falling from the sky continued to cascade down the walls, bouncing in bullet sized droplets and landing in your eye whenever you looked up.

15th January:

A well attended meet with 17 members and potential members.

The walkers met at 9am as planned on the side road in Hope. Seven began with three (two were post ops) departing for home and baths towards lunchtime from Hope Cross, leaving four to complete the circuit.

The weather was awful – exceedingly wet and windy (sods law, the day before was wonderful) with Kinder at its worst. Most of the paths ran with snow melt and rain water, such that paddling would be a more appropriate term for some of the walking. The stream in Jaggers Clough was raging and only crossed by a short diversion upstream and a jump. Three of the four walkers stopped at some point with Graham taking the blue ribbon by almost lying horizontally to escape one particular boggy path! In the conditions, the circuit of only about 12 miles, was hard work, and took in Win Hill, Hope Cross, Jaggers Clough, Ringing Roger, before crossing to the North Edge and a return to Hope Cross and the Packhorse Road back to Hope.

Lunch was taken on Ringing Roger, in the lee of some rocks, in what turned out to be one of the windiest places on the walk! Mike Johnson and Tony C, were sensible and walked in the valley from Hope to Castleton and return, whilst Richard S went running somewhere local at home.

The cavers descended Eldon Hole by SRT, including the ascent into Damocles Rift by some, the highlight seemingly being George being de-tangled by Mike. Tea was well received by all at the Hut at 6pm, with thanks particularly to Tony and Gill!


19/01/17 - Quick evening exchange trip through Wharf - Hillocks and some more rigging practice for McBain. Down the engine shaft via the balcony route then up out the short pitches into Hillocks. (Rob, McBain, Syd)

09/02/17 - After waiting for McBain, who was running late, we got up to the lay-by around 8pm and kitted up in the cold. Rob and Ed had no trouble finding the entrance after their brief explore a few years ago and we headed on down the short first pitch and entered the impressive stope via the window. It's really quite an impressive place and following the next pitch down leads to the start of the traverses. Looking up in the roof reveals countless stemples and tonnes of deads stacked above them. Down a couple more pitches and through into a large chamber with a gloopy mud slope at the back, across a few more traverses and a short cartage-like section and a few more pitches gets to what must be the current end. With last-orders in mind, we headed back, and with a few close calls involving loose, trundling boulders, were soon back out into the cold. A really good trip (loose in places!) and well worth doing whilst the ropes are in place, makes life much easier. (Rob, Ed, McBain, Mike)

19th February:

Route – We left the hut promptly at 9:15 the route took us through Stoney Middleton passed the Baths and thence up the track leading to the Grindleford – Eyam road and then upwards towards the woodland formerly owned by Derek and Angela G at Top Riley. We then entered Stoke Wood at which point we lost Crowson and Peppit (G) although we only discovered this well through the wood and despite trying to make mobile contact lost them completely.

As we were about to exit the wood we made a short detour to inspect Fair Flora before we descended the Magclough valley, across the steam and upwards towards Grindleford reaching the Village at the Sir William from which we descended to the bridge at Grindleford where we met Jane Crowson and had to admit that we’d lost her husband, she didn’t seem overly distraught at receiving this news.

17th - 19th March:

The meet was held at the NPC hut near Clapham (the Yorkshire one). The forecast was for rain all weekend and the forecast was correct. 

On Saturday the cavers were forced to abandon plans of a Dihedral - Disappointment Pot exchange trip which was frankly disappointing and searched the rigging guide from cover to cover to find wet weather options. After lots of faffing with ropes the cavers set of for Kingsdale. After a slow walk up the hill and arguments as to where the cave actually was, Jingling Pot was eventually located. The ~40m deep pot was rigged by Mike down the gully route  which has a pleasant free hang. The party reassembled at the base of the main pitch and a second rope was passed to Steddy to rig the bottom pitch. At the base of this  the meet leader scrambled down a short pitch in the base of the rift to a dig. This was going well until he came face to face with a fat frog in a confined space. The party then began their retreat to the surface to find it was still raining. David had a temporary melt down on the re-belay, but somehow Steddy talked him round. The second objective of the day was Aquamole which is within a stones throw of Jingling Pot. A short concrete block lined shaft is entered which looks like an upside down chimney on top of a hill. The pitches quickly became wetter and wetter requiring hoods up and swift technique. A fine crawl was followed to the penultimate pitch which was descended and quickly leads to the last pitch. Here the party decided to turn back due to thoughts of beer. A swift retreat was made and a good time was had by all despite the pouring rain. Mike wore the bottom half of a wet suit in the pub as he forgot his trousers (again!). The walkers went for a walk somewhere. There was mention of Gaping Gyll, so it must have been somewhere near there. They probably went to a pub too. Rick went for a run somewhere. In the evening the main thing of note was that McBain ate an entire cheese cake with a knife and fork.

On Sunday Mike, Rob, Steddy and Syd walked up to Bar Pot with Ed and Rachel who just came for the walk after many painful hours spent writing school reports until the early hours of the morning. Here Steddy would become chief rigger despite 'not being a caver'. Bar Pot is normally dry from previous experience, but today was a bit wet. The main pitch was rigged by Steddy whilst the Wolf sat tutting and shaking his head at him and shouting things like "no, the other loop you muppet'. At the bottom of the main pitch, Flood Pot was skirted past which looked like something from the swimming bit in a Centre Parcs. The crawl/stoop to the main chamber was into a pretty stiff headwind and the waterfall in the main chamber could be heard some way off. It was worth the trip alone just to see the waterfall  which was very impressive and very loud. Hardly any daylight was reaching the main chamber. A speedy exit was made back to the surface to find the rain finally stopping just in time for the drive home. All in all a great weekend despite the rain.

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20/08/17 - Under the direction of the Meet Leaders Richard H (President) and Lionel (Hut Warden) the seasoned team of Barnes, Brown (Rod), Chatburnin, Crowther, Eastwood, Griffiths, Goodier, Johnson and March-Shawcross set to the task of the annual hut maintenance and repair Meet.

They chopped, chain sawed, dusted, hoovered, mopped, mowed, painted, replenished, scoured, scrubbed, screwed (new coat hooks), tested the safety systems, tidied the Hut which is fit for purpose for yet another year in the Club’s annals. The wood store created by the choppers and sawyers should see us through another year.

The club owes a big thanks to all of them for their efforts and also for the behind the scenes work performed in the year by the Peppits and the Sampsons for effecting the re-instatement of the bunks and storage shelving.

As additional to the President’s usual tasks an additional feature, one hopefully not to be performed too regularly, was the ceremonial burying of Micky Finch's ashes in the burial chamber prepared by Syd beneath the ash tree, a suitable memorial stone to be erected in due course.

An excellent tea provided by the Hut leaders rounded off a very satisfactory Meet.

September 24th - 26th

A changeable three days, the best being the day of arrival and even better on the day of departure. Sod’s Law!

After the two leaders and others arrived circa 3pm Thursday afternoon a short walk down to Bosigran was required to clear the heads, by which time Syd and Lionel had arrived – but where was John Eastwood?

The evening was spent trying to find a pub to eat - the brightly coloured place at Treen and the Tinners at Zennen rejecting the lead party of The Last of the Summer Wine, but Geoff, Syd and David had their secret weapon - smooth talking Lionel, and consequently tucked into a good meal in the Tinners, whilst the others went for a lonely fish and chips in Penzance.

Back at the hut, a message came through via Rob back home that Martin (who was cycling from Penzance and had missed his train) was going to be very late and could we leave the door undone and save him some soup. It was decided that, as the Climbers Club quite rightly had their rules and as the door must be kept locked at night, the soup would be left outside for Martin. As it turned out, his face appeared through the window earlier than expected, and before the soup was stashed.

Friday was a day of squally showers, although improving in the afternoon. The group split into two. The Tony C group headed west along the coastal path to Pendeen Light, then cut back inland and explored one or two tors, tin mines and burial chambers, whilst the other party headed east along the coastal path to Zennor Head, and then a beer in the Tinners, before heading inland and also exploring one or two tors, tin mines and burial chambers. Geoff returned back along the coast at his own pace.

Saturday was better but cool, so Syd, Geoff and David headed off down to Bosigran and climbed Alison Rib and then the more adventurous Black Slab. Then back to the hut for lunch and tea and the walkers back from their ramble along Sennen beach, with Richard clutching his parking ticket! In the afternoon, the three climbers plus Lionel walked to Pendeen Light. Geoff returned back along the coast, whilst the others continued on and then back, both getting wet from a never ending squally shower which appeared from the direction of America. Axel and co went exploring for Ding Dong Mine inland from Bosigran. Martin spent the day cycling on his Brompton, talking to himself.

Sunday was beautiful, with a capital B. Everybody went home, except for David and Geoff who went to Sennen and parked in a special place away from wardens, and walked to Lands End for coffee. The return journey was marred by the closure of the M5, but one could only sympathise with the poor devils that caused it.

15th October

The walkers assembled at Grindleford Station as instructed by the Main Leader and escorted to the platform by him and then the responsibility handed over to the Deputy Leader with hints that he (the DL) didn’t really know where he was going, and then he left.

On leaving the train at Bamford, the smiling face of Axel was seen, and then the scowling face of Mike Johnson, searching for the Main Leader, who had promised to walk with him. The Deputy Leader took his responsibility seriously and led the party in the direction of Bamford Edge, by which time a coup for Leadership responsibility was taking place as Mad Crowson was exhibiting signs of “I know where I’m going – trust me!” Thoughts of the potential slog across Bamford Moor and adjoining bog, and thus rebelling against the Leadership coup (knowing what the Rebel Leader was like at Leadership) made Peppit senior decide on a short cut via High Neb and then supposedly to meet up with them later at Stanage End.

As it turned out the Overall Leadership went to pieces on Bamford Edge with the Rebel Leader and his guest baling out and dropping down to Hathersage, whilst the remainder was now divided into various groups guided by Sub Leaders. Peppit meanwhile, at Stanage End, saw no sign of the expected party so Led himself along Stanage, Burbage, Padley Gorge and to the safety of his car. Meanwhile, the Main Leader was searching the countryside for Mike, but gave up at Crow Chin, (where he and Peppit must have been in close proximity to each other), and continued to the hut to cook a very good dinner. Mike meanwhile, who was expecting a short ramble with the Main Leader, ended up being Led along the complete walk, albeit catching a bus from the Fox House leaving the residue of the Sub Parties merrily supping their ales, and then staggering down to the Station.

Consequently, all Sub Parties, Rebels and Individuals eventually reunited at the hut, except for the Deputy Leader, who it was rumoured, had Fatherly Leadership roles to perform, but some thought he might still be Leading an imaginary party over Bamford Moor! But, all had a great time.

24th - 26th November 2017

A depleted turn out this year. The weather was predictably cold with squally sleety showers and the AGM was also predictably complicated and best reported elsewhere.

On Friday, Peppit senior was taken by Mike P and Ed Sampson in Becky’s car and stopped off about 1 pm at the Llanberis slate quarries (Rob was on potential baby delivery duties). A devious route on precarious paths, (where after a little slip on damp slate Peppit senior decided to return to the safety of the car and waited till darkness) took them to the Rainbow Arete area where an ascent of something was completed just before a hailstorm.

From Mike White: I learnt what Syd means by “saunter” and what John means by “hop”.  As in “we’ll saunter over this next bit and then hop up there”. “Stagger” and “hobble” better describes what I did.  As for where we went, Syd’s main navigational aid appeared to be the little finger of his right hand which traced the route he suggested we followed.  So it was a case of follow Syd and catch up with him when  he next exercised that finger.  I do know that at some point we ended up in Crafnant.  Rod gave up the opportunity of going on with Syd and John as they sauntered up yet another hill, and he led me down the most bog-ridden, tussocky, bracken-tripping ground in North Wales. Virtually pathless and with several impressive barbed wire fences.  He helped me to get my leg over more than once.

From Phil Crowson: Persuaded Russell to accompany me on project Snowdon. Foot to floor once entombed in the Merc. No time for him to reason. Ascended via Watkins path after paying homage at the Gladstone stone. Treacherous ice glazed rocks, came down a ridge to West and promptly slipped twice, injured knees. Russell genuinely pleased but very relieved to have survived a trip with the Crowsonator.

By M Pierce: As you probably know, John Hood and I went up Moel Siabod in very wintery conditions, plenty of ice and snow and gale force winds on the summit [see John's photographs].

By Mike Peppit: Around midday Ed, Mike, Rick and Rachel headed to Tryfan. Ed was reluctantly cajoled up Direct Route and then up the snowy ridge to a wintry summit before heading back down through the wind and snow via the fell runner’s route. I really enjoyed it and Ed hated every minute of it – which made it all the more worthwhile.  His only enjoyment came in seeing me fall over twice on the way back down, getting myself covered in mud and winding myself on a boulder. Rick and Rachel intended to join us on the ridge above Milestone Buttress but got turned away by a loose gully and decided to traverse over towards Cwm Idwal. We all met up back at the Ogwen café before heading back to the bunkhouse half expecting to find the freshly crippled McBain slumped at the bottom of the stairs covered in whisky.

By A Chatburn: Friday: Tony Crowther, Graham Barnes and Axel, met the President at Llyn Brenig  at about 11:30.  We walked over the reservoir embankment to the far side and onwards to a lone picnic table where we had lunch. Afterwards, Tony turned back while we others carried on to the Ring Cairn an ancient stone wall in the form of a ring which was encircled by wooden posts and built about 2000BC. We then returned and met up with Tony and continued to the  Tyn-y-Coed.

Saturday: Axel, Richard, Martin, guest Steve, Geoff, Graham: From the Tyn-y-Coed we walked over to Llyn Crafnant and along its northwestern side, pausing for a photo by the monument at the far end. Then over to Llyn Geirionydd, having stopped for lunch on the way. More photos at the second monument of the day.  After Llyn G. a steep ascent on a track, good but heavily eroded in places by an errant stream. Then we turned off south past Llyn Bychan to meet a path going west to Capel Curig. A very steep ascent followed and good views to Moel Siabod. We (the President, Graham and Axel) continued to Plas y Brenin and back to the Hotel by the path on the south side of the Afon Llugwy.

Sunday: Richard now a Past President, Tony , Graham and Axel met at the paddling pool on Llandudno front. A good place, we thought, because there are toilets there.

We walked along the front and to the end of the pier and back to the cars - a pleasant morning stroll. We said goodbye to Richard and then walked onwards towards the Little Orme. A mistake, perhaps, because we were caught by a heavy shower. However, we hurried back to eat lunch in the car and  motored  home in the afternoon.

17th December 2017

The President’s Meet Notice:

The so called President can only guarantee free beer at the 3 Stags. And then only if he makes it there with the cash and there are no bloody folk singers wailing within. (Real music accepted).

All ferrets and other hunting animals (viz Goshawks and Shaw-Crosses) welcome, provided accompanied by a member or prospective member.

If arriving prior to the so called President then hares and other game caught on the day for eating etc must be presented to the Landlord prior to ordering beer against credit.

Dead Rats accepted.

Statues of rich historic deceased members may not be erected due to current Momentum/Oxbridge funding issues.

Sheep (M or F) arriving prior to 2.30 pm excluded because  LGBT+/Pansex issues are not currently covered by club rules.

Post 14.30 it's not the clubs problem (refer to H+S Guidance).

New Secretary Travis can advise on details of his new Trophy rules ad minutem (sorry spent too much time with club lawyers so that means for ever and ever), on request.

The BMC have not been in touch about this meet, So maybe they have other more important things to worry about. Mind you we didn't tell em.

The President’s Meet Report:

The Vice President didn’t turn-up due to his flight from Costa Rica being delayed by “cold weather in Northern UK”. Clearly the landlady of the Moon would be disappointed. No grovelling fawn at her skirts. So, for the Saturday night practice run of the Sunday feast, the DPC Bristol section represented by Golden Boy Goulden was recruited.

On a frosty and dead calm morn the president trailed the Pierce Party (PP) and his slothfulness was attended upon by the Goulden. Once again the objective was a distant public House. The sheer romance of the countryside soon tempted camera from rucksack causing a slight delay while the PP (Pierce party) ploughed on to the Derwent path, but were still in sight. Several more minutes were then lost as the ASA setting was reset to please the V and the scene was pronounced almost as Joyous as the entertainment in the Moon the previous evening. And here the PP were seen disappearing into the trees – the last time they were seen in action. And this was the story of the day:

Arriving in Froggatt there was no sign of em. How could we go on with no one to follow? Where were they going? Why go to Froggatt? Only one answer to that one – to go up to the Edge. So we went up. No foot prints on the tarmac and Mr and Mrs Smith-Froggatt said they hadn't seen a bunch of old men since they had got out of bed. Where the Hell are we going? Oh yes! The Barrel at Bretton,that’s what Pierce said. Dive off along the Haywood path. Creepy shapes of distorted disease-ridden trees loomed out of the mist….

Let s get out of here… To the Sir William pub for a quick straightener and on through Sheriff Wood via Leam Hall. What the …..? Here Stalug Luft III levels of security at right angles to our chosen path had to be overcome yet only minor damage occurred to barbed wire barriers (sorry if we did any damage Sir Sheriff – please pay for the repairs with the 2 threads of Paramo pure golden thread left on a barb).  This was our first experience of enclosing what should be public routes through heritage countryside today. Not a single sign of how the public might get through or around these protected enclosures in a National Park…

Ah! No compass! No First Aid Kit. We were resigned to a lonely and dangerous day in the mist with no hope of ever sighting the PP ever again. Still if it had to end thus we may as well make the most of it. Escaping this over enclosed land to a public road brought all too short relief from the gentrification of Derbyshire and only a lucky meeting with a passing local allowed us to confidently ignore private road signs past Hazleford “farm” with it’s double glazed frameless picture windows, ludicrous orchard fruit planting along a public path and electric fences on top of the 6ft high dry stone walls. And then we had the black on white signs warning the sheep not to climb over the electric fences. Yuck squared. But to be fair they have planted hundreds of deciduous trees to soften the pine plantation margins.

Lunch in the delightful Highlow valley followed by Bretton Clough led to the Barrells at Bretton where there was (yet again) no sign of the PP. On down the slithery gorse pricking descent to Eyam and thence to the Moon at Stoney, found the Peppiti contemplating death by underground exposure. So you like caving eh…?

We rushed back to the hut where we could be sure of sensible and enlightening company only to be met by Mike Johnson, apparently on a slope of alcoholic enthusiasm for his new role of un-treasurer! Then we had a Jolly Good Dinner and a vast new Travis Trophy ready for its first inscription….Hugh presided. Axel entertained…. Ed had style. Pierce interviewed for a horror movie.  But look who won…  And…….he was not proscribed from receipt of the Greenaway Wine!!!!!   
Thanks to the Shawcross calm dinner preparation and fine wine selection, we all slept through Johnsons snoring and a merry party enjoyed the good doctors early morning administration of tea, full English butties and corn flakes. Ah well, what a meet the VP missed! M Clowes.

The cavers consisted of Mike P, Andy T, Syd G, and David C. They descended Red Rake in Calver, which is not generally publicised, and being one of the mines the Club explored in the early 1900’s. On the Saturday night they did a candle lit Streaks through-trip.

By Ed Shawcross: The meet leaders report is pretty straight forward to be honest - we peeled, prepped all the veg while drinking tea. When TC and Mike J returned after their walk we sampled both the wine and the beer for quality control. It was so good that Mike J went to sleep and TC had to retire upstairs to get changed. 23 sat down to dinner at 6 pm and a lovely time was had by all and we managed to drink a whole case of wine.