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.

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)

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.