Deaths Head Hole

Darren, James, Scott, Tom

Freeeezing tonight, with the ground frozen and a reluctant turnout of 4 for this big pitch classic.

We rigged off the dodgy-feeling new ground spikes and Darren lead the way on to the big 64m entrance shaft. We then headed down the dig to the master cave including some efficient rigging from Darren on some slightly too short ropes. 

After reaching the final drop to the master cave we headed back out, no dramas just sweating. Back at the surface it was just very lightly snowing (or frozen mist or something) but the heat we’d made on the prussik back up made this refreshing. Back at the cars for 9:30!

Christmas Bash 23

It was a chilly one this year, with frosty frozen ground the whole weekend. 

Welly Filler at Inglesport then on to Bull Pot Farm for a late start. John, Miranda, Chris H, Jason headed to Wretched for a through trip to Lancaster, while Sophie, Tom, Scott and Pete rigged Lancaster for a trip in the opposite direction.

When we reached the big caverns on the high level route (never know which one is which) Sophie cracked out her stove and brewed up some mulled wine which went down a treat. The mince pies had barely survived their journey but were still welcome in our mouths. 

We cracked on, possibly hearing the other team heading the other way in the streamway below us at one point (they were 20 vertical metres away from getting in on the wine!) and after bumping in to a few folks around Stop Pot we made our way out of Wretched. 

We headed back to the farm to warm back up and get some food on. Cracking chili from Sophie, which we shared with some shivering NCHECC students who’d had a hard day of it, and then a feast of sticky toffee cake and Cuthbert the Caterpillar, with Gareth’s generous custard contributions.

Then it was through to the members’ lounge (thanks to Chris’ double agent status) for fireside chatting with tunes. 

On the Sunday Sophie and Miranda ran a chocolate hunt for the young’uns in Yordas which of course went down well and hopefully conditioned the next generation into thinking if they go down cold muddy holes in the ground they might get sweets.

Valley Entrance

Dave, Jordan, Ray, Tom, Vicky, Yolanda

First trip for new recruits Dave and Jordan, and it were a damp un. We headed in to find the master cave pretty heaving, close enough to call it but we sent brave volunteers down to test it out and it turned out to be just about passable with a lot of legwork. But with this kind of flow the waterslides become pretty fun, and we enjoyed riding the river right back down to the pitch, with the adrenaline cancelling out the hypothermia. Jordan laddered back up and the rest of us SRT’d up including Dave’s first ever attempt at SRT, which went swimmingly – he’d watched enough Youtube vids that he’d pretty much taught himself already 🙂 Yolanda cracked out the Bounties before heading back out to a chilly change and a pint at the Marton.


County Pot – Ignorance is Bliss

James, Jason, Maz, Rhod, Scott, Tom, Yolanda

Cracking loop round some of the lesser-visited parts of County via Ignorance is bliss. Super foamy down at Eureka Junction, it had obviously been backed up well into County in the last day or so. Always forget how long this one takes, and ended up just cancelling callout by 3 minutes 🙂

Notts II

Claire, Steve, Tom, Yolanda

Report by Tom

Claire joined us for her second trip with the club, and Steve for his third. Classic trip to see Curry Inlet, with Chocolate Orange and Pringles provided by our leader Yolanda. She needs to lead more trips!

Report by Yolanda

Notts 2 is perhaps my all-time favourite cave. It was one of the first caves I ever did, and I clearly remember the wonder of seeing calcite formations for the first time. Since then, I have persuaded friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and my brother into this cave as part of my Notts 2 evangelism. On Saturday, I added Steve and Claire to my list of converts.

The entrance to Notts 2 is underneath a metal trapdoor a few meters from the road (one of the seldom mentioned perks of Notts 2 is that there’s no need to trudge for miles across a muddy moor in order to reach the cave). Steve looked slightly apprehensive when he realised the first part of the cave involved about 70 meters of climbing down scaffolding, but was persuaded by either the promise of a calcite waterfall and/or a chocolate orange at the bottom of the cave. After the scaffolding, there followed the usual bit of slithering before the cave opened out into a large streamway. We took a leisurely stroll along the stream, admiring the stalagmites, stalactites, helictites, and calcite curtains. Best of all is the calcite waterfall – five meters high, and as white as snow.

Enthusiastic cavers, beautiful formations, a sunny day, and a bacon sandwich from the burger van on the way home… what more could you want from a day out? Thanks Tom, Steve, and Claire for joining me on a trip to one of the world’s loveliest caves!

Lost Johns – Centipede training

Amber, Maz, Rhod, Tom

Another rescheduled trip due to the weather, Smeltmill Beck was rightly called off! We hastily organised a replacement leisurely SRT trip into Lost Johns, with Amber having completed indoor SRT training with Ray and raring to try it out underground. 

After a delayed start from a grim Leck Fell we made the short commute to the entrance. The stream was peaty brown and a little up, but nothing to be concerned about so we headed in to where the routes diverge. An entertaining/spooky traverse in the roof led to the New Roof Traverse, with the worst bits over Hole No. 1 roped up. 

We quickly found ourselves at the head of Hammer pitch, and Amber had a quick recap of how to get on the rope and made her way down like a pro, followed by the rest of us. Onwards to Mud pitch, and yet again a flawless descent by everyone. After a quick peer over the edge of Centipede and switching gear over we started to make our way out, with rain forecast to arrive about 10. Once again everyone performed valiantly on the ascents, and Rhod de-rigged. It was pouring rain by the time we reached the surface, and everyone except me enjoyed a luxury change out of the grim weather in the back of their vans 😑

Notts Pot – Centre Route

Claire, Scott, Tom, Paul

Originally planned as a Bye George trip, Scott then actually read the description a couple of days before and decided against it with the recent weather. A quick reschedule to Notts was taken up by Tom, prospective member Claire (an experienced caver) and, on the day, a nice chap called Paul. He’d turned up for a meet with his club (who shan’t be named for legal reasons) and had grown impatient at their ongoing wining and dining in Inglesport Cafe! We happily invited him, having 4 tackle bags between 3 people – the extra hand was very welcome.

We headed down the first few pitches at breakneck speed with Scott rigging. At the start of the lower streamway pitches however, progress became a little more sedate, with Tom’s promise of rigging the remainder quickly being abandoned due to laziness. Scott took the reins for the first awkward rift rig, but for the second one Tom stepped up and finally put some legwork in. The last big pitch was a really enjoyable rig, and we ambled down the final pitch on in-situ ropes left over from the Three Counties Traverse still in place.

After a snack break by the sump, the long ascent began, with Paul very kindly offering to de-rig the whole cave. Getting off the upper big pitch of the lower streamway into the awkward rift proved a struggle for all of us, but once past this it was plain sailing back up the lovely Centre Route, to emerge into the chilly drizzle. Just over 5 hours in total, and a fantastic trip for us all.

Lancaster Hole

James, Maz, Rhod, Tim, Tom

As it’d been super damp the last few days and with the rain still falling as we kitted up at a dark and inhospitable Bull Pot Farm, we decided to sack off our plan of getting down Waterfall Passage and do a trip to the Graveyard instead.