Wednesday 25 December 2013

21st December 2013 - Carrock Fell Wolframite mine

20th December 2013 - Pikedaw calamine caverns

Dick gearing up for the ascent.
It was wet, very wet.

Looking around the web most reports for Pikedaw calamine caverns start "With thunderstorms forecast...", or "Given the recent wet weather..."; well this is another of those reports as it's a quality trip for very wet weather.  The only downside was the wander across pretty bleak moorland in pretty grim weather.
Once we'd located the entrance, we gazed 23m straight down into the warm and the dry.  The people who'd capped the shaft had the foresight to install a ladder for the first 6 feet which made getting on to the pitch much simpler, although ladders that finish about 21m up in mid air are slightly unnerving.
At the bottom of the pitch we headed into the large Lord's chamber and began our exploration (a useful survey can be found here).  First we climbed a set of man made steps into what quickly became a natural meandering streamway.  Back to Lord's chamber and a climb up into a breakdown type chamber with some impressive formations.  Trying to make out what was natural and what wasn't became harder and harder.  We then wandered up into the large Cavern 84, before going in search of Cave Pearl Passage.  This was a little more hidden than the other routes out of Lord's chamber, but definitely worth looking at.  It does have cave pearls, but also some very impressive coloured walls.  Either someone's gone down recently with some blue and green chalk; Victorian miners painted their mines in bright colours or it's quite spectacular mineralisation.
Having explored the main passages radiating from Lord's chamber we made our way back to the entrance chamber before embarking along Cavern 44.  Here Tom had a go at a bit of archaeology, uncovering an old, old sherry bottle.  It's worth noting that there's some quite interesting graffiti throughout the mine/cave and if the dates can be believed, some of it quite old.
After a quick visit to a sump we carried on along Cavern 104.  As this closed down it soon became clear that the way on was along the streamway, before climbing up and over some spoil.  Here more traditional signs of mining were evident, with wood scaffolded passageways disappearing into the gloom.  These didn't look overly inviting so we made our way back to the pitch.
As I made my way up I found Dick just under the hatch, with a maelstrom audible above.  The pitch head was getting busy so we climbed out an crouched with our backs to the stinging hail.  Tom wasn't far behind and the rope quickly packed into the tackle sack, jammers still attached.
The journey back to the van was pretty speedy with the wind behind us and we were soon heading back over the moor road.
The Gamecock in Austwick provided a very reasonably priced and fine pint with some pate and crackers thrown in for good measure.

Sunday 15 December 2013

12th December 2013 - Bull Pot of the Witches

It has been dry for ages and so we thought we were definitely on for the Magic Roundabout, but a pesky weather front was forecast to move in at just the wrong time and an alternative was required.
Most of the entries in the CNCC rigging guide have a warning about being an "active pothole, responding quickly to wet weather", but Bull Pot of the Witches doesn't.  (NB while the pitches may be dry, the lower reaches of the cave definitely DO respond to rain).
BPotW also has the advantage that the walk in is pretty short, handy for a late start.  Over the stile and the path round the open pot was carefully followed to the short entrance tunnel.  While the pitches are all free climbable, they also proved perfect for a bit of early season rigging practice.

Tom at the bottom of the first pitch
At the bottom of the first pitch, a large but short tunnel soon leads to the open pot.

Tom making his way to the open pot
Turning back on yourself then leads, almost immediately to the next pitch, which gave Dick a useful chance to practice his rerigging of my rigging to make it somewhat more user friendly.

Dick and Tom rerigging the rigging
The last pitch was rigged, though Tom took the opportunity to isolate the more worn sections of the rope.  At the foot of the pitch a short climb down lead to stream level and a short climb up to the aptly named Long Gallery.  This gives a  less aqueous route to the further reaches of the cave, which are much more considerable than I thought.

Thought this would be a dry underwear trip, it wasn't.
We first visited the downstream sump and its in situ dive line, leading into the depths before Tom managed to pull the route to the monolithic towers from somewhere in his memory.

The monolithic towers
While Dick and I took photos Tom disappeared to do a bit of ratching around and found himself at a couple of scaffold bars, the reason for which we unsure of, but:
offers an explanation.
On our return to the pitches we managed to miss the climb up from the stream on the first pass, but raising water and a lowering roof soon convinced us we'd gone to far.
It was quite late by the time we reached the pub, there's  lot more to Bull Pot of the Witches than you may initially think and probably a fair bit more still to be found.

Saturday 7 December 2013

6th December 2013 - Ropeless in Easegill

Alistair promised lots, post trip steak and beer, a group of Thursday Night Club cavers re-united after a long lay off, and an exciting new round trip, but in the end it was just him and me trudging across the bleak moorland towards the upper reached of Easegill. In fairness to Alistair he didn't say there would not be any of the following
  • The need to swim/crawl through water with a temperature of about 5C
  • Continuous crawling for long sections
  • Very low sections of flat out caving
  • Semi blocked passages where large gritstone blocks had to be pushed aside to make progress
  • Hanging death blocks 
The list could go on but I don't want to be too negative! It was actually a great caving trip and unique we decided in that it was an Easegill "through trip" without the need for any ropes at all. There are we think another two through trips in this system where you don't need to carry ropes underground, submit a comment below if you think you can name them! (the prize would be something very disappointing so don't even ask!)

The initial entrance series is steady going, quite physical and varied, but never desperate. Alistair's description from Descent magazine seemed quite accurate, and after a few free climbed pitches we arrived at "The Manhattan Project". An impressive dig that connects this previously unconnected part of the system with the continuously increasing kilometres of passages.

Metres of scaffolding and wire fencing have been dragged through quite arduous passages to this remote location, and then used to bury through rocks and gravel, what must have taken 100's of hours to dig through just takes a few seconds to climb down! And after this short climb you arrive in the main Easegill system! THen on Through Hiroshima and Nagasaki chambers to the assembly room and then further on to eventually arrive at the master cave and Thackeray's passage before the none to easy escape via Depot Passages and Wretched Rabbit.

We took a few nice photos, but were still out the cave before 7pm so plenty of time to go and grab a comfy seat at the Barbon Inn. Too late for that we found out, and also we just made do with a beer and crisps due to the no show by those other TNC no-shows!

Unusual purple stalactites in Boundary Pot

Alastair climbing up to the grotto in Boundary Pot

Superb unspoilt calcite formations 

Sunday 1 December 2013

29th November 2013 - Return to the Borehole

With the weather having been dry for the last couple of weeks and with unfinished business from last season, Dick and I set off back to Easegill and the Borehole.

Fortunately the trip to have a look at the pitch earlier in the year was still fairly clear in our minds, so while navigation wasn't a problem, tackle sacks definitely made the trip harder than before.

At an "over or under" decision point I went under despite Dick's misgivings and soon arrived at the pitch with one small problem, the bar to rig the rope from had gone.  I tried continuing, but the way on is blocked.  Returning the way we had come seemed the only option.  Wriggling around to reverse I looked up and there lay the bar, a few feet above, "over" in hind sight would have been the best option.

At the bottom of the pitch we double checked the description and our memories before pulling the rope and heading down the rift following the calcite band in its bottom.  For a short section this becomes almost tubelike, before popping out into a larger piece of passage.

Dick exiting the tube leading from the bottom of the pitch

Feeling pretty smug that I'd managed to get ahead of Dick and unpack camera and flash in order to capture the moment he came round the corner, I pressed the shutter.  Nothing from the camera flash but a sickly whining sound.  A few minutes of faff and it was back to the old open the shutter and fire the flash manually routine.  Not the best way of capturing any "moment", especially not helped when, perhaps to make up for the camera flash not firing, the slave flash decided it was going to flash twice when fired.

With Dick released from modelling duties we continued down the passageway ticking off landmarks both in our memories and in the description.  After another brief photo stop to see some beautiful stal growing from what looked like a bed of straw, it was on to the final piece of crawling before arriving at the foot of the well leading up to Green and Smelly.

Pretties on the way back to Spiral Stairs

With just one set of SRT gear between us, we opted for the free climbable route up into Spiral Staircase which brought us surprisingly quickly to the superbly built dry stone wall at the beginning of the pitches out of Wretched Rabbit.

The haul out of Easegill and up onto the moor felt like hard work, really hope it's a case of not being cave fit at the beginning of the season.

John, Tom, Phil, it's worth noting that Friday night in the Barbon Inn is steak night and it looks pretty good.  It has the added benefit that we'd have to be at the pub by 9!

Friday 22 November 2013

Sunday 11 August 2013

9th August 2013 - Journey through the mountain

After a quick lunch we started packing in the car park.  SRT kit, pulleys, buoyancy aid, puncture repair kit, bicycle pump...  This wasn't going to be just any old trip.

A short section along the road and we soon began the slow but steady rise up the incline from Croesor village to its namesake slate mine.
Leaving the Croesor car park
Nestled within the ruined buildings lay the entrance adit and with a quick change of clothes we were ready to head underground.

The entrance adit to Croesor
This was mining on a scale I'd never seen before and after walking for around 400m along the adit from the portal we arrived in a huge marshalling yard with a flooded incline leading to lower levels.  Our route lay up another incline but a short side trip lead to a flooded stope, possibly one of the eeriest places I've ever visited.
At the top of the incline a short walk lead to the top of the first abseil.  With the rope carefully checked and found to be in excellent condition, Dick set off down.  It's at this point you start to realise the amount of work someone has put into making this trip a possibility.  Thick plastic sheeting was bolted over any sharp edge that may damage the rope and precisely the right length deviations keep the rope in place.

The first abseil
Inspecting the rope at the top of the first abseil
It's after the second abseil that the fun begins.  Back in the day the mine wagons would have trundled through mined out chambers, perched on bridges hung from the ceiling.  While this must have been quite a sight, time has taken its toll on the bridge supports and now a number of ingenious solutions have been found to cross each chamber.

The zip wire
The zip wire would be great even if it were above ground. Underground though and over a deep blue pool of water, with reflections from your head torch beamed onto the roof above, it's absolutely fantastic.  It's no wonder that some have worked hard to get back across, just to have another go.

The suspension bridge
Next up is a suspension bridge, engineered perfectly so you skim the water at the central point of your crossing. 
Tyrolleans and traverse lines then follow, the variety maintaining interest constantly.

The tyrolean traverse over one of the collapsed bridges
As with many of the best things in life, the best is saved till last and the final abseil lands you in a canadian canoe, complete with rubber dinghy tender.

The end of our canoe journey
At the end of one of the most surreal paddles I've ever enjoyed, a short jummar leads back up to the continuation passage.

Saying goodbye to the canoe
From here we waved good bye to our trusty vessel before continuing on to meet a demolished wall with curled back reinforcing bars.  This is the connection point between the Creosor and Rhosydd mines.

Entering Rhosydd mine
Rhosydd has a very different feel to it with a bit more scrambling around than in Croesor.  Before long though daylight is seen filtering from the huge opening on the hillside, the West Twll.

First daylight from the West Twll
Counter intuitively the route heads back down into the mine, away from daylight, down a long incline which leads in turn to the 9 adit.  600m away a bright spot of light indicated the portal to day and the end of our trip.

Light at the end of the number 9 adit

As at Croesor the portal is surrounded by ruined mine buildings, giving an indication of the sheer size of the operation in its hey day.

The exit from Rhosydd
While I've been told that spending your birthday underground isn't the best way of celebrating, Dick from deep in his tackle sack produced one of the finest birthday teas I've ever had.  Ham sandwiches and Smartie cake all washed down with a can of Black Sheep.

Fantastic birthday party
From the exit, it was a pleasant half mile or so walk back to the Croesor entrance and our bikes.  While pushing our bikes up had taken 50 minutes we were back at the road in 5 and the pub in 10, a terrific ending to a truly superb trip.

Back at the pub
Cheers to all the people who have put in hard work to make this such a sporting trip, installing the rigging and rope protectors.  Your work is very much appreciated.

A few video clips...

Saturday 18 May 2013

17th May 2013 - Beware the ghostly witch

Legend has it that an unwary traveller passing Ibbeth Peril may be dragged into a cave under the waterfall by a ghostly witch.  Given the amount of flood debris blocking the entrance though, I don't think this has happened in a while.

Spot the cave entrance

Once Dick had cleared the entrance a short crawl led through to an unexpectedly large chamber.  Though we had a survey, we realised almost immediately that things have changed in Ibbeth Peril since the 1960s and we set off exploring what looked like a fairly active dig.  A muddy tube soon led via a puddle and a corner to the dig face, so reverse gear was engaged and we set off, continuing our exploration of the main chamber.
Next up was a very pretty grotto, which had it been in Easegill or one of the more popular Dales caves would surely have been surrounded by tape.

We then made our way down through the boulders that make up the floor of the main chamber until a streamway was met which we explored until it sumped.  A detour on the return led to what looked like another dig site which led to open cave but I had too much in my pockets (this is my excuse anyway) to squeeze through.  Climbing up a bit further, Dick found yet another muddy tunnel, but this one was quite enjoyable, curving round in a big loop to join the main chamber once again.  Here another inlet led to yet another dig and a classic at that.  Sinking into a few inches of aqueous mud, I carried on until the water began to get a bit close to the roof for comfort and, not for the first time this evening, found myself wriggling backwards out of a muddy tube.
A more comfortable sized passage then led down to a proper Yorkshire streamway which in turn led to a pair of ominous static sumps, fly trap in nature, surrounded by steep mud sides.
Once again back in the main chamber, the final obvious way on took us up a great little waterfall into a fantastically sculpted streamway.  Once again though, not far along this, we found ourselves at a sump.

Returning to day light we went in search of the entrance to Ibbeth II, found under what seemed like a giant Beaver dam of debris.  Not familiar with the pubs in these here parts we found ourselves in The Sun, the only reason being it had a car park.  It's worth knowing they serve a very good pint.

Saturday 11 May 2013

Friends reunited - May 10th 2013

Dah Dah Dah-Dah-Dah/Dah Dah Dah Dah Dah ... so went the tune in my head as we stared out of the car window at the torrential rain.  Ten minutes earlier in sunshine I had driven up to Bull Pot Farm to meet Al but no sooner had he got in my car the heavens opened and the April shower (wait a minute this is May!) poured down around us as it had done all day. ' The return through trip of the Borehole is out then I suppose', I said hoping that Al's reply was going to be similar to my thoughts of 'low airspace in heavy rain'!

Dah Dah Dah Dah Dah/Dah Dah Dah Dah Dah ... so what should we do then?  'Well, what else did your history books have in them,' asks Al?
' Funny you should ask,' I reply, 'I have a tune in my head that would make a good re-exploration'

ok click the link above if you have not guessed the tune or if you are just fed up with repetition!

and so with the shower passed over we changed into our kit and headed off to Lancaster Hole.

The pitch rigged soon saw us heading through familiar passages towards Fall Pot where the sound of falling water from Cow Pot gave us an indication that there may be some water in the Easegill system.  Up in the high level series the number of placed hangers and in-situ handlines gave us food for thought as to why it was thought OK to place these fixed aids in this system but not leave a piece of rope dangling in Kingsdale Master Cave?

On 8th January 1999 Phil and I made a chance discovery while looking for the entrance Stake Pot Inlet, a window in the south wall of the upper series passage that was not so obvious from the main way up to Bob's Boss.  Through this window a 12mm rope headed off up a massive shaft, which on further research turned out to be the Arson Shaft,  recently rebolted in order to survey the cave system it led into.   As we didn't have our SRT gear at the time, we explored the passages below Bob's Boss and found the way into the main drain. This trip in 2013 the entrance window was easier to spot due to the wear in the area.  Is this due to increasing numbers of people doing the round trip (although a web search only mentions three trips) or just people going to look into the shaft?  Today, the rope diameter was slightly less (replaced in 2007 my online research suggests) but still leads up via some rather ancient looking 8mm spits to the entrance to ...

The Magic Roundabout Series!

On 29th January 1999 Tom, Bruce, Phil and I had climbed the Arson Shaft and once we had worked out the way on at the top through an unlikely looking tight bit (which opens quickly beyond) we had reached the top of the 11m pitch and explored the Pristine Way then returned the way we had come, foiled by no rope on the 11m pitch..  This trip we quickly arrived at this pitch to find a fixed rope in place.  To my surprise, when looking through the mud, caking the 10mm  rope the pink colour was still there.  It was my old climbing rope, placed by me on our round trip on 5th February 1999!  (We think that this was probably one of the earlier round trips following the replacing of the rope in the Arson Shaft.  The original trip was done sometime in the 1970s we think). 

NB.  Be aware if doing this pitch today that this rope is over 20 years old having had a career as a climbing rope before being sacrificed to support our round trip, more of the rope being used to rig the pull through at the top of Aquarius Pitch and the rest fixed at the bottom of this pitch to gain the stream passage.

As we worked our way towards the head of the Aquarius Pitch the roar of water got louder and louder until the rope (mine from 1999 has been replaced I am pleased to note) at the head of the pitch came into view and a large spout of water cascaded down the pitch.  The water spouting down the pitch was brown, peaty and frothy and the abseil line was straight down the spout.  No way on this time.  Using the tackle bag to temporarily dam the head of the pitch the water built up quickly and the explosion of sound as the flood pulse hit the bottom of the pitch 18m below when we released the water was enough for us to realise that we didn't want to be there if another heavy rain shower was taking place above us.  We headed back to the Arson Shaft and descended back to the High Level Series.

As we had gone as far as Aquarius, we now decided to go and explore to the bottom section of stream coming from the Aquarius pitch; a passage called Brass Monkey.  On 22nd Jan 1999 Tom, Phil Bruce and I had done the same exploration and today 14 years later we squeezed down through the muddy boulders below Bob's Boss to slip and slide down to the Brass Monkey Streamway.  To this point we had been dry but we now waded and crawled upstream to where the ropes hung down from the 9m pitch and the way on to the bottom of the Aquarius. Once again as we had done with the Borehole, Al and I had made the connection from bottom to top and would have to wait for lower water levels to make the through trip .

Back down the streamway we continued, until finally we broke out into the main drain where we headed out via Stake Pot and the high level series.

A later than usual arrival at the Barbon Inn saw us enjoying a pint of Barbarian Ale when three cavers came in after their evenings digging in Crystal Cave, with whom we enjoyed a chat and comparison of our exploits.  

Monday 22 April 2013

History repeats itself - April 21st 2013

Fifteen years ago when Al was just a fresh-faced post-grad (and wearing glasses unlike today because of advances in lazer eye surgery) the TNC were exploring Easegill, much as we still do today.

Caving late 1990's style.  Dick, Tom and Bruce at Bull Pot Farm.

My activity record for 1998 showed that on
  • 23/1/98 - Caving - County, Eureka Junction, Green and Smelly Passage looking for the way into the Borehole.  Tight squeeze but then found the 'easy' way in!  Return.  Tom.
  • 31/1/98 - Caving - Tom/Phil.  The Borehole down to Green and Smelly Passage and link with last week. Returned back up the pitch.
  • It then took us until December the same year to complete the through trip: -
  • 4/12/98 - Caving - Tom and Ray.  The Borehole, Easegill, Eureka Junction, Wretched Rabbit.  Slow trip but good.

How the memory fades and so this week in April 2013 saw Al and I walking across the moor from Bull Pot Farm on our way to Easegill with the plan to explore the way into the Borehole from the bottom again.  My recollection of the bottom end of the Borehole was of a passage behind a fallen block somewhere (that missed out the tight squeeze) near the main drain of Easegill leading after some more blocky passage to the pitch and the Borehole ... how wrong can I have been!

As we were in the vicinity of the entrance of the Borehole in Easegill we decided first to go down and have a look at the pitch head first.  The entrance was an unlikely low bedding in the right wall of the stream but the  passage dropped steadily to the top of a 2m climb into a small chamber of clean, polished limestone. At the bottom we dropped into a T section stream passage and  knee deep pools of freezing water were met meaning wet feet and soon a junction is reached where another stream comes in on the right leading to more deep pools and a tight squeeze through a block. After a a low gravelly bedding plane, 30m of crawling and some more pools we arrived at the 15m pitch and the scaffold bar at the head of the pitch.  So after looking down to the ledge near the bottom, we returned to the surface, passing head high flood debris that didn't look too old.  Not a place to be in a flood!

So off down Wretched Rabbit we went but unlike the 1998 trip there was no need to go to Eureka Junction as Spiral Staircase has been opened up, which leads directly to Green and Smelly Passage.  A quick trip down here saw us at the junction with the Borehole off to the right and GandSP straight on. The route description is spot on for the Borehole but our interpretation was not.  As the passage we entered lowered to a flat out crawl and Al took off his helmet to progress I was trying to fit the image of this awful looking place to my memory of this 'walking size passage'.

Eventually, after admitting defeat and retreating to our last known point we found the way on to be underneath where we had been looking.  There followed what seemed like an eternity of crawling, flat out bedding, scrambling up and over mud slopes and through boulders until after a winding passage we suddenly saw a ledge on the right and up above in the light of Al's powerful Scurion head torch, the scaffold bar that we had been to earlier that evening.  We had linked the parts of the cave but not as my memory had recollected it, a quick walk up a passage with blocks!

Coming out of a cave never seems as long as going in, possibly because one is surer of the route.  Back at  the rift that led directly to the floor of the low wide chamber below Spiral Staircase Passage we knew that we were back just a few tens of metres from the WWP entrance.  Heaving ourselves up the fixed ropes at the top of the Big Rift was hard work as we were tired  from two quite strenuous trips but we were soon out in the dusk and the walk back to the cars in the light for a change.

Back in the Barbon Inn we enjoyed a pint in front of the open fire that the landlords have replaced the old gas fire with and discussed how in the next dry period we would link the two trips together and drag the camera kit down there for some photos for the blog.

Sunday 14 April 2013

11th April 2013 - Tactical nuclear penguin

First of all this was a light and lucky, fast and free trip so you'll need to have someone read the following to you, while you close your eyes and imagine the trip...

To go caving you need your caving gear and having had a great few days away, Dick offered to take me
 home to pick up my stuff on his motorbike.  Spending most of my time driving a heavily laden van, acceleration isn't something I'm used to and so it was with slightly fraid nerves we arrived at our house.  For some reason my key had let me lock the door behind me when we left, but it was not for being unlocked.  I've now a strong feeling that some of the things you see in films aren't actually true.  Whereas in most films, locked doors fly open with one kick, this just doesn't seem to be the case in reality, or perhaps it was just the tight leather trousers I was wearing.  Finally having gained entry and picked up my gear we headed back to Dick's.  Despite all the protective clothing, I still felt very exposed in the outside lane of the M6, though the available acceleration does make joining the motorway north of Lancaster slightly less fraught.

A chill wind was blowing as we headed over the moors from Bull Pot Farm, where a couple of tents in the garden signalled the presence of a few hardy folk.  The gill was dry as we dropped down to the County pot entrance and only a couple of short sections further up stream, had water flowing.  A great set of instructions from Descent soon saw us at the surprisingly snowy entrance to Boundary pot and for the first few metres we could make like penguins and slide on our tummies over the snow floored passage, so much better than crawling.  A daylight shaft brought a change to more conventional caving techniques, but the excellent guide continued to allow us to find the way on without any difficulty.

Fortunately the last few weeks of dry weather meant the passges of the entrance series were almost completely dry and the first real water encountered was in the impressive chamber, just before Fusion cavern.  Stepping across in front of the cascasde is quite exhilerating and the climb down into the chamber that follows maintains the interest.  After Fusion cavern the way on became slightly more aqueous before we imerged into the dry, silent, vastness of Hiroshima.  Crossing this, we soon arrived at the very impressively built Manhattan connection and the way through to the main Easegill system.

The short traverse and walk through Far East Passage led to our only navigational glitch on the whole trip, with me first beginning the scramble up to Nagasaki to early and then when we got there turning to speak to Dick and futilely arguing that "left" was in the opposite to his "left".  The description really is incredibly clear and you have to be a bit of a muppet to make either of these mistakes.

With each passing footstep now the route became more familiar, Easter grotto, the Assembly Hall, the White Way, Thackray's passage, Holbeck Junction and finally Stop Pot.  Now we just needed to return to the surface by Wretched Rabbit.  No matter how fit I'm feeling, this always seems hard work and I always head up the wrong inlet, so it's great when the smell of fresh air reaches your nostrils and today this was accompanied by the glow of daylight too.

Caving in the day definitely has it's downsides.  First of all the walk over the moor seems to be longer when you can see what you're doing and secondly it was too early for a pint.

Huge thanks to Sam Allshorn, Mike Cooper and the others involved for making this trip possible through their digging efforts and also for the truly excellent description.

Monday 18 March 2013

15th March 2013 - Kerplunk with added spiders

After the failure of Petzl to design and build a caving suit that fits a six foot bloke there was nothing for it but to repair the old one.   Following the advice of Dave in Inglesport a tube of Sikaflex was obtained and the old Meander suit repaired.  

So here, in true Inglesports pose is the outcome of the repair!

Come on Petzl, this is what a six foot caver looks like, design an over suit that fits or Meander start making them again!

So, today's trip was down Kerplunk with Kate and Joe and Sharon making their second appearance of the season.  This is a better meet attendance than TNC members Phillips, Garner, Whiting and Jardine by 2 trips!

Kate thought that the climb down the Kerplunk shaft was one of the most exciting things she had done in a while!  On arrival at the main stream way we were unsure what to expect as the rain had been falling heavily right up to when we started to get changed when suddenly the sun came out!  As it was, although swollen the water level was OK.

Sharon enjoying the experience

Kate and Joe threatened by Vlad the Impaler .  The water was freezing due to snow melt.  Time to head out.

Despite concerns from certain members about the climb out, it went quickly and soon people were popping out of the entrance.  The references to cave dwelling spiders that are 'mildly venomous' while   climbing out gave Kate some added impetus to ascend quickly!

Waiting for the last members to exit.  A quick walk back to the car and change saw us sitting in front of the fire at the Snooty Fox enjoying a pint of Landlord.