Saturday, 25 November 2006
Another stunning example of ULSA morning efficiency.
By the time we got to Eldon Hole the weather had cleared up appreciably from the morning downpour. En route, we had wrongly gone to ask permission from Landside Farm as detailed in the guidebook entry. The land now belongs to the person who lives at the bungalow which is the 4th house on the left after the cattle grid and before the left turn onto Eldon Lane.
After some fun with a dog, a stick and Tom’s groin, merrily we trudged up to Eldon Hole. A strange arrangement of p-hangers were joined with 10mm and one-by-one, the surface queue began to diminish. Henry was delayed briefly at the top whilst constructing a macrame owl between himself and the first rebelay.
My light, having all but failed at the car park, led me to welcome Stuart to light my way into the grotty entrance, which is an excavation of the highest Derbyshire merit: a tottering pile of slime, gravel and bits of sheep punctuated by a random assortment of embedded corrugated iron and scraps of leather shoring.
From the bottom of the boulder slope, we rigged our rope via the fixed cordellette up into Millers Chamber – a series of well decorated flowstone avens – and then a fixed rope up into Damocles Rift – a point a very short distance from the surface, with some nice curtains and stall. A variety of techniques were employed to pass the constriction above this pitch, none of which were particularly glamorous – notably Slim’s approach which involved needing to be undressed from his carbide generator mid-way through.
Tom, Slim and Henry left first to return to Leeds for John & Sarah’s party, while the rest of us waited in line for the long prussik home and then shivered on the surface whilst Martin derigged. Interestingly, when the 6 of us returned to the carpark, the 4 cars which had conveyed us there had been reduced to a single vehicle. An intimate journey back to the TSG was enjoyed, stopping briefly to accuse a slightly confused Joe in the layby by Oxlow of stealing the car he was changing into – my car.