Saturday, 25 October 2014
We disembarked at a reasonable hour in the morning, though it was without one member of the party as Rochelle had failed to wake up. We arrived in Hathersage at about 11 and ate a decent breakfast in the Outside caf. After sufficient consumption, we headed off through Castleton and up Winnats Pass to Giants. It had been sunny for much of the drive, but as soon as we started to get changed it went all grey and cold. On the walk to the cave, Nadia was given the bag by Nathanael and then tethered to the fence by the donkeys dick. Nadia, for some reason, didnt understand she could just take the bag off and flopped to a heap on the grass. We were underground at about half 12-1, and were soon at the first pitch where Dan set about rigging for the first time. This pitch is a really good first rig: its very easy access and you can watch the rigger at all times at close proximity. We were down in pretty snappy time with me spotting at the pitchhead. Everyone did SRT really well with no dangerous silly things. Hooray! Then into the crabwalk with us.
The crabwalk was very dry, much drier than I remember it being before. This did not, however, mean that you could stay dry. Nadia and Clara particularly had trouble achieving this. One particularly entertaining time was when Nadia had a waterfall kicked in her face by me, and then Clara and Nadia both got completely soaked going down a ladder climb whereas I stayed completely dry. Smugometer was off the scale at this time. We soon reached the first sump and headed off towards the Oxlow connection, where Nadia was coerced by Nat into having a look down the grotty little connection and then trapped in there by Nat holding a digging bucket in front of the hole. Not long after that, we were at the Giants Windpipe, where Nadia got her own back a bit and kicked disgusting muddy water in my face as we went through the windpipe, which was definitely wetter than at CHECC last November. She was soon on the back foot once more, however, as I had gained a lot of welly water in the windpipe and proceeded to pour it on her head. Bad times for Nadia. The trip was going amazingly efficiently considering not one of the freshers had been caving more than three times before (George was on his first ever underground trip), and soon, after Nat and I spotted on a couple of slightly tricky rope climbs, we were at the rift back down into the crabwalk. I abbed down first and guided freshers down, and Chris and Nat did the pullthrough and derigged Garlands Pitch after I had headed out with the freshers. Everyone did well prussiking up the pitch, and there were no hairy times at all. Success! At the entrance, I waited til Nat came out and got him right in the ear with my welly water from a ledge above the entrance just as he took down his hood which amused me greatly. Soon we were changed and back in Leeds, with everyone a bit tired but reasonably happy.
Excellent trip: everyone did really well which made me, Nat and Chris well pleased. We have good freshers this year! Huge thanks to Chris for driving, the trip could not have happened without his efforts. Roll on more successful freshers trips at Pennine Hut!