Due to a late night wreaking havoc and watching Mike think up schoolboy japes to play around the farm, we had a very leisurely start the next morning. After watching everyone else leave the hut to either go caving or walking, we decided that we couldn’t be those people who just sat around talking shit and doing nothing again and proceeded to locate some caving gear for Luke. There was unanimous agreement that KBrooks SRT kit was a sack of shit that no one should have to use. Luke wanted to visit the Rubber Dinghy Rapids, see Double Daylight and be out in time for Pecan Pie so a jaunt around Easegill via Wretched Rabbit with the loose ambition of visiting Cape Kennedy was decided upon.
I nearly missed the entrance for Wretched, having not been in there since the entrance collapse this year. The entrance climbs are very enjoyable on the way down and are essentially steep slides with ropes. At the bottom of these, we decided to have a sniff around the Spiral Staircase as it was not a way that any of us knew. Popped down, proceeded to progress swiftly along the fine walking passage at the bottom, much nicer than that fucking meander that you usually have to do. Arrived at T-junction, looked left, encountered a steep and very slippery drop with a rope in situ. Although it looked vaguely chimney-able with the aid of the rope it was decided it would be silly to go down there and then not be able to return up so we took the right-hand branch. This brings you out at the bottom of the rope anyway.
We then needed to sniff out the way onwards to the Main Drain and thence to Stop Pot. I remembered vaguely from a trip in 2013 with Sma that you followed Green and Smelly Passage to Holbeck Junction, and Luke remembered doing a trip here with CSJ to something called the ‘Dog and Duck’ (I suspect these are just two swimming words plucked from a dyslexic brainsoup). Buoyed with faux-confidence from our collective half-memories (something which has never caused any trouble in the past) we scampered up the right-hand turn only to find a hole incompatible with the a priori information that CSJ had done the trip before, so an about-turn was made and we returned to the junction. There was a big drop down to a walking passage below, which again seemed dissonant with knowledge of CSJ’s prior presence in the cave. So we decided to forget about whether CSJ had been there or not and go for a stroll along some ledges above the passage below. These were followed with general ease past a few boulder obstacles until some water was reached at floor level after a climb down. The water was followed to a shelf that pops you out in the Main Drain. ‘Happy Days’: now downstream to Stop Pot. This piece of cave I chose to remember as Holbeck Junction, and was later proved correct by Northern Caves, which generated a great deal of smugness due to the derision caused by my confidence of this in the cave.
After a quick look in Straw Chamber (which confirmed that we were en route) we arrived in Stop Pot. Up the ladder, over the boulders, into full-on romp territory. We had a brief sleep to cool down and tried to tickle Olly into giving us some Bro Talk, which was not forthcoming. The Minarets were enjoyed in full much to Luke’s distaste as this contravened his convention of always taking the sneaky bypass. Soon we were at Oxbow Corner where we decided that we should sample the delights of the Lancaster Hole Main Drain. Water levels were just right to really enjoy the many whooshes and splooshes and we all agreed that this was a very fine bit of cave. Except Olly who was displeased that we hadn’t told him that he would get wet. Being wet can inhibit Bro Talk, apparently.
Arrived at Fall Pot, where we were struck by the idea that we might, if we were unprecedentedly lucky, encounter a rope and SRT kit collection on Lancaster Hole entrance for us to appropriate, thus facilitating a cheeky sneak up and out in time for Pecan Pie. However, Shifty Alistair Gott had been incredibly inconsiderate and removed his SRT kit from the cave despite abandoning a TSG rope there – a real kick in the face. At least we did get to see Double Daylight. Turn around and then back for more romping along broken up with sit-downs where we tried to tickle Bro Talk out of Olly, but resistance was strong. It was, however, suggested that all committee meetings should in future be held in caves to increase efficiency and sort the keen from the frustratingly bothersome.
The cave was exited soon after, with George and I having a look at the interesting other rope at the start of the rope climbs back up. We concluded that despite cutting out a lot of climbing the very exposed high traverse is not worth doing again. Then back to the hut for the Four Flavours, an outstanding bin-food menu very kindly cooked up by Rachel and Chal. We never did get round to making Pecan Pie. Or Keylime Pie. And Cape Kennedy was never visited. But this, we all agreed, had been one of the finest and most fun trips for quite some time. Occasionally, it is nice not to have an objective in mind and to do things simply for the fun of it. Who knew?