After a quite outrageous fuck-up with the transport, the likelihood of the weekend going ahead was hanging by a thread. Luckily, Shauna, cousin of Higgs-Boson, was willing to drive her parents car for the club and this for the first time ever, with her only being put on the insurance for the sake of enabling the weekends caving, legend! So we could go caving after all. Ben pulled the classic Orpheus nav trick of putting Jenny Pott’s address into his satnav rather than the Cottage address, but we still arrived first. The Orpheus is a cracking hut, really cosy but also with more than enough space and featuring some really interesting and informative displays about the club history and more. The members who turned up on Sunday were very friendly as well. Can’t believe that in all my years caving I hadn’t stayed here before, will definitely return.
After some good antics such as “curling” and “you’re in a strange place”, the night continued with limited damage to people and the Orpheus. The size of the group meant we could do fried eggs for breakfast as well as tasty mushrooms, a vast improvement from grey scrambled eggs. Students then proved they still know how to faff when there really is no reason to do so at all, but we managed to leave only an hour after I told Louise we would. Bien ouej! Soon at Giants parking to drop off Nadia and swap vehicles and then onwards to the TSG after dropping Marie-Lou at Oxlow. Botch and Louise had managed to sort out Peak access with the kind help of Martin Grayson, and after changing we set off up Cave Dale in weather reminiscent of late May. Titan entrance was found much easier than last time I was there with George, and we got underground at around 1pm. Then we waited for an hour for the other group, who had the right to be in Titan, to derig. Titan happened quite fast on my old shagged stop. Then down to Far Streamway which is a nice bit of passage, turn right to Cow Arse Worms and JH. Ladders, mud, wanky crawling in the mud. Rope from ICCC was at the bottom of JH already. Along Speedwell streamway which was not especially impressive all things considered, the bit after the Bung Ladder was a bit nicer in appearance. Block Hall was quite big. Considering the amount of ladders in the rest of the fucking cave they might as well just put some here as well to speed it all up a bit. Here we reached an unfortunate bottleneck with the Imperial group from JH who also wanted to see the White River series (reasonable). At the top of the pitches we examined a short side passage which had a rope which was fully calcited over, never seen that before.
The White River Series was very impressive and interesting, well worth the trip, I’d definitely go again. Then after Imperial kindly let us past we headed off down the Ventilator, which in another inexplicable piece of Derbyshire cave equipping had the first pitch hard-rigged but neither of the 2 following ones. This fixed piece of rope caused Botch and Louise many problems during descent, inching down at 6m per hour whilst kbrook and myself were able to descend at an acceptable speed, I blame the SUSS leader system. Trenches soon after then into Peak Cavern entrance series, all completely new. The entrance is quite an impressive hole. A very fine trip, thanks to Botch and Louise for sorting. Best trip I’ve done in Derbyshire, should really do Titan as a pull-through though for maximum style points. Quick change at TSG, gynaecology textbook. Then back to the Orpheus whereafter a failed bin mission to Buxton Morrisons resulted in a consolatory 4am descent of Placenta Pot under the light of the moon.