Depth through thought

OUCC News 3rd December 2008

Volume 18, Number 19

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Editor: Andrew Morgan

Trips this term:

Yorkshire Club Weekend, 28th-30th November

Nick Edwards

I was really looking forward to caving in Yorkshire again having not been since before the summer. It seemed from the start that fate didn't want me to go on the weekend - a hard week beforehand so by Friday I was absolutely knackered and feeling ill and almost didn't go. But since I don't believe in fate I went anyway. Simon and I set off from the hut at 6.50. We had to go to Thornhill Park and Ride to pick Mike up, and had been told the A34 was at a complete standstill, so were looking for another route to get up North. Since we were already in east Oxford it looked like cutting across to the M1 would be a good idea - something which Steve had suggested I might add. Anyway to cut a long long long story short, we finally arrived in Yorkshire 7 hours after setting off - at 2am. Highlights of the journey included passing a sign on the M1 for Oxford (in the way we were going) about 2 hours after setting off, and realising we were still no further North than where we'd started and reaching junction 0 of the M6 about 3 hours after setting off.

Anyway, things started going better the next day. After a minimal faff morning we were ready to enter Lost Johns by 11.30. Leck fell was beautiful if a little cold - easily a grade 1 or 2 change. I was in a group with Steve Roberts, William and Mike Busby. I rigged down, all fairly straight forward as far as Battle Axe traverse. Battle Axe was a little airy, but not too bad because I didn't look down at all, and there are so many p-hangers that you can always be cowstailed into one (I actually found it a lot more scary on the way back out).

Once down at the bottom we set off to explore the streamway. Beautiful streamway to start with, but after a bit the walls start closing in, and the ceiling closing down, and the water level rising, until eventually you're walking on tip-toes with the water at your neck and your head bent over to avoid the ceiling. I managed to get through without getting my ears wet, which was nice.

The streamway afterwards was pretty nice too, probably worth getting wet and cold for. After a ceremonial piss in the sump we headed off back up the cave. Unfortunately we got stuck at the bottom of the pitch before Battle Axe as the third party were on their way down, so spent a cold hour trying to keep warm and failing. After that a pretty efficient exit from the cave up the Cathedral route, which was suitably impressive.

On Sunday we did a Simpsons pull-through, led by Paul. I managed to leave my helmet in the hut, so had to make do with a construction site hard hat and my little headtorch, which really doesn't give out much light which gave the caving a new dimension but was actually quite fun. I really enjoyed the trip, apart from the part where we almost got Geoff stuck in "the Slit".

The journey back was a lot more successful than the journey there, and we made it back in record time despite bits of the M6 being closed.