By Rosie Hadfield
Despite no-one quite knowing how to get to Knotlow-Hillocks, we managed to navigate there for midday. On the way we discovered that Ali had forgotten helmet, lamp and wet suit socks…it would be an interesting trip.
We sat in the sun watching Jim rigging the Knotlow Climbing Shaft for an inordinate amount of time… It gave time for Ali to perfect his make-shift helmet – a site hard hat with a piece of string to both keep his head torch on and attach it to his head. He also discovered his wetsuit socks, and despite nearly having the correct kit still managed to look ridiculous. Sam managed to disturb a horse-rider and mountain bikers with a sly bowel relief – much to the amusement of those still above ground.
All of the pitches had been rigged, and people got to play with all combinations of entries and exits to the system. Finally, after much faffing we decided to go underground – unfortunately we mistimed it and met others on pitches. So two of us went down Whalf engine shaft whilst the others went down Whalf climbing shaft to avoid more faff. Luckily we met up at the bottom, along with another group of people about to ascend.
We found Meccano passage, after I had investigated a squalid dead-end…which wasn’t the way on- Meccano passage was far more pleasant! Sam and Mike took off their SRT kits; I think this took more time than just wearing it and pushing on through.
At the bottom of waterfall chamber, we met yet more people…so decided to try the “fun, sporty round trip” as described by Glyn! We got to Four ways without a detection of bad air. It’s quite nice when you continue standing when 3 men have to crawl along in front of you – there are some advantages of being short. It then got a bit smaller, and we managed one duck…the next one looked a bit more sporting- upstream with a relatively small amount of air space and no-one knew what happened after. Not having paid much attention to the description we decided to give it a miss. This meant trudging back along the coffin levels, but it was worth a reccy so that we can go back for next time.
Left to de-rig, Sam and I took on the Waterfall pitches; whilst Ali and Mike de-rigged the climbing shaft. We were that last ones out, and Jim came over to “help” – think he was really checking that we had got all his gear out!
A quick change and we headed to the pub – the right way to finish a good trip.