My chaffeur, Big Jim, turned up on cue in Horton-in-Ribblesdale and so I was off to the YSS. With us came the Dead Kennedys and John Shuttleworth tapes – what else would you wash-up to in the morning?

The overall results from my six-night stay weren’t that impressive – one successful trip in four attempts – but then it was a fun week. The hut was rammed every night: Cardiff, Aberywsth and Penrith being there throughout; SUSS bods filtering in;  Eldon there for a bit; and MUSC waltzing in from the Bradford.

The successful trip was down Bar Pot with Emma (CUCC) and Clair (SWCC) on account of it would actually happen and all of Eldon had already nipped off to do various other Gaping Ghyll routes. Not a big trip but fun all the same and plenty of time to make enchiladas for dinner.

Unsuccessful Trip No1: Sam, Kate, Matt St Clair (all CUCC) and I were going to try the Providence Pot – Dow Cave through-trip. The cave is notorious for route finding (apparently) but with my notes from ‘Not for the Faint Hearted’ everything was going swimmingly … until the halfway point. I actually found both ways to Brew Chamber but didn’t recognise it, Matt had found a too-tight crawl in water and Sam had found agony and fatigue jamming his knee on a climb. We turned around and had a slow exit, having a 7hr trip. Oh well – next time.

Unsuccessful Trip No.2: Mike, Andy C, Sally (UBSS), Big Jim and I were off down Rowten. I was puzzled to find Mike & Jim on the surface as they’d set off 20 minutes before me to rig. As well as disguising some caves, the snow also hides p-bolts: no caving.

Unsuccessful Trip No.3: I was all fired up for rigging Juniper Gulf with Tom (CUCC) and Mike on 31st and then derigging Nick Pot for Gay Dave, Jinny, Milky Matt and Dangerous Dan (all CUCCish). Unfortunately despite Mike & Tom forming the Human Simple body belay, I could only find the rebelay bolt; the back-ups were not to be seen. We cleared a lot of snow and my footprints were right by the buried bolts (Milky found them later). Bugger. We nipped down Nick and found the other team still descending Vulcan (90m) so went back to the hut.

New Year’s Day was occupied with the aftermath of the previous night: washing-up and dry-stone walling a car-sized hole. Ali, Sam, Mrs Sam & I popped up Pennyghent before ending the week in the Helwith Bridge for dinner & beers with Adam and a few MUSCites.