By Chris P

So the plan was for me and James to pick up Liz and 4 freshers from the Notty House carpark. A standard affair yes. Apart from the snow coming down. It seemed to be a recurring theme recently that whenever I’m off caving it decides to start snowing, making driving in snow / fog and extremely fun adventure!

Armed with Tony the Micra, the Escort, a Liz, a Chris, a James and 4 eager fresher blokes (Freddie, Simon, Ugur and Tom I think) we decided to head optimistically to Giants. Upon reaching the top of Winnats Pass I had to stop to have a much needed wee and we formulated a plan to meet in P8 carpark to weigh up our options. To try Giants track of doom or to play it safe and go to the much loved Carlswark…

After asking the boys if they wanted to risk the track and the possibility of not being able to get back up it after caving, or Carlswark, they chose the track. With the escort already looking like it had been pimped and lowered what with the weight, James went first. After getting through the gate it didn’t seem too bad until we reached the corner. James jumped out and had a wander to see further up the track only to find a bloke in a 4×4 shooting rabbits. ‘I didnt want to pop my head up too much incase I got shot!’ was the response. After a sharp reverse up the track onto the main road we decided to give Carlswark a go.

This was to be the second part of our snow safari around the peaks. With James leading, we turned onto a track and were going good until took a wrong turn and went for a good while in the wrong direction up another snowy track of doom. Upon realising, I reversed to another track where I performed a swift J turn (yeah right) so was facing the right direction. We drove a distance and could see no sign of James and the escort behind us. After about 5 minutes waiting we finally saw him reversing towards us. We later found out he got nice an stuck in a snow drift. Muahaha. 1 – 0 to the Micra. With various schralping of the bases of our cars on the snow we reconveened at the turning where we went wrong. The Escorts revenge was imminent….

Seeing lights careering towards me and a short ‘oh shit hes coming straight for us’  I managed to roll forward enough to prevent certain doom from the rear… (no innuendo intended) The Escort crew, with all the fresher boys absolutely loving the hilarity, then burned off into the distance at a steady 20mph which is all the snow would allow.

1 – 1 I do believe.

At the next lights along, after a controlled drift towards the Escort, we were again bumper to bumper.

We arrived at Carlswark in high spirits despite our 45 minute detour and got ready to enter the Flowerpot entrance on a ladder. With a lovely bit of perfect rigging, everyone got down safely and was met with numerous quite snug squeezes, especially for a first trip! Everyone was still enthusiastic and a lot of laughing and joking around between the housemates made the trip hilarious. The obligatory ‘fart in tight spaces’ from one of the guys made it pleasant for all those following too! After the squeeze into water to leave dynamites series into cockle passage they were relieved (I think) to not face many more tight sqeezes along the way. Everyone got involved with dunking their heads into the water too to complete the wetness on our way to Gin.

Awesome fun and a good trip was had by all. Good effort from the freshers who dealt with the squeezes and tight spaces like they were nothing!

The drive home was another bit of sporting snow fun, with the Escort forging a path through the heavy snow. Who needs four wheel drive when you’ve got our beastly chariots…

Chris