As I haven’t written in a whdo a mega summary of what I have been up to…with a few of the key trips since February.

Adam in Croesor Rhosydd


Ride of the Valkyries

On a Thursday evening in February a few of us decided we all wanted to do Ride of the Valkyries… I had DCRO Whitewalls practice all of Saturday, so met people at the TSG that evening where the idea of a Castleton Pub Crawl was born! We all knew we would have a beasting of a trip the next day, so were up to improving the calibre of the trip with a hangover. The advanced trip of Lil’ Chris, Tom1 and H set off; whilst me and Peachey sat drinking tea, the third member of our team (Mike) was still snoozing away.

We gave them a good hour or so to get rigging, and then followed them up to JH. Just as we were about to set off down the entrance pitch, Peachey realised he had forgotten his helmet so ran off back to the car…giving the advanced team even more time. We bimbled down, and headed to the arranged meeting point…expecting to wait for a little bit. However, they were already there! But hadn’t quite found Ride of the Valkyries…H’s hangover was setting in!.We decided to have a look at major sump (Mike and Peachey took one of their best pees in history), and bimble some more…2hours later we found H coming down the ropes – yahoo!

It was time to head up the ropes, de-rigging on the way…Ride of the Valkyries had some stunning pitches and an airy traverse. JH was a pleasure to de-rig as always, and we headed out after an awesome trip…another tick on the Peak Survey.

Rift to Large Pot Exchange

I agreed last year to join Rob2 on his excursion for a Rift-Large exchange trip on the Annual Dinner Weekend…Rob2, Tom1 and Matt set off with lots of encouragement from me and H (”Remember…it’s all about speed”, “go, go, go!” etc) to rig Large Pot. Having organized the annual dinner – I really didn’t want to miss the food or speech and had fears that we may be in for a long trip!

The rift team (me, H, Glen and Scott) headed off a few hours later, and went down the pitches to the awaiting water of the 4m duck. I smelt jelly babies, and heard noises – the other team had made it to the other side, so perhaps I was going to enjoy the dinner afterall! The water seemed warmer and slightly lower than the previous trip, and thoroughly wetted we soon headed through the crawls and boulder chokes . The first up-pitch is a glorious straight prussick over some moonmilk and to the top. It all seemed too spacious; but this quickly changed as we encountered many, many awkward thrutchy constrictions to get the bags through. The top of the second pitch is extremely tight, and certainly gives you something to think about! All too soon, we popped out in the field and enjoyed the fine weather as we returned to the car…all in time for tea and medals at the hut.

Croesor rhosydd

This trip has been on my tick list since joining SUSS, and since the Dachstein Training Event was just a stone’s throw away, it was rude not to do it. After a morning spent in the Wetherspoons of Abergavenny whilst members of the group sobered up, we headed over to the car park. It was a glorious day and the walk up was very picturesque, but it was time to leave the sunshine behind. We headed into the depths of the slate mine – which certainly lives up to expectations. It was very eery in some of the large chambers, and you could hear the tinkling of rocks as the mine is settling down. The zipwires were great fun, and all was going especially swimmingly for some (Adam fell into the water). When we reached the large lake, the inflatables managed to come lose from the rope…not to worry…Dolphine was here to save us!

Dolphine to the rescue!

Unfortunately, Dolphine wouldn’t even take a Peachey-sized person; so we had to resort to the spare boat. All safely on the other side, and after a lot of faffing; we navigated our way out. The climb out of the quarry proved entertaining but we soon were off back down the hill, before it got too dark. The journey back to Sheffield was certainly interesting – with leaking petrol, lost keys and mang wrong turns – but Edd safely deposited back to our houses for some sleep by 3am!

Otter Hole

Myself and Jeff met the recently appointed Dr Mike (slightly allebriated) at Tom1’s where we messily packed the car and headed down South to the Forest of Dean. Peachey had recommended a  place and with a 10min walk-in, we expected it to be slightly different – little did we know! We were staying at a restored 18thcentury farm house, with an outdoor toilet, water well, candle light and fire! Quality!

A tasty breakfast at Greenbanks

After being sniffed at for using petrol stoves to cook our bacon and banger butties, we headed off to meet Niki Bailey – our guide for the trip. We had a 10min walk through woodland and along the river to the entrance – which was very beautiful. All of us were pretty quietly apprehensive as we started on the entrance series towards the tidal sump; but this was unfounded – the sump was open! Yahoo – we were the first trip in this season.

I cursed my short legs and lack of sleep as we trundled through many boulder chokes and muddy climbs – but it was all soon forgotten as we entered the main passage. I have never seen so many beautiful formations in my life! Each time you went round another corner – there were more! We got to the end of the cave with plenty of time to spare, and on the way back we took many photos. Each team going to Otter Hole are asked to contribute with some cave conservation – we participated by making a small pond and doing some cleaning. This involved using a scrubbing brush and a weed sprayer to scrub the stals…probably one of the more random experiences of my life.

Stal cleaning

Thankfully the way back out was all on a downhill gradient, and it was far less arduous than on the way in. By 10pm it was time for a pint in the pub that we had just caved underneath! Boy did that pint taste good!

The future…

These are just a few of the awesome trips I’ve been on this term…others included Cliff Cavern trip, Priddy Green Sink,  NCC shafts and Long Kin East. Still on the tick list is finishing Megatron, Draenen, Daren Cilau overnight camp…so if you are interested – let me know