2 Boys 1 Hole – The End of an Era

 

We join our two handsome heroes as they embark on their last adventure together before Lil’ Chris departs his homeland for the small backwards place known as Edinburgh.  A light mist hovers above Mam Tor as Chris and Tom meet in the familiar setting of the Giants car park and get out of their mighty matching blue steeds. They greet each other with emotions running high before their latest adventure together.

Suited up the pair head off towards the entrance jovially recounting stories of past exploits and adventures and arrive at the mouth of the cave to find a swelling stream pouring in to the entrance. They look at each other and without a word being said both of them know it’s going to be a fun journey. Off they raced into the awaiting darkness crashing through the stream that would be their companion for the inward journey towards the roaring cascade of Garlands Pot, flying past the route they had accompanied many a young faced fresher in a fraction of the time. With a certain symmetry of motion and teamwork the pitch was rigged in mere moments and the crabwalk beckoned.

The cacophony of Garlands at their back and in knee high waters the travel down through the crabwalk was fluid in every sense of the word with Chris in the lead and Tom bringing up the rear. The Razors Edge cascade was blasting out so much water the bypass to the side was the only sure way to get past without being swept away with the torrent. Beyond the cascade at the ladder in the streamway Tom tried to divert some of the water out of the way to spare Chris some excessive moistness, however sometimes being a bit inept probably only made Chris wetter.

The excitement of the crabwalk over (not a phrase that can be said particularly often), hot wet and panting, the duo had a rather apt picnic in the eating house to let the first half of the adventure sink in. As the chamber slowly started to fill with steam the pair decide it’s time to move on and head up the hand-line, which as with everywhere else has far more water than normal providing an additional challenge to the normally slippery ascent.

They arrive at the base of Maggin’s Rift for the other aim of the trip, to explore some of the less looked at parts of the cave. Upwards into the increasingly high void Tom and Chris climbed towards the summit of the rift where several ways on greeted them. The first, a slippery traverse to a rather ancient looking line heading across the rift to an inlet from above, could not be crossed all the way as their SRT kits were left at the start of the crabwalk. Next was a small rubbly strewn crawl which led on for quite some way up to a choke with some bang wire and a poking rod all loosely balanced on a couple of small stemples. On the route back down Chris somehow persuaded Tom to stick himself up a rather tight hole with a certain amount of wiggling and discomfort.

To avoid the last option Tom climbed towards the top of the aven at the top of the rift. There were a couple of almost brown trouser moments on the exposed climb but nothing Tom wasn’t stupid enough to turn around oblivious to the peril and was rewarded by, well, very little except a bit of nice flowstone.

The last alternative explored the only remaining option was the duck. After much persuasion and coercion from Tom, Chris finally consented and got down on his back and took a deep breath. Following a lot of wriggling and squeezing and a bit of groaning Chris was through the duck and waiting for Tom to follow. The other side was longer than either of the twosome had expected with some surprising fossil filled passage before it closed down to something so tight even our two skinny speleologists couldn’t fit through. Pushing over, they both had to face the small damp duck for a second time.

Exploring over Tom and Chris set off back to complete the round trip and conclude their adventure. Both of them were feeling rather cold by this point having been wet for more or less the whole trip. Owing to this fact one last soaking in the windpipe did not faze them in the slightest. Chris did learn that the decision not to wear kneepads is rarely a good choice as you never know when you might need to get down on your hands and knees for some subterranean bodily abuse. The traverse through the high level was over in a flash and the pair were back at Garlands. Tom went up first and managed to swing, repeatedly, under the waterfall as the rope played silly buggers and obstinately refused to feed through his croll. Feeling like a bit of a numpty Tom kindly held the rope a bit further from the waterfall to try and spare Chris the worst of it. After removing the rope it wasn’t long before the surface was reached and the sweet taste of fresh air and success was enjoyed by both of them.

All that remains to be said it that following the adventure our pair of sexy speleologers embraced one last time, said their farewells and maybe shed a teara after what was their final underground adventure together.

Or was it..?