I must apologise for the poor quality pun. It seems great Russian authors are not the de jour reading in the caving club

Yesterday, myself and Mark went to Maskhill after receiving a call from Al (MUSC-YUCPC-TSG which is incidently the noise you make swallowing your own vomit, somewhat appropriate I think?) the day before who had found himself stranded in the TSG on the Bank Holiday weekend. Cue violins. Eager for a nice quick trip and intending to save Oxlow for Tuesday we went down Maskhill.

The following is a long litany of errors, though not as long as Dostoyevsky’s Classic – even if the trip felt that long. It began with the realisation the clocks were going forward and what time we were actually getting to the TSG, so instead of half 10 it became half 11. No matter, all was still on track.

I did not have the most successful night’s sleep due to a problem that rhymes with North Korea. No, it’s not gonorrhoea. This meant I was a little late in getting up and had scrambled eggs in a tortilla wrap, as that was the sum total of the food in my kitchen. With all the kit pre-packed we were ready to go.

It must pointed out that I had assumed Caitlin was going to be in Sheffield this weekend and so I would have access to the SUSS hut. This was incorrect and so I had to get some gear from James Rhodes for Mark (HINT: Buy some gear). The attempt to find the Rhodesian household was also prophetically shambolic but unlike the author Alexander of this poorly punned piece I do not have the time to go into it.

The lack of access also meant that Al was getting all the ropes from the Musc tackle store. This is important because he thought a 50m rope was a 58m rope. The recommended length was 55m. No bother I thought, it just means an awkward knot pass somewhere in the bolt to bolt brilliance that is Maskhill. Mark had assumed the name was Massgill, a phonetic mistranslation, whereas it is infact hiding a mound of earth or a computer gamers term for genocide. Now that I’ve fitted that word into the trip report we can continue.

Ignoring the fact that we spent 15 minutes looking for a parking space, who’d have thought Castle ton at 11:30am would be busy on Easter Sunday, driving was a success. We piled into the Aygo and parked on the other side of the road due to the massive snow drifts. We got changed… I didn’t quite complete the operation due to no oversuit. This trip was going ever so well. I wore my shirt and trousers and set off for some continental caving. I was clearly not awake.

We faffed and got underground (I reckon) at about half 1, although Al thinks it was closer to 1. He’s wrong. I set off rigging in a haze and waited for the second rope… Went back to find a (fixed) light failed Mark, and we swapped descenders as he didn’t like the stop. I don’t either, it turns out. I took the next rope and continued the traversy bit and got to that utter pitch, where you have to climb to the bolts, okay rigging but not so fun on the way back. We got through that bit and got to the massive y hang (after the tiniest of knot passes, my rigging was a little tight), which Al wasn’t overly  enamoured with. My advice; be taller.

It was the pointed out that it was 4pm. I had been going on in a bit of a daze and so woke up at this point and got a shift on. We quickly rigged the other traversy bit and desceded into the waterfall chamber direct and headed out, I derigged to account for my sins. We got out at 7? and I found that I had no spare pair of trousers and so inverted the ones I had been wearing to give myself and not my car, a muddy arse. Ooooh Matron.

I’d wanted a speedy trip. Aha ha ha haha ha.

The end