After a bit of withdrawal from caving since the Berger, I thought a weekend away in the peaks would be a good way to spend my time before being taken up by the job I’ve definitely got (but not started yet even though I was assured it’d start in the first couple of weeks of September….).
Friday evening was planned by Rob2 and involved going down JH at 7pm with several balloons and inflating them in hidden spots for cave rescuers to find the following day. Me and Tom split of to go up white river and hid 5 up there. afterwards we met rob at the bottom to head up to the first pitch of Pilkingtons and some of the assault course, by which point I was rather tired, so a good start to the weekend. H and Edd were also present and went to surprise view and moss chamber via JH and back. They also had a slight delay in that they’d got to the bottom of JH and noticed a lack of balloons so went back up to the car to pick them up and then went back in. Me, Rob and Tom got out at about 12 but waited till about 1:30-2 till heading back to the TSG then Rob, H and Edd joined us about an hour later for some drinking.
After getting out of JH I had decided that I’d take tomorrow easy and maybe just go for a walk. But after bumping into some of the Buttered Badger Potholing Club members I’d drunkenly agreed to join them on a digging trip to Rowter the following day. Fortunately we didn’t get off to an early start and were in the cave at about 12. Their members consisted of Mark, Luke, Chris and Adam but Bob Twogood also joined us stating he wanted some SRT to raise his heart rate, and then told us he was recovering from a heart attack. The dig site was just a 2 minute walk from the bottom of the pitch and was very impressive. Mark wright and several other cavers head there on a weekly bases and BBPC seem to head there whenever they have a weekend in the peaks. But so far it’s a 1.5×1.5m hole going down 10m of boulder choke but the neatness of the scaff bars and wooden planks makes it feel quite safe at the bottom when I had a brief period of filling buckets with the silt that had recently filled the bottom half meter. It was a very well engineered dig though and may potentially link up to the speedwell area one day. After about 5 hours of bucket hauling and filling we’d made little progress from where the silt had filled from but should allow for quicker digging for the next group. We then made a rapid ascent with all 5 of us(bob left early) getting up the 70 meter entrance in under 30 minutes but it was rigged with 4 rebelays which helped significantly. BBPC were a good laugh though and I’d recommend joining them on a trip if you ever get a chance, it was also good to hear that they used our club as an example to Liverpool Uni when they tried to kick them out.
The following day I was relived in the knowledge that it’ll just be a short relaxing filming trip probably just of someone with a camera filming us doing a little bit of dancing, I was only right about the dancing part. Me, Tom and Glen arrived at hillocks at 11:00 and bumped into Rob(producer) and James(director) who we had no idea would be joining us, we were briefed about what to expect during the day then found out we were also meant to bring ropes, which to be fair we had brought some but they were still down JH, so Glen kindly stole some of Jeff for us. After getting lost, Rachael arrived half an hour later and we started moving some expensive lighting rigs, a glitter ball and dj deck into the cave. Some time was spent filming us awkwardly moving the gear through tight spaces which weren’t required to get to the main chamber and lowering down the glitter ball down the series of pitches leading into hillocks, it got down about 4 meters before meeting a restriction and raised again. After some more crawling being filmed while pushing the DJ deck it was time for the dreaded party scene to be filmed, by this time Alistair Gott had kindly joined us to help advertise for our Uni. I won’t go into too much details about this scene since there will be plenty of video footage coming up at some point, but let’s just say that if this whole day was a stunt we pulled just to get Glen dancing, it would have been worth it! Filming stopped at about 8pm and a huge thanks has to go to Glen and Alistair since they both kind of got dragged into staying and were a massive help.
So after a very productive caving weekend with the JH night being the only sport caving and even that had a purpose, I am as bruised and tired as I was after the 34 hour Berger trip. Also the BBPC write a trip report for every trip they do on the evening of that trip….just saying.