TOP Ten Trips of all [my]time caving.

I used 5 factors = [1] time underground [usually, the longer, the better and the harder] [2] amount of water in any form [the more the better] [3] how awkward and number of obstacles encountered [4] enjoyment [5] tiring and exhausting [usually, the more the higher the mark].

 

Over the period 1963 to 1970

1 LOST JOHNS

2 SOUTHERN STREAM PASSAGE IN AA

3 OXLOW-GIANTS-OXLOW

4 GIANTS-OXLOW-GIANTS

5 FILTHY FIVES EXCHANGE IN GIANT’S

6 P8/JACPOT MOCK RESCUE

7 PENYGHENT W/O WETSUIT

8 OGOF FFYNON DDU

9 POUL NA GOLLUM

10.GIANTS TO EAST CANAL AND BACK

 

 

Most disliked and liked caving trips – by a SUSS Life member over the 1960’s decade.

Least enthralling – Yorkshire Dales

None!! Even Bar Pot and Calf Holes were enjoyable!

Most thrilling and therefore best trips in Yorks dales;

Penyghent Pot [PyG – SSP], when not in flood. Did this one without a wetsuit, with a butty box and a metal thermometer. Strangely, this trip went against one of my basic caving tenets – it was with 5 complete strangers = Leicester Uni students. Took about 5.5 hours [so slightly quicker than the Eldon PC guys in the same year -1967 – see below].

Lost John’s Pot [SSP], but not bottomed owing to a highly liquid Battle-axe Pitch [or Thunderstorm Depot?]. I was caving with a mixture of Eldon PC and SUSS; we rigged the aluminium ladder across the top for ten feet, then it became vertical and very wet to the pitch bottom. I tired on the horizontal first bit, whereupon the Herculean Wingnut pulled me back across to his own stance and relative safety.

Swinsto Hole. A thoroughly sporty and cleanly-swept cave. Better than Simpsons and this trip was very well organised. Quite physical, but not as tough as, say, PyG.

For Freshers: Ireby Fell system. Calf Holes.

Average Yorkshire trips include; Marble Steps. Little Hull, Disappointment Pots. One memorable disappointing trip was down Disappointment Pot – needing a big rescue operation.

The most tiring trip, was, by a short neck, SSP in Aggie. Followed by, surprisingly perhaps, AG Grange Rigg – as it was presaged by a 5 mile walk in a snowstorm.

 

Most exciting trips by me in Derbyshire; Several in Giant’s, all tough going i.e. Giants to bottom at East Canal and Return; Giant’s to Filthy Five exchange; Giant’s-Oxlow-Giant’s.  Jackpot [P8]. My very first freshers’ trip IN Giants was exhausting because in the early opening section it had the old [? three] dams, which were bailed backwards to permit progression to the antechamber and Garlands Pot. Any one in that decade identify a person who had done such a trip by the weals, welts or marks on one wrist – where they had balanced the bucket on the dam edge just before emptying the water back into the upper earlier dam.

As a comparison; Old Giant’s took 2-3 hours to eating House whereas NEW Giant’s only took 70 minutes down the Crabwalk to the same destination.

Quite good; Carleswark Cavern – as it then was. Perryfoot, ditto.

Least interesting; Eldon Hole. Old Oxlow – loose stones and lots of metal bits. Hillocks – dull. Carleswark- muddy and small. Odin Mine – loose.

 

Other Regions of CaCO3.

South Wales; Hard = OFD One; Agen Allwed. Both were hugely…enjoyable??

Easy = Cwm Dwr.

 

Mendips: Swildons up to first diving sump

 

EIRE:

Pollnagollum-Poulelva. Coolagh River Cave. Doolin.

 

Other Points;

I missed doing; Dowber Gill; Car Pot; Juniper Gulf; Hammer Pot; Meregill.

Never wanted to do; Maskhill Mine.

Did not regret missing trips to; Hull Pot; Washfold; Spectacle Pot. Black Shiver. A wet Sell Gill.

 

Did not like very tight caves or very long ladder pitches.

 

Near escapes; all in Yorkshire bar two.

1 Stoke Lane Slocker – overshot the 6 feet sump free dive – missed Mr Wear’s hand, banged my head, scuttled back, re-dived and then shook hands with said companion – in open air.

2 Magnetometer Pot. Forecast of mild rain as we went down the entrance corrugated drum. Fine trip. Messed up my knees on the final rough crawl at the then known end – the hidden gour pools with razor sharp circular edges. Noticed roof drips as we started up on the return journey. Exit drum was now a huge torrent. We tossed a coin, Min won and thrust himself up free-climbing the 20-foot entrance pitch. The dry valley was now awash with a fast-running river. Phew.

3 Dismal Hill-Old Ing Caves. Similar change in weather to the Magnetometer change. Managed to exit the entrance flat out bedding plane, to fresh air and lowering clouds.

4 PenyGhent Pitch nine. My legs became numb – had to rest a while in the cascading water, until the will-not-to-die forced its way into my consciousness.

5 Thunderstorm Depot/or Battle-axe. I nearly fell off the starting horizontal ladder – strung across to avoid the torrent going down this pitch – but Wingnut casually grabbed me with a finger and pulled me back to relative safety.

6 Porth yr Ogof. Clinging to side walls on most of the way in, to the exit pool. Turned around, when all hell broke loose. The water was deep, I could only swim at a slightly sub-Olympian standard, so Miff and Pete B kindly floated across to me a large tree trunk, which, regrettably, proved of little use to me in the flotation department. I back paddled on my back, Mr Wear’s helmet fell off [with electric light] and Miff lost his electric light.  Fortunately, this end of the pool was still just about in daylight.

 

My caving Characters included; Grouch [Mr Worksop Croucher] Tim Bratt-Heap. Plus, others too many to mention. We were all a bit eccentric – well you had to be surely, to be a caver?

 

EPICS that were told to me by the participants shortly after their trip= [1] EPC took 6 hours in 1964, four of them, to bottom PYG, [2] Jim Batey, Steve Worthington and Fly Lord took 11 hours to do Marble Steps.

 

Unusual trips. [1] Nettle Pot camp for 24 hours in the Peak District Derbyshire. [2] Caving/crawling down The Moor in the centre of Sheffield.

In Eire on one SUSS expedition, we discovered two new caves viz Poul Skeheenarinky; Brian’s Cave.

 

Nearly found new caves = Magnetometer Pot, at the end of Rough Crawl -with Min. Swinsto, after the final Boulder Chamber – with Min. Possibly = Shrapnel Pot and New Hunt????

 

Went into a new field –  without cows – biospeleology. Miff and I discovered a brand-new snail = Trichoniscoides Thomasum. ENDS