by Rosie Hadfield

I decided that it was mandatory to go caving on my birthday, so I managed to persuade Rob2 and Mike to come out and play. We had some rope in the back, an ancient caving guide and no idea where we wanted to go…

We got to HitchnHike still with little idea of where we wanted to go, so asked what they recommended…Hazard Mine was suggested. A quick phone call to Eavis and it was decided.

The entrance is a dodgy looking grill surrounded by barb wire, and you descend about 90m to the floor, passing lots of stemples as you go down. The floor is a scree-y slope, which feels pretty loose. With all three of us down there, we decided to explore.

To the right, the passage goes under a huge stack supported by stemples…

A traverse onto a bridge leads to some very dodgy looking roof – so we decided to explore in the other direction.We started our ascent up the slope, soon realising that this was incredibly loose we decided to move one at a time. Each step involved us trying to brace the walls to take as much weight off our feet and then slowly taking a step. This was a little easier for the guys, as they could reach the sides – I had to make use of my lighter weight. We got to the top of the slope – to find it was a dead end – dang! Going downhill was even more interesting, it was touch and go wherever you put your feet not to dislodge a boulder. I think the toads at the bottom were a little shell-shocked by some of the rocks that we dislodge!

I started ascending the pitch, and as I got off the floor I heard a big crash. The guys asked if I had dislodged something. I hadn’t, it was just the slope settling again after our disturbance – nice! On the way up I found the bolts to rig the traverse to a higher level- after a lot of faffing I discovered that they are 10mm bolts, so can’t rig it anyway. I carried on climbing to slip out of the grill at the top and shout “rope free” Rob2 came after, not slipping out of the grill with as much ease…

Exiting the grill

It’s a good trip to practice longer pitches, and makes you pleased when none of the deads fall on your head!

Rob2 elated not to be dead! or just that we are in time for the pub!