Trying to get through to Geology once before and being thwarted by Gamble’s burnt meringue, no-one remembering the route description and having a prohibitive definite time to be back for – I was keen to actually make it to Geology this time.
After confusion over who was actually coming, the facebook conversations and what time we were setting off, eventually Helen, Jack, Jethro, Just Liam and I were all assembled in the car; an hour after we were supposed to have set off. As I haven’t touched my stuff since the Annual Dinner, I was quite looking forward to the wet trip as it improved the state of my kit (probably). The drive over was interesting as Liam tried to befriend the sheep numbered B4, C3 & 8H, there was an argument on the difference between Lamb and Mutton (btw – Lamb is under a year old) and I accidentally threw my phone at the window because of twitchy hands.
People got changed and then as Liam assumed the usual position for someone to do his torse up, Helen pointed out that he could extend the tape. Liam was beyond excited at this, let out an orgasmic noise and started jumping up and down like a kid on Christmas morning so we left him to it. A now customary ‘vista’ tackle from Liam on the way and we were in the cave. We made quick work down the crabwalk and I had fun booting the tacklesack that was being dragged by Liam that got caught on various vices and lips. As we got the turn for Geology, I had flashbacks to the previous trip which involved lots of fruitless searching and off-key renditions of ‘Bare Necessities’ and ‘I’ll Make a Man out of You’ courtesy of Botch and I.
The passage into Geology is just following limestone, a couple of short pitches, a hard rigged traverse, and some handlines. We got to a bit that Jack and Helen announced was a duck (it wasn’t) which Liam and I weren’t that keen on as we were already freezing. Helen’s response was to splash me because “now you’re wet anyway” and so we were persuaded to go through.
Jack’s description of East Canal as “a cracking bit of swimming passage” is fairly accurate as taller people like Helen, Jethro and Liam were able to wade sections of it however Jack and I had to swim bits that were out of our depth. We got near the junction where the left led to nowhere and the right to filthy 5 pitches. Jack initially swam out and then came back. Whilst everyone else was trying to traverse around the sides and keep dry, as I can’t climb for toffee, I cut out the middle man and decided to follow Jack’s example and just cannonballed back in the water. This turned out to be a very cold decision as the freezing water knocked all the air out of my lungs immediately. So after quickly swimming to the junction to have a look; I went back to hugging the wall like a limpet and became resigned to a lack of feeling in my arms. The formation of passage itself is really cool, but I think I’d have enjoyed it more in a wetsuit. Everyone seemed just as keen to have a look past that point and so we turned around and went back.
The change was freezing as always, everyone seemed a little too keen on oversharing and Liam got naked as always.