Having not caved in a while I was genuinely looking forward to Titan to Peak (especially as I have never done Titan as it was shut in my first year). This alone is proof that living at home is driving me mental as I am usually the first to try to get out of going caving.

After a midweek faff about drivers we eventually all split into two cars and set off for the TSG. Snowdon tried to suggest we left Sheffield assembled for 9.30am but a) I hate mornings b) I needed a lie in to function after a long week so I got around to picking up Liam and Jacob at around 10am instead. Liam had coerced Jacob into sleeping over at his for the weekend and watching First Dates while snuggling in bed – such are the mystical powers of the Overett.


Liam convincing Jacob to come and stay with him


We arrived at the TSG and found Sam Goodyear (ex-SUSS, ex-ish-SUCC and now BEC) who decided to come caving rather than sitting like billy-no-mates at the hut for the day and so 7 of us piled in the cars up to Titan. After much faff we were packed. Watching Liam, Sam and I get changed, Goodyear claimed that SUSS appears to be more abusive towards each other in recent years however I would like blamed this on the company and fact I had to caving. There wasn’t a 70m or 80m rope in the tackle store the day before so Sam and I brough 50m, 140m and 60m. At 140m it theoretically wasn’t long enough for the 145m in the rigging guide for the entire main hang despite everyone being fairly sure that it would definitely reach to the bottom with some to spare. We concluded we needed to take all three because it would be awful to get all the way down and still be 5m off the bottom.

We trudged to the entrance and Sam G disappeared down to rig. The entrance shaft is actually awesome. I know its not the bit that you’re meant to be impressed with however it was fascinating seeing the old and new supports and how it all worked. At the bottom I found the others all queued up next to the ‘big puddle’ waiting for Gamble to rig as Sam G had understandably decided he wasn’t happy. There was a long, cold wait for everyone to descend. Liam filled the time by being irritating yelling ‘yeah boiiiiiiiis’ as he is infinitely amused by loud noise and taking an unhealthy interest in Creg’s potential love life. I discovered that having a short short cowstail is excellent as you can clip into the traverse bolt and use it as a swing while you’re bored.


Liam’s New Potential Career

I heard rope free from the bottom and began descending.  As some of you will know I occasionally have a freak out of heights (which leads me to write a ranty trip report in which I vow to never cave again) but the height didn’t bother me at all. I couldn’t see a bloody thing with the club light as it was barely capable of emitting enough light to illuminate my feet in the claustrophobic darkness. The only bits I saw of the main shaft were when it was illuminated from either the top or bottom by other peoples Scurions. I can imagine that I would be more overwhelmed with the size of the thing if I had to prussick up but it felt like a lot of descending into nothingness with the rest of the trip being far more interesting. After all the hype, I think I expected something of a greater magnitude. The echo was very cool though which we tested with numerous songs; the main being ‘my one skin lies over my two skin and so on’.

I may not have been entirely listening when people were talking at the top and had been preoccupied reading the route description through to JH to make sure we didn’t get lost after the numerous warnings from everyone. I vaguely remembered someone talking about a traverse line and couldn’t see the rebelay just below the Event Horizon so theorised that Gamble had left the 140m rope over the shelf and rigged the traverse with the 60m (in my defense they were the same tiger ropes so I wasn’t entirely thick). After pottering along and back again I decided that the traverse wasn’t right so the way on was down again. I rigged my descender from the traverse line, pulled through as much slack as possible and unclipped my cowstails. Next thing I knew I was staring at sky as the stretch in the rope from the main pitch took effect which was a little perturbing. I changed at the rebelay from what I had affectionately begun to name the ‘The Bouncy Rope of Doom’ and shouted rope free. At the bottom we sat and chatted and were quickly joined by Creg and Sam G and set off for the connection.

This was fun. It’s basically crawling over boulders with scaffold with some very small climbs until you reach a walkable stream passage. Following the stream passage we stopped at a corner and Gamble told us all to drink out of the stream because it’s “clean and safe” and we then climbed up the side of it (making it unclean and unsafe to drink) into the passage. We kept going and get to a junction marked by a fenced off section of pretty crystals. The Gamble Problem™ kicked in and we went left at the junction. Sam G was unsure and hesitant to stick himself in the same boulder choke that Snowdon was currently stuck in. Liam cheered up now that Gamble had gone the wrong way and hadn’t disproved his theory. We went back to the junction at a little speed due to sliding down a now very slippy mud bank and took the right hand passage.

The other way we immediately found a ladder after  a very short muddy crawl. The ladders and traverse went up the aven but were definitely not built for midgets which prompted a lot of laughing from Liam at my attempt to reach bits. We then followed the streamway again until we found the Cow Arse Worms Crawl. Keen to put it off as long as possible Gamble wanted to take us to see Calcite Aven. We had a quick look around and then headed back to the crawl. The crawl before the duck wasn’t bad but it was improved by Creg’s usual grumbling about being unable to fit but worsened by Liam’s ‘yeah boiiiiiiis’ mantra which only seemed to get worse in a confined space. I tried to punch him after a while because I was so fed up but hit his welly which hurt my hand and made me more tetchy.

We got to the duck which wasn’t as bad as all of the stories that I had been told at the pub by everyone. People at the front decided to bail it to get a little airspace using the dig trays available and so we joined a line to pass the water away from the sump. Sam passed it to Sam who passed it to Liam who passed it to me who passed it to Jacob who promptly poured it back into the sump. After explaining about water and the impact of pouring it on downward slopes we started again. This time we began pouring the water down the passage towards Gamble and Creg who were waiting further back who grumpily and melodramatically complained about us causing a tidal wave. We all started moving through the duck. In true Nat style my entrance into the duck was undignified as I fell over one of the dig trays and face planted into the water. On the upside it meant I was definitely acclimatised to the water on the downside I fell in with my mouth open which was unpleasant. The smell is awful in that section so we made quick work down to the Speedwell streamway so that we could wash off, especially Gamble and Creg who got a rough deal of it as they were at the back when all the unpleasant shit had been stirred up by everyone else.

We quickly wandered through Speedwell and reached The Bung which was very disappointing as there was no water at all over the top. It was especially disappointing as Jacob had never seen The Bung before and we’d hoped he’d see it in full flow. We crawled through towards Peak however we were behind Sam Snowdon so we stopped every now and then for him to point something out in the rock. We reached Egnaro Aven and headed into Collostomy. Now I love Collostomy because its where the lanky gangly stupidly-tall SUSS members finally have issues in a cave. Creg had never done Collostomy which proved to be excellent fun. The order was Sam and Jacob in the front, Creg, Sam Goodyear, Me, Liam and then Gamble at the back. Sam and Jacob disappeared into the tunnel followed by Creg who asked how far it was less than 10m in. His technique involved lying on his back for some reason and sounding very bad tempered. Sam Goodyear was keeping us all enthralled with regular updates on his progress as we were all banked up behind him. Liam mentioned being angry that I could stoop and half-run along bits that he had to crawl. I know that everyone else in the club has had a lot of fun laughing at my abject and varied misery underground so I don’t feel bad for laughing at lanky people in crawls. Besides Gamble said that for Creg to understand the true misery of Collostomy he needs to attempt it with a tackle bag.

Jacob yelled from the front that he was struggling with his tackle sack as he didn’t have a belt so he had had to drag it by hand through the crawl which was very inefficient. So he abandoned it for Creg to take who refused to take it due to his current state of abject misery. The bag was then left to me. Now I had purposely refused to put anything in the sodding bag as I knew carrying big bags through Collostomy is a right pain in the arse when it gets to the mud bridgey bits near the Peak end and the sinky-ankle bit. I had elected to wear my kit and put my handjammer and descender in my personal tackle bag with my water making my crawl more pleasant and less faffy. But the best laid plans and all that. We got the sinky ankle bit, my ankle sunk and Liam laughed. Then he did exactly the same thing and realised that it was a genuine thing in the little section as he tried to extract his foot. We arrived in Peak with plenty of time to spare before the TSG BBQ which was why we initially planned the trip which was excellent. Buxton Water Sump was very low which made washing off strange.

The BBQ was excellent fun and despite asking Edd if he would ban Liam from the TSG for the continuous, loud, irritating ‘Yeah Boiiiiis’ he is unfortunately allowed to return. A big thank you to Creg and Gamble for derigging Titan on Sunday due to everyone else having commitments!

The lesson? Basically take what pissed cavers in a pub say to you with a pinch of salt. Sorry if it’s a bit long but no one forced you to read all of it. 🙂