Well, we had an interesting shopping spree in Sainsbury's on Friday night --- after fighting over who would get the reward points we emerged with food and met the others. The van was delayed due to a broken rear light, but otherwise everything went OK.
On Saturday we got most people out of bed before 9am. But it was all to no avail --- sheep blocked our way to Ingleton and a `quick' stop at Inglesport meant Tony had to herd us back in the van. Finally, two parties went caving. Some down Lancaster Pot and some down County. I didn't know there was no water at Lancs (my first embarrassment).
Jobeda (a novice on her first cave!) abseilled happily down the pitch but that was before Dave put in a rather tight re-belay. We visited the Columns and descended the bottom of Cow pot and then on to the main drain via the boulder choke --- which had some loose rocks in it. We stomped around a bit (and took some photos!) before the hard bit --- getting up the ladders! A pulley system helped a couple of us up one voluntary and one involuntary! Unfortunately there was no enthusiasm to pull me up the big pitch.
Tony and Paul strolled over to see us packing up our tackle and made off when they saw that there was work to be done.
Yippee ... Paul just emailed me his recollections of County:
We managed to get underground just after midday thanks to Jonathan waking us up at 8.45am, by which time all the novices had eaten their breakfasts and left the old lags and me a couple of cold sausages! Everyone got down to the main streamway with no difficulties and we bumbled our way up to Poetic Justice. Alexei just jumped up through the chimney while the rest of us grunted our way up with varying degrees of success --- at least now Tony has found a use for his head.
After the next pitch the cave started to get pretty with lots of white straws hanging from the ceiling and a few good columns. Spurred on by what we had seen, Alexei, John and I forced out way along a very grim flat-out crawl and in to Easter Grotto. Very spectacular, but could have been much more so if the red and white tapes had been put up in time. Needless to say, Alexei preferred the crawl!
We got back to the surface after 6 hours underground --- only to find that the Lancs party weren't out yet. After some hanging around in wet gear we decided they must be hauling people up the 100ft pitch and Tony and I went to lend a hand. Fortunately, they had finished by the time we arrived and we ran away before they could load us up with ladders. (Cavers: Tony, John, Paul, Alexei, Claire, Tim, David).
Back to my bit:
Saturday night's dinner saw the leaders lounging around in the living (?) room while the novices prepared the food. However, the appetites of the former were underestimated. Some people went to the pub but soon retreated to the hut after some exceptionally unfriendly ``service''. Interesting conversation was had with the YSS crowd but then it all got a bit too weird for me... I left at about 2AM when people were going through the yellow pages looking for dial-a-medium.
Sunday. There was the usual mixture of novice keenness and procrastination. Some (I thought all were going) went to Heron Pot. It was a great little trip ... I only had to go down the ladders! Everyone enjoyed the crawl at the exit. Then it was off to Bernie's cafe to meet Jobeda, Dani the others(?) Alas, heaps of confusion --- they had gone to Allum Pot --- a longer trip than we had expected. But we managed to fill in 3hrs between cafes and looking at gear shops!
Thanks especially to Dave and Tony for driving and leading trips --- and also Mark and Jon.
Cave people: Dave Horsley, Tim Vasby-Burni, Jonathan Davey, Claire Hilliard, Kanchon Dasmahapatra, Tim Barnard, Jobeda Ali, Tony Rooke, Paul Hammond, David Fisher, Alexei Kotcherin, Mark McLean, Neil Strickland, Dani.
Unfortunately I lost one ...