21st November 2010 - Tony Brocklebank - SK 1194 8268
Fantastic turnout, especially considering the wear and tear some members had suffered the previous evening, with around thirteen people turning up for the trip and defying the sceptics who said no one would cave after the dinner.
Paul Quin, demonstrating true leadership skills - i.e. supervision and delegation, walked to the entrance with us and then buggered off. The rest - Allan Berry, Pete Clewes, Tom Howard, Keiran Rooney, Sue Morton, Ash Morton, John Smith, Colin Davison, Bill Booth, Glyn Robinson, Glenn Costin, Mike Burtonshaw and myself set off underground. I think that's everyone?
This was Sue's much vaunted return to caving after she injured her leg skiing very badly in La Thuile in Italy earlier this year. In fairness she'd also had a few years off before that so was a little out of practice. Colin and Billy considered this situation carefully, and with great self-sacrifice came up with a plan to ensure her safety. They felt that it was possible her dodgy knee would lead to her falling, landing on one of them, inevitably injuring that person in the process. This meant that a fourth person would be required to wait with the casualties whilst the uninjured member of the team headed out to call DCRO. Reluctantly I volunteered.
We reached the ledge at Garlands, and settled Sue down ensuring she didn't go too near the edge. Mike Burtonshaw regaled us with stories of how as a young lad, working for the farmer in the sixties, he spent days trundling a wheelbarrow through this section of cave dumping bang debris over the pitch as part of the failed attempt to open Giants as a show cave. We pointed out had he worked a little harder the pitch could have been filled in saving everyone a lot of trouble.
Once everyone else was safely down the pitch we headed out, and I'm glad to report Sue made it without incident.
We were now faced with a long wait for the rest of the team to catch up with us. Fearing Sue get may cold if we simply waited outside the cave, after much soul searching, the four of us headed for the Wanted Inn. Hungry and dehydrated after our experience we settled down by the fire, where we were joined by Jock and later, Mary Rooney, and proceeded to replenish our battered stomachs. Roast Dinner, and pint after pint of Unicorn seemed to do the trick. Hours later the first of the B team was spotted heading back, and soon we were all safely reunited and ready for the long journey home.
They really were very slow.
In all a highly successful incident free trip - and a great birthday!
Thanks to everyone who made the effort!