20th January 2018 - Robert Stevenson
A small group (Olly King, Dave Woolam and Rob Stevenson) with the intention of giving Rob some squeeze practice – face the demon as it were. The skin smooth piping of an entrance is a lot more vertical than we expected , absolutely vertical to be frank– short enough to belay down on an Italian hitch but no way are you climbing out of it unless you have spider sticky powers (speaking of which at the bottom is a total arachnid cornucopia of the fattest gorgeousist cave spiders you could hope to meet , or in Dave’s case avoid).
Actually it’s a through trip but just in case we took some ascenders and foot loops down ….. which turned out to be a lucky thing because that demon that Rob was facing stared him right back in the face and he never made it past the first squeeze.
Getting out was a challenge. If you rig the rope purely on the scaffold above the tube then you can’t ascend high enough so getting off at the top is a lot of arm work. Also ascending was a right royal pig in a poke if you try to short cut and attach the chest croll with a karabiner … wrong height so the prussic did naff all - still once I did it properly ascending was a breeze – lesson learnt... set the kit up right don’t try shortcuts.
Following this we recovered a pleasant bimble around the area – there are tonnes of entrances, which we poked into. Talk about mud, some very fun slipping and sliding in what with a bit of flavoring could easily pass for a Nuttella mine - and some small tricksie holes the navigation of which Rob redeemed himself a little
Finally after a quick pint in a pub that didn’t serve food a walk around Stoney Middleton and the most excellent box of chips and battered sausage from what must be the worlds cutest smallest fish’n’chip shop – judging by its name “The Tollbar Fish and Chip Shop” it probably used to be a Tollbar and converted to a Fish and Chip Shop.
We will be back - maybe the Jin entrance and creep up on that demon whilst it isn't looking.