Information taken from the 1983 logbook. ICCC newsletter 1 was published in October 1983 and reports on a couple of the trips in this time period, namely the club's summer tour to the Vercors in France and the trip to the BEC's dig in Eastwater in the Mendip.

As these were typed up in 2024, some of the less "politically correct" descriptions of non-cave antics from the original reports have been omitted (typically sexist descriptions, occasionally racist epithets).

Easter Expedition to North Yorkshire

Stayed at NPC

Sat March 26

Tatham Wife: Jim Briggs, Jennie Gilbert, Clive Orrock + Caroline

After spending an hour looking for the cave eventually reached the bottom of the ramp. Jim and Caroline went out while Clive and Jennie went on in search of the fourth pitch. Jen told Clive to turn around - so he did...! and after experiencing the wonders of cold and wetness finally reached the surface after approx 4 hours underground. Did Jim put Caroline off?


King Pot recci: Malcolm Barr, Charlie Cawthorne, Kathy James, Steve Lane

Did a recci down King pot, took ladder but no lifelines... Cave was quite sporting with the T section passage providing sustained entertainment. Kathy felt knacked at beginning of Canutes canal, so we took 3 ladders and continued without her, though only after persuasion to crawl in the water. Went to top of bloodaxe where we ran out of ladder (dam). Went out with Malc poking in every hole as usual. 7 hour trip. Will go back to finish later. Good cave.

Sun March 27

Crescent Pot: Malcolm Barr, Jennie Gilbert, Clive Orrock

Malcolm, Clive, Jennie went off in search of Crescent Pot. Jennie to Malcolm prior to setting off for the pot: "Now, do we know where we're going today?" (pissed off after yesterday's escapade). "Oh yes, I think so, I'll look in the book." Two hours later and three holes later - Jennie freezing in her wetsuit (Clive in a furry and Malcolm acting the hero as per usual!). Clive persuades Jen to venture down the valley side and wait for the van. "I'll catch you up in a minute," he says. Does he heck? Malcolm and Clive find the pot - descend - don't worry about Jen! - She'll be okay - just a touch of hypothermia. All in all a marginally successful day!


Went up with Jen and Malc - Malc as hero (as per usual) sure he can find hole. 2 hours later, and no hole found. Feel very sorry for poor Jen who is sufffering from cold so, wisely suggested she return to road whilst try to find Malc (intrepid hero). Finally locate Malc who has located Crescent Pot so at great expense to my own personal well being am forced to go with him just to keep an eye on him. (well you know what he's like) Eventually return to road to find Jen safely esconced in van. Good trip, all considered.


Rowten Pot: Jim Briggs, Charlie Cawthorne

Rushed up hill in usual Charlie fashion. Umm -- straightforward trip despite large amount of water descending with us. Forget all preconceived ideas of bottoming pot as necessary equipment remained at top of 2nd pitch (besides it was too wet).

Mon March 28

Whernside Manor SRT course

Early start with Jennie, Charlie and Kathy spending the day at Whernside Manor, Malc repairing his wetsuit, furry suit and oversuit and the other three doing not a lot. The SRT course went off all right in the morning with Jim, Steve and Clive bringing us our dinner. Big Bad Jim ate most of poor starving, undernourished Jennie's dinner - Ahhh!!!

The self-rescue practice in the afternoon caused much hilarity with Charlie and Jeff, Charlie and Kathy, Jennie and Kathy (and any other permutations) becoming "entwined". Blackmail photos will be available at a later date. The day finished with someone (mentioning no names - but he hasn't smiled all week) locking the keys in the van.

Tue March 29

Easegill - Lancaster Hole: Malcolm Barr, Jim Briggs, Charlie Cawthorne, Jennie Gilbert, Kathy James, Clive Orrock, Steve Lane

Another recci down Inglesport?! followed by seven down Lancaster Hole. Visit to Cow Pot by Jim and Charlie abandoned due to lack of dryness. Six members descended entrance pitch (110') when cries of 'lamp', 'out', 'van', were heard by remaining surface member from the depths below. Much running/walking/cursing resulted in two fresh lamps being fetched from van by surface member. Upon descent this member sold fresh lamps for a liquid price.

Lancaster itself was dry passage, dry passage and more dry passage - sweat, sweat and a damp furry suit. Enthusiasm was maintained despite heart, except from poor Steve who was suffering from a heavy cold/flu/T.B./anything else you care to mention, and was not very happy. Party followed high level passage across Fall & Stake Pots with the intention of reaching Stop Pot. However, we ran into route finding difficulties before Stop Pot, when a 'large passage on the left leading over boulders to Stop Pot' never materialised. Much searching was fruitless and party headed out to Ingleton chippie then New Inn.

Weds March 30

Quaking Pot: Malcolm Barr, Jim Briggs, Charlie Cawthorne, Clive Orrock

Jim, Malc, Charlie and Clive set off across moors carrying 16 ladders and 2 ropes in an assault on Quaking, leaving Steve Lane with instrictions to pick us up from White Scar Caves carpark anytime after 8pm. Amounts of tackle rapidly reduce as 1st and 2nd pitches descended. 3rd pitch was very wet - especially so for a cave that doesn't respond to rain. In consequence all were well soaked and cold by the time we all assembled at the bottom. Had lots of fun (?) dragging gear through T-shaped passages but at least it warmed us up. Descended 4th pitch and continued along narrowing streamway till arrived at coitus corner. "Er, I hate to tell you this but I think I'm stuck" comes the pathetic wail of Jim hanging by his rib-cage in a vertical squeeze. Much pushing from Malc finally releases Jim but results in Malc getting stuck. "I hate this cave," comes the groan of Charlie still wedged at a previous squeeze. With Malc finally recovered Clive tries his hand and gets stuck but eventualy gets free - but on the wrong side of obstruction. By now we're all pissed off and with no hope of bottoming the cave opt to come out. Much swearing at jammed tackle and heaving of gear out through the narrow passages eventually saw us back on the surface.

Back in carpark with no sigh of the van (it's only 7pm) we huddle together in a shed slowly freezing to death until our salvation at 7:30pm as the van hoves into view. Recovered in Hill Inn over double pie n' peas and excellent OP.


Thurs March 31

Ireby Fell: Malcolm Barr, Jim Briggs, Jennie Gilbert, Kathy James, Clive Orrock

Set off into mist to attempt to find (and possibly even go down) Ireby Fell. By good luck managed to locate entrance without too much trouble. Cave - very wet, making pitches quite sporting, Well Pitch particularly so as the water was thrown horizontally and the ladder ended 4 feet short. Carried on down to next pitch, which should have been free-climbably but decided it was not on with water so beat a retreat. No problems except standing at foot of pitches to the sound of rushing water affected everyone's bladders the same way - most disconcerting. Emerged after quite a short trip in brilliant sunshine to return to NPC and then back to London.

---- A good week caving had by all.


Cliquey Trip to Mendip 15-17 April


Swildon's Long Round: Chris Backhouse, Steve Lane, Debbie Armstrong

Since Debbie had been nagging to do this trip for ages to prevent premature deafness we did it. Trip went well, the only problem being the rift before grit sump. Met some weegies at 20' pot but pushed past them. Good trip.

Chris Backhouse

Longwood-August: Jim Briggs, Charlie Cawthorne, Clive Orrock

Dumped at side of road to do Longwood-August. Jim with no boots only gym shoes, Charlie with no wetsuit only various bits of rubber held together by will power but still exposing vulnerable bits of flesh. Did virtually the entire cave including a foray into Reynold's Passage but which eventually became somewhat tight and unplesant. Wallyed back to up surface -- very warm and pleasant changing in the sun.

Easy caving followed by boring 6 mile slog back to Priddy, burdened with gear and tackle and ultimately beset with aching limbs and blisters. Stumbling back to civilisation on outskirts of Priddy we called in at a cafe for a pot o' tea and cheese toasties -- ummmm! Suffered severe temptation for more food but was unfortunately talked out of it. Eventually with only quarter of a mile to go Chris arrived to give us a lift.

Shortly after set out to Steve's favourite chippy "only about 4 or 5 miles down road," says he.

15 miles later, just short of Weston, we finally arrive at what turned out to be a pretty poor chip shop. Then all innocently Steve adds that we were quite close to a Cider farm so since we were out here he could get some cider (cunning eh). Alas cider place closed. So headed back to Priddy the scenic way i.e. up 1 in 6 (or less) roads regardless of the sufferings of Chris' car.

After pint in Queen Vic spent rest of evening in Hunters before retiring to Belfry and finally to bed.



Swildon's Long Round: Jim Briggs, Charlie Cawthorne, Clive Orrock + Darren

Set off down Swildon's accompanied by Darren from BEC. Made good time without being held up by scouts, youth clubs, WI or whatever. Finally dropped into very smelly streamways; Sumps 4 & 5 both like septic tanks. Syphons in damp link set going and trip made to 9. Gloop sump passed ok but grit sump caused Charlie some fun. Opted not to do figure of 8, and so hacked on back to streamway and on up to surface -- very good trip, made better by anticipation of a soup, pig and pint at Wagon on return to London.


Manor Farm Swallet: Debbie Armstrong with John + Chris (BEC)

As the lazy scabs Backhouse and Lane decided not to go caving I managed to wangle my way on to a trip down Manor Farm with John + Chris (BEC). Made good time to Nhasa gallery then spent an hour digging at the bottom in John's dig. As we left Nhasa met a party coming down who we had passed at the entrance! Free climbed waterfall pitch and managed to get up September Rift unaided (only just! - after about 10 mins). Manor Farm was just as shitty as ever but still quite enjoyable.


Dinner Meet Yorkshire, April 29th-May 2nd


With Malcolm's usual efficiency we finally made it to Inglesport at 11,30am where people were persuaded to part with vast sums of money (though not as much as in the Golden Lion later on!). After a further one and half hours organising the gear in the vans in Ingleton we managed to leave for the caves at about 1pm.


Bull Pot (Practise S.R.T.): Kathy James, Steve Lane, Debbie Armstrong, Mark Bown + M Wilkins

Had fun descending 1st pitch - Mark decided after going over the edge of the pitch that he didn't know how to thread his new bobbin onto the rope and then proceeded to abseil down with it on upside down!

Debby went second to last to avoid being stared at and just before she went down lots of grockles turned up and started taking photos!

Went down 3 pitches and then gave up due to time pressing. No serious problems encountered with anyone's S.R.T. system.


Tatham Wife Hole: Jim Briggs, Chris Backhouse, Clive Orrock

Leving Ingleton we were confronted by half a dozen vans and cars parked below white scar -- it appeared the whole world (and his dog?) had decided to do Tatham Wife -- groan. Still nothing for it but to join the throng and get up there as quick as possible. A hint of things to come was the appearance of a rotund scout master who announced that his six scouts were up there somewhere and hopefully in Tat Wife, oh, and did we know the way 'cos he didn't.

On way down, no troubles and no other parties! -- until at the bottom of the ramp they came thick and fast and progress dropped to a crawl. Everyone else seemed to be using portably acetylene flame throwers so it was no easy task to traverse above their heads. Finally made it down to dismal sump and commenced climb back out.

At top of the third pitch were met by a chap and his girlfriend(?) who were specialists in dodgy rigging, and who abseiled down on a life-line rope belayed to a loosly wedged pebble and small well-rounded bump of a stalagmite. Despite there being only two anchors they used four figure-eight knots and two krabs! -- some mothers do 'ave 'em.

At bottom of second pitch we joined the queue to go up, come down, or to enter the, "how-many-ladders-can-I-rig-down-one-pitch?" competition -- won by the wally who slung the second lifeline and third string of ladders down the already constricted pitch. Much later at top of pitch we continued our epic ascent climbing the first pitch and regaining the upper surface of the earth.

Despite slagging everyone off we were not entirely blameless. Regarding our usual habit of climbing short pitches (say 25' or 30') without lifelines. The recently published 1982 CRo statistics make interesting reading -- I quote:

Sept 11th, 19-01 - Tatham Wife Hole - Caver fell 25ft from ladder on first pitch. No lifeline. Severe bruising, muscle damage to leg


Aug 14th 18-58 - Ireby Fell Cavern - Caver fell 25ft from ladder on first pitch. No lifeline. Serious chest injuries, including 11 fractured ribs. DIED during rescue.

'Nuff said!




(you mean some people actually went)

Alum Pot: Debbie Armstrong, Steve Gill

Debbie with a hangover + feeling ill, Steve being strong + silent. A fucking large hole. Rigged, down + up, derigged in 1 hour. Best bit - Debbie exposing herself to 3 scouts amd then to Jim + Clive.


Long Churn: Charlie Cawthorne, Helen Cawthorne + Kev Peakman

--changed inside lower long churn entrance to avoid being blown away. Then had a potter around Upper/Lower long churn visiting top of Dollytubs, Cheese press, Dr Bannister's Handbasin and Diccan (LOTS of water). A simple trip to clear away the last of the alcoholic after-effects.


Lancaster Pot: Chris Backhouse, Mark Bown, Simon Leach, Hugh Sloan

[hard to read]

An entertaining trip, with my light failing a few feet inside the entrance, so borrowed Clog's leccy petzle head set. treddy in the foot steps of Clog, trying to avoid being burned by his Flame thrower. Bar for lights a fairly good trip.

Mark Bown?

[An unknown set of poeople went to Sunset, unwritten.]


Bar Pot: Chris Backhouse, Clive Orrock, Debbie Armstrong, Mark Bown, Steve Gill

Debbie, Steve G Clive followed by Mark + Chris Back (wiv' exploding carbide!)

Early morning back up onto allotment. Gill rig for first pitch. Short legged-dodgy rigs by Clive for second pitch -- "er I seem to have left me ascender behind!" Anyway much moaning later they rejoined me at bottom of Bar and we continued to GG main chamber.


Clive must have really short legs to be able to get his knee in the loop he left.


Rubbish its all you lanky lot!!!


Steve taking it real easy on knackered knees [to GG main chamber]. GG main chamber really impressive - Debs stood in waterfall.


Debs trying make an impression.


Deb's idiot.

Justice -------- after years of being unable to use other people's re-belay loops I finally manage to rig a (reasonably for me) short loop. -- no hassle for me either down or up. -- us short ass gnomes must stick together.


But you still left your ascender behind, didn't you!


P.S. I was the only one able to remain on his feet on tunnels to GG main chamber, long legged Debs and Steve having to drop to their knees.


Is Clive any relation to an orangatang? (Or Jim) Answers on a postcard please.


Alum: Jim Briggs, Charlie Cawthorne

did the big pitch rigging our rope next to another party's rope. Jim went down first intent on rigging some sort of deviation and eventually rigged one which successfully kept rope out of the wet stuff. Visited the sump for the first time - tons of water coming in from Diccan - before re-ascending. Charlie had sit harness/ball problems which slowed his progress. This trip has converted Jim into a 'deviation man!

[An unknown set of poeople went to Dis & Calf Holes, unwritten.]

Yorkshire 4/5 June


King Pot: Chris Backhouse, Chris Birkhead, Charlie Cawthorne, Clive Orrock, Steve Lane

Went down King pot. Made it down to master cave but missed out grasshopper series and upstream sump bypass. Most of us were shagged on the way out except Chris Birk who's now nocturnal. Got out at 12.30 after 12hr+ trip. Missed chippy and pub so ate Sunday's breakfast.

Steve Lane

Jingling: Debbie Armstrong, Steve Gill

Needed to do some SRT practise for France so persuaded Steve not to go down King. Had a lazy walk up to Jingling. Did the 125ft entrance pitch with no problems (despite Steve's usual dodgie rigging). Deb managed to put her hand on dead sheep at the bottom and got stuck in a little hole - but as usual Steve managed to pull her out. Not much to the cave but the entrance pitch is quite impressive.

Then walked into Ingleton via Waterfalls Walk to await the others return. 5 hours later (after fish and chips and a large number of pints) we walked back to the van (to call the rescue?). At 12:00pm got there and met the others (they had been out 15 min).

Debbie's cake was enjoyed by all.



The five mega heros being a bit knacked like went down Bernies cafe after dropping Debs and Steve G to do Long Kin East. Had a good helping of curry + chips. Then went to Hill for drink and pastie + peas. Meet Steve + Debs, went home, had fish and chips and black pud in Leicester.


Long Kin East: Debbie Armstrong, Steve Gill

While the lazy slobs (who weren't up to doing a second trip) went down the pub the intrepid two (Gill & Armstrong) decided to do Long Kin East. Had an easy trip down to the top of the 200'. Couldn't go down it as there were no bolts on the Long Kin East side and only found the traverse to the Rift Pot side after an hour of wallying around. Anyway still quite a pleasant little trip (and cheap).


Mendip 23, 24, 25 July


Eastwater Dig: Chris Birkhead, Steve Lane, Debbie Armstrong, Mark Bown

written up in ICCC newsletter 1


St Cuthbert's with the BEC: Debbie Armstrong with Martin G and Chris

Mark fell out of bed. Chris, Mark and Steve all had hangovers (again) so I was forced to go caving with the BEC (again). Went down Cuthbert's with Martin G and Chris. Did pulpit pitch (60'), the new way and down to Late Chamber - v interesting as at the moment it has 60' of water in it but sometimes it is dry. Chris spent 20mins getting up a 6' climb and was really disgruntled cos I got up it without any trouble. All in all a good Sunday trip. Drove back to London in a really bad storm - viz about 10ft.


Yorkshire 5-7 August

The tortuous trip was not aided by two facts (1) Birked had just bought a new "Big Country" tape which he proceeded to play to death (2) we missed the pub in Leeds.

Bar for those two facts the cramped journey in Lane's rat box was not too bad. The minor detour around the back streets of Leeds proved to be of little educational value other than to highlight a fact which was before only suspected, Otley is not in Leeds stockbroker belt!

On arrival at the hut the three tired travellers (Mark, Steve + Chris) tiptoed around the hut having broken in through the lower window, not wanting to wake anyone of significance up. The only occupants were later discovered to be Kathy and Mark W, upstairs having rearranged the bunks.


Oi, I object to my van being called nasty names.



Cherry Tree Hole: Chris Birkhead, Kathy James, Steve Lane, Mark Bown, Spike

All embarked upon a spending spree to Grockel-sports where much club money was spent. Arriving late at the fell, a fell search revealed a load of Newcastle cavers emerging from a poxy little hole. The clique appearance and look of total competence was spoilt by Mr Lane having forgotten his helmet. [something] Rapid negotiations yielded a helmet. Having made a complete balls-up of the cave by going up to the inlet until it sumped, undeterred the 5 returned to the trough and watering hole, [and] consumed much holy water.



Roaring Hole: Chris Birkhead, Kathy James, Mark Bown, Spike

Unaccompanied by Mr Lane, the remaining four trooped cross limestone plateau to find a cave well worth a trip down. Emerging from the cave at ~1.00, a rapid sprint across the moor in Y-fronts was rewarded by a few pints at the Hill Inn. Chris, Mark and Steve returned to the Smoke ~11.00.


Yorkshire 12-14 August


Providence (short): Chris Birkhead, Mark Bown

Birks Fell: Steve + MCGx4


Inglesport and climbing at Twistleton Scar

Mendip 19-21 August

Chris Backhouse's Stag Night. Some caves were done. Attended by Steve Lane, Mark Bown, Chris Backhouse, Chris Birkhead, Charlie, Mark and Steve Gill.

Chris's wedding, 27-28 August

Ripple. Attended by Steve Gill, Debbie Armstrong, Clive Orrock, Chris Birkhead, Mark, and Steve Lane (and Chris and Julie Backhouse obviously)

BCRA Liverpool 2-4 September