Write-ups from the 1983-> logbook. 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).

Clog = Simon Leach

Mendip 9-11th September


Swildon's: Chris Birkhead, Clive Orrock, Mark Bown

Went down Swildon's to try and find Shatter and then intended to come out via round trip BUT. got lost couldn't find shatter pot or anywhere else (shame on us!). So mucho pissed off came out and went to Pub. Sunday -- offered to take 2 lads down Swildons but by the time THEY were ready, Swildon's was fully booked for the day so gave up and went to Pub -- what a lot of wasters!

Clive Orrock

Mendip 1-2nd October

BEC Dinner

Swildon's SRT: Debbie Armstrong, Steve Gill

Left about 7 Friday night. Had fun and games with BEC on Friday night, excellent. Got up early Sat. Steve + Debs did SRT in Swildons and I went home to fix my van. To avoid being disowned by Steve and Debs I wore my suit (?!). Sat next to Jim Eyre at dinner. Had good time but can't comment on food cos I was pissed. Got coach back to BEC and started silly games with BEC. Steve and Debs went to bed for their own silly games. [unreadable] Went to bed about 4-00. Batspiss went to bed at 8-00 Sun morning after finishing a bottle of whiskey - can this man drink! Spent Sunday dossing and sitting outside pub in rain.

Steve Lane

Yorkshire 7-9 October

Car Pot (too wet for planned Penyghent): Clive Orrock, Steve Lane, Mark Bown

At last back to some real caving. Left at 5-00 Fri got to NPC about 12-15. This was MCG pen-y-ghent trip. It pissed all night and it was too wet to do pen-y. So decided to try Car and went up to Gill with Martin Rowe. Water was pissing in entrance and after me and Mark got to letterbox we decided this was too silly for words and I don't want to die really. So went to hut then to chippy then Hill. Bought lots of gear in Inglesport for club. Hill inn was good.

Just dossed about on Sunday, went to Inglesport and Bernies then went home.

Steve Lane

Mendip 14-16th October

Bit of a social disaster! (to my everlasting shame)

Trips done over wekeend were: Swildon's, Longwood-August, Manor Farm, GB, Eastwater.



GB: Debbie Armstrong, Steve Gill, Tony Dutton, Glen Harris

Fairly uneventful trip, Glen had fun standing on Steve's shoulder trying to get the ladder rigged for the ladder extensions/ Got to the squeeze and Jerry decided he didn't like the look of it so turned back. Were also put off by the notice on the other side of the duck saying that the boulder ruckle was unstable.

Debbie Armstrong


Eastwater: Dave Wilson, Malcolm Barr, Clive Orrock, Tony Dutton

Interesting cave, ie start is boulder climb, then crawl in 40 degree bedding plane, few squeezes, climbs, crawls etc. Malc lost 1 or more toe caps (several times) and my light conked out at the bottom of the free climb, although, thanks to Clive, I used his on the way out, but it meant I did not go down the ladder. Quite a good cave if you are as small as me, but if you are not, it could be (was) interesting. Good freshers trip (I think)

Dave Wilson

Swildon's short round trip: Harry Lock, Debbie Armstrong, Steve Gill, Jon Sims

Had another good trip round Swildon's (ducks fairly low). None of the lads had any trouble, althought Ron got quite cold. All enjoyed doing Sump 1.


Mendips 21st-23rd October


Swildon's (yet again!): Chris Backhouse, Clive Orrock, Dave Warrington

Classic case of leading from the back - Simon set off like a rocket with Chris and myself straggling in rear. Nasty moment when David slipped on Jacobs ladder but he's as tough as old boots so just bounced a bit. Continued down to Sump 2 with hardly a break in stride through sump 1. Quite a lot of people down (what's new) but still got out ok -- good trip -- incidentally met one old boy of ~65 still caving. "Oi loiks the water -- but oi gets puffed these days," still, he looked spry enough to me! Hope I'm as fit when I'm his age, if I live that long.


Longwood: Simon Seward, Chris Birkhead, Mark Bown, Catherine White

Straightforward trip, everyone performed well, until artificial climbing aids had to be ised to get out of Renolds - one shoulder, one head etc. to help Cathy out. Went up stream too far on way out, end up head against foot water down face in waterfall. (not clever) Lost Birkhead and Simon at entrance on way out (Birkhead appearing ~10 mins later oozing poison). Good trip enjoyed by all, quite tiring.

Mark Bown

GB: Charlie Cawthorne, Jennie Gilbert, Steve Lane, Neill Pattinson

Down to terminal sump. Couldn't get into the ladder extension despite Jen standing on Steve's shoulders. Off round Devil's Elbow instead.

Neill Pattinson

Eastwater: Charlie Cawthorne, Simon Leach, Neill Pattinson

Short trip to bottom of free climbable chimney, Neill having problems on the inclined bedding plane. But a q enjoyable short trip.


Saturday night

Valiantly returned to the Plume & Feathers accompanied by Eddie + Daren (Eddie making a spectackle of himself by kicking furniture all over the place), social event went off without incident, returned to Belfry to get pissed, puking etc. (Didn't join Belfry on the mushrooms!)


Very wise, but it might, just might! have given you a good, quiet or peaceful night's sleep. which the rest of us definitely didn't get!


Went to the Plume of Feathers on Saturday night (hoping to get beaten-up again). Got Steve Gill drunk as it was his last trip before leaving for Antarctica.



Swildon's short round trip: Simon Seward, Charlie Cawthorne, Debbie Armstrong, Simon Leach, Catherine White + Daren

Got up quite early, considering the night before. Were dropped off at Swildons at about 11-30. Deb led us most of the time and was pleased she knew the way. Waited in the queue at the top of the pitch for about quarter of an hour. Easy to start with going down-stream, then muddy upper series. The ducks were easy as water was very low, then the sump 1. Much more tiring on the way back. Met lots more people, back to entrance by about 4pm. Walked back towards the Belfry and Clog gave us a lift the rest of the way.

Cath White

Rhino Rift: Mark Bown, Edric, Bolt

An educating trip! Initially amused by the sight of ~500 ft of orange Bungy cord, which was claimed to be the SRT trope! Reasonable trip with little incident before Edric dropping his ascender at the top of the last pitch to the bottom, accompanied by much whinging. All got out alive! to be met by Birkhead + Backhouse


Longwood-August: Jennie Gilbert, Clive Orrock, Steve Lane

Good trip -- did all best bits of cave down to start of Reynolds and back out up nice and sporting wet chimney. Met up with 2 Chrises back at surface -- back to BEC for shower and cuppa.


Derbyshire 4-6 November


Oxlow Caverns: Dave Wilson, Harry Lock, Clive Orrock, Simon Leach

Ground v unstable (boulders) fairly dry. Farmer appears to have trained cows to shit in large quantities around and over entrance. Boots got caught in ladder halfway down 3rd pitch (12 inch ladder), have to hammer the hooks down. Entrance goof climb, if a little constricted in places, which can be quite inconvenient when carrying 2 ladders down. Floor sloping when not climbing. Very muddy even though dry.

Dave Wilson

Nettle Pot: Jim Briggs, Simon Seward, Chris Birkhead, Jon Sims

Really good SRT trip a bit tight at the top and I got stuck. Jon and I didn't listen to Uncle Chris and got knackered. Could see fireworks on the way back!!

Simon Seward

Giants: Charlie Cawthorne, Helen Cawthorne, Nigel Schofield, Karl Skinner

This was an enjoyable trip and gave me a good impression of Derbyshire since it was my first visit to the area. We proceded in usual Charlie fashion fire burning off the soles of his feet! Nothing really exciting happened but we all had a jolly good time but unfortunately didn't reach the East Canal due to very high water. However this wasn't too much of a situation and we came out vuia the upper series so as not to emulate our arthropidian friends (crabs to the layman). Mucho fun by all and nobody stole our ladder!!!

Helen Cawthorne

Nettle Pot lot not out for a while so Clog and Gary ferried everyone to pub - "Clog's gone hasn't he? - I'm clear to reverse aren't I" -- CRASH!"

"What's that!"

"Clog's car!"

Alas Gary had reversed into Clog's car, knocking out a large chunk of filler which was hiding a rusty hole.

Eventually Nettle Pot party out so headed for Jug n' Glass for excellent beer and thence to Orpheus for fireworks and other pyromanic activities.


Giants and Oxlow (again): Dave Wilson, Jim Briggs, Harry Lock, Clive Orrock, Simon Leach

Clog, Jim, Clive, Harry and David down Giants good trip -- quite interesting. But on arrival back at foot of first (20') pitch found only 1 ladder left -- not ours -- knew there was another party behind us so had to leave ladder -- blamed stolen ladder + belay on scouts!


Yorkshire 18-20 November


Log book hasn't been written up for a while so you'll all just have to put up with my version in Orrock-speak.

First Yorkshire trip of the year, so very well patronised. Due to numbers had to use two vans - CLC white and a Swan National Job. Both vans left about the same time but Swan van went on a scenic route touring the lesser known highways and byways of London to Ponders Ends where picked up Malc and Chris.

Eventually got to M1 and started haul northwards. Spotted t'other van on hard shoulder witha flat tyre but no jack. Lent em Swan Jack and carried on to Leeds where picked up Helen at Leeds station. Union van got wheel fixed just as AA arrrived and they too got going again.

Both vans arrived in Leeds in desperate need of fuel both the humans and vehicles. Humans got fed but Swan van remained thirsty and with Steve Lane actually driving at a mere snail's pace of 30 mph (yes he can do it!) we plodded northwards taking bets on how many miles we could go 'til we ran out of fuel. Miraculously arrived at NPC with needle way past the red. Union van arived soon after and we grabbed pits.



After statutory trip to Inglesport set off caving --

Roaring Hole: Simon Seward, Clive Orrock, Debbie Armstrong, Glen Harris

Down to final duck -- didn't go down final pitch -- nearly lost Simon drowned in a side branch of duck. Reasonable if disappointingly dry trip -- could do without ladders for a lot of pitches -- most free climbable despite what Debbie says.


Tatham Wife: Malcolm Barr, Charlie Cawthorne, Catherine White, Jon Sims

Cath W did not appreciate the haul up to 'Tatty' entrance - not used to Yorks caves yet. Fairly straightforward trip and finally succeeded in reaching the sump after my third visit. Not too much water on pitches and presence of two other parties did not huinder progress. Long walk back to Hill Inn on the top of scars to join Roaring group - then to chippie - as below.


Cherry Tree Hole: Chris Birkhead, Harry Lock, Mark Bown, Steve Gill, Neill Pattinson, Helen Cawthorne

This little hole didn't hold up to my expectations at all if you want a good grope with the rocks this is for you. The only exciting bit being, when we first got in to the cave, this was an impressive argument between Chris & Mark on one side versus Steve to which was the right way. Steve won and we all had a jolly horrible time. The duck wasn't too much and the only thoughts that prevailed were - where's the end so we can get out! The ladder belay proved an interesting piece of work courtesy of the group before us. Not worth the grade IV rating!


All out - went to Ingleton for chips and to return hire lamps (thanks Alan). Chips excellent as always. Reunited with t'other group in Hill.

Reasonable evening had in Hill - then back to bed in attempt to get up reasonably early on the morrow.



White CLC to West Kingsdale for SRT practice.

1st pitch of Rowten: Charlie Cawthorne, Helen Cawthorne

Bull Pot: Malcolm Barr, Simon Seward, Clive Orrock, Jon Sims

Met Dave Elliot and a group of very pissed-off looking lads coming out -- obviously not enjoying their Whernside course. "Oh yes! I remember Imperial College when they used to be good," says Mr Elliot. Cheek!

Good trip down (fun and acrobatics) despite shortage of time.

Clive Orrock

Ireby Fell: Chris Birkhead, Harry Lock, Kathy James, Mark Bown, Catherine White, Glen Harris

The usual large party!! set off across the fell quite late on Sunday afternoon looking forward to a good wet ladder trip in classic Yorkshire style. Got to entrance to find very little water and another party using SRT. Kath and Mark rigged the first couple of pitches - Ding and Dong, maybe I rigged the next, who knows? It was generally slow work, mainly due to the numbers involved and the use of lifelines (good practice in bad technique). Not enough gear was available so some shuttling of lifelines between bottom pitch and climb was necessary. On the climb we met the other party coming out and while entering the larger passages of the cave Kath thought she heard another party in front who were also returning, so we decided that rather than be caught behind two parties we'd turn round there and then and not go to the bototm. Took ages to get out with tired lifeliners all round. (There was no other party anyway!)


South Wales 2-4 December

Friday saw our gallant heroes set off again, travelling ever westward into the setting sun to land of Cymru which men call Wales. Despite the ritualistic boundary markings obliterating the road signs we finally made it to the comparative sanctuary of Whitewalls on a crisp clear and cold winter evening...

The Chelsea lot were not very friendly (as usual) so all went fairly straight (despite several pints in Newport - where picked up Helen) to bed.



Saturday dawned bright and clear and we all got up at the disgustingly early hour of 8.30 to take piccies (Tony) or just to have brekkies. Decided to try for entry to OFD (despite having no permits) and so set off to SWCC, stopping enroute to pump drugs into Chris to stop him running amok.

We finally made it to SWCC and gained entry to Cwmdwr in 2 parties--

Cwm Dwr 1: Richard Collcott, Simon Seward, Clive Orrock, Neill Pattinson

Down to confluence and back - by slightly different route. No troubles - superb navigation by leader!!! (actually got a wee bit lost in boulder choke). Quite a good trip - water in main streamway very low - quite tempting to go upstream but time was against us. Returning to surface kept meeting a group from Croydon Caving Club going the wrong way down passages. Eventually all emerged ok to be treated to a superb blood-red sunset.


Cwm Dwr 2: Harry Lock, Charlie Cawthorne, Dave Warrington, Helen Cawthorne

Down to Piccadilly and around Diver's Pitch and back. Explored several side passages in Piccadilly hoping to find Hoel Eira but search not successful. Otherwise trip much the same as above.


Tony and Chris went for a walk, Chris showing Tony the delights of our "green and pleasant land" through the bottom of a pint glass in the Ancient Briton!

Once we'd all assembled again we returned briefly to Whitewalls to find Clog already well-aled and fast asleep in front of his motor. Then all headed to Crickhowell for good evening session in the Bridge Inn, followed by a bit of arm-wrestling back at Whitewalls.



Managed to stagger as far as Aggy.

Aggy 1: Chris Birkhead, Charlie Cawthorne, Simon Leach, Helen Cawthorne

Went in for general wander around, ostensibly heading towards NW Junction - for a change went up to White Cliffs of Dover and then headed on but cos of time didn't get any further than 2nd boulder choke. Saw 1 bat only, though plenty of mothses in entrance. Signed out and returned to hut for tea and toast... and a long wait til the other party came out!


Aggy 2: Simon Seward, Harry Lock, Clive Orrock, Neill Pattinson, Tony Dutton

The inner & outer circle trip diminished to Outer only. Reasonable progress made until Helen fell in Keyhole Chamber dropping 5 feet onto her back. No damage done and we continued round. Nothing particularly exciting - just the usual 'Aggie Slog' to complete the trip.


Loaded up van and headed back to London. Journey without hitch, stopping on route for yet more fish n chips. Thanks to Tony for driving, staying sober (ish) and putting up with our British Fish n Chips.

I think it's about time someone else wrote up this log book.


Yorkshire tour 16-22 December

Steve Lane's Skid School


  1. Shocked faces in mini we stared in their faces while still going backwards at 60mph.
  2. Absolute silence of passengers.
  3. Strong smell of burning rubber.
  4. Two people threw up.
  5. Never again!


  1. Ensure victim is NOT an influential member of NPC



Rift Pot - Long Kin East: Simon Seward, Kathy James, Steve Lane, Mark Bown, Jon Sims

Me, Kath and Julie decuded to get new bulb for van, went up to allotment to show Simon, Mark and Jon where Rift was. It was a wonderful walk, sun shone brightly, the ground was dry and the birds and full of summer joy. We walked, after some loss of direction, to rift were it was decided not to go down so as to save writing the trip up ni the book, went and got bulb, but it was fuse all the time. Merry Christmas every one.


Large Pot: Chris Backhouse, Chris Birkhead, Spike

Chris said it was really good but muddy.


One ladder on entrance, two for next. Way to Colossus is really muddy and small, hard work. Possibly red herring series may be more inviting!

CSB (Chris Birkhead)

Saturday night had a few bevvies in Hill Inn -- numerous attempts on wheel, Dave falling through with ease.

Back at NPC Professor Seward lectured to Bill Gascoine on Aggy. "What I don't know about Aggie isn't worth knowing."



Flood Entrance Pot: Chris Backhouse, Simon Seward, Kathy James, Steve Lane, Jon Sims

A lot of waiting aorund and quite tight at the top, visited main chamber which was dark, windy and a bit big. Kathy tried to break her ankle but didn't fall far enough. Steve said he was a bit worried rigging the big pitch, I was fucking petrified just watching. Jon 'the deviation kid' unmasked a commie plot before it brought down the western world. He also derigged the deviation:

sketch of stick figure reaching deviation, saying '?', then undoing the deviation and smacking into the cave wall

Estimated time 8.30-9.00 dismayed to find it 11.55 at Clapham church a bit flabbergasted. Good SRT trip.

Simon Seward

Bull Pot (Kingsdale): Dave Wilson, Harry Lock, Clive Orrock, Spike

Dumped off at the side of road to fend for ourselves and struggled up to cave in howling gale. Dismayed to find piles of shit at the bottom of entrance! Careful bold step over brown heaps and on down. Dodgey rigging by Orrock - dogei-rigs inc. Bit wet on lower pitches - cold and draughty. All out ok at 8.30 hoping to find Steve but alas no. Stagged along road weighed down by 100lbs a piece to Marton Arms where settled down with pints of XB. Crescent party arrived and finally Julie picked us up at closing time (~11.50).


Crescent: Chris Birkhead, Mark Bown, Simon Leach

Location is not as in the book - take same line from tree but shakehole is much closer, more like 50yds. Entrance is split shaft, two ladders, one belayed at top, next about ten feet down from bottom of first. Climb down well shored spoil heap - watch out for rotting timbers! Tight crawls from bottom lead off, with stream, into tight rift type passage. Way on is obvious for the most part - comes onto top of pitch - short with very dificult take off - belay to one bolt.



County (Easegill) - Lancaster: Simon Seward, Harry Lock, Clive Orrock, Simon Leach, Jon Sims

Absieled (sp) down Lancaster Hole, were most impressed by the colonades, and then off on our epic quest with our intrepid leader. Passed top of Fall Pot and then using North South East Montague - Trident Maple Leaf? - Battle of Britain - Manchester Bypass - Poetic Justice - Manchester Bypass again Clog was pretty keen on that - Swildon One - Carrot Chamber etc all wonderfully described by "are you all listening" Clog. And I thought I knew it all! Headed for Link Pot connection but ended up in Lancaster main passage at high level again. Yet more slipping around at the top of deep holes, Simon was pretty worried. The Northern Davies man's light was a bit dodgey.

Simon Seward

Reached main streamway at Stop Pot, then Clog directed us 'under or over' a section which involves a longish flat-out crawl in a muddy tube. At Eureka Junction left streamway and arrived at first pitch out. Clog powered up the pitch (Simon was most impressed) and rigged ladder. Along another squeezy bit, then a controlled slide down shute at Poetic Justice and rejoin streamway. At Confusion Corner Clog orated speleologicla knowledge from a suitable rock podium. 2nd pitch (20') out was laddered. 200ft to exit from County Pot (Ignorance is Bliss!).

An excellent trip enjoyed by all. Finally, expert night nav across Casterton Fell back to Lancaster Hole to haul up SRT gear. Changed by Bull Pot Farm then set off in Clogmobile towards Penrith then about turn to Kirby Lonsdale for a few pints of Hartleys and met rest of ICCC contingent.

Harry Lock

Kath et al's corn-beef hash and Christmas pud with custard (and Dave's whiskey) was excellent.



Not quite Car Pot: Simon Seward, Clive Orrock, Steve Lane, Mark Bown

The lads decided to go down Car - not much enthusiasm however. They spent 2 hours getting changed in the hut because it was raining outside and they are a bunch of wimps! I'd just finished cleaning my teeth when this red van turned up - guess who? They were back - too much water. Steve and Mark had not so much as put a foot outside the van - all nambies. Getting out of the gear took about five minutes - surprise, surprise.

Kathy James

ACTUALLY braving freezing, wet furry suits we embarked on our epic trek. Much disappointment (!) cos it was raining far too hard to go down. Returned to hut and then set off to Ingleton for chips, cream cakes, and club pot of zinc-and-castor-oil since everyone seems to be going down with bad cases of nappy rash (can we buy baby lotion, nappy rash cream etc on general equipment?).

Forgot to buy any beenz.

Returned to hut to spend afternoon drinking tea and writing up log book! and waiting for return of Pippikin-Link party.


Pippikin-Link: Dave Wilson, Simon Leach, Jon Sims, Spike

V good trip, although we got slightly lost due to major removal of mud from around Dusty Junction since last time Clog went down. Had pleasant time wandering in massive chambers filled with many feet of mud varying in consistency from rock to water. Jon's light failed at bottom, not helping matters. Entrance series to Pippikin quite tight (Spike enjoyed it enormously), but OK as long as you go through most squeezes feet first on your left side (+ watch out for 15ft drops where squeeze ends!). Traverse above streamway tiring if carrying 50m of wet rope.

Got out ~3 hours late to find v worried Clive hopping around from one foot to the other, worried about our safe return. Went to Ingleton Chippy + got some strange looks (mainly due to Jon and I being semi-shaven and smeared liberally with mud).

Dave Wilson


Still pouring with rain so came home via Kathy's and then Mark's ("Hello mum I've brought me caving mates and we want feeding")...("oh and mum;- just wash me caving gear and mend me wetsuit for next week...thanks").

Yorkshire (again) 29th Dec - 2nd Jan 1984

Friday 30th

Swinsto - Valley Entrance: Charlie Cawthorne, Helen Cawthorne, Catherine White, Chris Cawthorne

As we got to Valley Entrance this large bloke staggered out & gave us the impression that it (the water) was up to his neck. Debbie made some tactful remarks about beer guts without realising the bloke was standing just behind the van. The Cawthornes and I went to the bottom pitch to investigate, found there wasn't much water at all, and rigged the pitch. Then we walked/struggled up to the top entrance. SRT all the way without much difficulty except when the rope got caught as Charlie was going down. Took much longer than we expected - we missed the van, & had to walk quite a way until Steve came along. Went straight to Marton Arms.


Large Pot: Malcolm Barr, Clive Orrock, Mark Bown

As far as grading goes, it is too highly graded, a little awkward in places especially the second pitch but otherwise thencave, as far as the 150', Colossus, is little more than a grovel in waist heigh mud and crawling in stream passage. The decoration is excellent at present and from its present condition shows the cave to have been little used. I'm quite sure that by this time next year the well decorated stream passage will have been spoilt, since it is decorated with numerous straws which are very easily knocked off if great care is not taken. Beyond the three entrance pitches (which came in quick succession) there follows a crawl, which degenerates at the end to a scroffel in mud, this being broken by a vertical squeeze, best passed by dropping down the rift immediately to avoid the traverse in the v. tight rift. I'm sure that the need to take rope for Colossus would make the trip much more time and energy consuming and nearer to its grade. Well worth a visit soon, before the stal is all destroyed.

Malcolm Barr

Saturday 31st

Roaring: Malcolm Barr, Dave Warrington

Everyone else wimped out which left me to discover rule 1 of the club the hard way - if no-one else wants to go with Malcolm, then you shouldn't.

We spent half an hour or more roving the hillside looking for the entrance - was this to typify our journey.

Down to the final ducks + back, plenty of water giving a couple of enjoyable wet climbs. The ducks were very full so we left them alone. - Had a bit of trouble getting up the mud slope out of them.

Got out in total darkness + followed our noses to the Hill (not very difficult in any conditions) where we discovered we'd missed out on over an hour's drinking time. That was soon remedied...

Dave Warrington

Mendip Jan 13th-15th 1984


Swildon's SRT: Chris Birkhead, Debbie Armstrong, Mark Bown, Steve Gill, Simon Leach, Neill Pattinson, Catherine White

Were rather late setting out due to the fact that Helen's train to Bristol was an hour late and Steve had gone to pick her up in the van with all the gear in it. Originally had intended to have two separate parties - one doing the round trip and visiting shatter, the other doing the round trip and looking at the new Watergate extension. Anyway due to time pressing we decided to all go round the round trip together. Set off at a reasonable pace and had no delays at the 20'. The water was quite high making the streamway more sporting than usual. When we got past the greasy chimney met another party going back who said the water was high in the 4th duck. But not deterred we continued. Passed through the double troubles OK - as they had been bailed by the other party. However, the next duck didn't look so good - when I shone my light through there appeared to be a 1" space (or less) but I decided to have a go anyway. Half way through it got a bit tight but managed to get through without going under. Chris Cawthorne came next - all went well until half way and then he went under and did it as a sump - managed to grab him and pull him through. Undeterred, Neill followed without going under (not bad considering this was the first time he had encountered ducks). Then a reluctant Cathy said she'd have a go. All went well, again, until half way through and then she went under. I spent a couple of anxious seconds groping around and managed to find her hand and then her head to pull her through. After that Mr. Lane was heard muttering on the otherside "It looks a bit desperate" and so the others bailed it before they came through. The rest of the trip to Sump 1 was fairly routine and Nigel and Neill enjoyed doing their first sump. When we got near the entrance the party got into disarray - with Steve and Chris B pushing on out, Mark getting lost and going up the dry way and Nigel losing his boot. When we got to the slab at the entrance I wondered where Neill was too - but Mark assured me he was in front so we continued out only to find at the entrance there was no Neill! I immediately turned back to look for him followed closely by Steve. I went the wet way and Steve the dry way and found him sitting in waterfall chamber looking rather pleased to see me - "I knew you'd come back(?)" he said. All in all quite an eventful trip.

Debbie Armstrong

Longwood-August: Malcolm Barr, Harry Lock, Charlie Cawthorne, Dave Warrington, Helen Cawthorne

The tight squeeze from the entrance to the first pitch was negotiated without problems and then we had a couple of hours or so of walking, splashing + crawling, the deeper than usual water adding a bit more fun. At the bottom where the stream splits Malc went off into the darkness to do yet more crawling, removing the dam on his way through, while th rest of us sat around in the water. We visited the wet chimney on the way back - it was certainly wet so we turned round (after Charlie + Malc had been up + down it for the sake of pure masochism) + crawl back through the drainpipe. Malc's light packed in just before climbing the pitch so he had a pleasant crawl out in the dark. Once assembled on the surface we thought our troubles would be over - but no van so we had a very pleasant (?) walk of 5 miles or so along roads covered in a half inch snowdrift. Eventually we found the van just about to leave Swildons so at least we were spared the last mile back to the hut.

Dave Warrington

By the time we were all out and had got changed it was getting pretty late so went down to the chippie in Wells. On the way down it began to snow quite heavily. Dropped Chris B off in Westbury. After having fish'n'chips had fun getting back up the hill to the Hunters - by now there was about 2" of snow laying and so we all had to get out and push the van up the hill. Decided not to risk going to the Plume and so spent a good evening in the lounge of the Hunters



Got up late and had a leisurely breakfast with no one showing too much enthusiasm for caving. Eventually, Malc persuaded Harry and Nigel to accompany him down Eastwater (again!) and Charlie and Dave went down Swildons. Clog (for some unknown reason) decided he'd like to go to Glastonbury and Helen went with him. The rest deciding to go for a walk in the snow and then to the Hunters for lunch.

By the way this boring drivel is an attempt to upgrade the log book from the depths it has sunk to since the dinner meet write-up.


Eastwater: Malcolm Barr, Harry Lock, Nigel Schofield

We located the entrance amongst massive 5" snowdrifts, and clambered down into the abyss, conscious of the notoriority of Eastwater for awkward squeezes. Snow thaw led to an icy cold shower first of all, then through the Boulder Huckle and Malc led us on a short cut in. The shortcut did no avoid the 45 degree bedding plane squeeze however, but this did not cause too many problems. On down the free-climbable chimey to the ladder pitch. After a brief recce into the passages below the pitch, lack of time forced us to leave. The journey out was uneventful and surprisingly quick, and we emerged at 3pm and walked back to the Belfry through the slush.


Swildons (to sump II): Charlie Cawthorne, Dave Warrington

The water level was still high which made the climbs up the waterfalls more sporting. Charlie was off at his usual Swildons pace, not having to look where he was going and leaving me some way behind in places. We had hopes of getting out in time for a pint at the Hunters but just missed out - getting to the hut at a couple of minutes past two much to our disgust. We had a nasty moment crossing the farm to reach the entrance as two 5 year olds savagely attacked us with snowballs. What hope is there for the future when this generation gets hold of nuclear weapons!

Dave Warrington

Were packed up and away by 4 so decided not to go to the Wagon but continued straight back to London - arriving back at 7'o'clock.


The entries in this log book definitely seem to have improved after the abyssmal depths they sank to with the dinner meet.

[spoken too soon] pto


Yorkshire 26-28th Jan


Crescent: Simon Seward, Harry Lock, Mark Bown, Dave Warrington

The intrepid trio (+ 1, Simon) set forth up the hill dressed in red suits and adorning gifts to the snow god. Arriving at the top of the escarpment, they discovered a field of sink holes, all filled to the brim with snow! Selecting a hole they set to work to dig at a hole, not being offset by the prospects of a long dig (at least three weren't aware of the fact, the other one being in a slightly more informed position!) so with bolting hammers and helmets they set to dig a pit (~12ft deep), hacing hit soil, rock and blue fingers they decided to return to the safety of the van, but what van? having paced up to bull pot, and back, and beyond Braida Garth farm, a white van materialised over the hill, revealing that neither of the parties had been underground, most having spent all day in the pub.

Mark Bown

King Pot: Dave Wilson, Charlie Cawthorne, Kathy James, Helen Cawthorne, Jon Sims

In similar fashion to Scott of the Antartic we ascended the south face of East Kingsdale. After a number of kamikaze dives into the snow we almost managed to locate the pothole. We initially chose the wrong hole but used its steep sides and abundance of snow to the full and had a mega snowball fight and bum slide into the shakehole. After playtime we decided to look at the shakehole next door and quickly abandoned any ideas of going down the hole due to the snow conditions... and thus continued playing in the snow. [...] Kathy spent more time covered in snow than anyone else. The descent was not very exciting so we made our back to the van to find out that the Bull Pot group had not got down their pot either. But much fun was had by all.


South Wales 10-12 February


Dan yr Ogof, OFD I, Cwm Dwr: Chris Backhouse, Simon Seward, Harry Lock, Kathy James, Spike + SWCC members Gareth (Gary) & Mike


Passing by the Dinosaur Park, we climbed down the river bank, waded upstream for 40', and a short ladder pitch brought us into the show cave. Passing quickly through the concreted section, Gareth led us to the beginning of the lakes, while teaching a Welsh song involving flowers, symbolism and lost virginity. Lakes 1+2 were waded, and without hesitation we swam the long, deep lake 3, keeping on the side away from the current. The swim was tackled with ease and enjoyment by all, as were the cataracts later. On reaching Boulder Chamber, Gareth pointed out the survival kit and told us of the last party he had led down here - they had been trapped for 3 weeks here when the system flooded - our confidence grew! We reached the start of the Long Crawl to Dyo2, and were discussing the passages beyond, when Gareth drew our attention to the sound of a waterfall. As the sound of our voices died down, the noise of the waterfall grew louder, suggesting a surface stormburst. Gareth made a decision to beat a hasty retreat. Disappointed, we left the cave without incident, stopping for a 15 min photo session at the Cataracts. We set off for OFDI, having had an enjoyable but frustrating look at the 1937 series.


According to Clive Gardiner (CSS), this intermitantly flowing waterfall is widely known about - the flow increasing from almost nothing to full flow in about a half hour cycle. (A siphon effect I suppose). Gareth must have known this - was he wimping out? He wasn't in that much of a hurry cos he stopped for a 15 min photo session at the cataracts.



Without further ado, the same party as above climbed down the iron ladders into Gothic Passage and proceeded at a rapid pace into OFD I. Route finding was taken care of by Gareth, who took us on the standard route to the Boulder Chamber marking the start of OFD 2, and then back via a wire traverse and the Main Streamway, where a number of deep pots were safely negotiated by most of us. The streamway was moderately sporting, but other than this and a tricky climb, the trip was fairly straightforward but enjoyable. There were some comments that a few of the handlines seemed unnecessary, and made the cave neared Grade 3 than 4. Returned to SWCC to find the Top Entrance -> Cwm Dwr party returned, but not the Smith's party.

Thanks Gareth and Mike for taking us down 2 leader caves in one day!


To conclude the day's caving, Spike Simon and myself decided on a quick look down Cwmdwr. Spike was keen to go down the drainpipe and timbers, and even decided to go on ahead through the Dim Dwr. Despite anxious cries that it was a 'bit tight', we shouted further encouragement to Spike from a comfortable chamber, and assured him that, given time, the sandy crawl would open out. We did in fact eventually follow him, but all 3 turned back before Jama, and returned to the SWCC for a much needed shower and cup of tea.

An excellent day's caving.


Top Entrance to Cwm Dwr: Dave Wilson, Charlie Cawthorne, Debbie Armstrong, Neill Pattinson

Charlie started off from Top Entrance at a cracking pace only to get lost 10 minutes inside the entrance. Decided to go back and wait for Clive and Co at entrance to be sure we found the right way. Followed Clive to beginning of Chasm Passage and then headed off towards main streamway. Got to the top of the 40' rift leading to Salubrious passage with no trouble. Then Charlie insisted on going straight down instead of crossing the rift and going down in an easier place - this wasn't appreciated by Dave! Reached main streamway and had an enjoyable walk dodging the pots. Took some good photos. finally reached the confluence in Cwm Dwr streamway OK. Then Charlie navigated to the boulder ruckle (a rather odd route with a dogie climb - but it was the route he knew so we all followed). Had an uneventful walk and crawl out of Cwm Dwr. A good trip enjoyed by all.


Top Entrance to Smiths (well nearly!): Richard Collcott, Chris Birkhead, Clive Orrock, Dave Warrington

A hell of a lot of slogging over loose boulders until we eventually reached the first pitch. Then a bit of interest + excitement as the infamous traverses appeared. A fair bit of encourageent was required from Chris + Clive to get Rich + I over them, but we managed it, the problem basically being lack of confidence in hanging on with one finger while taking a large step over an endless drop - I certainly can think of better things to do on a Saturday afternoon. Reached the streamway but had a bit of trouble getting into it as there appeared to be no way down. Clive was put off a bit by a bloody great hole which he did not remember (but is marked on the survey!) but we got to the water only to find a 20ft waterfall in the way. There should have been a bypass for this but it couldn't be found so Chris was delegated to climb it. Instant wimpsoc membership was available as we decided to abandon the trip along the streamway and hence keep dry. A few route finding problems were encountered on the way out near the entrance as we had trouble finding the right way out of the Big Chamber Near The Entrnace - mainly because we were looking in the wrong place! The intrepid trio (+ Chris) finally emerged to a starlit night, having earnt a few beers, only to find everyone else had already got a head start on us.

Dave Warrington


Little Neath River Cave: Simon Seward, Harry Lock, Spike

"Fucking EXcellent" - M Wilkins

"Now I remember it" - Harry-Michael Caine II-Lock.

Kathy-just call me Hannu-James and Oh-dear-my-books-are-in-SWCC-Deb (Tibbles?) decided to go on a desperate trip down the pub leaving the MEN to go caving. It's just down this hole said Our Leader (Harry-He lives in Walthamstow-too). The plebs looked on in disbelief as he disppeared down a hole in the riverbank along with half the river. Inside we had good fun splashing about initially chickening out of the canal (let's join WimpSoc) but going through on the way out, after using the bypass. Admired formations and river/stream passage. Good fun. Spike accompanied the trip with extremely tuneless singing (not a patch on the Wleshy the day before) punctuated by "Fucking EX-cellent". Harry remembered bits as we left them, mittering vaguely "He talks like me." I was impressed. £5.00 to Richard for exclusive membership of L.N.A.S.


Shattered Passage, Aggy: Richard Collcott, Dave Wilson, Charlie Cawthorne, Simon Leach, Dave Warrington

At the suggestion of Clive Gardner (CSS) we went up Northern Stream Passage and had a look at the new extension in Shattered passage. A very routine trip of little interest, just rambling over boulders etc to the stream, a quick splash around while going upstream and then a bit of a squeeze into Shattered. Eventually reached a rope heading into the roof. Clive G had warned us that this would be "an interesting climb". Clog went first and after several expletives and much struggling got up. Uncle Charlie followed and the passages received plenty mor everbal abuse, followed by yet more expletives and struggling... 10 minutes later after making no more progress our reluctant guide was forced to give up (preferring to go and put his slippers on and sit in front of the fire...) and let us lesser mortals have a go. A feeble attempt was made but we gave up, deciding not to show Charlie up too much. The long slog home was made awkward by lights giving up but Clog guided us back with the usual narrative, making sure we knew where all the side passages led.

Dave Warrington

Top Entrance to Cwmdwr: Chris Backhouse, Chris Birkhead, Clive Orrock, Neill Pattinson

Straightforward trip with no problems. Got down to Mainstream in good time via Gnome, Chasm, Salubrious passages. Excellent streamway as always. Chris (Big) took some photos (when are we going to see 'em on the cover of Caves & Caving?). 2 1/2 hours down saw us at the Confluence and despite some slight navigational problems in Cwmdwr we were all out after a mere 4 1/4 hour trip. A good trip.

Had shower at SWCC and then returned to Whitewalls to find Simon ("Little Neath's excellent!") alone with no electricity. Aggy lot arrived and we loaded up and returned to London.


ICCC Runequest Group formed 22/2/84 (never seen again)


a whole new way of life, for ages 8-80, and even for university students, who ought to know better!

Derbyshire 24th-26th February


Members: Charlie, Mark, Chris Birk, Tony, Helen, Dave Warrington, Simon, Richard (spent whole weekend in sleeping bag with flu), Harry, Glen, Malc, Clog


Had a scenic bus ride and cross country walk round Buxton in an attempt to find Charlie and Helen at station. Eventually suceeded and went on to C.S.

By afternoon we had arranged trips - for those of us not ill, dying and otherwise attempting to gain life membership to Wimpsoc.

Dave Warrington

Eldons Hole: Malcolm Barr, Simon Seward, Mark Bown, Dave Warrington

Mark and Malc couldn't agree between them which of the 3 bolts available to us, so decided eventually on all 3. A straightforward trip down the entrance 220ft pitch, through the hole at the bottom to the chamber where we found a loop of washing line leading up one side to the roof. Eventually rigged our rope up the pitch and ascended into the top series to find some amazing unharmed formations. Had a wander round several passages up there and returned back out. Got out bloody late and chipped off a few icicles while getting changed. Simon found his new skill in derigging the main pitch.

Dave Warrington

The Derbyshire Connection I

Oxlow - Giants: Harry Lock, Charlie Cawthorne, Glen Harris

Giants - Oxlow: Simon Leach, Helen Cawthorne


The Oxlow party got to the entrance at the early hour of 2pm, and the 4 pitches were laddered fairly quickly. Once down at the bottom of Oxlow, we had a brief look at the impressive main chamber and then climbed the rickety ladder into the connection series. The Pilgrims Way was crawled without too much damage to knees etc, and the 1st real obstacle was the crux squeeze. Althought Charlie had once had difficulties here, all three of us passed through remarkably easily (caving seems to favour those with concave chest sizes and a generally wimpish physique) this time. We met Clog and Helen, who gave us a brief report on their sump experiences, and after a chat we pushed on.

[sketch of duck/sump]

The various ducks/sumps were in fact negotiated without too much problems, with Charlie going ahead on each one and "shining a light" back. Finally entered Poached Egg passage in Giants and rapidly left the cave, derigging the pitch on the way out. 3 1/2 hour trip - and a very good one!



After daring to nip over the top and not pay the farmer we embarked on a 50/50 trip. Every 50/50 chance of a passage we got the wrong one. Other such antics included the stripping off of wetsuits wink wink nod nod what a romantic setting, the loss of van keys and temperamental carbide lamp. Unfortunately I do not have a concave chest so problems were had in the narrow bit but the duck was fine. A jolly trip. More space to write would be appreciated.


A quiet evening (cos we was all asleep zzzz!) in the Jug + Glass was had by some, the remainder being too ill for beef. Clog gave lifts back to the Orpheus in his newly designed 'screwdriver-ignition' Clogmobile MKII.



The Connection II: Malcolm Barr, Simon Seward, Chris Birkhead

Intrigued by tales of death, desperation, and derring-do, Malcolm's merry men and Chris whizzed through Oxlow in anticipation of 'the Connection'. However, no wetsuits were removed, and with Chris swallowing half the water the duck was no problem. Out of Giants and back down Oxlow to derig. Then waited three quarters of an hour at the bottom of first pitch giving the bus time to get back from Chesterfield. Eventually exited into the snow-white-out-conditions, give or take 1 mile visibility to find the bus had been waiting half an hour for us.


No other caving trips on Sunday due to illness amongst members of ICCC. Tony, Glen, Harry did the Mam Tor to Losehill ridge walk and had afternoon tea and scones in Castleton, then went to Chesterfield to pick Mark up. It was SNOWING. Clog, Richard (risen from the dead), and Dave (Big) had a look at Odin mine and some Castleton hostelries. We all left fairly later, arriving back after midnight at IC.


[sketch titled TRADITIONAL DERBYSHIRE CUSTOMS NO.1 depicting a farmer demanding payment for Giants Hole]

Yorkshire 9-11 March

Saturday 10th

Mere Gill: Simon Seward, Harry Lock, Clive Orrock, Helen Cawthorne

Another classic Yorkshire walk to the cave adn when we actually got there, there was some confusion to which hole we should actually go down. Fortunately armed with a book our leader worked out the location of the entrance (after several scratchings of the head!). Off we went - being compressed beautifully in the short entrance passage to the first pitch SRT getting caught everywhere. The descent was fairly straightforward, a couple of belays were better not noticed and used quickly, but no great difficulties except Helen's lamp decided after half an hour to pack up. Due to the whimpish bnature of our group my lamp and Simon's b_ll_ck crushing sit harness we rigged but didn't descent the 100ft pitch. The bolt was dodgey, and a lot of water was pissing down and the landing was a lovely pool. So away we went back up which proved very eventful for Harry who looked more like Spiderman changing from one belay to another.

sketch of Harry entangled in ropes near the ladder beside a waterfall, observed from below by stick figures with their hands on their hips

Unfortunately Harry's rig was up the creek which made progress out slow and extra confusion was had when we met a bunch of Lancaster people wanting to come down on ladders which Harry managed to use to help his ascent. Simon made an excellent job of derigging well done 1 house point. A good cave and good SRT practice for those not too accustomed to the method. Even better if you can't see what you're doing!!

Helen Cawthorne

Hauling tackle bags took Clive and Simon an extra one and a half hours to return to a merry caving club well established in Hill c.f. Dave Warrington


Sunset Hole (& Others): Richard Collcott, Debbie Armstrong, Dave Warrington

Our intrepid group gallantly made our way to the "hole" bravely ignoring a dastardly attempt by Chris Birk to direct us the wrong way - but eventually our leader Tibbles convinced of his misinformation (with help from the guide book, which after several frantic moments, Chris could not prove his point - "Sunset within spitting distance of Roaring", "Yeh with a 90mph tail wind" (Dave)). Location of the oth entrances (wet and dry) was easy as was the route ( a gentle stroll). Several small climbs were easily navigated but we couldn't find the "7ft" ladder climb, so determined to use the ladder we stuck down the last small pitch before the big 50 footer! Of course nobody used the wretched thing the climb proving easier than rigging the ladder. Then disaster struck, Dave found an "easy" way down the pitch (for easy substitute short). Our leaedr was overcome by his "sweet talking" advice. Though the pitch was now only 35' it was straight thru the waterfall, we decided to practice our lifeline technique and eventually sent Dave down first. It proved an easy climb but Richard experienced lighting difficulties and practically ran down the ladder getting entangled in lifeline, ladder, slings, rocks and belt at the bottom doing an impression of a blind zombie. On the way out, Dave for his sins carried "ALL" the gear as punishment (what a bloody idiot).

The only incident on the way was a party of scout who had rigged every climb going, making harder for us to free climb it. Hopes of doing Roading were dashed due to our leader's "condition", wearing a wet dry suit (suffering for her initiation into Wimpsoc). A small stream passage was found by Dave near the entrance to Sunset (as he took cover from snow ball fired by his team). Richard bravely crawled in 50ft followed by Dave only stopping at a "nasty" bedding plane (gaining reduced rates for entrance to Wimpsoc). Another 2 "caves" were discovered by Dave. (One was quite deep, I mean at least 12").

Back at the van after eventually finding the van keys on the third attempt, we changed "quickly" and hit the pub for "Dave night-out" to be continued.


(Hadn't we better teach Richard joined-up writing?)


[Ed: Richard's prior report being written in all caps, but not typed up as such]

Black Shiver Pot: Chris Backhouse, Chris Birkhead

So 'third time lcuky' Birkhead set off across the fell yet again to tangle with the infamous Black Shiver, scene of many previous disappointments! The team had decided upon a total SRT trip, to lighten the load and make the gear more manageable, the 8mm string was once again used to advantage.

All the pitches were found to be well bolted so a hang avoiding the small stream was possible in all apart from one case (the split pitch) - this was the scene of some excitement on the return when I had to ditch a Petzl tackle bag, being unable to drag it over the edge as it was full of 100m of rope and a lot of water.

On the big pitch the only problems were encountered on the return when Chris Back had to borrow a descender after leaving his in a tackle bag whch was not attached to the rope he was derigging. Let this be a lesson to all 'novice' SRT users - always wear your full rig when ascending or descending - if it's too bulky then something's wrong.

Uncle Christopher

Sunday 11th

Bull Pot (Kingsdale) - yet again!!!: Richard Collcott, Simon Seward, Clive Orrock, Debbie Armstrong

Woke up really tired and knackered and aching all over - I must be getting Old. Didn't want to go caving but...

After much nagging by Debbie was persuaded to go on a trip to Bull Pot to do some SRT practice. So after a lot of wallying around in Ingleton carpark we were eventually dropped off at the roadside about a mile from the cave.

Our reluctant heroes changed in the wet and then set off on yet another classic walk to the cave. Finally at the entrance we kitted up. Simon ("my girdle's killing me") Sweard having CONSIDERABLE trouble getting his sit harness on over his wetsuit (having forgotten his brand new furry suit). But did insist on proudly showing his nice new Petzl suit to Steve Lane's new friends - how embarrasing!!!

Eventually we set off down rigging by Seward "DODGIRIGS" INC. Traversed right out above second pitch as per usual and set off down. Debbie ("you promised to give me some SRT practice") decided not to come down after us for some reason so Rich, Simon and myself continued down the 3rd pitch to the top of the 4th but no further cos of lack of time.

All prussiked out ok to a very cold wet hillside and walked back to road just in time to see van drive off. Met up with Rowten team and were finally picked up by the whimpsoc van to return to NPC for hot showers.


Steve, Steve's 2 friends, and me, went down to the bottom of Rowten.


Yorkshire 23-29th March

Saturday 24th

Large Pot - two trips

(1) to Necropolis: Jim Briggs, Harry Lock, Clive Orrock, Neill Pattinson

Arrived about 1.00pm, and after discussion gave a party from Bradford some of our ladders. After sitting in the van for two hours they'd finally rigged the pitches. A not too difficult trip, through the thigh deep mud to the 150' pitch, but was made more difficult by the tackle bag. When we arrived at the pitch the Bradford party were still on the pitch. (note from Clive: One of the Bradford lot fell onto a traverse line with his long cowstail a head of pitch - it held but I wouldn't like to see that ever again!) An hour later Clive and Jim amanged to get down for a quick look around before heading out. Met the Red Herring party at the bottom of the third pitch. The top of the second pitch was much more difficult on the way out than on the way in.

Only the first out managed to get any of the chips, but no beef, but those who were out last got neither beef nor chips.

Probably a trip only done once.


(2) Red Herring series: Malcolm Barr, Simon Seward, Mark Bown, Catherine White

The first three pitches were common to both trips so we set out before the other group, and these took a long time even though they were already rigged. This was because they were almost impossible to get through in places and there was a lot of squeezing to do between pitches. Then we put on our SRT gear and set off into Red Herring series. The 4th pitch was 80ft with a lot of water, and then 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th followed on in quick succession! Mark went ahead to explore but soon returned as there was too much water for comfort. We decided to turn back as it was getting late and we wanted to make it to the pub BEFORE closing time. Progress back was slow, some of the pitches being a bit DESPERATE!, for me anyway. We met up with the other group at the bottom of the 3rd pitch. The second pitch proved to be a lot worse going up rather than down but after a lot of struggling everyone got out. By this time it was 10-30 at least so we didn't make it to the pub after all. Personally I was too tired to lift a pint anyway. DEFINITELY a trip only done once!

Cath W

Rowten: Richard Collcott, Dave Wilson, Kathy James, Spike

Steve Lane's name highlighted: The wimps wimped out!

Chris Birkhead - managed to sleep from 4pm to 7-30pm when woken by Lane in time for the pub!

Sunday 25th

Short Drop Cave: Chris Birkhead, Clive Orrock, Steve Lane, Mark Bown, Neill Pattinson

Seeing as most went down lost Johns we needed somewhere to go on Leck. Short Drop looked quite good for a quick trip. We sauntered along singing various ditties till we came out of Gavel. Mark and Chris went out and me Neill and Clive went back in to take some photos. Piss easy cave but a good laugh and plesant relaxed trip. Did spring collection photos after.


Lost Johns Cave: Richard Collcott, Dave Wilson, Malcolm Barr, Jim Briggs, Simon Seward, Harry Lock

A short walk brought us to the roadside entrance. Followed the stream down for a while and then traversed above it to reach the first ladder pitch. Jim was rigging, and this pitch and Mud Pot were descended without difficulty. This was followed by SRT down Centipede (100'). Carried on down past a few more pitches to reach the bottom where Jim and Dave stayed while the others waded off up the main streamway and also had a look up towards Lyle Cavern. Simon and Richard got a bit lost down here, and most people got lost on the way out, where a less obvious turn to the left was missed and several people carried straight on to a waterfall before realising that this was not the way on. Emerged to find van there, got changed, and returned to an excellent curry back at the hut.

A good cave with a lot of interest, but nothing of great difficulty. (PS I have more recently been informed this is an excellent cave with masses of interest and very sporting)



Day 1 of Whernside Manor Course: Simon, Harry, Cath, Dave (derig), Richard + Neill

Notts Pot: Malcolm Barr, Jim Briggs, Chris Birkhead, Clive Orrock

Spoke to farmer and he let us up onto fell to do Notts. Good cave, very interesting, superb mass of shafts/waterfalls etc. Great SRT cave. Chris and I derigged - Chris with a cobbled up system (sorry I forgot to bring your gear!) and me using my 3rd ascender having lost my croll. Slow business derigging. Out on surface we changed in sun, bought some food and returned to Whernside. -- Good cave, must bottom it next time, if we have time.


Tuesday 27th

"Rowten with Forder" or, "1 day in the life of a Whernside caving instructor": Richard Collcott, Dave Wilson, Simon Seward, Harry Lock, Neill Pattinson, Catherine White and John Forder

J.F: "Who'd like to rig the first pitch?" ... ICCC SRT course remain silent and become even more involved in essential last minute adjustments to their SRT rigs

J.F: "Well who's going to then?" ... One volunteer shuffles forward (me) and makes a token gesture at tying a figure of eight knot in the rope and casually fiddles with a maillon. So began the descent of Rowten Pot with us lot rigging all the way (?!). The 1st pitch was OK, then over the muddy bridge and 'Seward rigs inc.' started to rig the head of the main shaft. 45 minutes later, 15' fown the pitch, our mate John took over, and found his way into a narrow crevice hidden below the initial lip, from which he rigged 2 ropes down. John, Cath, Simon and Harry descended the main shaft successfully. Richard arrived at the head of the shaft, and shouts down to the people 1200' below; "Is the rope free! ... Is the rope ffree ... IS THE ROPE FREE" x 20 times. Meanwhile, at the foot of the main shaft, J.F jumps up and down and fumes as we watch a small pinprick of light far above, and no-one descending, so he eventually prussiks right back to the top, to be greeted with the question "Is the rope free John" ... "YES OF COURSE it f^!#!#ing well is, get down it!"

John Forder aside; "Is caving instructor really the right career for me"

Meanwhile, down at the bottom, on the instructions of some idiot, JF's Ammo Box and Tackle Bag are roughly manhandled to the head of the 3rd pitch. John Forder arrrives. "Where's my ^!^!ing CAMERA equipment!!??" "Is this it?" someone casually indicates the ammo box, lying upside down in a puddle. "Oh no!" cries J.F. Later.... "Excuse me lads if I occasionally blow my top, you must understand, I don't really mean it."

accompanying sketch down the side of the page, illustrating JF jumping up and down as RC calls down the pitch IS THE ROPE FREE

Down the 3rd and 4th pitches without difficulty, these being rigged in masterly fashion by Cath and Neill respectively. the dodgy traverse around the waterfall plunge pool was safely negotiated without a wetting by Simon and Harry.

"If we dived these few little sumps here, John Forder would really get a surprise when we came out of Kingsdale Master Cave." "More like a heart attack."

One the way out, DERIG DAVE did just that (x4 pitches, good effort all round) and back at the foot of the main shaft we found John with his £100 camera, flash unit, tripod etc etc. "Take snaps do yer, John?" ... "You could say that." He took a really good photo of Cath and Neill prussking out, and sent the copy to us. Ta.

One by one we emerged, then it started to rain, and we all shot off back to Whernside. Final activity of the day was a go on the 'Whernside rope washing service' machine, and then the others arrived with the van and we left.

A good course overall, with many new bits of information and technique clearly explained and learnt, and thanks "John Forder, B.A Instructor Specialist in cave and landscape photogaphy and cave surveying" for careful tuition and patience during the ups and downs of the Rowten trip.


a sketch of an Ammunition box

Beware This is not an ammo box This is not a first aid kit This does not contain a packed lunch ITS GOT JOHN FORDERS CAMERA IN!

Lost Johns Cave II: Malcolm Barr, Jim Briggs, Clive Orrock, Steve Lane, Mark Bown

2nd trip down lost johns this week. Farmer seems amenable to us going up there. Did Pulpit, Cathedral, Dome pitch route, Battleaxe. Got lost in 3 way chamber but Jimbo found the way on the hard way by penduluming through the eye hole, "don't pull the rope back lads or I might get stranded up here", "course we won't Jim" "tee hee hee!"

Steve Lane

Traversed right to the end of new (Dave Elliott + Dick Lawson) fixed traverse line along rift at head of big pitch in true Franco style. Rigged 70' pitch with 30m rope only to find the end just kisses the ground with the knot undone! Headed on down to groundsheet junction for classic posed hero photo and then on back out.

Derigging Cathedral pitch Jim and Clive raised melodic voices in chorus after chorus: Jerusalem, Caving Matilda etc echoing superbly. -- great fun, but it's hard to sing whilst prussiking. All out ok and back to Whernside then evening spent in marton Arms, great beer, great food.



County to Lancaster: Jim Briggs, Simon Leach

Jim and Clog did County to Lancaster - good trip by all accounts


Pippikin -> Link: Dave Wilson, Malcolm Barr

After doing this cave at Christmas, I was sure I could find my way down (which I did, but unfortunately did not immediately succeed in finding my way out, due to the fact that all the passages are muddy crawls, and look alike.). After crawling around for an hour or two, sweating like a pig in my wetsuit, the cumulative exhaustion of the previous few days surfaced, and I went back to the main chamber for a few hours sleep while Malc tried (successfully) to find the way out. He returned for me and the tackle bag and after half a twix and my sleep I felt quite revived, unfortunately the exit is a crawl in mud and sharp stones, and not a little water, and although I was wearing a wetsuit and elbow/knee pads, Malc only had a drysuit on, and he had to do the shitty bits 3 times. I knew where the critical junction was, but thought we were supposed to turn left instead of carry straight on (junction has yellow climbing poles lying on floor). Got out around 10:30, lifelined Malc up (with my first try at an Italian hitch), derigged and set off back to Bull Pot farm to find Clog there and everyone else gone (we thought it was around 8:00). On way back to NPC we saw Clive and Jim shooting along road to Bull Pot Farm, thinking they had to rescue us. At NPC, Malc and I ate remainder of sausages and beans, and about half hour later a still-worried president rushed into the hut. Although the trip took about 10hrs rather than the 4 or so I supposed, at least I know the way out now (honestly!), and it is much better than a previous ICCC accident about 1973 in Pippikin where someone had to be helped most of the way back out by the CRO.

Dave Wilson

Lancaster Hole: Richard Collcott, Clive Orrock, Neill Pattinson, Catherine White

Abbed down Lancaster, saw columns, below stake pot got to streamway - so much for Clog's advice that it wouldn't go over the wellies: 3 deep pools later and much battling upstream in excellent passage saw us ascend at lost pot before minarets. Got lost, couldn't tell up from downstream and so soon ended up back at Lancaster end by high level route. Re-ascended Lancaster shaft and return to vans.

Ended up discussing meaning of life with Jim in freezing van awaiting Pippy party.


Car Pot (yet again!): The Hero's: Simon Seward, Harry Lock, Steve Lane, Mark Bown

Well I shouldn't be writing this up, but, since no one else seems to be bothered I might as well. May favourite cave this, a real classic, which few people seem to want to do. We were dropped off in Clapham carpark and got changed at entrance to Car. yup, a real classic all the way through baptistry crawl and past Steve's bolt to the big pitch and the Craven passage to see the famed formations. Returned to Clapham carpark to find it devoid of transport, the club apparently sitting in the Snooty Fox 'rescuing' the Pippy King (D.W.). And so we had to walk to the NPC, singing the praises of our absent colleagues. Good pot.


Dinner Meet (Yorkshire) 11th - 13th April

Two vans left Union ~5-6pm, the first of these (obtained hire-free from Biology) arrived in Leeds around 10 to pick up Helen, both vans meeting at the usual chippy and pub. On arriving at NPC, we discovered they were holding a marathon run on Saturday, so the hut was almost full, some of us slept in the library, some in common room, others in tents, and few lucky sods got bunks (it pays to leave Leeds in the first van).

Dave Wilson


Saturday started early for Simon, who managed to nag/persuade Mark to take him + Jon on an early morning assault on Meregill (see below), although he managed to wake most of us in the process. Other trips were Providence to Dow Cave, Swinsto and Rowten.

Dave Wilson

Providence - Dow: Dave Wilson, Malcolm Barr, Simon Leach, Dave Warrington

Excellent trip, slightly longer than expected (around 5 1/2 hours as opposed to around 4), but still a classic cave. Weather was beautiful, sunny and hot, which made the walk up to the Providence entrance a slog in wetsuits. Route to Dowbergull passage is very twisting although if you follow the telephone wire from the entrance it is quite easy. Climbs up and down all way along passage, following wire, but best parts (?) are high (~80ft) traverses around Brew Chamber, although they do require well padded arse and shoulders. After controlled descent into stream, progress was quite quick.Malcolm, unfortunately, only had dry gear, so he traversed over the water most of the way (v tiring). The stream route is nice, water just over the wetsuit trousers most of the way, apart from the semi-ducks and the short (~4ft) sump. All i all, a good, tackle free through trip, unless you dislike water or traverses.

Dave Wilson

Swinsto: Harry Lock, Kathy James, Clive Orrock

Straight-forward abbing thru' trip. What more can I say? Water was low, and for first few pitches were able to use ladders left by groups from Lancaster Uni(?) doignexchange trips. Abbed last few pitches. Good trip all out ok to lie in sun and to wander up to Rowten to see how Spike and Rich were doing.


Rowton: Richard Collcott, Spike

After inital concern over lack of rigging experience El Presedento gave us the thumbs up and it was chocks away! Proved to be a good trip, both taking it slowly and carefully. Actually managed to find and rig the cleft deviations (well I did after my super directions to Spike meant he missed it by about a couple of miles and ended up stranded on a ledge). Upon reaching the bottom of the second pitch we had to turn back due to time trouble. At entrance met up with "rescue party" who had brought emergency rations and ended up taking most of our gear back.


Meregill: Simon Seward, Mark Bown, Jon Sims

Despite earlier attempts (the night previous) to tempt Simon down Meregill he was found in the early hours (~9.00) on Saturday and dragged down.

Attempts to corrupt Harry and Niell to conceal his whereabouts having succeeded he was still found. The valient 3 strode across the moor to find a Meregill not as rememberd by at least one member - bone dry. Having gone down the first pitch, - thrutching through the tight passage it was discovered that the Mere was so low that entrance to the cave may have been made by the mere. A relatively straightforward trip only being spoilt by the misinformation by Mark who thought the main drain to by 2 1/2 miles long, not 2500ft long - Oh well (sigh!).

Arriving back at the hill at ~5.00pm, far too early to start drinking - WRONG! All money being exhausted after the first two rounds the bar maid lent the valiant 2 (and Simon) £5. (strictly for beer only) Attempts by Simon to try to buy food with the money being in vain (Because I (MB) wouldn't let him) - Simon was well pissed by the time he started eating, and by the end of the meal was "wazzed" and knocked at least 5 pints of beer over (1 of which he still (10.7.84) owes me (MB)).

Mark Bown

Mendip/South Wales trip June 22nd-24th

6 people in a 17-seater made for a roomy journey down the M4 on Friday night. Low numbers were ascribed to lack of money and time amongst other members. Picked up Helen at Bristol stn and had fish and chips at a dubious shop. Pressed on to reach Hunters for a couple of pints before retiring to the Belfry.


everyone down Otter Hole: Chris Backhouse, Chris Birkhead, Harry Lock, Charlie Cawthorne, Dave Warrington, Helen Cawthorne

Up early for a breakfast then sped across the Severn to reach Otter Hole carpark nr St Arvans Chepstow for 10am, where we met our leader Richard from Hades CC. Us 6 were joined by 4 from Queens University, Belfast to make a party size of 10, fairly large. Julie [ed: Backhouse] went to Ross for the day. A strenuous walk down the valley slope led to the entrance by the R. Wye floodplain. an hour through fairly straightforward passage brought us to the tidal sump at about 11.30 (sump was closed from 12.30 to 6.30pm). Deep wet mud and a handline marked the sump. More passage involved climbs up over boulder chokes, and there was no active streamway. 'Mendipian Way' was a fairly short but tortuous narrow windy passage involving much thrutching. From Mendipian Way a short walk brought us to the 'Hall of Thirty' a magnificent chamber filled with enormous stalactites, stalagmites bosses, gour pools, curtains, flowstone walls, bacon rasher formations, all pretty big. Carried on a short distance to the Hall of Long Straws -- containing just that, plus a number of other good formations. Chris squared took many photographs at the Long Straws and Hall of Thirty. There was also a chamber with drinking water and here we ate our toffee and sardines.

Then we started off back. The return jounrye was quite long, tiring and muddy, but without incident. Finally emerged about 7pm, covered in mud. We washed ourselves and gear at a pumphouse, then changed and set off for the Tredegar Arms near Chepstow for a meal and drink with Richard. Reasonable pub, excellent food and sweets. Sped back to the Mendips after closing time. Slight incident while going down the M5 when Chris Back grabbed the wheel off Julie while he was dreaming! Straight to sleep cos we were all well knackered after this 9hour trip - excellent day!


Woke up quite late, had breakfast, drove to Wells and visited Bat Products, then went to Hunters for drink and cheese rolls. Finally, decided to go caving

Swildons Hole: Harry Lock, Charlie Cawthorne, Dave Warrington, Helen Cawthorne

Down to Sump 1 at speed, no problems with the sump then down to Sump 2 and back. Quite enjoyable easy trip, contrast with day before. The others went for a walk around Mineries. Packed the van, set off for London, dropped Helen off, stopped off at Wagon and Horses for a few then on to London.

Good weekend at the end of the year.