Yorkshire V


Dave Wilson, David Wilson, James Wilson, Rebecca Diss, Ana Teck, Chris Hayes, Astrid Rao, Julien Jean, Valery Kirenskis, Erica Keung, Kevin Sohn, Jergus Strucka, Salwa Ahmad, Magor Pocsvelier, Thurston Blount, Katie Marrow, Herman Wong


Once again, the bus was not on campus. Where was it? En-route from the garage! It's time for KYW's maiden voyage after the recent wheel bearing catastrophy... With a new bearing, and road legal tyres, it was truly roadworthy! (this is, of course, ignoring the sidedoor which was "too f****d" for the garage to fix, the disintegrating rear bumper, locked radio, illegal spare tyre - literally just dead weight, and of course, the heavily rusted chassis and wobbly suspension). Packing wasn't too slow, and we exchanged pleasentries with canoe who were off to N. wales, and the mountaineering club who were also off to somewhere, we even lent some engine coolant for them to top up their leaking bus! Leaving at 6:20 we were not too displeased with the time, and the drive was moslty unneventful except for the food stop, in the weirdest Birmingham subburb Tesco and dodgy, dodgy, pub toilet. Davey had kindly done the shop for us, and we arrived not long before 1am, unpacked and went to bed.

After the Birmingham Tesco fiasco we were quite ready for bed...


● After discovering that Herman and I had never caved together I took it upon myself to drag him along on a weekend caving trip. The minibus awaited us, stationed proudly in front of Beit Hall. Was this not the very same minibus that had recently showcased its talent for billowing steam and requiring a rescue mission back to London just a few weeks ago (Y3)? One couldn't help but wonder if this was the universe's subtle way of hinting at another impending disaster. But, here we were, stuck with the cursed minibus once more.

● Time to witness Chris's presidential trial, which Y3 had already set a remarkably low bar for. Despite having two drivers, Kevin and James, only one of them braved the entirety of the grueling ~6-hour drive. Care to guess who that might be?



Lancaster Hole -> Wretched Rabbit: Dave Wilson, Chris Hayes, Julien Jean, Valery Kirenskis

Jergus had made a cracking start on breakfast, I helped by gently charring some eggy bread, smoking up the kitchen. Everyone was eating by 9:30. Planning caves then slowed us right down as a myriad of plans clashed with one another, and Jergus's Vector-Spectacle plans reaked havoc! Eventually, people were sorted to groups, and put to packing.

Leaving far too late, I was in the bus with team EaseGill to meet DW at Bullpot farm. Dave was changed, and at the entrance in the time it took Julien to rig the first four bolts. This wasn't his fault however, as 3 other teams had gone in before us, each with their own rope, and our maillons simply wouldn't fit in the hangers. In the end it took two of us, and a lot of faff to rig the final hang but we made it down in the end.

Rigging took some time...

Julien, Valery and I, had dressed to try the lower wet route, whearas DW had opted for cooler clothing, and so high'n-dry we went. After Fall pot, we were allready sweating, and instead of merely 're-adjusting' our layers, we opted to strip, and go shirtless. What a rush! The photos are brilliantly uncomfortable, and it was a right laugh in addition to the perfect core temperature we maintained!

For the most part, the rute to StopPot was uneventful, with hundreds of precious DW wisdom bites, maybe too many photo stops (I kept baiting Valery by subtly posing when I saw cool spots, and he took it every time!), we made it to stop pot with only one incident! On a 10m section, Valery noticed he had dropped his phone. There were many small holes in the area, and we spent 15 minutes poking our heads down all of them, to no avail. Loosing hope I spied a muddy puddle and thought to myself: what are the odds? The odds were in fact, quite in our favour! As I dragged my fingers through the puddles silty bottom, what was to rise from the clody murk, but Valery's phone. Oh no! He quickly powered it off, and put it away for the trip.

Peak core temperature was maintained...

We met james and co. just upriver from StopPot after we began to wonder what was taking so long (they had gone to see pretties) and after resting, eating, and chatting we parted ways. Wretched rabbit routefinding is quite nice and easy! There's only 3 places to go wrong that I remember:

Leave the streamway after 5-10 mins via a polished climb to a head height polished rift on the right.

Turn right at the twin waterfalls soon after.

Turn right after the impressive stone walled dig.

That's about it. Just follow the polish and the obvious route! We made good time through here, and carrying 2 bags, I had a great time struggling through the streamway, and muscling up the ropes to keep pace - great workout! I was sweaty and shattered! Dave kindly drove us back to the NPC, where dinner was well on the way. Thurston did it all himself I believe, and even made himself a foundue! Sadly, no attempts were made to run any games, as everyone was quite tried. Bed by 1am.


Ireby: David Wilson, Ana Teck, Salwa Ahmad, Herman Wong

Ireby cave was today's cave! Me, Herman, Ana and Davey. But hold on one second, because the real drama unfolds not within the dank confines of the cave, but in the mundane world of parking mishaps. Let me paint you a picture of the most riveting event of the day:

  1. Davey expertly parks his chariot, the Nissan Qashqai in a prime spot.
  2. With precision, he carefully places his beloved Rab kit bag approximately 1.5 meters ahead of his front right tire.
  3. Lo and behold, a car towing a livestock trailer decides it's the perfect place for a U-turn right in our cosy little parking spot.
  4. Davey, in a stroke of genius, hops back into his vehicle (which, mind you, I am in the process of changing in) to move it forward and facilitate the trailer's maneuver. But wait, what's this? Oh yes, Davey forgot about his precious kit bag lying innocently in front of the tyre.
  5. Oblivious to the impending disaster, Davey revs the engine and shifts into first gear
  6. Suddenly, Ana's screams pierce the air, snapping Davey out of his reverie. Reality hits like a ton of bricks.
  7. Cue Davey's internal meltdown as he scrambles to reverse and assess the aftermath of his vehicular folly.
  8. The result? A battered glass case, but miraculously, the glasses within remain unscathed! Oh, and let's not forget the noble sacrifice of Davey's custom helmet, a prized possession procured from a Turkish peddler for a mere 200-300 euros. Is this the end of its illustrious tenure? Only time will tell, my friends. Only time will tell.

If there is one thing I hate about caving in Yorkshire it's these godforsaken never ending hills. Just give me a cave which doesn't require more workout getting to the actual cave then doing the cave itself (Take me back to Mendips please!). In summary, the cave itself is quite scary in my opinion (the heights are not for the faint hearted) but reflecting back on it I would see myself going back there again once I get better at SRT and my fear of heights diminish. We get out of the cave and get battered by the strong ice cold wind. Getting changed in this weather is a different level of misery. After some lovely hot pasta bake made by the finest Thurston, it was time to watch Memento. Unfortunately, I don't think I got through ¼ before I dozed off and then got awoken by Herman telling me not to sleep any further until I go down and brush my teeth! 2am came and there was no chance of me going back to sleep (one person talks in their sleep and the other 2 snore) and so I decided to pick up my sleeping bag and sleep on the sofa downstairs. Sweet bliss. I definitely see myself doing this in the future.



Bullpot: James Wilson, Kevin Sohn, Salwa Ahmad, Herman Wong

Ventured into Bullpot Cave today with my classic caving partners, James and Kevin, alongside Herman. It's like clockwork at this point – ever since my Wales 1 trip, it seems I'm condemned to cavort underground with James and Kevin on every single weekend trip. Evolution is occurring as we speak; from a dynamic duo to a questionable trio. Honestly, I don't know why they ever say yes for having me in their group to be honest. I'm probably the slowest of all the newbies! But hey, Bullpot Cave is the place to be if you're looking to perfect your SRT skills and confront your fear of heights – rebelays, deviations, ascending and descending and horizontal caving. It has it all. And let's not forget the enticing option of wallowing in a muddy sump, if that's your idea of fun. After James mentioned its existence, Kevin and Herman were practically chomping at the bit to dive in, leaving the rest of us – the rational ones, James and I – to wisely stay clear of the murky depths. Got back in the van by 4pm, back to the hut and before you know it we were packing away and heading back to london! Along the way I had my first ever try of Burger King- – and of course, became a pro at operating those electronic screens that everyone else seems to navigate with ease, leaving me feeling like the village idiot.

Chris had done an amazing job this weekend! The making of a GREAT leader. Can't wait for the Chris Chronicles and the inevitable demise of ‘Ellie’tism in the next academic year!


Valley Entrance: Chris Hayes, Astrid Rao, Julien Jean, Valery Kirenskis, Magor Pocsvelier

Cave planning went much better today. Everyone had eaten porridge by 9:30, and was assigned a trip by 10. A DW riging trip to Jingling for Thurston, Bull Pot bounce for James, Kevin, Salwa, and Herman, and the highly desired, Valley->Simpons de-rig, for myself, Astrid, Valery, Julien, and Magor.

By 11 we were all dressed and walkin to our caves - incredible! Astrid led us quickly and confidently through valley entrance, up until the "5 meter crawl" where we became hopelessly lost. We re-read the survey 15 times, read the inverse route 5 times, crawled up many passages, and waded and crawled through some very deep and very cold water. Try as we might, we could not find the boulder climb up to the Simposns great aven. It was around 12:30, and we were quite worried we wouldn't find it in time to de-rig.

bewilderment and confusion

In the end, Julien made stuff happen. He suggested a plan I'd considered, but lacked the confidence to act. Astrid and I would de-rig Simpsons from the top. We turned around and left - sadly a short and failed trip. There were however a few highlights:

Valley is a cool cave! A bit like Aggy at the entrance, but nicer and wider! The master streamway is cool, also weirdly wide compared to many I'd been to, which really slowed me down as my regular motions just didn't work! We did a very grim wet crawl up the river, soaking our chests, while there existed at least 3 bypas options for it! Astrid and I waded and crawled through some very deep water in a desperate attempt to find the climb. Magor found a boulder climb upwards and we thought we had it (we didn't). Julien threw a wellie full of water straight on top of me from the pitch head. Astrid crawled along a small wet river past a divers tool stash, and unsurprisingly found a sump.

a freezing and fruitless venture


Simpsons: Chris Hayes, Astrid Rao

It was another one of what I'm calling a "Chris and Astrid Sunday Special" where we do two caves on Sunday by ourselves, and at an obsurd pace to the detrement of our long term health.

It was 12:45ish when we left Valley Entrance, and we wanted to be back at the bus by 5 at the very latest! We powered up the fell, and found the entrance by 1:15. To make it out by 5, we had to reach the bottom by 2:30. In we went, crawling at rapid pace. Flying down pitches, descenders ablaze, we dove through the duck, shot through the squeezes, and passed our thrid tackle sack. Only 2 more pitches to go.

At 2:20 I hauled the bag up from the bottom pitch and clipped in onto Slip Pitch for Astrid to haul. We were going to make it! Astrid quickly threw the bag back down by accident alongside the rope, and I satarted prussking. Astrid packed as I manovered back through the squeze. Leaving Astrid to de-rig, I made my way to the next pitch. Proceeding at maximum pace, I would ascend the pitch, haul the bags, carry them to the next pitch, and then repeat, as Astrid de-rigged and passed me the bags. Soon, we were done with the de-rigging, and climbing/crawling/clawing our way out.

With three bags in tow, I had even more a workout than yesterday, hauling myself and three bags up the five steps. Hurling them one by one up the climbs. Dragging them along the crawls... it was punishing! Astrid caught up just as I reached the exit - Perfect! It was 4:40, and we made it back to the bus for 5 on the dot! absolutely cracking trip!

My lasting frustrations from the trip are:

1) We left one rope behind - Who labled a rope and didn't put 'ICCC' on it?!?!?!?!? Fortunately it's on the 5 steps, so it shouldn't be too hard for someone to go get

2) Who designs Petzl's tackle sacks?? I want a word with them. Thin dicks and weak attachment points, no drainage holes, a twatty closure toggle, thin PVC... at least the bottom haul point is solid as I had to mostly use that due to the lack of holes (and I did take a knife to it immediately after hauling it 3m vertically upwards out of the duck all the while full of water)

3) Who didn't label the rope properly?!?!? It was so recognisably ours! I should have just taken it...