Yorkshire VII


Ben Richards, James Wilson, Ellie Pizey, Chris Hayes, Jan Kożuszek, Laura Temple, Jergus Strucka, Magor Pocsvelier, Katie Marrow, Janak Subberwal


As this weekend was the annual first aid trip - half of us were to learn all the horrifying ways caving can go wrong and the other half of us would try to avoid them. As there weren't that many people overall we deicded to just take cars instead of a minibus, with LauraCar and JamesCar taking the cavers and Jan hiring a car to shuttle the first aiders. I also managed to convince Jan to pick me up from White City giving me a very easy start to the weekend, immediately follwed by stand still traffic as we desperately tried to escape the clutches of London. This caused Jan to shout Polish words which I cannot reproduce here, not only because I cannot spell them.


Zooming up North, all crammed into the small car with Magor also catching a ride with us, and my knees jammed behind Jan in the driving seat, we eventually made it to the same Aldi we visited on D1 following the brief drive through the demolished Aldi on the other side of the roundabout. Many memories. Here Magor bought a bum pillow as he described the central seat's comfort rating as excrutiatingly unbearable. As we pulled away with a boot full of shopping and Magor's head pressed into the roof, we were swiftly greeted by yet more traffic, this time due to endless roadworks. This once again caused Jan to be unhappy. At one point he even climbed out the window while driving. Truly a sight to behold.

Finally after hours of discussion around buying climbing equipemnt on dodgy chinese websites for £0.20 we made it to the NPC at about 1am, seemingly not long after the other cars had made it. Apparently they'd also been stuck on the M1, and after much chatting there was much exhaustion and much sleeping.

 Ben R

Trains are a luxury! after a delightfully long lie in at home, I rolled out of bed at 10, and began to pack. With hours to spare, I wandered down towards Bangor Lidl. The stock was very similar to that of Acton Lidl. After an hours good work on the Slov food-shop spreadsheet, I hopped onto my train. 15 minutes later I wash changing at cyffordd Llandudno. Another 45 minutes later I wash changing at Warrington Bank Quay. Another 75 minutes later I was changing at Lancaster. Eventually, the changing was over, and I was in Clapham! Soaking in the sunshine, I breezed over to the NPC to await the food shop. ASDA called and said the couldn't do it. I was displeased. Dumping the breakfast shop onto Jergus, I re-ordered the dinner food to arrive Saturday Morning.

It was at this point I Noticed I was hungry. A mere moment later, and I realised I had no dinner! I was time for a walk. Hitting up Ye Old Clapham road, I soaked in more sun on my way to Ingleton pizzeria for dinner. With the sun setting behind me, I sang my way back through the twilight to meet Dave at the NPC.

The cars arrived later around 12:30, and I left for bed having collected my sleeping bag.

Chris H

Following much confusion about minibuses and drivers and cars, I was finally tasked with picking up a rental car and driving four lucky souls up to Yorkshire. After being given a random assortment of kit, I picked up Jergus, Katie and Magor and went off to White City to pick up Ben. He joined the, now very cosy, back seat, and brought three fat candles that would crash about in the boot for the rest of the trip.

We then almost immediately bumped into a completely gridlocked intersection that took several lights changes to get through. Then we were told we had to do the shopping, and ended up finding a collection of ‘Scented Dog Bubbles’ at an Aldi. Then we got stuck for like 45 minutes in a jam on the M1, where we accidentally ended up in the slowest lane, blocked off by several large trucks from moving to the left lanes which were almost empty. This was because following the traffic, all four lanes merged into one – the rightmost one, the one we’d been creeping along. After that I hoped we’d be able to finally drive normally, but almost the entirety of the M1 seemed to be under construction and the speed limit was down to 50. We finally made it to the NPC just before 1 am. Not exactly the most fun I’ve had while driving, but at least the car was quite nice.



Lanc to Wretched Rabbit: James Wilson, Ellie Pizey, Chris Hayes, Laura Temple, Magor Pocsvelier, Janak Subberwal

I wanted an EXTREME trip! Unfortunately, everyone was tired, including myself. We settled for Lanc->Wretched, with the possibility of trying to climb out of County. This plan later fell through, as we all fancied an early night.

Waving goodbye to the 1st aiders at the unholy hour of 8:30am, we collected the shopping at 9am, and left around 11. Someone had forgotten their oversuit, so I ended up having to wear two furries. Changing in the rain, we slogged over to Lancaster hole, and slowly made our way in with someone else's rope. Inside, we enjoyed the lusciously voluminous, and lavishly large passage as we wandered through County. The route fining, except for an accidental detour along the Manchester bypass, and Laura's quick expedition up the wrong stream, was rather straightforward. Having got out, we saw the river was in strong flow, and being quite warm, all decided to have a quick swim before heading back.

Chris H

First Aid: Ben Richards, Jan Kożuszek, Jergus Strucka, Katie Marrow

After not enough sleep, I was rudely roused at the shocking hour of 7:30. This displeased me considerably. Jergus had made some top tier porridge which did cheer me up, but I was then even more displeased to find we had been woken up too early and so had to sit around for half an hour before heading off for a 9am start. The others one by one rolled out of bed and Chris was desperately trying to think up difficult and convoluted trips for the 6 of them to attempt.

Driving to the course turned out to be harder than anticipated as Jergus gas lighted us into almost driving to Sean's house after reading the letterhead from his invoice, and Jan then began producing infinite money in the form of single pound coins rolling out of his pocket while driving.

We arrived at a primary school with far too many corridors and side rooms, and met Sean Whittle, who'd I'd last met in 2019 when I previously did the first aid course as a 2nd year. We were 4 physicists doing the first aid and there were many exciting photos. Such as this one:

First aiding in progress.

And this one:

CPR in progress

The day covered all the same traumatic photos as I remembered from last time, and I was quite shocked at how much I'd forgotten since 2019, which I guess makes sense. Sean also had numerous page alerts from live rescues on Pen-y-ghent and an AED usage in White Scar show cave which made our AED topic significantly more poignant.

Other higlights in cluded carrying of the Jergus, Jan in a plastic bag, Katie in a foil bag, and a large amount of me feeling Jan's head to make him open his eyes.

We finished early (not early enough for the cheese shop mind you) and headed back to start cooking dinner for the cavers. This turned into me taking a nap, Katie reading a book and Jan and Jergus doing all the work, yet again. Come to think of it Jan basically did all the work this weekend, by driving all the way up and back by himself, doing all the shopping and doing most of the cooking. A true hero.

After the napping dinner was concluded, dinner appeared courtesy of Jan and Co. while I figured out some slov details and got started checking Chris's mega food spreadsheet. Much fighting occured over obscure grains, pulses and beans. Asda had substituted veggie mince with burgers, but this was no match for Jan and we were treated chilli and rice, together with veggie burgers and copious quantities of garlic bread. Jergus and James both brough cakes as well, and James' banana bread was apparently the least burnt he'd ever made.

A typical evening.

After dinner the food inventory continued as Chris and I fell further into abject exhaustion, accompanied by a vigorous squeeze machine competition. Ellie complained that Chris had never played a real sport, which was presumably a justification for how his obscene level of two dimensionality. This seemingly prompted Chris to activate the advanced chicken wing technique, where you bend the two boards of the machine apart in order for it to fit over your head. Magor still won.

Ben R

After being sectioned off to the Alpine room to minimise potential snoring impact, I slept quite peacefully before being brutally woken up at the entirely unreasonable hour of 7:30 am. Jergus was already up, and I helped myself to the porridge he’d prepared for the first aiders, and some of the fry-up being prepared for everyone else.

The first aid course was in an old school in the nearby village of Rathmell, creatively called Rathmell Old School on Google Maps. Having convinced Jergus that we needed to go there instead of to the instructor’s house, we made the drive in about 10 minutes, passing by the famous local cheese shop that I’d been hearing about on every Yorkshire trip but never had the chance to visit. Saturday wouldn’t give me a chance either, as the course took a full working day, finishing just before 5.30 pm. There was a lot of content, so that I am already unsure what happened on which day. But Saturday definitely included us doing jazz hands at the sight of a casualty, me being put in a large plastic bag, and Jergus enjoying being handcuffed a suspicious amount before being carried around on an improvised stretcher.

Amusingly, all 4 people taking the course were physicists, and all 4 were either doing PhDs or working. Ben also had far more experience than Jergus, Katie, or me, so anytime Sean, the instructor, asked a question about the club’s rescue resources and contingency plans, we all turned to him expectantly and, clueless, listened to his answers.

Back at the hut, the caving trip had not come back yet, and so it fell to us to start making dinner. Before settling down to get a breather I also wanted to do shopping for Sunday lunch, and managed to convince Jergus to come along. As we were making it out the NPC gate I hear a loud CRACK and CRASH from the back of the car. Terrified, I stopped, but nothing seemed wrong. I risked moving a bit again, and again, CRACK. Those were the sounds of Ben’s accursed candles, finally unincumbered by other luggage, free to roll around and make noise in the boot.

Asda, having failed to deliver our order on the right date, also failed to provide the actual items we wanted once they did show up. Thus we were left with a few vegetable burgers instead of the veg mince we’d ordered. That they thought this was a viable substitution upsets me on some deep level, but nothing could be done. With the cavers still out I took charge of the cooking, with help from Katie and DW, and managed to create a serviceable veg-tomato thing despite us not having brought the spice box (I’d call it a chilli but I did not have access to anything spicy). We did, however, have an industrial quantity of garlic bread, which was quite well-received.

The evening got off to a slow start, with everyone exhausted after the entire academic year, but soon good banter was flowing around and the bodyshaming game the squeeze machine got some use. Aware that I’d have to wake up early again and then drive all the way back to London, I went to sleep quite early, unable even to witness the inevitable Magor victory.



Bull Pot: Magor Pocsvelier

On Sunday, Everyone felt extremely motivated - to not go caving. Magor did want to test his new pantin however, so off to rig the jingling main hang we went. Jingling was full, so we wandered over to Bull Pot. There, Magor raced up and down the first 20m pitch 4 times. The weather was good, and I got exited, so everyone took part in some hauling practice. The pitch head was perfect for this. One could easily straddle over it, and there's plenty of place to stand and have clear view.

Chris H

First aid: Ben Richards, Jan Kożuszek, Jergus Strucka, Katie Marrow

Once again we rocked up for 9am to the primary school to meet a friendly Sean for another day of adventures in first aid. Hardly any of the other cavers were awake, given the vigorous squeeze machine competition the night before. This second day was initially meant to be outside but it turned out that the field was in fact a sheep hospital full of drugged up sheep junkies pissing who knows what into the suspiciously luscious green grass. This was deemed a no go.

Hole stuffing in progress.

Instead we stayed inside, and Jan fingerged a rubber bum hole full of bandages.

Today was the day of more caving-specific topics, such as moving casualties, spliting fractures and handling crush injuries. This meant yet more hourendous photographs of bones being where they shouldn't be and climbers demonstrating why caving is the superior sport for old age enthusiasts.

My right leg was then brutally crushed, while my pelvis was obliterated and blood started pouring out of my left ear. Thankfully many first aiders were to hand and I could be safely transported across the room out of the treacherous rift I had accidently falled down.

In a stroke of misfortune Katie then ventured on a solo trip past the toilets only to suffer from life threatening crush injuries. Thankfully the other three of us were on hand to turn her into a magnificent butterfly, duct taped into her crinkly foil cocoon. Worryingly a drinking fountain shot a jet of water a meter into the room much to Sean's surprise, which we could only take as a dire warning of impending flood pulse.

This looks worrying like a hostage situation.

After concluding that we could indeed first aid, we thanked Sean for what was honestly an amazing two days, and headed via the cheese shop on the way back to the hut. There we met the others who had just returned, and they promptly drove off leaving us to deal with the kitchen that they'd kindly left us under the dubious pretense that we might actually eat some of yesterday's food. On the way back we were treated to Jergus quotes such as

"I am meditating to make sure that this car remains in a dry state, I just need to focus on my sphincters" - Jergus


"I have some serious bladder volume" - Jergus

shortly followed by

"I am considerably lighter now" - Jergus

After stopping by a service station to get a quick evening meal.

Ben R

Another early morning, another quick drive to Rathmell, and again several hours spent discussing the various ways sports can go horrifyingly wrong. Sean did not hold back with his pictures, and soon we were all feeling like we’d never want to go outside again. It was all interesting, though, and I learned a lot – I really recommend everyone in the club take this course if they’re able to.

The highlight of the day was definitely caring for poor Katie, who’d fallen and got severely injured behind a few benches and a table a squeeze, in a rapidly flooding end of a school corridor chamber. Despite the tight confines of the space, we managed to tend to her wounds and wrap her in many layers of random shit life-saving medical equipment, before sliding her out across the remarkably smooth floor of the squeeze.

Mercifully, Sean ended the course at just the right time to allow us a brief visit to the cheese shop, which turned out to be every bit as nice as advertised. After spending an undisclosed sum of money on cheese and some nice wine, I took the gang back to the NPC just in time to witness everyone else leave. We finished the cleaning and soon I was back on the road, this time heading west, desperate to avoid the M1 after what had happened on Friday. Before we even made it out of the country lanes I almost hit a pheasant, seemingly determined to die under my wheels, but after that it was the open motorway and we zoomed off to the south, amused by discussing the various virtues and ailments of the UK. Just to keep me on my toes, there was a little bit of construction and some frustrating speed limits on the M6 as well, but nowhere near as bad as on the drive up.

Jergus and Ben then both fell quiet in the back seat, first to nap and then to plot to save the Welsh society, and Katie had to endure a long bout of rambling about various things I got up to when I was but a wee boy. I also had the chance to experience the exciting M6 Toll bit, which was lovely and empty and swift, but not at all justified the extortionate 10 quid price tag.

Jergus did eventually remind us of his existence by announcing he’d been in a zen state for some undisclosed amount of time, with the sole purpose of stopping his bladder from exploding. I was also getting quite hungry, so we stopped at the Warwick services and had a very healthy fast food dinner, made all the sweeter by my baffling discovery of a stash of several KFC and Burger King dips, seemingly left by some good Samaritan who had no use for them.

Back at the NPC, I’d been told to head for the Cave House instead of stores, as nobody in LauraCar (likely to arrive before us) wanted to wait for us at the Union to let us in. Presently, arriving in Acton, we found the house dark and deserted. We were just deciding what to do when Laura and co. showed up – they’d taken the Eastern route, and it was so much slower that we’d managed to overtake them despite eating a leisurely dinner. Also, they for some reason decided not to go to stores. Laura spent several entertaining moments wriggling her Focus into a suitable position in the Cave House parking lot, before it was filled to the brim with all our kit. We also inexplicably found a sleeping bag on some hedges. It was quickly subsumed into the club inventory.

It turned out that several people were going in the general direction of Fulham, so I made a detour to get them down to Fulham Broadway before driving back up to Lancaster Gate to drop off the rental car. Next stop: Slovenia!