About 18 months ago Leanne, my work colleague, made some noises about going caving. So, a few months ago I made a concerted effort to get the rest of WMCEG underground again and this Saturday was the chosen day. Typically it rained torrentially last week and I thought for a while that we would have to cancel or instead go somewhere much duller, but thankfully Giant’s was just about ok for a novice round trip.
We took 7 people in total, Bill and Colin, Richard and I, novice Leanne, Humphrey; a caver friend at work, and novice Craig; the brother of a work colleague. We met as per usual in the Woodbine and after cheese on toast (did Colin have cheese on toast this week?) we headed off to Giant’s. I’d explained what the cave was like to the novices … and they were still excited about going underground.
After kitting up we paused for photos and then headed in.
I led the way down the Crab Walk with Leanne and Craig behind. It was all pretty straightforward; I just hope they looked around enough at the fabulous passage. Three-quarters of the way down the Crab Walk there is an iron ladder which leads down a short (2 m) pot. I’d never given this much though before, but because of the high water it did move a little more than usual. The novices didn’t like this too much, but soon enough they were down and on their way. We had a quick look at the sump at the bottom of the Crab Walk (which was very foamy) and then turned off right to the rope climb up the smooth waterfall. There was a new, slightly shorter rope where the old, longer rope had been; this was not as easy to climb as before but we made it up either alone or with the help of Richard’s shoulder! The next memorable section is the Windpipe. Everyone loves it! Not. I’m not sure Leanne enjoyed it very much, especially as she had a few gulps of the hot chocolate brown water on the way through (Colin: I know the water was cold, not hot). Still, anyone who copes with the cold water, the low airspace and the general scaryiness of the Windpipe should gain some personal satisfaction. Once out of the Windpipe we stopped for chocolate and then headed up the the traverses. At one point Leanne sat down in the passage acting as a perfect plug. When she stood up the deluge was quite a flood and apparently experienced cavers were knocked off their feet :-). I think the rift traverse was genuinely enjoyed and perhaps also the keyhole, although I remember being absolutely knackered by that time on my first trip. Soon enough we were at Garland’s and awaiting the slow chinese party ascending their ladder. When I got into Garland’s Pot an instructor was helping one of the girls get off the ladder. It was a very odd technique and looked more like a mid-air mating ritual. After a rather too long delay we were on our way out of the cave and I think the novices were generally pleased to have made it out. Leanne was quite tired, and announced that caving is harder than climbing (her usual sport).
Leanne tells me that her eyeballs don’t ache…. but as for everything else…