Drinking cider and red wine the night before a caving trip is obviously never a smart idea. But I'm not really known for my smart ideas so I woke up with a headache and not much feeling like breakfast or caving if I am honest! And worse we did not end up going to Lancaster Hole as previously planned, instead myself, Tom, Damian, and Pete joined Simon and Kevin on their trip through Simpson's Pot. This had been sold to us novices at the New Inn the night before: "a classic Yorkshire trip" -Simon, "well I've always wanted to do it" -Tom, "Nah you won't have any problems in there" -Steve.
This turned out to be a fair step up in terms of the difficulty level of caving trips I have previously been on. When we were getting ready, I forgot to put my kneepads on, buried at the bottom of my bag somewhere. When I realised I wasn't wearing them I heard someone say "well you don't really need knee pads for this trip anyway". Which you don't, but I really should have worn them anyway...
|Before the Trip|
As I mentioned earlier, much to my amusement Simpson Pot involves a fair bit of rift traversing. Now up to this point in my caving career, my size has mostly been a useful advantage. Being 5ft nowt is not so useful in the bigger sections of rifts. Trying to move through one section I was finding the going tricky, my left boot lost grip on the wall, and I slid a few feet until my right knee jammed in the gap and I could brace myself again. My first thought was "ah sh*t that felt bad", then "why the fuck do I not have knee pads on!" but I found upon moving it was not so bad and I could still walk and climb normally without any real pain. The next bit I remember was funny, a little duck through the Blasted Hole. We had become a little more spread out at this point waiting for everyone to descend the previous pitch and then Simon to pass the rope forwards. I found myself alone in a pool of water and shouted to Kevin and Tom for the route, after some confusion I found the duck where they were waiting on the other side. They shouted at me to go through feet first which seemed insane but thankfully I did as they told me. Unlike Damian who after several minutes of shouting located the hole and ignored or didn't understand feet first and so went through on his hands and knees only to find that the water on the other side is deeper and so his face went plunging in to our great amusement!
The rest of the trip was comprised of several more traverses and pitches of various heights. I gave up on one of the climbs as the earlier fall had knocked my confidence abit I reckon, but I could get down to the bottom of it, walk along and climb back up.