JH - Alan Brentnall
No midweek TSG Caving Trips this week, owing to the DCRO Training Session clashing. However, Ann and I had a few antipodean visitors staying in the Chapel, so we had a daytime opportunity to go caving with them before the training session. The three Australian cavers, Neil, Melony and Abhi, had arrived the previous evening and had a lengthy "short" trip into Oxlow to loosen up. Their intention today was to do the through trip from JH to Peak, but Oxlow had persuaded them to moderate their ambitions and the final decision was for a trip down JH, but only as far as the Workshop.
As there had been a Masson JH-Peak trip the previous Saturday, when Ann had persuaded the Masson rigger to use TSG ropes on Bitch and Leviathan and leave them in, most of the rigging was ready and waiting for us. And, as luck would have it, there were a couple of t'Owd Skool cavers, Sam and Andy, also staying at the Chapel who wanted to do a JH-Peak trip today, so we didn't even need to rig the entrance shaft! Easy life or what? One extra complication concerned Abhi's gear, which Vietnamese Airways had failed to deliver along with Abhi on the Monday, and was due to arrive later in the day. So Abhi had to wait for the courier and, consequently, the trip only comprised Neil, Melony, Ann and me. After breakfasts and trips to Hitch'n'Hike, Peveril Stores etc, we finally managed to get away and, eventually, we all arrived at Rowter Farm and kitted up, paid the fees and trolled over to the hole.
The entrance lid was unlocked, but closed, and, lifting the lid revealed Sam and Andy's rope hanging there, waiting for us in the darkened shaft. This first pitch was quite quickly sorted, although it was obviously a bit bigger than the 6m pitches Melony was used to back home in Victoria, but she coped well. The Cartgate seemed to be keeping up its slow but steady deterioration, as extra holes had appeared in the wayboard underfoot since my last visit, and the traverses are starting to be a little more entertaining. Arriving at Bitch Pitch, the real fun started. Always a good exercise in rig-tuning, and pointing the right way at the right time, we all had a bit of fun in the descent, and Ann even tried to kill us all with a well-aimed Double Decker chocolate bar!
Eventually we all arrived at the Workshop and had a bite to eat, and a bit of a natter. After taking Neil and Melony to see the top of Leviathan, we started to make our way back to the surface. Neil led the way, followed by Mel, then me, then Ann. A bit slower on the ascent, it was still steady progress and the Cartgate seemed a bit shorter than on the way in. Jugging up the entrance shaft, I was amazed at the rumbling noise coming from above. This was the wind, which had increased during our trip and reminded me to be careful on my exit, as I didn't want to repeat Phil's impersonation of a boiled egg, when the wind blew the lid onto his head the previous Saturday.
I met Sam and Andy crossing the field back to the farm. They'd had a good run through the system, and reported plenty of water at the Bung. All in all a good outing, and, hopefully, a good bit of useful SRT practice for our guests before they move on to even bigger stuff in Yorkshire.