Here is a very incomplete list of some of the trips the Eldon have been up to recently.

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The day technically started the night before as we celebrated my birthday in fashion playing chess, drinking beer and being obnoxious! The company was grand but people soon started peeling off and we tucked into bed around 2:00 a.m. I was the first one up feeling a tad rough, I went downstairs to drink a gallon of water before breakfast which eventually sorted me out. After humming and aaring for seemed a good few hours, we eventually decided to descend Aygill Cavers Which is just located a 10-minute walk from Bull Pot Farm.

We kitted up and left the farm at 11:00 a.m. armed with a vague description on how to find the entrance, we only managed to get lost once. Joe and I descended first remembering to climb a chimney to the left at the foot of the entrance climb… Luke, Rob and Victoria followed. (Team Fivesome!) The entrance series is small and scratty and reminded me a lot of Derbyshire. The first pitch came quite soon and we hastily rigged it with the longer rope intended for the second pitch, but rather than de-rig we decided we could work with what we had. At the base of the first pitch I climb through some rather nice ginging led to a tight rift which Hal would have hated! Luckily he was still tucked up in bed. This soon led to a steep descent leading to the second larger pitch. Here I only managed to find one P-bolt and after a confirmation from Joe of none further back, I rigged the pitch head via this bolt and a natural thread creating quite a convenient Y-hang albeit getting to the rope was slightly unnerving the large drop below.

The cave was beginning to feel a lot more like the Dale's now. Clean washed with a big stream way running along the bottom adorned with lovely scalloping all over the walls! I quickly dropped the pitch and waited for the rest of the party. It was here where I should have left my camera but instead managed to take it on a full tour of the cave without leaving its bag. Once everyone was down we headed a little upstream until the vadose passage began to peter out in crawls. We then headed downstream following the description and found ourselves overlooking large cascade further downstream via an extremely exposed step into a passage which in reverse was terrifying for me at least. After negotiating the oxbows the cave transforms massively and follows a few muddy crawls passing under boulder chokes undo up a climb eventually reaching a large chamber called New Year Cavern. On the opposite side, a continuation of the crawl soon leads to a large stumping passage which is dead straight and massive compared to the rest of the cave. This continues some way until you reach a large bowl of choke at the end with an even in the roof and a dig following the left wall through the choke. A small series heads off under the choke in the stream but not wanting to cause a call out. We headed back at this point and I managed to snap a few photos at the base of the second pitch. 

We reached surface after 3 hours underground and was greeted back at the farm with some lovely sandwiches already made. After scoffing our faces and cleaning up we left for the drive back down south. A great easy Sunday trip and would thoroughly recommend.

 

The day technically started the night before as we celebrated my birthday in fashion playing chess, drinking beer and being obnoxious! The company was grand but people soon started peeling off and we tucked into bed around 2:00 a.m. I was the first one up feeling a tad rough, I went downstairs to drink a gallon of water before breakfast which eventually sorted me out. After humming and aaring for seemed a good few hours, we eventually decided to descend Aygill Cavers Which is just located a 10-minute walk from Bull Pot Farm.

We kitted up and left the farm at 11:00 a.m. armed with a vague description on how to find the entrance, we only managed to get lost once. Joe and I descended first remembering to climb a chimney to the left at the foot of the entrance climb… Luke, Rob and Victoria followed. (Team Fivesome!) The entrance series is small and scratty and reminded me a lot of Derbyshire. The first pitch came quite soon and we hastily rigged it with the longer rope intended for the second pitch, but rather than de-rig we decided we could work with what we had. At the base of the first pitch I climb through some rather nice ginging led to a tight rift which Hal would have hated! Luckily he was still tucked up in bed. This soon led to a steep descent leading to the second larger pitch. Here I only managed to find one P-bolt and after a confirmation from Joe of none further back, I rigged the pitch head via this bolt and a natural thread creating quite a convenient Y-hang albeit getting to the rope was slightly unnerving the large drop below.

The cave was beginning to feel a lot more like the Dale's now. Clean washed with a big stream way running along the bottom adorned with lovely scalloping all over the walls! I quickly dropped the pitch and waited for the rest of the party. It was here where I should have left my camera but instead managed to take it on a full tour of the cave without leaving its bag. Once everyone was down we headed a little upstream until the vadose passage began to peter out in crawls. We then headed downstream following the description and found ourselves overlooking large cascade further downstream via an extremely exposed step into a passage which in reverse was terrifying for me at least. After negotiating the oxbows the cave transforms massively and follows a few muddy crawls passing under boulder chokes undo up a climb eventually reaching a large chamber called New Year Cavern. On the opposite side, a continuation of the crawl soon leads to a large stumping passage which is dead straight and massive compared to the rest of the cave. This continues some way until you reach a large bowl of choke at the end with an even in the roof and a dig following the left wall through the choke. A small series heads off under the choke in the stream but not wanting to cause a call out. We headed back at this point and I managed to snap a few photos at the base of the second pitch. 

We reached surface after 3 hours underground and was greeted back at the farm with some lovely sandwiches already made. After scoffing our faces and cleaning up we left for the drive back down south. A great easy Sunday trip and would thoroughly recommend.

 

Team: Jon P, Jim T

A couple of weeks ago we’d had a nice early scrat in Waterfall Hole as an extra-bonus Saturday trip. Jon had some ideas about possibilities in light of the reality of SMMC so we were keen to get a new look in the right direction. We’d left that day with a ‘new pitch’ but no kit, so I’d come tooled up tonight with plenty of rope, rigging, drill, capping kit and high hopes. We were just going to drop the pitch and walk into a new bit of the streamway…

No time for prebeers but we may as well have had them as it’d been a long week and I’d turned the faffometer up to 11. Eventually I managed to dress myself and Jon headed to the hole – with the parting words – ‘just wear your SRT kit now, you did last time’… I wasn’t so sure as I’d had to dig my way into the entrance crawl on that occasion, but optimistically did so anyway.

Into the crawl, I was jammed after a couple of mm. Croll in the ground, harness on the roof. Forward, reverse, sideways, movement just wasn’t on the agenda. After what felt like an hour, I managed to free myself, dekit and cursed the cave for having such a crappy entrance. At least let me get warmed up first. Once that trauma was out of the way I observed the last familiar looking thing I would for the evening bar the first pitch – a buried shopping bag – and got myself down the rope ready for a nice clean excursion round the familiar parts of the cave I’d enjoyed on the last jaunt.

But nothing is. Everything here looks different, yet the same, and nothing like it did last time. It’s a confusing place. We’re taking the previous exit route in reverse so I’m glad Jon has an idea of where we are. The first squeeze, that was a pig before, I pass with ease. We pass through the utter filth of Chandra’s series so I’m relatively certain we’re in the same cave at least. So soon, we’re at the squeeze before the pitch – one I’d been unable to get through before, but it looks fine, and I argue with him that it can’t possibly be the same place. He’s already through it though and assures me he’s at the pitch head.

So I pass the kit through, get my legs in and slide through with ease. I’m still not sure we’re in the same place. Jon has the pitch rigged like a pro in no time and is at the bottom poking about. There are no victorious calls, nor any mention of a huge wide open stream passage. I head down and it takes me longer to load my Stop than the descent lasts. Jon’s assessment is that we’re actually in the roof of EPS aven.

So much for optimism but it’s good to have had a look and put it to bed. It’s getting really cold we derig and head out but vow to return for some more poking as there’s loads more to look at.

It’s a gorgeous warm evening on the surface. Caked in muck, but there’s no waterfall to wash off in but at least the beer is cold as I’d included an ice pack in the kit prep. Onwards!

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