Team: Jon / Jim / Chris / Luke

A small team headed out to Monyash for a nice leisurely trip down Knotlow climbing shaft tonight. Conditions on the surface would have had Noah on edge about the amount of rain, so it was desirable to spend as little time outside as possible. However on arriving at the turning circle and observing every bit of off-road parking looking a lot like axle deep mud, Jim immediately decided to check if it was actually axle deep mud by driving into it. It was. A lot of wheel spinning later it definitely was. No amount of pushing was going to help, although it did manage to cover Chris – still in work clothes – head to toe in the stuff. Fortunately everyone else had taken a more sensible approach to parking so armed with a ratchet strap, Chris got into towing mode and moved the van just far enough for egress before the strap broke. We decided to dump the van back in Monyash and return so by the time we were changed, it was dark and the rain was coming sideways. So much for a quick trip.

Underground was far more pleasant. We made quick progress to the waterfall pitch and Jon did a heroic bit of rigging across the traverse which was just brilliant to negotiate. Down in waterfall chamber we had a bit of fun balancing on the pipe and headed into the coffin level. I’ve recently decided that coffin levels are my least favourite thing. Just too low and narrow for comfort, claustrophobic and oppressive and in this case too full of freezing water. This one seemed to go on forever and I was losing my patience with it but with Chris behind me I pressed on with Jon encouraging me to remove my helmet ready for the duck. I duly did and was getting ready for a tantrum but turned the corner and saw that he was inevitably taking the piss.

Blessed relief for a brief moment after emergence, Jon and Luke headed down the equally wet Crimbo pipe whilst I reluctantly followed Chris back into the level. Fortunately it had got much shorter in reverse and it was an absolute delight to be swinging up off the Y hang and across the traverse once again. Chris followed in style and it was a quick and easy exit. Back on surface the April lion of a night had become far more of a lamb, and we were soon having a really fun night in a buzzing Bull’s Head

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