Lancaster University Speleological Society’s first Big Weekend Away 1st-3rd February 2019
After a remarkably small amount of faff we arrived at “the Dump” at around 8pm on the Friday, to find a packed hut and ongoing committee meeting. Stuart greeted us, showed us around, and made us feel very welcome.
Saturday morning started slowly with some SRT training and refreshment work. We arrived in a frozen Kingsdale just in time for sunset. People were turning back from the frozen road ahead, but Alice had faith in her trusty mini, and my ancient X-trail was on hand should things get difficult. Yordas top entrance was our goal and temperatures of -6 weren’t going to stop us from getting there. However; after trekking up the hill and waiting for me to rig, two of the group were frozen stiff and decided to head back to the car. The rest of us descended through the splashes of the waterfall and in to the main chamber. Upon finding the crawl out to be wetter than anticipated, we took the decision to retreat back to the surface. A delightful time was had standing in the cascade waiting for the other to ascend. All in all, a rubbish trip and everyone ended up freezing cold, but we had a great time anyway.
Saturday night dinner, provided by Tim, was the finest chilli I’ve ever tasted. Our friends from Liverpool University were staying at the Craven hut down the road and decided to join us for a few drinks in the early evening. Unfortunately they left before the true merriment commenced.
Dozens of loaves of bread rescued from a supermarket bin were soaked in water and left to freeze in preparation for the BPC Bread Curling Championships instigated by Stuart. The carpark was sluiced with water and polished to a high sheen ready for battle to commence between Lancaster, Sheffield, and BPC members. The bread wasn’t sliding too well, so people utilised pans, bread trays, serving platters and a barrel to hurtle down the pristine rink. Unfortunately, the late night cheering and laughter drew the attention of neighbours and play was halted. Luckily there was plenty of bread left to be thrown about the lounge in an interclub crust missile battle. All loaves were sacrificed in the name of war until eventually nothing but crumbs remained.
Sunday’s trip saw us team up with Sheffield and tackle all three routes in Jingling Pot. This is a great cave with a nice mix of technical work and big pitches to test people’s new found SRT skills. A couple of small rockfalls spiced up the trip for those in the bottom and Alex took a glancing blow from a falling icicle. Unflappable as ever, he signalled he was fine and just carried on ascending. Massive thank you to Louise and Botch from Sheffield for leading two of the groups and offering support and cajolement when it was needed. The weather had warmed and wettened by the time we surfaced; a dry trip became a soaking wet change at the cars. Martin had come to collect people and was highly amused at just how wet we were whilst not even caving.
Thanks to the BPC for having us, we had an amazing time and can’t wait to come back. Thanks to the BCA, UK Caving and CHECC for helping up get our hands on all the gear needed to go on this weekend in the first place.