A Derbyshire Weekend
Neil Pacey, John Watson, Dick Wade, Frank Hardy.
Dick and I
set off at 3pm on the Friday afternoon, traveling in Dick’s none too reliable
Reliant 3-wheel? car? Dick told me the route he had planned, which went via
Bradford and the Ml, (there are
statistics, damned lies, and lies ed.) this was scrapped within seconds and
the M6 was suggested. Not wanting to spend the whole weekend traveling around
I commented on how well organized it all seemed, but, nothing could have been further from the truth.
Progress was slow, owing, in the main, to crawling caravans, and roadworks. These problems were compounded by thick mist as soon as we neared Derbyshire. It was obvious that our early start was for nought.
The plan was to meet Frank at the youth hostel in Edale at 7.00pm., sharp. We eventually arrived at 8.30, an hour and a half late. We expected Frank to have already checked in, but on arrival there was no sign of him, just a telephone message saying that he had had car trouble but was on his way.
We checked in, and, wonderful to relate, after food, purchased a pint of beer in the hostel. We then discussed the advisability, nay, necessity of visiting the local pub. We were just setting off when pantomime like; out of a cloud of smoke, accompanied by many loud bangs, appeared a yellow car. It hiccupped up the hill and expired with an even louder bang in a parking spot. Frank had arrived four hours late.
were to go down Giants Arse Hole, as we were informed was its correct name, on
the Saturday, and P8, or Jackpot on the Sunday. After a minute breakfast, we
made an early start and set off to meet John Watson, our Derbyshire host, at
We met John
and his mate Mick at the top of the pass, and then followed them down a farm
track to near giants hole. The Giants Oxlow system is the deepest cave in
Series to emerge 20ft. above a stream passage.We travered at roof level for
some distance until we came to a small passage leading to the spectacular
Geology Pot. This 40ft pitch is a smooth circular shaft, even Dick commented on
it being a nice ladder climb.
From here on is where the fun starts, there are several extremely wet, wild, sporting cascades each one being between 15ft - 2Oft deep, a handline was needed on one or two of them, these were fixed. A duck followed, in water about chest deep on the rest of the party, but neck deep for me. This entered the
On the way
out instead of going via the Crabwalk we went up through the Giants Windpipe
Series to see the pretties in the
The next pleasant surprise was another duck, this time in a crawl, float on your back and blow bubbles in the 3m, air space, what a pleasant pastime. This passage emerged in the raoof of the Crabwalk, about half way along it. Dick dropped a rope and we used his figure of eight to descend.
to the cars and as we were changing the farmer came over and asked us far a
pound apiece. Still an enjoyable sporting trip, even if it does cost you a
We stopped in Castleton far a cup of tea, and met the country’s next female discus champion, John was nearly decapitated as she flung the menu at us. Frank decided to check on the arrangements for our nights lodgings, just as well, another cockup!
We were too late to book in. he disappeared again then later informed us that we could get in the youth hostel in Castleton.
After a meal we found a very pleasant pub and Dick was just settling down to a serious nights drinking when I decided an a Pacey’s pub crawl. This didn’t please him and he spent the night lecturing me on my immaturity and lack of appreciation of ‘real pubs”. Still a good night was had.
On Sunday we
met up with John and went down P8 or Jackpot, a short trip with the enjoyable
parts being a wet first pitch, followed by a deep canal, further on in the cave.
Frank wanted to follow this canal upstream past a sign saying ‘Danger water 15ft.
deep’. The sides of this passage became extremely smooth and wide, in places my
legs wouldn’t reach the wall, but John and Frank continued and came to where
the water rose. The hydrology in this cave is complicated with a total of six
We returned home via the motorway in two hours, rather better than the five hours taken to get down there.
Neil Pacey. Back to: Contents