The Girlies Trip.

Translators note. Due to the addition of another Fran joining the Red Rose we have had a confusing time deciding who  is talking to whom. When Fran first came to the farm we were quick to find out that not only did she not eat meat, but she also ate no milk products. When Neil (as in Pac—Man) asked her if she was a VOGAN it stuck. Therefore Fran Powell is Fran—Vogan and Fran Dike is Fran—Veggie.

Pauline.  We set off with great enthusiasm in the knowledge that we had to succeed since we were the first R.R.C.P.C girlies trip that we knew of.

Anne.  Equipped with my natural sponge and Max-Factor briefcase I felt up to the challenge.

Fran—Vogan. Mega!  I was as warm as toast and armed with my Tupper—ware collection. For the first time I felt that the commission that I would make from selling this stuff, I would be able to pay for a few beverages in the local tavern that  night.

Fran—Veggie. Having just four ascenders and berifit of descenders I intended, so as not to disappoint my fellow sisters, that I would lower myself down the abyss hand over hand. I was confident. (Thanks Norbert.)

Next ………..

Pauline. We arrived at the pitch head having trudged for what seemed hours over the fell. We free climbed the entrance shaft with great anticipation, regarding the secrets that lay ahead of us………. Disappointment loomed!

Fran—Vogan. Following close behind (as always...) groans of; ‘Flipping ‘eck’ and the sound of Fran and Anne weeping inconsolably as they flung their tools to the ground.

Fran—Veggie. ‘Some “BOYS” had sabotaged our expo’. There was a mole amongst our group (de,de,de,deer ‘) I called an A. G.M. and of course I was the chair. We sat for some considerable time, until Pauline said that she was cold (again!)

Anne. Fran—Veggie spent some desperate moments clinging to the rock, reaching ( and crying) to no avail for two bolts on the far wall, above the gaping chasm. Until Fran—Vogan cried out; “But there’s a pitch down here.,” After a bit of group therapy we double rigged and descended under the cascading waterfall. (Well it would have been if it had rained in the last three months.)

Pauline. Not completely at ease, having never quite seen anything of this nature before, I thought I was going to die. (again.) I eventually got grip and launched my unwilling body over the edge of this huge imposing black void, in complete and utter silence apart from the distant dulcet tones of Anne and Fran’s melodic rendition of ‘The hills are alive......

Fran—Veggie. For once I felt confident without Charlie and the boys useful comments such as; ‘Grip....Bloody women....oh no she’s pre—menstrual again’. So I asked the novice rigger, Anne, to get a grip and rig the flipping cave before Pauline gets cold again, and is in danger of dying.. (Again.)

Anne. I valiantly took the spanner in my hand — having no knowledge of what lay ahead — the bloody carbide failed again (intermediate technology). But — being ‘ard’, as the boys would say, I knew that I could ‘ack it and proceeded to rig the second pitch, in the dark again. I traversed out on minute ledges wedging my slim and agile body across the narrow ridge. Oblivious of the thousands of metres drop below.

Fran—Vogan. Remembering the...last epic down this particular route and the huge wobbler that I experienced on this traverse, I got great confidence in Anne’s knitting, and thinking of the teashop they had promised at the bottom; I think I did quite well.

Fran—Veggie. I decided to consult the expo doctor après climbing hand over hand down the first pitch. The advice I got was; “I told you I‘d go and buy a NEW descender on plastic”. But I was sure that the plastic would have melted due to the friction caused on my descent.

Anne. Having descended the second pitch (which I rigged brilliantly) (how modest). We heard deep voices and thought: “get out the Max—Factor brief—case and Tupperware — prospective customers!!’” I said to Fran—Veggie; “Where’s the next bolt?” She told me that she didn’t have a flipping clue.. Huh, some leader. I boldly traversed where many people had traversed before. I rigged the pitch head, and was about to descend when Fran—Vogon said; “I can’t remember if I put one or two knots in the end of the rope!” Fran—Veggie got the rope out to check and we realised that it was not going to reach the bottom of the 13m pitch. dejection — disappointment — unhappiness......

Pauline. I tried to look miserable at the trip being called off but my enormous relief was too great to be hidden. Though I still had to get out — or I would never see my be—loved again. The certainty of death lay before me on my ascent. I thought to myself, “I’m the expo doctor, they need me.” so I struggled to survive the ordeal, and arrived at the top alive — and breathing’ We had to wait for the girlie trip saboteurs to get out of the way before we could continue. So setting up base camp at the bottom of the first pitch, we got out the Max—Factor packs and natural sponges, for an exchange of ideas and techniques. Fran—Veggie opted for purple, which surprised me somewhat I didn’t really think that that was her thing since it wasn’t ozone friendly, biodegradable, unleaded, animal free and environmentally sound. I obviously couldn’t decide as my boyfriend (Paul) wasn’t there to help me. Anne chose pink to match her trousers and Fran—Vogon green, to please John and to tone in with her natural sponge, also because it was her favorite colour.


Anne. Once the boys had disappeared, Pauline and I revved up and made our way out of the cave, leaving the Frans to derig ‘everything’ (all two pitches). They were ‘ard and knew they could ‘ack it.

Fran & Fran. Whilst free climbing an undiscovered l000m shaft in an unknown shakehole, once we had exited the previous cave, I fell and twisted my ankle and had to climb up 8OOm with only two arms, one leg, and my teeth. Luckily, when crossing the fell back to the car, to seek medical aid from the expo doctor, we were able to pass through a hole in the wall freshly made by someone climbing on it. (We know not who’ what wanton destruction of our natural environment). On reaching the car cans of larger were opened in celebration of our magnificent feat. The first girlies trip, to our knowledge, had gone in history. Hurrah for the girls. Ban the bomb. eat the rich. And — Viva le naturel sponge.

Special thanks to our sponsors:

Tupperware prods Ltd.

NB. Any advertising is entirely unintentional.

Whilst recording our memoirs we would like to announce the forthcoming publication of: “The Discovery and Exploration of good Tea Shops in the dales”. Their warmth and good service have contributed greatly to the furtherance of our caving careers.


Fran, Fran, Anne, Pauline.


BACK TO: Volume Contents