Volume 34 Number 1 Article 4
Zig & Zags Mystery Tour
Zig & Zags Mystery Tour
Team: Julie & Peter Mohr, (Zig & Zag), Alan Kerr, Tim Eastwood
After a couple of weekends caving with the brat (Oops Sorry, my lovely daughter) I decided a decent trip was the order of the day, & so I arrived at the farm Sat morning in keen mood.
JAK was just getting in his car as I arrived "1 think we're doing Tatham Wife" he said "see you in Berries if you fancy it". Hmm could be the one, I thought, but went inside to see who else was up. In the kitchen Pete Hall was being consumed by a gargantuan breakfast and offered me a trip down his dig if I would rescue him "Its nearly gone" he said "apart from all these big boulders that fell in at the end", but I was looking for nicer things and left him to his fate. Then salvation - "we're going down Link" said Zig & Zag and coming out W Rabbit. Excellent I thought that's the only bit of the system I don't know and swiftly invited myself along.
At the entrance pitch Peter rigged the rope muttering all the time about finding the widest bit. Apparently he'd tried it before on a ladder & got stuck. Eventually Alan was persuaded to descend first "just so we can see where the widest bit is". Alan slipped easily through followed by Peter with no problems? Now it was my turn. It wasn't really tight but next time I'II wear gloves as squeezing the handle on the stop meant scraping my knuckles on the wall all the way down. Julie swiftly followed me & we were off down Hylton Hall with Peter describing the way from crib notes in his pocket.
Alan jibbed at the boulder choke below Hylton hall allowing Julie to squeeze through and find the route to Echo Aven. Descending here was a matter of forcing rope through the descender as there is a coil of rope weighing about 25 kg looped up on the end - thanks lads.
Julie was in her element in the low passages of Wormway & romped off into the distance despite being weighed down with a monster sac containing hot drinks, cold drinks, 3 course dinner / kitchen sink etc. We caught up with her at the low entrance to the Grind where she had stopped to read a message written in the mud. What was it? a message for help? "Paul loves Liz' it read! Nice place to express it Paul. We added suitable comments & carried on our way.
The monster sac finally wore Julie down & at the top the 88' pitch she had a bit of an epic getting her jammer off & gave the males in the party a chance to catch their breath & remove SRT kits. Here Alan produced a remarkable bit of caving gear, it looked rather like a rubber 'G' string mainly as that's just what it is. Alan explained that as he only has short hairy legs the crutch on his oversuit tended to end up by his knees & Ray (surprise surprise) had suggested this solution - I just hope the news of the world doesn't hear of it, (Dales caves host rubber / PVC rave).
At Brew chamber we had to observe tradition (and lighten the monster sac, which now also contained two SRT kits and a small black hole). After our 3 course dinner (thanks Julie) Peter decided to have a look at Equinox hall but the first squeeze spat him back out. Alan was more committed & soon disappeared from sight. 10 minutes elapsed & so Julie and I crawled after him for a look see. The first squeeze wasn't bad just an uphill thrutch into the top of a phreatic tube. 10 metres further on the second squeeze is a sideways slot between boulders with a 4" deep puddle for added spice. Julie went first with lots of grunts and groans & then it was my turn. Feet first into the slot, chest in the water and wriggle through to - no go. No way was my backside going through and so I had to lie in the water as the other two Ooed & Arred at the formations before we all rejoined Peter.
On our way towards Stake pot Peter carefully pointed out way markers to me so I could find the way another time - these included a piece of grass 1.5" long that he seemed to have absolute faith would be there the next time. The others had spent several weekends exploring these passages from Stake Pot & so we soon scooted through into the vastness of Montagu East.
The party was now beginning to feel the pace a bit and stops for drinks and carbide fettles became frequent as we passed Bobs boss and the Painters palette. We eased carefully past Scylla and Charibdis (which is which?) & crawled through into Oakes cavern.
Two lights in the distance signified we had company & so we sat on a convenient boulder while they approached. It turned out to be our lovers of darkness Paul and Liz on a hand in hand trip from Top Sink to Lancaster Hole. After exchanging pleasantries (OK. taking the piss) we let them on their way & continued on to Stop Pot. Here Alan took the lead again to show us the short cut to W Rabbit. Down the back of Stop Pot ladder and into a bedding on the right. Ange & JAK once showed me this route but I could have sworn it started the other side of Stop Pot. Alan's route dropped into WR just before the dry section and this didn't ring any bells either. Perhaps it's my age (or the Guiness) I'll have to suss it out on Rays super survey.
The smell of fresh air in WR spurred the expedition into renewed vigour and we were only passed by two Granny's and a three toed sloth before emerging triumphant into a clear frosty night. Seven hours of excellent caving, a real classic trip showing a little of everything Easegill has to offer, in good company, what more can you want? We retired to drink some.