RRCPC Newsletter
Volume 35 Number 2 Article 7
October 1998

A Rumbling Adventure

Since I'm a new member to the dub not many of you reading this will know me, and considering this is my first essay since school it might not be very good, but at least I had a go.

Upon arriving at the farm Saturday morning I found the would-be co-ordinator Ray still in bed, it was half past nine, and by the small aluminium recycling plant on the very large table in the other room I new he'd had a busy night. After about five minutes Ray appeared, after he had his breakfast and brew we sat down and waited for some of the other members to turn up for the meet. Listening to numerous and feeble excuses half an hour later Ray started dropping hints like "I don't think I've charged my battery up." and 'We had a lot of rain last night."' so I could tell his enthusiasm was high. Well after a little while longer I came to the conclusion that it was just going to be Ray, and me. In the end it was just me!

As you've probably guessed I couldn't go on my own. Luckily there were two lads from New Zealand. Well one was, the other was from Loughborough. Any way they said they would go down the cave with me, and Beardy had said they could use club tackle (even though none of us were validated!!). Its a poor do when you're a new member on your first club trip and you're the only member of the club to go on it. Well that was sorted and it was me and the two Kiwi's, so now we had the cavers all we needed was the tackle. Since Ray was co-ordinator he sorted that bit out for us. We then packed the Kiwi's car with nearly all of the krabs and ropes and off we went.

After a couple of near misses in the car on Bull Pot lane (some sort of mirror would be a good idea on the brow of the hill just before the farm.) we got to the entrance of Rumbling and we realised we'd forgotten the rigging guide that Ray had given us. 'Never mind we'll figure it out" chuckled Frog (the only Kiwi's name I can remember). Dave, that's what I've named him, started rigging the first pitch while me and Frog made some rude comments about Dave and New Zealand Iamb. Dave shouted "Rope free" and I was off, considering it was my second time using a Petzl stop my confidence was high, and by the time I got to my third re-belay Frog commented "you sure its your second time". The first pitch consists of the rope being anchored to a fence post then a re-belay to a tree followed by an easy traverse to a 'y' hang followed by a short drop of three or four feet to a re-belay onto another 'y' hang of 75ft of pure enjoyment. At the bottom of the first pitch there's a short awkward traverse and another drop of 30ft to the bottom, with a deviation about half way down. Once at the bottom you realise why it was called Rumbling Hole by the distinct rumbling from the stream dropping over numerous cascades to the head of the third pitch. From what Ray was telling me earlier I was getting ready to be completely soaked, this was not the case, the only part of me that got wet was my feet! When I got to the head of the third pitch I thought that I might as well have a go at rigging it. Frog and Dave had no objections (they should have had), after an awkward take off I abseiled down the rift until I was about 10ft from the bottom. I then had to pendulum across to where the rift narrowed and a short squeeze to reach the re-belay. I then descended to the bottom and waited for the arrival of the K'iwi's.

The fourth pitch was through a keyhole in the floor to a small chamber and another short drop. Unfortunately the rope wasn't long enough for the last drop (10ft), so I suggested to Frog and Dave that I would climb down and see how far the last pitch was. It was too far to use the last rope so we used a long sling instead and climbed it. The final pitch was in a magnificently fluted shaft, which soared away into darkness above us, which unfortunately sumped only a few metres from the bottom.

Now it was the moment of truth, only having used my ascending gear once at home going up and down my stairs, it was going to be a challenge. After quite a few re-belays and awkward pitch heads, I was standing at the bottom of the first pitch (it looked a hell of a long way up).The last pitch seemed to take forever to climb,. probably because I had 60ft of wet rope in my kit bag, but once at the top I shouted "rope free" and laid down on the grass and watched the clouds go by. When the Kiwi's got to the top we chatted for a few minutes and then walked back to the cars to get changed.

Once changed I was forced to listen to some New Zealand pop music (it wasn't that bad). They commented on how well I'd done and they were still convinced it couldn't have been my first time using S.R.T. We then chatted about possible caving trips in New Zealand and about a farmer who used sheep netting to climb down a cave in one of his fields. Then my tea started calling me, I hadn't eaten all day and considering we'd been underground for eight hours it was hardly surprising I was. (Next time I'll take some snack bars!) So we said our farewells and went our own ways.

For my first club meet I wasn't disappointed. It was an excellent trip and I would recommend it to anyone. I only hope future dub meets will have more members attending them. I know I'll be there.

Pete Dale

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