Volume 40 Number 2 Article 7
Notts 2 (Geriatric Trip)
9th July 2003
It all started with Frank Croll ringing me, about the chance of getting down Notts 2. I told him to get in touch with Andrew Walsh, as he was working there, stabilizing the entrance and wanted help. I had helped Andrew about a year earlier, but it seemed a monumental job and I gave up and returned to more manageable digs like Our Ladies.
Then all the photos appeared with tales of a mile long master cave, so when Frank called again to say he'd arranged a midweek trip with Andrew and did I fancy going, I jumped at it.
The only trouble was, the age of the party, as no one fancied going with a party of 'retired gentlemen'. However we managed to talk Terry Regan out of his retirement, since scaffolding Our Ladies, and John Tessyman, who appeared after a twelve year 'sabbatical' and four kids! So at 10 o'clock on 9th July 2003, 'Dads Army' appeared at Lost John's car park. There was Andrew (Leader), Frank and his old B.P.C. mate Paul Stacey, Terry, John and myself, approx 400 years altogether.
Following Andrew down the entrance shaft, I was amazed at the work he had put in. He reckoned on a 1000 foot of scaffolding tubes and I don't know how much cement and cut down alloy ladders, up to now.
As I knew the first two pitches were 60 and 70 feet, I asked for a lifeline, but once I got used to the scaffolding I dispensed with it. The truth was, the rope was constantly getting snagged on the clamps and as the acoustics in the shaft are terrible, shouts of "Slack, Slack!" were disregarded. So I unclipped. I had brought a ladder for the final drop, as I had heard the original ladder had rusted away. This was left as we followed Andrew's circuitous route down the knotted rope. This was much easier and we soon all gathered at the inlet passage to the master cave.
Here we headed off right in a narrow but very high streamway. This soon widened and as calcite flows of at least 20 feet were appearing, I was soon asking Andy to stop for photos. The only trouble was my 35mm lens wasn't big enough! and I found I was just taking the smaller formations.
Andrew had brought his video lamp with him, which really lit up the many inlets we saw as we splashed our way upstream. We stopped at Curry Inlet and I was soon clicking at the more conservative sized stals in the side passage. Then on again to Inlet 5, which at only 8 feet high, was almost disappointing. It was funny to find I was 'selecting' formations and missing out others, which, if they had been in an average cave would have seen me reaching for my camera.
We set off back downstream, to take a look at the bottom sump. On the way we asked Andrew that many questions, he was glad to get back to the entrance shaft. Here we had a little difficulty in finding our way out. You would think it easy to follow scaffolding all the way out, but there were so many false nooks and crannies that we were glad Andy was behind us shouting directions. On the way up, the dreaded clamps struck again, catching my light cable at every opportunity, and I was glad to struggle out of the entrance to a lovely summers afternoon and the end of a memorable five hour trip, with no call out, Ray.