Volume 45 Number 2 Article 6
George North, Tom Clayton, Sophie Cunningham, Jude Onions, Sat 8th March 2008
I arrived at the farm at 8.45am to find things very quiet and serene … a bit unnerving really. On making my way cautiously into the kitchen I soon had a comforting explanation for the lack of caverage…beer or rather lots of bottle shaped voids where there had obviously been lots of the loopy juice the night before. A message on the white board directed me to the member’s bedroom where I was met by a reassuring sound that confirmed I was in the right place; the familiar rumbling of natural disasteresque properties that was my dearest snoring. Only George and Tom occupied the room. I chuckled to myself. They occupied the farthest spots humanly possible away from each other on the top and bottom bunks, maybe my teasing about misty mountain man love had made them a tad oversensitive…. I made them tea and gave them orders to resurrect and meet Sophie and me in Inglesport in 40 minutes.
Soph got off the bus from Lancaster in Kirkby Lonsdale and we soon had our hyper caving music on and were making our way to Ingleton. To give the lads credit they were not desperately late although they did faff and procrastinate over their pint-mugs and belly bulgers! We ummed and ahhed over route. Today was to be our fairy day, going to see the group ‘The Peatbog Faeries’ in Kendal that evening so we (myself and Soph) decided to have a fairy themed day! The initial plan was Rumbling Hole (the fairies workshop) but Dave at Inglesport informed us that it may be slightly damp. In the end Georgie and TC decided on Lancaster Hole to Wretched Rabbit via the high level route. So soon we were making our way back to the farm, the lasses to ‘Girls Aloud’ Love Machine and the lads probably to some ‘alternate for the sake of alternate’ tunes.
Soph and I giggled and got well into the spirit of fairydom, I pulled out a big bag which contained fairy wings, wands and lots of sparkly glitter spray. We applied our usual make-up (well you never know who you might meet underground) and squealed in delight as TC let us dress him up complete with a glitter-sprayed beard! George seemed a bit more hesitant to de-man himself but a wee friendly suggestion of certain revoked privileges should he NOT GET INTO THE SPIRIT OF THINGS from myself soon jollied him up!
After a preliminary photo shoot outside the farm we were soon walking across the fell together towards Lanc Hole. One by one, little pairs of pink, fluffy, dainty, sparkling wings disappeared into the darkness…The way on to Fall Pot was uneventful until I asked George to carry my large dangly bag full of treats…’careful its delicate’ I said. Within a minute the smell of wine filled the air ... oops. I will not speculate as to who’s fault it was or wasn’t. This topic has been discussed much in the Onions-North household and has been the subject of much fricticious debate (however due to nature blessing me with the absence of a penis we all know that as a woman I am naturally correct by default). So the smell of wine filled the cave and a minor domestic ensued. (Fortunately the glass was all contained in the bag for those conservationists who may be concerned).
We continued to weave our way across Ease Gill which unfortunately I am not familiar enough with yet to name each chamber and passage of our trip. We soon arrived at the Minarets where I set up our picnic; pink plastic picnic blanket, Barbie chocolate lolly pops, sherbet teddy bears, dolly mixtures, marshmallows and bunny shaped biscuits. We dared TC to put a whole bag of sherbet teddies in his mouth at one and delighted in watching him froth at the mouth. Not to be outdone, George collected the sherbet residue from the pink, fairy paper plate they had rested on and proceeded to snort the lot!
After this we moved on towards Stop Pot and had a wing-adjusting stop and soon we were making our way back up Wretched Rabbit and into the daylight to meet a roaring Ease Gill. Fab!
* Photos © Jude Onions