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Present: Anthony, Jon, Julia, Andrew, Duncan [Interloper from TSG and ex-Cambridge piss artist]

Having sat up for half the night watching folks play malt loaf tennis, eating left over slop out of the bin, having ink fights and trying to set people on fire, Saturday’s miraculously early start was never likely to be repeated, and so it proved. Enthusiasm for caving was pretty minimal: Going for a nice walk, visiting a show cave, and even going to a climbing wall (heretics – burn them I say) were the preferred options. So it was left to five beacons of keenness to follow the true guiding star and venture underground without the aid of a boat. Everything was still piss wet (as Cambridge found out having set off at 6am to get to Peak Cavern only to find it was too full of water – tee hee) but the locals reckoned Giants might be passable. So, imbued with the sort of good spirits that only come from a lardy (slightly soiled) breakfast and a brand new pair of pants, the ‘kin ‘ard fivesome tootled off.

These days, a Giants trip costs £2 per person. However, for this outlay the nice man at Peakshill farm provides a bog and a changing barn, which at least saved us having to change in the sleet. Donning sopping wet furry suits was a joy to be savoured – there was no moaning and wittering whatsoever – and we soon found the impressive entrance. The general plan was to go caving until we got bored or drowned. Although the water levels were pretty high, the ladder hang at Garlands Pot (15ft) was damp but passable. Then bumbled off down the Crab Walk – a narrow canyon you have to walk sideways down – which was tediously long and “sporting” in places, especially a few hairy climbs, the odd annoyingly deep puddle, and an entertaining wobbly ladder down through a water spout. Andrew and Julia were forced to crawl in the streamway at one tight section, though since Duncan-the-slim managed to get through I suspect this wasn’t strictly necessary.

Realising we’d got to the end of the crab walk, we went to admire the exposed traverse to the head of Geology Pot, and then went to see if the Giant’s windpipe was passable (this is the duck you need to negotiate on the round trip.) This is accessed by a handline climb, which on this occasion had lots of water pissing down it. Duncan and Andrew made it to the top after some slithering, but the short-legged team member couldn’t manage, so we headed back up the crab walk, which seemed to have got longer since we came in. The water spout with the dodgy ladder claimed Andrew’s glasses (buy a bit of string next time I think) and we eventually arrived at the foot of Garlands Pot.

We were first treated to a hilarious display of SRT ineptitude by a party coming down the pitch, before we ascended our ladder (four of us self-lining). Having been caving at 1000mph as a hypothermia avoidance measure, Julia was a little knackered and managed to get about 6ft up the pitch before declaring that she couldn’t get any further. I contested this assertion. Vigorously. After a somewhat circular discussion, I pointed out that I wasn’t going to fucking rescue her so she had better dream up a convincing means of getting up the pitch, preferably before she drowned. Julia got up the pitch.

With that, we pottered out without incident. It was a damn fine trip (“The dog’s danglies with jam on” to quote Duncan.) There was even time for a pint and a brew before heading back to Durham with plenty of time to spare before our call out on Thursday evening in Mary’s. My car even failed to break down (much as it had failed to break down on the way down, ho ho) – the perfect end to a comical weekend.

Anthony Day