Recent reports

Eldon Hole

Saturday January 6th 2024

Members present: Alfie Exall,  Dylan Kocher,  Ethan Griffiths,  Sarah Moody

Report by Sarah Moody

After a late evening Giants trip the night before, Team Slightly Competent woke up early ready for round two of caving- Eldens hole. We stayed the night at Victorias (Dylan’s mums) farm. We sleepily got up and had a lovely full English breakfast Courtesy of Hal (thank you, it was v yummy). Alfie of course, instead had some sad looking old crumpets from last year… very tragic.

Over breakfast we discussed todays activities and were promised a tour of the farm and some “sheeping”, whatever that means. Sounded interesting! We put on our wellies and went outside. Dylan chased the Guinea foul (weird dinosaur chickens), Alfie took his time and I picked up a really lovely rescue chicken. I miss her as I write this. She was soft and very warm. I never knew chickens were that warm and I now really want chickens.

Anyway, we continued our ventures and around the fields, the farm had cute teddy bear looking sheep and cool curly horned sheep! After we did a full circle of the place, it was time for the “sheeping” part. A pregnant white fluffy sheep that needed her hoof trimmed. “Sheep wrangling time!” Dylan said, handing me gloves. I was skeptical of how well this would go but agreed anyway. Anticipating getting knocked over by a sheep, I dressed Alfie up in my coat and scarf and headed to the shed where the sheep was herded into. Hugging the sheep tightly on either side, me and Dylan secured the sheep as Victoria skilfully trimmed her hoofs. It went surprisingly well. I’m now a sheep expert.

With sheeping complete, it was time to do some caving. I rode in Ethan’s poor car, that had lost a shock absorber the previous night on the bumpy track to Giants. The poor car doesn’t get a break (and neither does Ethan). We slowly followed Dylan to the field where you park. A long steep field. “Oh dear” said Ethan as we were began to roll backwards with the hand break on. “I can’t park here!” Exclaimed Ethan, to which Dylan responded “just park”. After some initial failed attempts, Ethan managed to get the Whipper up the hill and park in front of the mini. I suppose the mini will act as a stopper if the car rolls backwards?

As we got changed we watched a flock of cool birds doing a small mermeration. I think they were starlings. One of the more pleasant outdoor changing experiences.

At Eldens hole we decided to do an exchange. Me rigging North gully and Ethan rigging the very scary exposed West Wall. Being daylight and all outside, you can see all 70m down. Ethan was not happy but down he descended, with bright blue crocs on his feet. Such an icon.

Following the toppo I rigged downwards do the traverse and then to a re-belay where there was a really awkward rope change in the middle of it. Are rope being way longer than we needed, but not long enough to reach the bottom, it dangled down. I rigged the rebelay with the new rope and warned Dylan to not go down the wrong rope (we had stopper knots this time of course). I did not want to derigg this mess. I made my bed and I will get someone else to sleep in it. Maybe a certain someone who is wearing bright blue crocs and hasn’t de-rigged before, who knows?

After descending down I met Alfie and Ethan into the muddy cave part, with Dylan following behind. It was a nice big caven with a dig at the bottom. It consisted of a dodgy ladder that wobbled, and scaffolding. Going down, I was greeted by Alfie sitting on weird swing. I decided I’d seen enough and ventured back up.

I was going up the West wall with Alfie the first pitch was a longer one which is good practice. Alfie followed and, being annoyingly good at prussiking and miffed that we weren’t going Titan, decided to repeat the first long pitch 3 times because he can. Meanwhile, there was distant swearing from Ethan cursing at his crocs as he scrambled around trying to figure out how to derigg. Dylan supervising him of course, because we are slightly competent. Needless to say, Ethan will never cave in crocs or derigg again. Thank you for you’re sacrifice Ethan, it’s much appreciated.

Once we were out, we walked back to the cars, which had luckily not rolled down the hill, and went home. Another success for Team Slightly Competent.