Bob, Chris, JohnW, Dave Burnett, Danny, Nick Procter
After much planning by Bob we headed down to Castleton independently. Bob got there early, I got there around 7, and we waited for Nick and Danny. I'd forgotten my sleeping bag, but my idiocy was eclipsed by Danny, who got as far as Chesterfield before realising he'd forgotten his SRT kit, and persuading Nick to take him home again for it.
After a cosy night in my furry suit, the others turned up in the morning (with their gear) and we headed up to Titan. We did the necessary unlocking and unbolting, and rigged the first (45m) pitch.
The big pitch (80m) has got new better placed bolts now, one of which I found – I left the other two for Bob & John to find. Down to the Event Horizon to rig the bottom pitch (60m) – with dry rope. Nice airy free hanging rebelay immediately below the lip gives a good free hang – abseiled carefully down to the bottom to discover the rope somewhat short – is it really a 65m rope?? Struggled to get my smoking rack unloaded, and tied the bag on to the end of the rope so that I'd be able to reach it again. The others struggled to get off too – Bob burnt his hand on his stop.
From there we were into the cave proper. We headed off down through the boulders, trying to figure out which way to go. It seems like we got to the Major & Minor sumps, and found a continuation at a corner which led us on to some old iron ladders, miners' stemples and steps, and some fixed rope traverses. Reached an end of some description (not really sure where), and decided that half of us should head back. Bob, Dave & I opted for the early exit and headed out – spotting a promising crawl on the way. I headed up first, followed by Bob & Dave. The other three pottered around for a bit before heading back to the pitch and discovering we were still there – they headed off again, and discovered that the promising crawl headed into Speedwell, through various gates.
I got out around 4.15pm, followed by the rest at intervals. The deriggers finally emerged with all the rope at 7.30 – takes a long time to haul self and rope up those pitches.
Headed off to the pub for a well-earnt beer or two and dinner. John & Dave headed back north.
In the morning Danny and Nick headed home, and Bob & I went caving.
Bob had a yen to do Giants for nostalgic reasons apparently, so that's where we went.
We parked up in the fine layby by the farm, and headed off down the cave. Neither of us remembered it particularly well, but we found our way to the pitch, down the Crabwalk to the sump, into the Eating House and up the knotted rope climb without to much trouble. After that it was a bit of a meander as we looked for the Windpipe, which was much further from the climb than we thought. Found it eventually, went through it and straight on to another dead end before coming back and taking the right way. On along the high level route until we persuaded ourselves we should be heading back down to the stream, which we did just after a wriggle through a calcite constriction. Just beyond we saw another party on a roped traverse, so I'm not sure whether we came down in the right place or not. Anyway, back out just before noon! Unprecedented for the caving section.