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February 1st     P8

John, Malc, Dave E, Phil + 2 Chelsea S.S.
Blizzard conditions - so changed in hut - had trek across to P8 in 6+ inches of snow and very strong head wind. Water level almost normal. Trip to sump & back. One of Chelsea was on his first caving trip. 2 hr trip - back to the hut to change. Those that stayed in the hut that night were snowed in. Not getting out till Monday afternoon.


February 15th     Simpsons Pot

Dave E, Dave G, Malc, Paul
Changed in caravan as conditions were cold & windy - Cold walk up to entrance which was hard to find in the snow - as the shakehole was half filled. Low water conditions pleasant thro' trip Slit pot caused a slight problem - left a bag of bolts/belays/Tapes at top of pitch - realised when rope had been pulled thro'. Straight into Daves van, changed back at caravan.


February 16th     Long Churn

Dave (E), Malc, Paul
Set off to do Diccan Pot (after arranging retrieval of bag) got to top of pitch and decided there was too much water (surprisingly as there was plenty of snow on surface) so we did Long Churn -
Easy going apart from the ice. Fantastic views from top of greasy slab, which was just a mass of ice. The main waterfall was all iced up. Water from sky hook hole was also frozen into huge icicles. Party going further needed crampons. Quite incredible amount of ice all down main pitch.


March 1st     Swinstow, Valley Entrance

John, Malc, Dave, Jules
Really up for a meeting but pulled in two good trips. Conditions still cold & snowy entrance shake hole nearly filled with snow. Still a fair amount of water - no problems.
Went to Marten Arms after and CDG stomp.

Malc Debbage, Dave Epton and Paul Wheeldon in the entrance to Long Churn (The Daleswear Advert)

Ice cutrains in Alum pot. The frozen beck is in the centre.

March 2nd     Long Churn / Alum 

Dave, Malc, John, Jules
This time we were prepared and took crampons very necessary for Dolly Tubs, as rock had thick coating of ice. Icicles were from ceiling to floor of this passage where it joins Alum Shaft. Managed to find a belay point from bridge - normal descent not possible as belay point under snow & ice Icicles from top where beck enters for about 20/30' water running inside tube to land on huge ice boss again 20/30' high whole of floor ice as was last pitch - pitches tended to be dangerous if one stood too close at bottom as icicles etc were cleared. Altogether a unique and fantastic trip I don't suppose Alum is in this condition very often - Cold weather for about 3 months.

March 8th     P8

Vic, Brian, John, Malc, Dave, Paul, Jules + Chelsea SS
Chelsea W/E at the hut so had to show them P8 shakehole still keeping a lot of snow & ice - in fact stream was under huge snow sheets - water obviously cold - large party meant delays - especially first pitch (about 14 in party)

March 23rd     Knotlow

Dave G, Malc, Paul
A cold start to an S.R.T. training trip. snow whilst changing, snow whilst descending. Abseiled down the three pitches. Put a ladder down the third pitch for Paul to come out on. A quick trip down to crimbo. A very wet ascent on the third pitch. Cold and snowing heavily on exit.

Giants Hole
Stuart, Phill, Paul, Ruth
A semi leaderless trip due to russ attempting to gas himself the night before. Although a copy of the survey was taken down it proved of little use (SEE PHIL) Having found the giants windpipe we decided it was too dangerous due to the limited airspace (3 inches approx) Back out via the CRABWALK.


March 31st     Hilocks Mine

Introduced a few canoeing friend to the delight of caving.
Hilocks Mine - Straight forward Trip No Problems - even quite efficient.

Same day "P8" - very high water - so thought better of it, I did manage to get to bottom of idiots leap - followed by fun climb out, - long time Since I've seen water conditions so high, - Cave would be possible with Careful Rigging and use of extra ropes. Must have another go some time.
Klammer Addison


April 4th     Jingling Hole

Malc, Epo
Steady trip, nice dangle, looked in dig.


April 5th     Toyland, Valley Entrance

Malc, Epo, Dave G
No one had seen this part before - some excellent gour streamway - far more passage than we had realised.


April 6th     Hardwrakin Pot

Malc, Epo, Dave G
Nice little dangle - just right time for a quick trip before packing for home.


April 16th     Water Icicle

Dave G, Dave Epton, Malc, Paul & jim Renolds
Mid week trip to get in some more SRT practice. A good look around and climb into the labyrinths of passages which took us nearly back to the surface (Dave G & Jim) A rather later exit than hoped for. but we still made the Hobbit before closing (10.59 pm). Once inside the beer flowed well and the landlord asked if we cared for another drink before he shut up for the night. A very wet drive home.


April 19th     P8

Malc, Epo, John
Quickish trip to sober up after AGM in hut.


May 3rd     Tatham Wife Hole

Rick Box, John A, Phil, Ruth, Paul, John H
After a long walk up in a thunderstorm we found the entrance and went down. John Hayes left at the first pitch the rest continuing to the bottom.
Foul weather raised the water level on the way out and made the first two pitches exceptionally interesting.

May 4th     The Mohole

Malc (Day tripper from Peterboro'), John Addytours, Rick Box, Dave Epton, Dave Gough, Stu Lowe
Just another hole ticked off in the guide book. A tight vertical system with 2 small pitches leading to the main dangle. 90' very tight on the return sorted the men from the boys. Was it worth such a long drive for this place malc?


May 5th     Swinsto

John poser Addison, Dave Epton, Dave Rohan Gough, Rick Box
After overnight rain only the stalwarts were left to go caving. The idea of a sporting trip appealed to us but alas there was not so much water as we expected so quick engineering principles had to be brought in to increase some of the 'sporty' descents. A quick trip this time with no Yorkshire rope tricks en route, (One member took spare gear to save a repeat of last time) and an exit via valley entrance and thence to the Martons for liquid refreshment before returning home.
PS It has been noticed that certain members of this club are turning into POSERS.


May 26th     Simpsons Pot

Dave G, Dave E
Should have been a trip of 4 down Marble Steps but found water levels high & trip dangerous - John didn't fancy Simpsons, Malc had a hangover. The 2 Daves tried their new dry suits - all went well till the rope stuck on one pitch - but fortunately we could climb up and release - rope was jammed thro' belay due to whipping on end. We also had a problem on Slit Pot when the rope end caught on a ledge. Dave E had passed the ledge before he realised that the rope end was stuck above him. He managed to get onto a ledge to take the weight off the rope, so Dave G could get down to release jammed rope - quite a lot of water going down the pitch - tested the dry suits!!


May 27th     Marble Steps

Dave E, Dave G, Malc
SRT down the big pitch route - weather still not settled - signs of froth in quite a few places. Ran out of belays near the bottom, rock abrasive so returned.


June 7th     Roaring Hole

Dave E, Dave G, Malc
Water conditions more settled, so had a go, pitches not too bad - got down to duck, and as we were all in dry gear turned back.


June 7th

Dave E, Dave G, Malc
Really a training trip for the Berger Trip in July. Practising 'telefrique' SRT etc & mole phones.


June 21st     Langstroth Pot

Rick Box, John, Malc, Dave E
Rather loaded tackle bags up to 2nd pitch - in the tight entrance series, then changes into a fine cave well worth another trip. Turned back at sumps.


July 12th     Meregill Hole

Dave G, Dave E, Malc, Jim
Mere still up despite recent dry spell so went in via Aven Entrance, Excellent trip down to main sump where going gets low. As this turned out to be a late start, it ended into a late finish in fact it was 12 midnight before all the party reached the surface. So was about 2ish before we had pitched tents & had a tea & bikky supper. Over the whole weekend we didn't go near the Marten Arms.


July 25th - August 2nd     Vercours

Malc, Dave E, Dave G
Met at La Meliere with rest of party - a mixture of Army Caving Ass. & B.I.CC. Army catering so had the luxury of cooked meals & mess tent & beer etc.
Caught ferry friday night (25/7) - arriving at la Meliere at 4.00 pm Saturday. Coach party arriving about 8.30. Marvellous camp site as regards view - but water taken from a small spring about 300 yds away - (needed puritabs) Sunday spent tidying site and sorting out mole phones etc. By this time Berger rigged to Camp 1 and Engins rigged to top of big pitch. Monday spent contacting the underground team by mole phone. Tuesday a.m. phones not working and not confirmed whether rigged to bottom, stories of tackle bags being mixed up on balcony pitch so decided to do a trip up to the Grotte du Gournier.

Camping on the Moulineux Plateau.

Entrance Lake Grotte du Gournier.

July 29th     Grotte du Gournier & Gouffre Berger

Again the marvellous trip across the entrance lake - conditions quite dry so 'pretties' not very active - also went into active streamway until we reached a deep pool with a 20' waterfall coming in - but the wire traverse line had parted - we turned back at this point, taking photo's. Pleasant drink in cafe then back to camp site to find that Berger now rigged so we could go - talks of break in weather later in week so decided to have the big evening meal, nip down and sleep at camp 1 then bottom - By the time we had had dinner, packed and walked over to Berger it was 11 pm. Changed and finally started GOUFFRE BERGER at 11.30 pm - Steve from RRPC joined us & set out steadily down entrance pitches. After being flabbergasted at size of passage - finally reached Camp 1 had a brew & had a short sleep - all woke up cold had another brew and set off for Camp 2 (Steve had woken up cold and gone out)

berger 1986

Dave Epton, Dave Gough and Malc Debbage enjoy a beer in Autrans.

Dave Gough & Dave Epton getting ready to leave Camp 1 for Camp 2, Gouffre Berger. 

July 30th

Helped photographers in Hall of 13 - and 2nd photographic party coming out, Reached camp 2. Astounded at size of Great Rubble Heap - Dave G immediately got in bed again. Malc & Dave had a push for the bottom but weren't happy at Gaches Pitch so turned back - Had a few hours sleep at Camp 2 - took a steady trip out to camp 1

July 31st

Slept a few hours there - some more tea and set off for surface arriving at 4.00 pm. Just in time for dinner. Very dry underground apart from Cenfinades area - seemed only to want drink - Lake Cadoux non existent.

August 1st

Friday spent filling up to compensate for lost food. Saturday left after a good breakfast - arrived in Dunkirk around 10 pm By the time we had had a few beers & a snack we were back at Ramsgate. Called on John to give details of trip,  home by 7.30 am. Obviously a little disappointed in not getting to the bottom but I feel confident I could bottom on another attempt. The main expedition party stayed until 6/8/86 the aim was to connect the Engins & the Berger.
Dave Epton

August 16th-30th     Jura

A family type holiday in France and Spain with The Smiths - The Butterworths - The Addisons - Trev Roberts, Stu Lowe, Phil Briggs, Kevin Penny & Dave Gough (4 cars, 1 sailboard, 3 canoes)
All met at John A on Friday evening before catching 4 am Sat ferry from Dover. Each party made its own way to the Doubs region of the Jura. arriving at a nice campsite just outside Ornans 'Le Chanet'

August 17th Sunday     Gouffre du Gros - Gadeau

Dave G, Stu L, John A, Martin B, Russell S, Trev R
A nice day too good to go caving really but when the married men only have a few days in which to cave it is best to make use of every opportunity. John & Martin rigged the cave which starts with a large shakehole 16 m quickly followed by a series of pitches of similar size ending in a dry active streamway which takes you down to the sump. John & Martin took the lead out, collected Trev en-route leaving myself, Russell & Stu to detackle. They were the lucky ones, they had found a bar at a local garage and had a nice drink in the sun. When we got there all the beer had gone so we left without a drink. Volley ball in the evening followed by beer and excellent lightning display.

August 18th Monday     Grotte de Plaisir Fontaine

Spent shopping and canoeing if you wanted too. We found out later you could only canoe on the river up to 4 pm oh well its one way to get your photo taken.

Late afternoon all personel visited the Grotte de Plaisir Fontaine a large opening in the cliff, easy walking but it soon closes down to stooping size passage, a stream from a lower cave feeds a nearby fish farm. A pleasant evenings diversion before tea and more beer and also some rain.

Photograph: John Addison at Grotte de Plaisir Fontaine

August 19th Tuesday Grand Mathieu

Three cars set out full of boys & men to do this 'show cave' Eventually arrived at the village with the same name but could not find the cave. Everyone read over and over again the instructions in the chelsea journal as to the location of the cave entrance but still it could not be located. John A eventually asked an old lady who pointed him in the right direction saying it was 'Privee'. At last we found the shakehole entrance overlooked by houses, we had also aroused the suspicions of the locals as to our intent so we withdrew to make a decision and a few of us Myself John Martin & Stu decided on going for it. Martin put the rope around a tree and abseiled down quietly followed by myself. As Stu was going over the edge a visitor arrived to try and explain we were 'poaching' so the trip had to be aborted, John never left the surface. By the time we arrived at the changing place all the cars had gone so we had an hours wait until Russell returned with our clothes and took us back to camp.

Russell Smith with son Glenn and Kevin Penny

Whilst we were away a thunderstorm had hit the camp and everyone was getting a little fed up with the weather so it was decided to cut the Jura stay short and head for Sunny Spain. Costa Bravo

August 20th Wednesday

All en route for Spain an eleven hour drive unless you got lost after crossing the border twice! Campsite dry and dusty but only a few minutes walk from the sea at Callela du Parafugella. A nice spot to sunbath and swim and admire the topless ladies but for some it was Over commercialised.
The single lads lives were brightened up on Sat 23rd when into camp came 2 girls inquiring about hiring a tent etc. Russell being quick thinking said they could borrow Kevin's tent. This they did but it was a little cramped for three lovely ladies and when the 4th arrived on the Tuesday she brought another tent with her.
The week soon passed by and it was decision time as to when we were going to return to England. Eventually Martin made a decision and stuck to it. Yes it was the Thursday morning. This turned out to be a good idea in the end because late Wednesday Evening whilst we were out drinking we had another lightning display (we had seen one on the Monday across the Med) but this was closer to home and was quickly followed by Rain which lasted till next morning So on Thursday morning we had a wet pack. - The Martins and the Addison travelled home together Phil was leaving some time Thursday the Smiths were staying for another few days.
All in all a good holiday if you liked sand, sea & sun.
PS we met the ladies again at a Party in the Park 12th Sept.
David Gough


September 6th     Lost Johns

Malc, Dave, John
A mix up over permits but Dani gave us duplicate, and confirmed access OK. 3 other cavers asked if they could come down with us, so joined parties. Went down Centipede route, with high level traverse at Battleaxe, so we had pitch of 100' to avoid wet pitch. We went down Master cave until the water deepened. Uneventful trip after a few years of trying to get permission.


September 13th

Pat Cronin + 2 from bristol


September 27th     Little Hull Pot

Malc, Dave, John, Rick Box
After an expensive cup of tea at PYG Cafe - changed near garage and walked up Horten Lane. Very dry conditions - uneventful trip until return on 1st pitch, when tackle on end of rope prevented rope being pulled up, so Dave had to go down ¾ way to bring gear up on ledge.


September 28th     Simpsons Pot

Malc, Dave, John, Rick Box
Although misty rain during evening & night and bad on hill tops still dry underground. Out in time for a couple of drinks & a pizza in Marten Arms before trip home.


October 12th Sunday

Buster & Kym
Had a very pleasant nights kip for one's in Darbyshire. Made ourselves at home. We are now going to Peak Cavern to open it for 11.00 am. As soom of you of the Pegasus dont no that I am a Peak leader. Now going to start digging May Pole out let again as it has been stood for maney years.

Peak, Maypole Dig
The Peak trip went as usual. Went to dig with Kym, Rod Gillet + 2 to start put new lines in at top of ladders then we started widening the passage. After 4 hours of this we came out Good trip


October 14th     P8

J.Rat & Ian McAdam (OS)
Evening trip to sump 1. Ian's first "proper" cave. Fairly dry trip. Had a job finding the sodding entrance and had to ask a passing swineherd. Old age, failing memory banks and not enough trips to Derbyshire.

October 18th     Gough's Cave

Chedder Lost River Expedition Spying Trip.
J.Rat - Tim Large
Visited Lloyd Hall via a 70' pitch from the show cave. The ladder drops straight into the water (or would have done if we'd have taken a long enough bloody ladder) Hung around for a bit admiring the slowly flowing river then back out for a fester round the "Adventure Caving" route and then to the Hunters.


October 18th Saturday     Peak, Maypole Dig

Well back again today to Peak with Buster and four others who were down a tourist trip then thought - well any spare hands can be used to shift mud! Still widening the passage and belaying belting. God only knows how the previous diggers must have struggled with the narrow shute in the bottom of the passage, still with a bit more work we will soon have it OK and be digging at the face. 4 hours work done, wash off at P.B's power hose & out.
PS Is this a first write up for the girls?


October 19th     Peak, Picnic Food Dump

Buster + Kym + Big Mark
A nother trip in Peak to take gear to food dump at picnic. Decided to move access rope to the right . up through a small hole which is now bigger to go through this is not as exposed as the left way. A very good trip out at 3.00 pm.


October 25th     Alum Pot  -  Lower Long Churn

Dave, Malc, Steve (Pope) Rick
Had been raining for some while, so water was pouring out of every crack. Streamway had to be treated with caution. Managed to get to bottom but noise of spray from Diccan final pitch made last chamber a place not to linger. Exhillerating!


October 26th     Swinstow Pot

John, Dave, Malc, Steve, Rick, Steve RRPC
Very wet sporting trip, two ropes taken so rigging could be leap frogged. Big pitch was full of spray. Celebrated in Marten Arms.


November 2nd     Hillocks Mine

Paul, Ruth
An eager start cold but dry, as proceeded it became wetter & wetter. Nice little puddle in coffin level & cold water on second pitch. Pleasant way of spending a Sunday afternoon - Ha Ha.


November 15th     Flood Entrance  -  Stream Passage Pot

John, Dave, Malc, Martin + 2 others from ACC, Steve from RRPC
Change over trip we went down Wades entrance first but Steve couldn't get through the squeeze, so we fought our way out and went down Flood. Met another party also doing same trip. Met Martin etc in the Main chamber - quite impressive, as there was plenty of water about. Possible to keep fairly dry if deviations are used. Trip spoilt by long walk back to Clapham.


November 22nd     P8

Novice trip Dave & Frances Epton, Mike & Malc Debbage, Dave Gough, Phil and (Phil, Bob & Spaily ) from Mansfield.

Fairly wet, uneventful trip. started about 6 pm. ended up the night at Royal Oak in Stoney.

December 25th     Smallcleugh Mine, Nenthead

S.Chester, R.Smith
Cheg and his trusty dog, Tonto ran out of excuses, didn't fall asleep and were therefore forced underground; aided and abetted by their cheer leaders; Caroline & Eileen.

3½ hours later.- triumphant - we emerged with Chegs missing lump hammer. We also brought out two wuzzy heads having deposited vast quantities of bad air en route.
Note: this was a highly professional organised trip ie two went in and two came out with working lights.

2 days later

December 27th     Rampgill Mine, Nenthead

Catherine Chester, Caroline, Jamie & Glenn Smith, Cheg & Russell
Trip down level to Brewery Shaft. Most notable comment from Mrs Caroline Smith "Its dark". Most significant reply from S. Chester "Yes"
Contribution from Catherine "Carry me daddy - its wet"
Thus S. Chester wins this years Xmas prize for sibling lugging.
The two Smith Juniors made their own way out.


December 29th     Oxlow Hole

D.Gough, J.Reynolds & Another
A later start than hoped for having had to collect tackle from Malcs.
Collected Jim & Friend and set off for Derbyshire.
A good look about trip. Crewe CC had done some blasting on the slope down to the top of the 4th pitch (West Anti'chamber) and made the area a lot safer.
After a look around West chamber it was up the fixed ladder and on to Pilgrims Way. Jim enjoyed again the phalic symbols (TITS) molded into the mud about halfway along pilgrims
After Mecca Aven could not persuade others to look at connection passage, water flowing, Went on down stream, Portcullis - North pitch and man made dams before returning a long trip of about 6 hrs but very enjoyable. Returned to a van that would not start. Enjoyed a pint in the Devs before going home.
Note! no fixed ladders except upto Pilgrims Way.

December 30th     Carleswark

Paul & Ruth
Not wanted not needed but done for the sake of something. Very wet, discretion overcame valour at the low section near big dig as the water was high and rising.

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