Larry, Robin, Nigel, Leon, James and I met at The Old Smithy Tea Rooms in preparation for a trip down Hillocks and Knotlow Mines. It was decided to split the group into two with James, Nigel, Leon and Robin opting for Hillocks and Larry and I making our way down the Climbing Shaft of Knotlow Mine. Larry rigged this and I realised that with their only being two of us I would have to rely on myself to get myself in and down the shaft (the first first of the day). After triple checking, I made way down the 19 metres to the second part of the pitch. This meant I could practise getting around a deviation (the second first of the day).
We made our way along past chain passage and some very interesting free climbing to bit of a squeeze leading to a really nice, if wet, coffin level. At the other end of this passage was the second pitch down to Waterfall Chamber. I watched as Larry expertly rigged this, I did however decide that this was a bit beyond me. I was content to watch Larry have a quick explore before he prusiked back up.
I was a bit daunted by the trip out of the mine because this time the only option was to prussik up the way I had come (the third first of the day). I discovered that (for me at least) deviations are easier going down than up! The biggest hurdle, at least in my head, was the 19 metres back up to day light. After a bit of tough love from Larry and a lot of rest stops, I eventually emerged and was helped out by Robin who had kindly waited for me suffering a not inconsiderable wind chill factor.
The day ended as it began with tea and cakes and a good old chat.