Present: Larry, Sean, Peter, James, Tom, Renuka
There was a slight misunderstanding around our meet up time meaning that I had an hour to spare, a very rare occurrence for me as I’m usually one of the last to arrive. No matter, I spent a happy half hour in the cheese shop followed by spending way too much in Inglesport on caving stuff I don’t really need but just had to have.
After meeting and finishing breakfast in Bernies we headed off to Notts II. It was a first time for me and I have to say I was impressed at how near the road it is. Why can’t all caves be so considerately placed I wonder?
The entrance shaft is a vertical drop of around 50 metres and consists of a multitude of short aluminium ladders alternating with criss-crossing scaffolding bars and the odd stack of breeze blocks to climb down just for the hell of it.
Eventually we reached the bottom and there is a final pitch which drops down to join the streamway. Larry had assured us that although it was an active streamway the water wouldn’t get past our n*ts. These were words I would later remember.
The system is stunningly beautiful with countless stalactite straws and many helictites as well. In places the calcite flows into amazing patterns and waterfalls and I found myself constantly stopping to admire the features. We left the streamway on several occasions to climb up into the inlets and they were without a doubt worth exploring too.
As we progressed the water levels gradually rose and I have video footage to prove that it was well over our n*ts and at one point up to our armpits [Ed lol, this bit was specially reserved only for the Notts II first timers]. Tom, who was at the front of the group at this time declared that he might as well just start swimming as we were fighting a losing battle staying upright. At this point we took the decision to turn back.
On the way out we explored a couple more inlets and had a short break before making our way back to the entrance shaft. [ Ed-while 2 started back most of the group dashed to the downstream end and back]There was a slight hiccup when we missed the passage that took us to the bottom of the shaft and we ended up exploring some uncomfortably narrow upward passages instead.
We retraced our steps and found the correct way onwards. I remembered it had been a heck of a long way to climb down but I’m quite sure it was twice as far on the way up!
It was a fantastic trip lasting nearly six hours and I definitely want to go back as there’s plenty more to explore. However, it did highlight that I’m not as “cavefit” as I was judging by the fact that everything hurt the following day with the exception of my eyeballs.
This was only my second trip with MCG and already I feel like I belong. Everyone I’ve met so far has been so welcoming and they really pull together as a team. I can’t wait for the next trip!