Giants Hole - 29 Dec 2022

Giants Hole - 29 Dec 2022

I put an email out to the club asking if anyone was free for a trip.  Kate & Alasdair were free on this Thursday for a trip, and Giants Hole was chosen as it was in the Peak District (and less rainfall than Yorkshire) and en-route for them going south later that day

We met at Cafe Adventure in Hope around 10am for some breakfast, and a discussion of Giants Hole, specifically what the Windpipe was like.  When it comes to the more uncomfortable aspects of caving, Kate likes to know how far they go on for, and I can relate to that, having vivid memories of my first time through the windpipe over 8 years ago

Following breakfast we drove in convoy to Giants Hole.  The wind was strong, and cold, so it was a relief to get to the shelter of the cave entrance

L-R: Kate, myself, Alasdair at Giants Hole entrance

Given the recent rainfall, there was some water going in, but I'd seen it much higher and still been able to do the round trip, so was fairly confident things would be ok.  We took a slow walk through the entrance series towards Garlands Pot, really taking in the amazing formations I've walked past many times before. It really is a pretty cave when you stop and look around

At Garlands Pot, Alasdair took the opportunity to do his first rigging as it's an easy pot to rig and be safely observed, and he did a great job for his first time doing it

Once we were at the bottom of the pitch, we set off round the first few bends of the crab walk away from the waterfall so we could take out SRT gear off.  We were doing the typical round trip so SRT gear isn't needed until we get back to Garlands Pot

I led the way down the Crabwalk, with Kate and Alasdair following.  We eventually got to the Vice.  I showed the way, and Kate & Alasdair followed almost immediately - no messing around at all :)

We continued on our way, passing the Razors Edge cascade (the straddling the rock bit) and Comic Act Cascade (the ladder bit) where we all got a bit damp.  Not wanting to get cold we marched on and eventually got to the Eating House.

Alasdair wanted to quickly look at the sump, which actually meant covering himself with sump foam!

Following that we all continued on, crawling under the waterfall to the 3m climb and now progressing uphill through boulders and passages, making sure to turn right at the available turns (so to not end up going towards the Oxlow Cavern connection!) to arrive at Giant's Windpipe

I recapped to Kate & Alasdair what my memory was telling me about the layout and worst bit of it (low & wet), before I set off.  We crawled together until the water started to get deep then I went through leaving Kate waiting.  This was so I could shine my head torch back so there was a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel for them to focus on.  In the event, both of them made it through quite easily with minimal of fuss - well done both :)

After the windpipe we knew we were approaching the upper series with the crabwalk below as we could hear the rumble of the water getting louder.  We stayed in the upper series as long as possible, having fun squeezing through a couple of calcite flow constrictions until the streamway and upper series pretty much came together; which was just where we'd left our SRT gear!

Getting our SRT gear back on, Kate led the way up the pitch, with me following leaving Alasdair to de-rig Garlands Pot

Our walk out back to the surface was direct, with only a brief stop to watch Alasdair have some fun squeezing through a tiny oxbow (he enjoyed it so much he did it twice!)

We left the relative warmth of the cave to a strong cold wind, so we didn't waste any time getting back to the vehicles and getting changed.

We then headed off to the Scotsmans pub in Hathersage for a drink, as afterwards I wanted to spend some money in Alpkit