Laying Eggs for Cat - Alan Brentnall

Friday, 10 April, 2015

Recent mid-week trips to the Chapel have had a definite D.I.Y. feel to them as we slowly work our way through a list of things needed to be repaired, upgraded and generally fettled, and, on top of the usual weekly hostel chores, this hasn't left many opportunities to go caving. Not so on the day of the April meeting, however, as we had a specific underground task to do, and limited time in which to do it! As you may be aware, Cat Hulse masterminded a terrific treasure hunt in Peak Cavern on the day after the April meeting. It was an event which was thoroughly enjoyed by all involved, it introduced many of us to bits of Peak we had never (or rarely) visited and it was great fun; the idea being to follow pictorial clues around the system, gathering sweets at various locations. A really amazing day!

The original intention had been to have an Easter Egg hunt, but a recent news article (it might have been on April 1st?) declared that obese and generally overweight people were far less likely to develop dementia in their later years, and this had caused a run on the Easter Egg stores throughout the nation. So we had to make do with bags of Haribo, and various chocolate bars. [Regarding the news item, one of my mates pointed out a few days later that obese and generally overweight people tend, statistically, not to have as many "later years" for a variety of physiological reasons. But this didn't really help, as all the Easter Eggs had still been scoffed, so Haribo it had to be!]

But, the day before the grand event saw the three of us, Cat, Ann and myself, sitting at the table in the Chapel kitchen taking part in a veritable cottage industry: cutting the pictorial clues, encapsulating them, labelling them, sorting them, discussing them, rejigging some and finally packing them all into two brightly coloured Haribo buckets. All this effort took time of course, and, snatching a quick lunch, we realised that it was pushing 1 o'clock as we headed off into Peak Cavern. No time to lose, we landed first at the Half-Way House Sump, where we laid out a sequence of clues and sweets. A quick dash through the wallows and we lowered ourselves into the Mucky Duck, where we managed to find a nice dry ledge well above the normal watermark, and big enough for a Haribo bucket full of clues and sweets. Next we went to Pickering's Passage to drop some more off, then round into Treasury Chamber to lay clues both in the chamber itself, and down in SEP Sump.

At this point we chose to split up. Cat headed of with the items needed for Liam's Way and Colostomy Crawl, while Ann and I sorted out Surprise View, Jim's dive base at Ink Sump, Picnic Dig, Cadbury Crawl and the Wind Tunnel. Reunited at Treasury Junction, we headed back to Pickering's Passage and crawled, quick as we could, up to the big bad block which marks the way into the parting of the ways. Here we split again, with Ann and Cat pushing on into Cohesion Crawl to do a drop at Toadstool Aven, while I nipped up to Moss Chamber to lay out the final load.

A grand afternoon out, if a little rushed, but we all felt quite pleased with ourselves as we exited from the cavern entrance well before closing time, and returned to the Chapel for a congratulatory feed! As I said, the event itself the following day was a cracker, and I'm sure it will be repeated (hopefully annually!) with different places for us all to visit.

Many thanks Cat for a super trip!