After something of a lie in (as our alarm didn't go off), Jess and I finally arrived 15 min's late to meet up with Andy and Mel in Buxton before heading off to an empty Giant's Hole car park.
There was some wardrobe debate before I decided on a rather fetching neo-fleece with matching knee high wet socks, then set to stripping my SRT kit to a minimum to fit in the kit bag with the 4 pitches of rope.
We made short work to Garland's where it was rigged for SRT, followed by a stomped down the crab walk. Pausing at the vice I had a go at going through rather than under, much to Andy's amusement when I got stuck with legs waving in mid air! After finally admitting defeat......for now, I popped back through and we headed off to Valentine sump. I crawled through the initial damp passage to the dam where the bellows are for the syphon and then went in to the sump to check on the pipe work. After some coaxing Andy came through to take a look, and after quarter of an hour of playing we found the bellows were sucking air and stubbornly refused to play. Andy pointed out at this point that the girls would be getting chilly by now so we re-grouped and continued on over bad step traverse and on to the climb down and Geology pot.
We soon found our selves at the ducks, which although water levels weren't too high, were very refreshing for those who hadn't donned neoprene. Foam lines on the walls to the east canal showed the passage certainly wouldn't have been a place to be a couple of days before and we were all grateful for the few days of fine weather since.
We finally arrived at the canal where, whilst Andy began wading in, I traversed above him and around the corner to the first climb up of the Filthy five where I quickly found out why they were called this as I sank in thick mud up to my shins. I heard Andy start swearing as he discovered just how deep the canal was and even after some coaxing he refused to go any further without a rubber ring :)
Mel had been feeling a little rough before we'd entered the cave and was now looking grey and shivering so we decided enough was enough for one day and swiftly headed out.
Back in the sun and out of the wet gear Mel had begun to look a bit better, so we headed off to the pub for a quick pint before the drive home.
Another great day out with all routes now discovered ready for a future return with some repair kit for syphon and perhaps a little more neoprene and a rubber ring for Andy, and a sherpa to carry the kit for me on our return!
Present: Mel Wakeman, Andy Grimes, Jessica Harding & Mark Burkey