We were blessed with many lovely gifts over Christmas, one of which was a groupon voucher from my sister for an outdoor adventure day with Truth and Trust Adventure in the Peaks. With the expiry date of the 6th of March highlighted, we decided to do a half term trip.
There were a fair few activity combinations (Climbing and Abseiling, Climbing and Caving, Abseiling and Gorge Walking, etc), and we knew we definitely wanted to do climbing, and my hubby fancied giving caving a try (he’s not one for heights, I’m not one for enclosed spaces, so it’s a good compromise), so we signed up and put it in the diary. In hindsight, going for a 6 mile walk the day before maybe wasn’t the best idea we ever had, but I wouldn’t have missed either of the days. Needless to say, we are now shattered and I’m not sure how long my arms will let me keep typing.
We arrived equipped with spare changes of clothes, multiple shoe options and leftovers from the previous day’s picnic. We met the rest of the group and our leader at Calver before getting back in the car to head to our climbing destination. It’s amazing how often you can drive the same road and never know that something’s there. We pulled over on the main road from Grindleford up to the Fox House, went up a little path and over a ‘hillock’ (what a great word), and BAM. BIG ASS WALL. I wouldn’t go so far as to say cliff, but sheer rock face would just about cover it.
The one we climbed is just to the left of the photo, but you get the idea!
Malc gave us a pep talk (I didn’t fully get his sense of humour, I was a bit confused. He was great though), then set up his ropes while we got harnessed up. Anyone who’s worn a harness will know, there need be no pictures of that.
We got shown how to belay (had to google how to spell that!), put into groups then given a section of the rock face to attempt to scale. Cue frozen fingers, wobbly feet and exhausted arms. Nevertheless, reaching the top was nothing short of fantastic. I managed to get to the top of all 3 sections, even if it did take me ages and I had to fall a few times!
Oh my, that is not a flattering shot…
After a quick lunch (and an amazing hot chocolate), it was off to The Cave. Not quite sure what to expect, we got suited up…
You’ll be seeing lots of my cheesy grin I’m afraid…
We took a wander along the road, then up a fairly nondescript footpath. We stopped opposite a rock face, and Malc sat himself across a small gap between the rock face (lots of those around here) and the floor. It would appear that this was our cave entrance.
Down we go!
Very excited/terrified! Two of our group had turned back at the entrance as one didn’t like enclosed spaces. Eek.
Those muddy bums soon became wet bums. Waterlogged wellies and wet pants.
Still excitable. This was before we had to go on our bellies through the water with the roof right on top of you. Cue wet body. Glad I bought a FULL set of spare clothes!
As we went through the cave, we’d stop occasionally and Malc would tell us things about either the history of the mines, or the geology of things, or even a few caving horror stories, just for good measure 🙂 The formations were pretty incredible, as well as stalagtites (?) forming, and ‘scallops’ as he called them on the walls where you can tell how fast the water was running and in which direction. All very interesting (even if you are freezing cold with heavy wellies and a bit desperate to get out into the light).
So. Much. Water.
There were points where we could stand upright, points where you had to be flat on your belly to squeeze through a gap. There was pretty much always water on the floor, and you had to tread carefully in case there were hidden rocks or sudden dips. I’m amazed I didn’t faceplant into it!
It was a straight there and back (always quicker on the way back), and I didn’t realise how glad I was to be out in the light again until we were back on the surface. The air felt fresher and the sky brighter 🙂
So there we go, a half term adventure. We’ve still got a few days to go, let’s see what else the week brings…
[p.s. If you want to see how much water came out of my wellies at the end, head on over to my Instagram thing for a quick video…nothing groundbreaking, but gives a picture of just how wet we got!]