We arrived at the Eyam Dale junction and got ourselves settled nicely in the lay-by at the entrance to Flower Pot.
We had dropped a ladder down Flowerpot Entrance, and a bag with a safety line and some crabs down Eyam Dale, to collect en route to the freeclimb out of Merlins.
We each wiggled down the tube, where you are instantly IN IT, there is no messing around in Flowerpot, straight into the tight crawly goodness.
We made our way to the start of the constricting Dynamite series. Ade, Mat and James had a poke down Porth Crawl, but decided it was one for another day!
We had had a couple of wet weather days so we where prepared to possibly be met by quite abit of water, exactly how much was evident when one if the squeezes was completely sumped! Bailing was needed and soon, as graceful as drunken mammals, we splashed our way into the next section.
We dropped through the small calcified slot and dropped into Carlswark Cavern, we decided to take the wettest route! (Already soaked, what the hell) and made our way down Cockle Passage and to the sump at the end. Praying we didn’t loose our wellies, we got sucked into yellowy, frothy water, at this point we retreated and headed back to the main passage.
We located the entrance to Moon Milk Chamber, a little dip under a large very head smashing-esque boulder and into a dug out chamber with moon white walls.
Then, the best bit, the tight squeeze into Gimlis dream. Face down, water filled loveliness. I squeezed through to meet Mat and Ade, which much laughter at the state of ourselves at this point!
There was some muffled noises as James got himself stuck in the squeeze and had to do a reverse and re-enter feet first. Fabian and Sam then followed and we entered the fabled area of Gimlis dream.
This area is very decorated with beautiful stalagtites and calcification. There are some lovely delicate straw stalactites adoring the ceiling and other hidden up areas. There is lots of conservation tape but unfortunately this area has had alot of visitors and most of the formations have a nice brown coating. Albeit it is still good to see. And very entertaining to locate!
Just after this, Mat, ever the explorer dropped himself down an unknown slot and got himself a little bit wedged. After a bit of coaxing he managed to pull himself free.
We moved onto the boulder choke that leads to Merlins Mine, after a little bit of difficult navigation we popped out in the bottom of the shaft pitch to Merlins.
Ade, nimbly free climbed the shaft and deftly rigged a Y-hang with abseil crab at the top, we then took it in turns using a caving belt as support to chimney our way up the shaft. Feeling the need for a bit of extra safety, Ade demonstrated his pro rope skills by impressively having rigged not only the anchor very quickly, but creating a brilliant rope harness. He also quickly rigged and dropped another section of rope with some hand guide knots for extra support coming up the pitch. Skills!
Me and Sam wandered our way to what we thought was the exit, with Mat in tow … we soon realised we had taken a wrong turn and by the time we headed back to the pitch head everyone else had exited. This just added to the humorous and entertaining nature of the trip however and we where soon back out on the surface traipsing back up the road to our vehicles.
What a trip! Perfect collection of climbing, squeezing, soggy clothes, banter and an excellent group of folk!
All topped off with a pint or two in the Eyre Arms afterwards. Top notch day!