The other shoot I just finished with Triple Echo for the BBC was even weirder than the Handa adventure! The director Richard Else managed to get special permission to climb in the show cave Peak Cavern near Castleton right in the middle of the Peak District. The idea was for myself and Alan Cassidy to see if we could find a route out of it!
Anyway, we enjoyed our special permission while we had it, in the name of making BBC television. But first we spent two days a bit further north climbing an even sillier cave. The team wanted to see if we could climb our way out of a proper Yorkshire Pot Hole - Jingling Pot. A 60m tubular soaking wet pitch black slimy hole in the ground. Alan and myself didn’t have the faintest idea how to tackle it. I started off climbing in winter boots and gloves which was a mistake and I quickly switched to rockboots even through the water was running down it, over the green slime. I thought back to a day last year climbing Pleasure Done (E3) in Pembroke with Tim Emmett in the rain. That was surprisingly amenable and the limestone had a weird friction even though it was soaking. Jingling might be just like that, but with a headtorch on?! It turned out to be a wee bit harder than that, but we had a great time and emerged squinting in the daylight after one of our stranger days out climbing.
After a hardcore couple of days with the hilti and wire brush, It looked amazing: 7c+, 7a, 7b+, 7b. Only one problem, the first pitch would be 7c+ if it was dry. But it was completely soaking and all the holds were full of slimy wet mud - proper caving style! At least Keith’s floodlights made it feel slightly more like a crag than a hole in the ground. I had a couple of tries, sliding about all over the place. It was actually better not to use chalk for most of the first pitch, it only made your hands feel slimier.
Next morning I set off again. I could see that slipping off could happen on any move, so why worry about any of them? I just kept creeping across the traverse, unexpectedly scrapping my way through to the stance, and we could enjoy the remaining spectacular pitches through the roofs and headwall. What shall we call it? Has to be 'Ring of Fire'! My first new routes in Yorkshire and the Peak -what a weird week!