Did you pack this bag sir?

Friday 28th April

Manchester Airport
A leisurely morning packing a few final things soon turned into a frenzied panic when I reweighed and realised I had somehow packed only 8kg fully into a bag and, via a broken luggage scale, thought that it weighed 20kg. I thought I must have just been getting fitter and stronger, but no just a bit stupider.

Luckily this meant I could fit in more group equipment, namely lots of ration packs and another sleeping bag, destined for the Death Race camps. An hour later I was over my weight limit, so final few things into the coat pockets and full hiking clothes for the flight over. A rather fetching pair of trousers and braces made me look like I was about to go yodelling in Austria.

Strensham services at 1pm to meet Gareth and transferred over equipment. Promptly set off and got stuck in the Bank Holiday traffic. Finally got to Manchester airport around 4pm to meet Hannah and Chris. Further repacking and off to the airport.

Incredibly slow security lines, gave me plenty of time to think about how much I didn’t really like caving and not sure how I got talked into coming out to Spain. It’s fine in then summer, I can lord it over people and pretend I know what I’m doing by barking orders and nodding sagely when the Spanish talk to me. However, this time I have to go once more to the back end of Cueva del Nacimiento carrying a ridiculously heavy bag, sleep in the dirt and generally feel bad about the state of my predicament. It is snowing in Tresviso so maybe it’s flooded and we can’t go down……

Naturally we were stopped at security, mine was due to some batteries that I had placed in a glove, so obviously I was trying to smuggle a robotic arm out the country. Chris however was stopped due to an unidentifiable item in the top of his caving helmet….. a salad.

Everyone seems excited, although bit shell shocked that we are now on the way and going to have to do some caving….

There must be nearly 30kg of food between the four of us, 5kg of sleeping bags, 1kg of first aid kits, stoves, petrol and that’s before we meet Alex and then pick up the obligatory Tresviso cheese….

Now in Spain, 5 people and 10 bags crammed into a Nissan Juke…. 2 more hours to go

Trip over for Duncan and I

The time has come to leave Tresviso for this year. Thanks Phil for the invite – I’ve enjoyed my 12 days. 4 days camping at death race 3 days in the entrance series around Wigan Pier and helping Bob Re.rig Natacha, and a day walking around the mountains with Martin, not to mention lots of Vinous.

Duncan and I stopped for coffee on our way to Santander and whilst rummaging in one of the typically Spanish family hardware stores, I’ve found a new digging tool. For less than €8 I reckon it’s worth a go and it’s lightweight.

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Travelling

Derek arrived the night before and we packed the car to the roof, ready for an early start. Looked like plenty of space for more equipment.

Left at 10 on the Sunday for a straightforward drive down, picking up Mark Sefton outside the Premier inn, Dover. Having never met Mark before I took the most obvious option and looked for someone who looked like a caver. Easy, the warmbac tackle bag giving him away.

Packed 2 more bags into car and off to ferry port.

Uneventful crossing followed by the long drive through France, stopping just outside of Bordeaux at 3AM for a couple of hours sleep.

Monday 23rd

Up at 6AM, feeling rather cold. I picked the one lorry, that was carrying refrigerated goods and the loud hum kept me awake for at least an hour, so 2 hours sleep. Coffee and some left over quiche and we are off once more.

Arrive in Torrelevega around 1PM to complete group shop. The Yorkshire in me takes over and I spend most of the time picking up 50 cent salami and chorizo, rather than the 1.50 ones. It’s only for cavers and not like Gordon Ramsay is turning up. Finally headed up to Tresviso.

Weather extremely good, no clouds and baking sun.

Arrive in Tresviso around 4.30ish. Unpack, car suspension spring back to its normal state. Only 1 hub cab lost in the process (suspension and wheels another matter)

Others are not about (still at Marniosa) so I spend some time packing various bags ready for a trip to Nacimiento tomorrow.

Others arrive 9ish and we have some dinner. Then I fall asleep, while the others have some beers.