David Cooke, James Howarth, Seán Tidey, Tim Gouge, Will Puddy
Tonight 5 brave adventurers with Cookie at the helm, headed into Pen Park Hole. Dodging the needles Cookie had a roll around and passionately opened the gate (a rather impressive manoeuvre). We created “the leaning tower of kit buckets” and then awkwardly crawled past the suspicious urine smell and needle caps to the wonky in-situ ladders. We continued over the wine crate swamp before heading down past some rather impressive rusty hedgehog roofing (ooh-ahh).
Cookie, Seán and Will noticed the bad air at this point. James and Tim had never experienced bad air before and so this was not noticed by them yet. We moved onto the “pretty section of the cave” (ooh-ahh) and then onto the ladder pitch! By this point James and Tim had started to notice the effects of the bad air.
We linked together the 3 ladders and admired the bolts which were used to rig from. Cookie gave us all a life-line and Will kindly volunteered to go first to the ledge (great success). Seán next, then James then Tim. Seán then headed down to the lake and unfortunately the tide was in and so the lovely sandy beach we were promised was inaccessible. On a serious note- the water level had risen considerably since Cookie’s last trip where the bottom ladder just touched the beach (with little to none to spare). Today only 6-7ft of the last ladder was out of the water (out of 25ft total). Seán climbed down to the water and then headed up followed by Tim then James then Will.
Everyone enjoyed their visit to the lake even though there was a spring tide (no sand castles were constructed). We packed up the ladders and made an escape finishing with an alfresco change in the woods (ooh-ahh) before heading to the Eastfield pub for some well earned refreshments.
Thanks Seán for driving and Cookie for leading!
— James Howarth, Tim Gouge 5/04/2023