Author Topic: Andrew Farrow Obituary - Swissarmy knife to caves and cavers  (Read 1505 times)

Offline alastairgott

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1835

 Andrew farrow – obituary


Where do I start, I’m not the only one feeling the loss of such an enthusiastic Caver. The lions share of my trips outside Derbyshire were with Andy, and his knowledge, unique organisational style and generally adventurous attitude were second to none.


 I would always ask Andy what he’d been up to since I last saw him, and his reply would always be “not much”. I found out after one of these occasions that he had helped to pull a train out of a mine in North Wales using a plethora of heavy lifting gear with Heavypetal. He was a true gentleman, always downplaying his abilities and accomplishments. If I got the chance to see him last week, I’m sure he would have said he’d not been upto much despite being on the summit of a hill at dawn on the summer solstice and cycling from Leeds to Liverpool via the canal.


 I remember one trip with Andy to Nenthead, which was a classic for the exchanges we had between each other. I was apprehensive about route finding when I arrived, as we had the Nenthead traverse planned over the weekend. But having only done half of the route before under Benfools guidance, I was not certain I would be able to find the way. When I arrived at the hut Andy had a full set of Nenthead surveys printed out in full colour and copies to be able to take into the mine, this immediately put me at ease. We entered Capelcleugh and after some time arrived at the rise’s into sun vein, now I remembered climbing a ladder with Ben, but which one… there was quite a bit of dithering about, and Andy turned to me and asked if I knew where I was going. We eventually got upto the higher levels and then tried to work out where we were, taking bearings of various passages with the use of Andy’s surveys until we got Andy to a place that he knew. He was immediately in his element and knew exactly where we were.


 This was not my only Nenthead trip with Andy, indeed Andy felt quite at home in the passages around Nenthead. On my last trip, I was specifically invited as Brewery Shaft was his next objective, having read about it before I knew that you rigged from some bits of metal and abseiled down. Whilst true for most who descend the brewery shaft, not our Andy, who proceeded to take out a multipod to rig a straight hang down through the hatch right at the top of the brewery shaft. I was flabbergasted, I never expected Andy to pull out a bit of kit like this from his car stuffed with gear.


 Andy was never one to come ill equipped for anything always preferring to have more gear than perhaps others would feel necessary. A lot of the time this involved packing and unpacking his car throughout a weekend, but was never more useful than on the last trip I was on with Andy to Cwmorthin. On the last weekend of February and first Sunday of March, we had a club trip to North Wales, during which we did a few mines and on the Saturday night I shared some of the hip flask of whiskey I had brought with me with our Andy and he told me of plans for the catacombs this summer. On Sunday morning we had a trip to Cwmorthin planned and Andy was again in his element, having already acquired the key, he then proceeded to pull out enough pulleys from his personal supply to give one pulley to nearly everyone on the trip. And we had a couple of bags to share between us for the various bits we would need a rope for. Andy had a thing for ensuring I carried a bag on a trip… So part way round we agreed that one of the members of the team would have the bag for a little bit, and then hand the bag to me. Through the enthusiasm of the person carrying the bag I found myself without the designated bag, so with glee I pointed this out to Andy who was incensed that I was not carrying a bag so stopped the others just to give me the pleasure.


 There are probably plenty of trips which Andy would be able to recall that I dodged carrying a bag an occasion in Lost Johns… but the one which will probably always stick out in my mind was a trip to Meregill with Andy and Pete O’Neil. The three of us had a great trip to the bottom, and I couldn’t remember anything from my previous trip down there with CM, MS and AT. Me, Andy and Pete had a good explore down at the bottom doing various little routes off the passage leading to the sump, and then returned to the base of the ropes, at this point there was a small debate as to who was going up first and who was derigging. No one seemed to want to say no to derigging, so being the gentleman I made a decision and started ascending the ropes. I got up the first rope rapidly, so thought I didn’t want to get in the way so started up the second rope. Total length of rope now passed, about 65m, one bag I thought! I’ll just carry on so I don’t get in the way. The look on Andy’s face, never mind the words out of his mouth when he got to me with a bag. Eeep! I have an inkling this might be the reason why he was always keen to ensure I carried a bag.

 Andy, If you’re up there I’ll be carrying a bag for you and making a toast of whiskey whenever I can, you were a true friend to many and a real swissarmy knife to caves and cavers.

Offline cavemanmike

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 610
  • ucet
Re: Andrew Farrow Obituary - Swissarmy knife to caves and cavers
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2020, 09:06:20 pm »
Andy will be sorely missed by us in ucet, when the time is right we are organising a memorial trip to cwmorthin for him(he loved the place).
Thank for posting this Alastair

Offline Ian Adams

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1233
  • UCET
    • UCET Caving Club (North Wales)
Re: Andrew Farrow Obituary - Swissarmy knife to caves and cavers
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2020, 11:11:40 pm »
Andy’s grit and determination not to allow his disabilities to impede his devotion of the underworld was astonishing.

His humanity, his morality and his love for everything around him is something I have not seen so strongly anywhere else. I won’t see it again.

God bless x
A door, once opened, may be stepped through in either direction.

Online pwhole

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1920
  • TSG, DCA, PDMHS
    • Phil Wolstenholme website
Re: Andrew Farrow Obituary - Swissarmy knife to caves and cavers
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2020, 11:45:01 pm »
I'm working away in London right now so don't have much to hand, but below is a shot of Andy (and Alastair) at the bottom of Longcliffe - some more shots from here with Andy in should be included in a feature in the next Descent, and an obituary.

Andy was an absolute star, and once you got used to having to face him when you talked, and then not talk but shout, great fun was always had. He had a very dry sense of humour and a fabulous accent and was easily the toughest guy in the club given his impediments, none of which stopped him doing anything he wanted. Getting into his car was like walking into a second-hand shop, with something to look at or pick up on every surface. I had a new gizmo ready to give him for his travels the next time I saw him.

Last year a team of us went to the very top of Leviathan and cleaned out and stashed every loose rock we could find to try and ensure that nobody else suffers an accident like Andy did - from which he predictably recovered and went caving again immediately.

I've been trying to tough it out as Andy would, but I have to admit that I had a cry by the river tonight as it's just so fucking unfair - we're a close team at the TSG so this is really going to hurt everyone. He was a total hero and I'm really going to miss him.

Offline gingerlycolors

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • UCET
    • Gregory Collins
Re: Andrew Farrow Obituary - Swissarmy knife to caves and cavers
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2020, 07:25:15 am »
All this has come at a shock for us at UCET and no doubt for those at Derbyshire Caving Club. Not only Andrew Farrow was an active caver he was often seen kayaking on the canals and just before he fell ill he completed the length of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.  I've had the privilege of caving with him a few times and he will be badly missed.

Offline Ian Ball

  • junky
  • ****
  • Posts: 860
Re: Andrew Farrow Obituary - Swissarmy knife to caves and cavers
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2020, 07:22:54 pm »
I met Andy down Lost John's! Being of no longer top notch hearing myself, we had a very long conversation saying very little but he helped us out a lot that day, top guy.

Offline Pitlamp

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 5313
Re: Andrew Farrow Obituary - Swissarmy knife to caves and cavers
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2020, 08:42:32 pm »
Andy had quite a lot of bad luck in life but he battled on regardless, never giving in.
A really genuine bloke; I was shocked and very upset to learn what had happened.

Offline Alex

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 4064
  • BRCC, UWFRA.
Re: Andrew Farrow Obituary - Swissarmy knife to caves and cavers
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2020, 02:47:47 pm »
I was fortunate to cave with him a few times, he was always a top bloke and loved calling everyone "cock wombles". The guy had been through so much in life, yet despite this carried on caving and kayaking. I did not even know he was ill, as his last face-book post was complaining about a Royal mail delivery, he had been, I have been told but obviously wanted no sympathy. Always strong to the last.

Wish I had managed to cave with him more. Rest in Peace, Andy.
Anything I say is represents my own opinion and not that of a any club/organisation that I am a member of (unless its good of course)

Offline TLH

  • regular
  • *
  • Posts: 71
Re: Andrew Farrow Obituary - Swissarmy knife to caves and cavers
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2020, 05:44:34 pm »
Andy, generally, was a grump. He was a determined grump, and a good grump to be around.But was a grump.
He shouted, swore and huffed for a lot of our trips, but then smiled as he reminisced when in the pub.
He would provide most of the planning, rigging and gear for our trips - even if it meant carrying the biggest, bulkiest tackle sacks through the smallest of passages!
We nearly broke him in Spain, and we nearly broke him in Derbyshire. But being Andy, that didn't deter him and he still fought on.

I'm not sure he realised quite how much of an impact he made but he will be sorely missed.

*If it works, I have attached a few photos of him on some of our trips.. 

Online pwhole

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1920
  • TSG, DCA, PDMHS
    • Phil Wolstenholme website
Re: Andrew Farrow Obituary - Swissarmy knife to caves and cavers
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2020, 10:17:28 pm »
That's a wonderful set - thanks  :clap2:

Offline AR

  • Black shadow
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1243
  • PDMHS, ATAC, ANHMS
Re: Andrew Farrow Obituary - Swissarmy knife to caves and cavers
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2020, 09:00:00 pm »
Dirty old mines need love too....

Offline darwen dave

  • addict
  • **
  • Posts: 122
Re: Andrew Farrow Obituary - Swissarmy knife to caves and cavers
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2020, 11:20:51 pm »
Always enjoyed my days caving with Andy. One of my best memories is after doing a mining trip, we managed to turn every watercourse in a three mile radius bright orange. (oops). Returning back to Clitheroe ,we witnessed the most spectacular sunset I've ever seen on Sawley Brow. On returning to Clitheroe Andy asked if I minded if he nipped into Tesco to save him from having to go out again later. "No I said" But then gave him a sideways glance realising he was still covered in orange filth. "You can't go in like that" "Pah , they'll have seen worse" thirty seconds later , he was back. " they won't let me in, says it's a food store." One of many happy memories of a truly amazing guy.

 

Main Menu

Forum Home Help Search