I wore my caving helmet, fastened the tackle sack – containing a 50m rope, krabs and my SRT kit – and wellies to the pannier rack, and shared the rest of my gear between two panniers. So heavily laden, like a mule or a llama, I cycled from home to Bull Pot Farm.
On my way up the hill from Kirkby Lonsdale, I looked behind and saw that a long black cloud was coming down and I would soon be knocking on heaven’s door. The thunderstorm caught up with me and a volley of hailstones greeted me on arrival at the hut. There were no open doors; I had to change outside. That’s what normally happens when you go caving, but I was so looking forward to a roof over my head.
I walked over to Lancaster Hole and the water levels all around were high; a raging torrent was flowing into Bull Pot of the Witches. On the subject of raging torrents, the entrance to Lancaster Hole was a noisy place. Oh, the anticipation.
I looked down from the Y-hang and there was water flowing in from everywhere. I’ve never seen Lancaster Hole like that. From the bottom of the pitch, I went to the Collonades. Not much of a caving trip – the main purpose of today was to see how I managed the ride with all my caving gear.
Prusiking out, the lower part of the pitch was still a raging torrent, so I hurried through that and was soon out into much milder rain than there had been before I was underground. I quickly changed back into my cycling gear and returned home.
Carrying so much weight, I thought the cycling would be the toughest part of the day but actually the toughest part was definitely changing into my caving gear in the wild hailstorm. And I’d have had to do that even if I’d driven there, so cycling to caves is a winner for me.
Nice one Chris, I doubt it will ever be something I will ever be fit enough to do despite John suggesting it to me more than once during lockdown to get around the rules (as its exercising lol). I did once cycle as far as the closest cave Whitewell pot, but did not bring caving gear with me and even that was bloody hard. It’s like 50 miles to the Dales, where as Whitewell is about 25 – 30 so I doubt it will be happening for me.