Cavers: Chris Scaife, Alex Ritchie, Uncle Sam
We had a fun trip down this roadside cave in Penyghent Gill. The entrance is next to a stream and there was a fair bit of water entering the cave just inside the entrance. Alex went first down the rocky slope and was soon at the bottom, then someone (I honestly can’t remember who it was) started flapping about and shouting, “Hot Dang!” in his Bible Belt drawl, as his NRA-accredited firearm swung back and forth in his holster. He rather unreticently shouted that we had to get out as the whole cave was collapsing and then started running for the exit.
At this point I offered to go ahead. I quickly went down the slope and then waited for our anonymous hesitant friend, who eventually made it down accompanied by a barrage of loose rock.
From here there was a bit of crawling, some in shallow water, nothing difficult, up to the first “pitch” – a 4m climb down on which we put a handline for the return journey. We put our SRT kits on at this point as the way to the next pitch was all fairly easy. I rigged this next pitch via a knob of rock high up, reached by traversing over the stream, and then a sling for a rebelay on a large ledge at stream level.
It was again quite easy going to get to the third pitch, and we found that the easiest way to get to this pitch head was to enter a passage on the left about 10m before the stream disappears over the edge of the shaft. This was then an easy rift to follow, with some bomber naturals to back up the two spits for the Y-hang. Xander rigged this one and put in a deviation with a sling around a spike part way down.
We left our SRT kits at the bottom of this pitch and went around a corner into a narrow rift. The easiest way to get past this was to climb up to the top of the rift and traverse along, then climb down on ledges with a spluttery waterfall at the end. We were soon traversing over several wide holes that you really wouldn’t want to fall down and above the sump. We got to a flat-out squeeze that wasn’t too bad for most of us, followed by a very tight squeeze into a pool of water, at which point we began our enjoyable return journey.
I had a look at the survey of the cave and it’s interesting the passage we took to get to the top of the big pitch was not on the survey, it was quite hidden afterall unless you know where to look. I did not even know that route was there, when I last went through I crawled through somewhere lower down, through some tight horrible stuff. The passage was also pristine until we disturbed that mud pool, there were no foot prints in it when I got there, despite the need to stand/crawl in it to get through… new passage? If so there were some side passages going off that need pushing!
The only survey I’ve seen is the 1979 MUSS survey, which is pretty vague around the top of the pitch. I doubt we were anywhere completely new, but if we were we should certainly go back to survey it.
I would be extremely surprised if we were the first to take that route. It wasn’t hard to find and the two other inlets in the cave, both of which are described as tight, were explored to the bitter end. There’s no way that section of the cave was overlooked when it was being surveyed.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.