I was supposed to be at work this Thursday and Friday, but found out on Monday that I was off until next week so I thought I’d make the most of the great outdoors. On Thursday I cycled from Wrynose Pass over Hardknott, down to Eskdale, then back again, then back over Hardknott to Eskdale and back again; and on Friday I was lucky enough to go caving with the mighty Don Miller.
We walked up the steep hill to Yockers and were greeted by a pair of tawny owls at the entrance. I tied the rope around a large tree that jutted out from the edge, then put a sling around a rocky projection on my way down, before installing a hanger on to a spit before the drop. I haven’t used spits for a while. We then wriggled down a muddy slope to the short second pitch (which Don rigged) and met the water, which was splashing us rather than putting us in any danger. The third pitch has a reasonably awkward take-off and at the bottom we were well and truly spray-lashed. Around a corner, the next pitch had an awkward squeeze, then a ledge for the final drop. We removed SRT kits here and carried on down.
I think the cave becomes harder below the pitches, with thrutchy rift after thrutchy rift. My aching muscles from yesterday’s cycling were not exactly being rested.
On the way back up the fourth pitch, we both took our chest jammers off below the squeeze and slipped through easily. The cave is clean as a whistle except for that unavoidable flat-out muddy crawl between the first and second pitches, so our sparkly gear was caked in detritus for the walk back to the car. That’s a shame, but it was a good trip.