For all trips after the 24th of August please see Forum log book.
24th August 2014 – Short Drop Cave
Four bodies; one had not been caving since March, another hadn’t been for five years and the third had never been before. After gear hiring and the usual Ingleton faff we headed to a glorious Leck Fell, no, really, the sun was out and it was actually pleasant for once!
Down the, erm, short drop, the (very briefly flatout) crawl caused a few concerned faces, but otherwise fine and we were soon stomping (almost) down the streamway. Finally reached the short 5m pitch, that was impressively rigged; one ladder mostly in the water, one srt rope doubling as lifeline for ladder that hung free but close to the water and another srt rope rigged further out and away from the water. All down without too much issue we soon reached the top of the second pitch, the point of our return.
I think it was enjoyed by all…
23rd August 2014 – The Mohole
After debate about the weather, the day, and Alex’s fitness, we eventually decided on the Mohole on Kingsdale – despite the 1975 write-up Alex had found talking of tight and awkward parts.
Alex had pre-packed the ropes, and had walked up to the cave only the week before, so he knew the way.
For reasons unclear, we took the scenic route up, rather than the direct route Alex had taken previously.
For once we were carrying just the essentials, rather than bags of extra gear.
Eventually found the cave, with a nice little hobbit sized door, and Alex started rigging the first rope, which was to take us down 2.5 pitches. Since it seemed disappointingly short for the reputedly tight and awkward 3rd pitch, I tied on the second rope to reconnoitre. A first feel convinced me to move my rack to my short cows tail – but it wasn’t that bad. Quite short with a pleasant free climb where it opened out, so we removed the second rope, and made do with the first – just the perfect length to leave a little free climb from the bottom of the rope to the bottom of the pitch.
I rigged on down the 4th, which after a slightly awkward corner opened out into a biggish pitch, with a steeply sloping floor – continued abseiling down the slope, until I got to a spit for the last section, which I tried to rig while Alex came down. The spit was shot, so I descended down to the scaff off a natural, then carried on descending the scaff, until the rope ran out again, leaving a somewhat greasy free climb to the bottom. Someone’s done a lot of digging down here, because it goes on quite a way.
After a visit to the end of the dig, which we reckoned got to about 40m above Kingsdale Beck, we headed out – the free climbs seemed easier on the return, and we had an uneventful trip out.
Down the hill to the cars by the direct route, quick change, then I turned round (employing the famous Jackson manoeuvre Roll Eyes), and ten minutes later headed off to Bernies to return a borrowed lamp.
A fine trip.
12th August 2014 – Cova des Coloms, Menorca
Short trip to this cave with a very impressive entrance, close to the small town of Es Migjorn Gran in Menorca.
It is only about 100 metres long but is home to a lot of birds and the noise they made was quite eery. The fig trees at the entrance did give the cave a sweet aroma too.
11-14th August 2014 – Mostajo, Matienzo
Two club members went out to Matienzo this summer and made a few discoveries…
10th August 2014 – Cueva del Molino (Agua), Matienzo
Our flight from Manchester to Bilbao was an early one, leaving plenty of time for an afternoon of caving on arrival in Matienzo. After driving round in circles looking for an open supermarket on a Sunday or Domingo in this deeply religious country, before eventually settling on a loaf of bread and some ham from a nearby garage, we erected our tents and headed to the excellent Cueva del Molino (or Agua, as everyone else calls it) to satisfy Dan’s insatiable appetite for photography and my appetite for appearing in other people’s photographs.
We hopped over the electric fence and into the large entrance. This cave is absolutely brilliant and features a glorious mixture of walking, swimming, climbing and gazing in awe at formations. We climbed the ramp on the right hand wall and followed this aesthetically pleasing section to the top, on calcite that looks slippery, but in fact has awesome grip. Back into the main river passage, we made it to the end fairly quickly, to admire the formations and prehistoric altar. Our eyes and ancient ritual curiosities suitably impressed, we headed back out into daylight, ready to start the expedition proper.
16th August 2014 – Yockenthwaite Pot
A quick trip down the cave for me and Chris Shaman. It looses much of its intimidation factor when you are with someone so all 4 pitches quickly dropped and the 2 m climb was climbed with ease and no fuss.
At this point an awkward rift starts which was the point I turned back last time on my own. We got through the first section easy enough but the second short section (about two body lengths) proved to be much harder, we both had a few goes at it, but thought we might slip down and get stuck, so retreated. Until I plucked up the courage and went through feet first. Once through I thought looking back that was not too bad. Chris however did and said I should bottom it on my own.
So I was on my own again. More slightly easier rift passage (in this direction) led into a larger decorated stream-way complete with gour pools and a few helicites. I should qualify “larger” as being just wide enough to walk in. This gave way to an easy traverse that gradually de-generated until a boulder blockage. It was an awkward manoeuvre again best tackled feet first (I am turning into Dom!) . I looked through and was happy I could get back before I committed. More awkward traversing led over a hole that didn’t go anywhere I could fit. And then the hole I did want, an awkward 4m (easy going down) climb. Again I ensured I could return before committing, as there were not much holds on the top half of the climb.
This was at least the end of the traversing, an easy crawl led along the floor into more upright passage which led onto a boulder floored “chamber”. No my little black book it was not a chamber it was just a slightly wider bit of passage. Then it was a short drop into a flat out and quite wet crawl, followed by a sharp bend to the left again wet before another quite tight drop saw me to the double bends. Alone I only half heartedly tried, I managed to get to the first bend to be truthful it did not look that bad until I realised I was half stuck and needed to inch my way back out again. The journey out despite all the obsticals was not too bad, about the same difficulty as exiting Pip, just more chance of getting stuck in a rift, but easier as no bags or gear to carry, unless you count a mars bar!. I think the 4m climb was the hardest bit as that got me panting the most with one leg in one rift and my other leg in the other as I inched my way up.
Chris kindly waited for me on the other side of the rift and we headed out, making an exit at about 1pm, total time underground a mere 3 hours.
9th August 2014 – Boundary Pot to Pippikin Pot
A fine Ease Gill through trip, undertaken by just two bodies.
3rd August – Lancaster Hole
The rain forecast for the west put anyone off joining me for what was going to be an Ease gill traverse and no one felt like doing a potter about in Lanc hole. Despite it being sunny here in Skipton it went downhill the more west I went. Reminds me why I moved east!
Unbeknown to me my Rude nora and backup light had also decided they did not want to go caving either, so I was really on my own! I arrived on a rainy easegill and discovered I had no lid. Not totally perturbed I grabbed the Fenix light I normally use on fell searches and stuck that on me head.
I went over to Lanc hole and realised I had also brought my 39m rope, which I had packed it for Top sink pull through. Un/Luckily despite me not really wanting it to, it just reached the bottom. I must remark the entrance rigging is more interesting with the in-situ rope protectors.
At the bottom out of the daylight I realised how abysmal the Fenix is as a caving lamp, I could see as far as I wanted ahead of me, which was why its good for fell searches, but I could not see my feet or the floor within 2 feet of my feet. Tripping up and few times and whacking my unprotected on the roof once, I reached the dig.
I found the bags full of spoil left from the previous dig and dragged them outside the dig passage to a suitable dumping spot, that won’t get in anyone’s way. Eventually after 30-45 minutes of moving stuff I had finished and got a little bit of a work out (which was why I went underground in the first place). I poked at the 3 dig faces but did not really do that much. Thinking I should not push my luck with this light with no backup (batteries were not 100% to start with) I headed out passing Fall pot on the way. Arriving at fall the water was in full flow and there was certainly a lot more water in the high level passages then there was on the way there. Lanc hole itself was very wet but not dangerous, just a bit unpleasant.
De-rigging I was out by 2pm after spending about 3 hours underground with some photos, but the light was not up to the job of that
18th July 2014 – Lancaster Hole
A two man team headed to the dig for an evening session, need ot get back in to it more often (decent weather and entrance repairs have diverted our attention).
5th July 2014 – Craftsmans Pot
After nearly a whole day of heavy rain, the plan to do Crescent was abandoned in favour of Craftsman’s, which we hoped was more weatherproof.
It seems it has a new sound scaffolded entrance, roughly in the middle of the shakehole. The entrance series below the scaffold provided some implausible vertical thrutching, which I thought might be interesting on the way out, but we were fairly swiftly to the top of Hickory pitch, which was already rigged.
We kitted up one by one and descended. There was a bit of a rub, so Mike (3rd) put in a deviation using a flake – which peeled off a chunk of wall and landed in his lap. Dickory & Dock follow straight on – with some fairly hairy traversing away from the horrible even more loose stuff.
Below the pitches it’s kit off and straight in to the flat out bedding, which had a goodish stream running through it. Don’t know what the water levels are normally like, but it was just possible today to keep your mouth out of the water while excavating. After a few metres it eases, and the cave becomes quite pleasant – with rifty passage, straws, helictites, cascades, traverses, and chimney climbs. This eventually degenerates into “flat out and sideways” crawling – but was better than it sounds, and we soon reached the very foamy sump.
Managed to turn around, and head back the way we’d come. A large boulder went for a little wander while I was stood on it, but no harm done.
Back at the flat out wet bedding, it seemed it wasn’t so easy to breathe while going upstream. It still seemed to need excavating. I took my helmet off to get my head up more, but still I think I drank most of it, although I didn’t manage to lower the level noticeably.
Going back up the pitches, we spaced ourselves out, so that we cleared the pitch head & traverse before the next man came up, then it was kit off again for the interesting vertical thrutchy bits. We hauled the tackle through separately, rather than try to push/pull it with us. The first section wasn’t too bad, the second was harder, and I think we all needed an assist on the top one – there didn’t seem to be anything at all to push off.
Out to glorious sunshine, an amble down the hill, and fine ale at the Marton.
Really quite a fine trip – good value for grade 3/4.
5th July 2014 – Hagg Gill Pot (and the TDF)
Solo trip down Hagg Gill Pot and a quick gander up to Strans Gill Pot prior to viewing the tour on Cray Hill (Cote de Cray) the following day (Saturday).
Strans Gill is a lovely approach if you go via the gill. The entrance to the pot has been tidied up with a stone border to protect the shaft from debris. It didn’t look as tight as I expected.
Then I headed to Hagg Gill. Finding the entrance wasn’t easy as I had no real idea where it was (it’s in a dry valley to the left of Hagg Gill about the same altitude as Langstroth Pot). Anyway, I used a 15m rope to descend the Shatter Pot pitch – a sling is helpful for the lower scaffold bar if you rig from the top.
A recce upstream was very pleasant, quickly admiring the duck. Then downstream to the sump which actually looked more inviting than most. I ignored the rope that Chris said goes nowhere.
I wanted to head through to the upstream passages so ventured into Neat Petite. This a crawl in the stream followed by a section that required an odd manoeuvre to pass which was ok but then I was flummoxed. The way on looked like a scramble up a very loose section (into Rumpty Tumpty perhaps?) but it was loose and I wasn’t keen (being solo made me a bit cautious).
I decided to exit and have a few beers and bite to eat besides the beautiful environs of the Wharfe in Langstrothdale. It absolutely lashed it down all night and the river was gushing the following morning – about 5 times it’s normal level.
The TDF was excellent and well attended with a great atmosphere.
30th June 2014 – Crystal Cave – Bucket through trip
A dry spell tempted us to do the through trip (4th time for Pete), first for me but with the uncertainty of whether the choke (connecting Dog Hole to Bucket on the head) was passable after Daz dislodged it on the last visit.
This trip deserves an entry in NFTFH to be honest. There’s a fair bit of crawling, plenty of ducks, some flat out and some deep and require a full submerge. One of the low bits was completely silted up and required excavation. If you are above average build, expect to do a bit of excavating and a note to all, take a wet suit hood (and neo/wetsuit, needless to say) – you’ll need it, especially in the winter months.
The aforementioned choke was very unnerving. We came to the conclusion that no one had passed this since the Dazzler and it was passed on this occasion with extreme care. Note to visitors, take care, the big boulder in the middle wants to come down, don’t be there when it does!
I had persevered with a 10 metre ladder through to the where you arrive at the entrance crawl to BotH. This was brought with the idea of descending the downstream pitch. On we went, through a stream choke to the pitch head. When you see the water descend, go up and round the corner where you will see 2 in-situ hangers. You can rig this with a 10m ladder or take a 15 metre rope for SRT. The passage continues through a short walk, then crawl and to a chamber with a nice stal and curtains. The sump (at least I thought it was) is on the right via a shufty through a 1 m rift.
The exit from BotH is a little awkward as it’s been blasted in parts and be careful exiting as someone has covered the exit with large Yorkshire stone slabs! Thanks for that.
28th June 2014 – Valley Entrance (KMC traverse) and Batty Cave
Daz told me that he was going to write this report, but seeing as he hasn’t yet, I thought I would note down a few details about the trip(s). The initial plan, of course, was to do White Scar, however the owner informed us that the smallest party allowed to enter the cave was three. That way if someone got hurt, one person could stay with the injured person while the other person went for help. The owner had obviously heard stories about how much of a liability Daz is.
Seeing as I had lots of rope in my car, Daz and I opted instead to check out the Kingsdale Master Cave traverse. Not much to report. The traverse starts at the top of the ~6m climb up/down into the streamway near the sump. According to the rigging guide, ~30 krabs are needed, which is exactly how many we had with us. This only got us just over halfway along the traverse, however. We even left out several anchors along the way. This traverse is undoubtedly the most boring caving trip that I’ve ever been on. It’s unbelievable how boring it is. It’s fairly pointless too as you’re never more than 15-20 feet above the streamway. In fact, I can’t even figure out why someone put in a traverse here in the first place. Presumably it’s in case the streamway floods, but if that’s the case then why have the traverse, as it eventually ends in the streamway anyway?
After this bit of disappointment Daz and I decided to head over to Batty Cave, this time armed with rope. After descending the short 6m pitch we landed in a roomy chamber ~10-12m high. This led into a somewhat narrow rift before descending into a crawl, sometimes hands and knees and sometimes flat-out, over very slimy cobbles and through puddles of smelly water inhabited with some kind of mini prawn like creatures. There were also several bugs and even spiders and spider webs. The air was putrid and smelled like a stale fart. This crawl continues for some ways before leading to a couple of short cascades (free climbable) and the beginning of a 61m flat-out crawl to a sump. Going to the end of the cave seemed pointless given its smelly and slimy nature. It’s a very unpleasant place. If, however, you like the smell of stale farts and have always wondered what it would be like to crawl over cobbles covered in KY jelly, then this is definitely the place for you.
27th June 2014 – Daylight Hole
A short evening bimble around an abandoned haematite mine with Chris Kelly. Quite an impressive place, although does not appear to be very long – well worth another visit and a little more time to explore and understand the layout better.
Some good artefacts around and a fair bit of secondary mineralisation scattered about.
25th June 2014 – Slanting Cave, Heron Pot, Batty Cave
full report coming eventually…
A brief visit to Slanting Cave before awkwardness forced a retreat. A jolly in Heron Pot and a visit to that, erm, classic of Batty Cave!
22nd June 2014 – Little Neath River Cave (and others nearby)
A madcap adventure to South Wales, as day trip from the North West of England. Headed down valley to Cwm Pwll y Rhyd, then White Lady Cave, Town Drain before headng back to Bridge Cave and finally the main event of the day; Little Neath. Wet sporting and longer than expected..
21st June 2014 – Newby Moss Pot
We ventured up to Newby Moss but one did not make it to the top nevermind the bottom! Then Don was physically repelled by the entrance, I admit it definitely seemed tighter this time, I had to take my SRT kit off!
Once in the cave we had no issues and Shaman passed the crux which is the tight squeeze in the boulder choke without any issues, this seemed tighter as it gave me a bruise but I did fit with my SRT kit, go figure. (it was not the kit that caused the bruise).
Me and Chris swapped over rigging duties. I had picked up the original exploration hoe and took it to the bottom, Me and Ales dug for about 2 hours using the hoe. (see exploration report).
We then exited. For me it was a bit of nightmare as I almost lost my helmet a few times as the catch was not working. Darn grit. I also got a spanner in my eye at one point which was fun, I might stop using elastic!
We were out after about 5 and a half hours underground. It would have been 3 and a half hours if you don’t dig, so really quick trip. Don met me and Ales at the YSS after doing his own trip with Roz in Yordas after spending an hour and a half in the sun first. It sounds like they had a more enjoyable time.
14th June 2014 – Sunset Hole
Thanks to Ron for assisting on Meg’s first SRT trip down Sunset Hole. After a squeaky start (no tears just jerky descents on the smaller climbs) we rigged a lifeline as additional protection on the final pitch. To be honest, this was not required as Meg performed admirably on the descent with no requirement for the back up line (although attached just in case!!!).
After a brief chat at the bottom, we watched Ron make his ascent before clipping Meg onto the rope. Once she understood the technique, she was away – a natural prussiker LOL.
The remainder of the trip was uneventful and we emerged into a nice afternoon after around 3hrs underground – a cracking effort from Meg and more importantly, she enjoyed it too.
Look out – Swinsto here we come LOL
14th June 2014 – Washfold Pot
Strangle Pot was originally on the cards, but the iffy weather (it was raining off in the distance) and the fact that none of us had checked the weather forecast since the night before made us decide to go somewhere else instead, as we weren’t sure whether or not Dementia crawl would be safe. We eventually opted for Washfold Pot.
Not much to report. A very straightforward trip with no real problems, except the annoyance of having to carry two large tackle bags with us through the thrutchy entrance series, and then one large tackle bag through the rifty section afterwards. The big pitch was moist on the way down, but not too bad. The same can’t be said for the last two pitches, however, which were very wet.
Oh yes. I almost forgot. All of the entrances into the cave were covered with spider webs. Lots of spider webs. In fact, Sharman left his small tackle bag on a ledge just below the entrance, and when we returned a spider had made a huge web that covered part of the bag. Not cool.
??? June 2014 – Magnetometer Pot
3 in attendance Me Don and Chris. We dropped the entrance pitch and went to Well pitch. Don and Chris went via the direct route while I took the long route which connects to the other side of the rift at Well pitch.
We then dropped the Well pitch just to see what its like. Conclusion, it definitely resembled a well! I did not get off the rope. I could see an interesting side passage or perhaps just another aven, about 3m up from the bottom.
On we went, Don passing where he got to last time, until we emerged in the river Styx and then larger passage. I had a bit of explore in a well decorated side passage while the others looked on.
We then moved onto Caton hall where me and Chris took a look at the alt pitch into the parallel rift and though bugger that, so we dropped the normal pitch. We decided to do Heaven and hell round trip simply because we could not be bothered bring tackle for Worm way and none of us were wearing Neoprene for Kamikaze.
We entered via the upstream end of Pendant passage, where the first tightest squeeze was passed by two but like a square shape trying to fit through a star shaped hole Don just would not fit. Me and Chris pressed (Quite literally) on, through spiky squeeze and jabby rock floored flat out passage. Eventually we skydived out onto a ledge over a sizeable drop. We climbed down into pendant passage, which was more gnarly shite for about half an hour. We exited via Heaven meeting Don at the end, so it truly was heaven!
The round trip had no merits, except it was a challenge that me and Chris passed. I don’t think we will be repeating the trip again, you did not miss much Don.
At the exit pitch I decided to properly free climb it with Chris spotting me, its a fun pitch to free climb and it must have saved at least 2 minutes of prussic. We went to the pub, well me and Chris did I think Don got lost and never turned up.
???th May 2014 – Gaping Gill – various
Seven bodies, many pots. In Corkies or Stream, out via Bar/Small Mammal or the Horrocks-Stearne crawl to Wades. Some went back in Marilyn and out Bar.
Thanks, as ever, to BPC for rigging all these entrances to allow multi-exhange trips to take place with relative ease.
17th May 2014 – Vespers Pot – Spectacle exchange
full report coming eventually…
Three in Spectacle, two in Vespers. A fine exchange where the hardest aspect was probably moving the bags!
10th May 2014 – Jean Pot
It was very wet in the Dales today, so options were limited. I met Don, Dan, Alex and Sharman in Bernies and we drove to Clapham, then set off up the hill to Jean Pot, finding the entrance with relative ease. Looking at the map now I’m back home, I realise we were very close to Body Pot on the way up and I wish we’d had a look in there. Ah well.
All the pitches in Jean Pot are short. From the foot of the first pitch, a bit of crawling leads to 3 pitches in succession, the last of these being quite narrow at the top. I was the last one down this and Dan suggested I put in a rebelay half way down. That was to make our exit significantly more pleasant. Below this bit was more crawling, a slippery pre-rigged traverse and a backbreaking corner, followed by a sloping pitch, leading straight onto another pitch and followed by a narrow final pitch. Some wires dangling all around us made these bits a touch frustrating, but we all got out ok.
When we returned to the foot of the 4th pitch, the water levels were noticeably higher, meaning our exit was very sporting and refreshing. It wouldn’t have taken too much more water for the sporting and refreshing feeling to have been replaced by a battle for survival.
9th May 2014 – Skirwith Cave, Gunnerfleet Cave, Roger Kirk West
Poor weather, limited choice. A discussion on the way up regarding a post on UKC and me extolling the delights of Skirwith Cave meant we stopped off for a quick jolly and Rob could finally have a quick sample of this tourist cave. Went to the waterfall, which was fairly wet, Rob climbed the side of it via a slightly exposed route. I stayed put which was just as well considering I had to point out footholds for Rob on his return!
Headed out and drove in caving gear to Ribblehead. Under the viaduct and on to Gunnerfleet Cave, where we spotted some rusting rubbish Alex had missed on his tidying up session.
Lower Cave first, short but respectable trip – walking, crawling, clambers, skulls (yes, quite a few actually) and formations. Then out and in to the upper cave, pleasant meandering streamway to the end, return and take in the side passage. Anyone that says short caves are easy should have a gander down this side passage, largely traversing or thrutchy going – not for the faint hearted! Rob pushed along the final snug section to a muddy crawl which signifies the end of the passage.
That done we headed out, looked for Heathen Hole, not sure if we found it or not, probably blocked anyway. Under the railway, fine view of Ingleborough. Onwards to Roger Kirk West Sink, found easy enough, short drop to low stream, crawl and erm, crawl and wriggle and erm, I’m guessing you get the picture now.. Rob fecked off and left me, I eventually found a dubious looking small choke, not sure if it was the way on or not I waited for ages, with no sign of Rob I returned and exited. A short while after Rob appeared the same way.Rob can’t remember a choke, maybe I went wrong in the stream-oxbow-bedding areas of lower RKWS? A return is needed.
Out and try to locate, in the dark, the entrance Rob popped out of after his through trip. Great fun. Found lower entrance, then another, which Rob entered, I walked over surface and found the middle entrance where the tub was located, had a quick jolly in and out only to emerge with Rob on the surface – without having passed me – strange place, strange evening.
5th May 2014 – Excalibur and Jenga Pots
After being rained off a couple of times in the past, we once more had a permit for the jewel in the North York Moors’ admittedly fairly unbejewelled crown: Excalibur Pot. Yet, for a club may fail in duty twice, and the third time may prosper, today we finally made it.
After a very short walk from the car park, we lifted the lid and Don leapt into the scaffolded shaft with aplomb and only a little arachnophobia, even as Sir Galahad embarking upon his quest for the grail. We climbed down a bit and laddered the first pitch, then free climbed the second, which follows immediately, and we were in the Main Chamber.
We turned left here and had a little rummage in the Honey River Series, before returning to the Main Chamber and following a sandy crawl to a short climb down to a bedding plane, which led to a climb up and just a tiny bit more mud before the handline climb into the Main Streamway, a fascinating place.
We romped downstream as far as Laura’s Demise, spotting quite a big fish en route, then turned back around to stomp back upstream, past The Holy Grail of the flowstone world, as far as Fossil Chamber. We headed out in no time at all, except that Daz realised when almost out that he had left his glasses deep in the bowels of the cave.
The lovely York Caving Club showed us the entrance to Jenga Pot. I’m all in favour of naming caves after mythical swords presented to mythical kings by mythical ladies, but naming them after queens who immolate their lovers just seems sadistic. Anyway, Jenga Pot is a muddy, crawly, thrutchy place that is good fun if you really really like caving, but I can’t imagine anyone would take up caving if they had this as their first underground experience. We climbed down the scaffolding, wriggled through the Windpipe, descended Horseshoe Rift and then from the Main Chamber, followed a long crawl to Sandpit Chamber and beyond to a scaffolded shaft, then returned for double the gloopy fun.
Over lunch at the Blacksmiths Arms in Lastingham we considered starting our own book club, then visited the wonderful 7th Century church, with its sepulchral paradise.
Rounding off our day of fun with a short walk across the Moors as the weather was still good and Daz and Carol had travelled so far, we visited Ana Cross.
But don’t you feel that wherever you are in the world, and whatever you are doing, it is the people you are with who make the day special.
3rd May 2014 – Hurnell Moss Pot – rack rescue
One rack successfully wrested from the clutches of the stinky (even worse yesteday) pheasant. As Dan was not 100% about Birks Fell it was agreed that I would take the rack as I’d be more likey to see Chris first on trips beyond the 10th May.
Met Dan and Mo in Inglesport and headed up from Newby Cote again. The Good Friday return route was followed directly to the hole. Mo left part way along to follow the main route up Ingleborough with plans to meet Dan in Clapham later.
Sharing the rigging and rigging duties the pot was bottomed, rack located (Dan), sump visited and Dan had a scrat up the tube (concurred with Mr Sharman’s description) and a hairy free climb that was not looked at last time.
To make things quicker (easier for Dan too!!!) we shared the use of my pantin to exit the stinky chamber as quickly as possible.
Once back and changed we headed to the bakery in Ingleton to stock up on supplies before Dan headed off to Clapham to meet Mo.
26th April 2014 – Long Churn Cave – Alum Pot
full report coming eventually…
A three man team with three possible trip options, dependant on the weather as much as anything.. Over breakfast the trip decided was Long Churn in to Alum Pot. A simple SRT, or at least you would think so….
18th April 2014 – Hurnell Moss Pot
With Chris Sharman and I having plans for later in the day and over the Easter weekend, it was agreed that we should get a shortish trip in on Good Friday. Opting for Hurnel Moss Pot, we arranged to meet early in Inglesport.
Good Friday dawned sunny and warm and after meeting Chris and is sailing buddy George, we set off for Newby Cote considering this would be a better option than Clapham on a bank holiday.
Once changed, we set off up the track to look for the hole. This was remarkably easy to find. After wetting the ropes in the meagre stream we began our descent.
The entrance pitch was relatively straightforward to rig but faffy if you don’t head back out and approach feet first. Once down this short drop it was on down the slope to another short drop to the start of the traverse. It’s worth noting at this point that this was George’s first SRT trip.
Alex’s words of the traverse being awkward amounted to nothing but scaremongering as no issues were had by anyone. Once at the Y-hang, the drop was rigged and we all headed down to Poseidon Ledge.
The traverse along Poseidon Ledge was rigged and the final pitch descended only to encounter the rancid remains of an unfortunate Pheasant.
After a scrat about to the sump and up the boulder slope for Chris S, we began our ascent. I went up first (riggers prerogative), followed by George in order to explain how to get off the pitches. Chris S followed next whilst Chris K derigged.
Once at the top of the second pitch and waiting for George, Chris S decided (for what ever reason) to test his cowstails on the Poseidon Ledge traverse. A few squeaks and shouts from Chris K and George (difficult to see from my airy vantage point) found that Mr Sharman’s cowstails were in perfect working order.
With no further mishap, we ascended the rest of the pot and emerged into beautiful sunshine and made our way back to Newby Cote before heading our separate ways.
A great hole and ideal for a short trip but I imagine it could become very interesting with a little more water flowing through.
Also, hats off to George, a good effort for his first ever SRT trip – hopefully see some more of him on future trips!!!
12th April 2014 – Smallcleugh Mine (Nenthehad)
Kids bimble for Megan (my youngest) and Violet (Pete’s eldest) through Smallcleugh taking in the Inclined and Wheel Flats before heading to the Ballroom for some photo’s.
5th April 2014 – Brown Hill Pot
Despite the forecast of Doom from the BBC, we decided it would still be safe to do Brownhill, BBC seems to have a habit of way over-egging the rain. We decided after doing checking on more-trustworthy sites and rain radar, it would be safe. We know it takes a lot to flood Floyd’s.
We arrived at the entrance and the tube looked un-climbable. Looks like we have to rig it, but that meant we won’t be able to get down the last pitch, oh well no great loss as the sump is right round the corner. Anyway down this tube thing we went wondering whether next time we should bring a saw to cut a few holes in it for foot and hand holes.
Down through the entrance squeeze which was awkward with a bag the size of me, we slowly made our way through the passage into a short relief chamber, before the crux of the trip a chest height tight rift. This was as far as Chris had ever been before, but this time he got through and after a good battle with my bag I joined him at the other-side of this thing to be met with something even more difficult for me with the bag.
Unfortunately the rift was not tight enough for the bag to fit so it kept slipping down. After Chris told me it was rigged I abandoned it. After all Chris had to get home by half six for his birthday bash. It would have been too easy if we did not drag half a ton of rope to “near” the first pitch (which is now the second, really).
Quick progress saw us to the large pitch, where thankfully the rope was rigged far from the water in-case the BBC was actually right. The crabs half way down at the Y-hang here were quite milky so I donated one of mine, to help with the upkeep for the divers who placed and I assume still use these ropes.
We carried on and after a little bit of confusion where we traversed over walking passage at one point for some reason, we reached the last pitch and saw the foamy sump.
Out was uneventful except for exiting the entrance pipe. I ended up chucking my hand jammer onto the surface and opted for the crab to get my foot up an extra 6 inches to get out of the pipe. I think that pipe adds another half a grade onto the cave lol.
Trip time 4 hours, and it barely rained at all, it was even sunny when I got home! So much for a day of rain.
4th April 2014 – Short Gill Cave (and others)
Dunc, Mike S and Rob met in Barbondale to head up to Short Gill cave. This is located in a very pretty and enchanting dry beck secretly located under an overhang of rock. Entrance is a 5 metre free climb leading to laddered 3 m drop. Short crawl to small chamber where the sharp eyed Mike spotted a bat. Pictures were taken with some technical issues and we went on. Through nicer than expected gour pools through to the streamway.
There are a couple of sump bypasses in the main stream leading to a surprisingly good end to this cave and an impressive streamway eventually ending at the sump. One of Dunc’s hidden gems for the future!
Time was on our side after exiting so we headed for Barkin beck by the road. Here we visited Wonerland Cave (76 metres long) where the eagle eyed Mike spotted pearls. Then we headed north along the beck identifying the wet looking Strike Cave, the noisy sounding Crack Pot and the very very tight looking Spider Cave.
Dunc and I decided to look at Britannia Cave (107 metres long) as it sounded interesting. The obvious entrance was wet and low but I dove in. Dunc followed and what appeared dismal was in fact a good walking passage and a bit of a surprise. It ended in a choke but worth the effort and diversion.
Polished off the evening with a pint in the Barbon Inn in the lounge by the fire. All of us were content with the evening’s ramblings.
29th March 2014 – Sunset Hole (Novice SRT)
With Pete’s planned trip thwarted due to Laura’s attendance and no communication from the Mark’s a hastily planned and relatively straight forward novice SRT trip ensued. The trip was made evn better by there being no requirement for tackle . . . . . . .
Underground by 11.30am and out by 2pm with 2 descents of the main pitch for practice.
22nd March 2014 – Mistral to Wretched Rabbit
I had originally planned to go caving with Chris but Don suggested a trip through Easegill that he was going to attempt solo, but as he would be going to States for a month, I thought I would keep him company. The weather was wet so we were not sure if the Wormway was passable, but arriving at the bottom we found it okay.
However at the inlet, we found the water was rushing past us further down and the junction it was looking like it was starting starting to back up. We headed quickly for the 88ft pitch which was spectacular. Water charging down either side of us.
With the danger passed it was a straight forward exit out of a Wretched via Spiral Staircase which was also wet, but other that being unpleasant as you reached the rocks it was fine. On exit everything was soaked, there was a lot of water about, it just shows you can cave when it’s wet.
21st March 2014 – Rumbling Hole
Enjoyable quick trip for Chris Kelly and I. Uneventful both ways but seemed wetter than my last trip down there.
19th March 2014 – Bull Pot of the Witches
Me, Roz and a rather chilly, breezy evening..
A swift walk to BPOTW, climbed down, headed to Gour Chambers, took a few snaps (finally got round to faffing with light-painting techniques as one of my slaves was playing up yet again!). After looking at that silly squeeze-climb we then carried on to drop down to the stream. Upstream looked rather low and wet so we didn’t bother!
Headed along the passage to the pleasing Burnett’s Great Cavern where Roz picked up ten fingers off the floor, which she carried back to the artefacts table near the entrance.
On the way back we examined the artefacts; various bits of tile, pottery, metalware and now a complete set of fingers.. More faffing with the camera before exiting in to a still breezy night.
15th-16th March 2014 – Daren Cilau and OFD I.
A weekend at SWCC. Day one involved a trip in Daren to the Hard Rock Cafe, then exit via Ogof Cwnc. Sunday saw lots of faff before finally heading to OFD I and a wander up the Waterfall Series.
9th March 2014 – Giants Hole
After not being underground for a month, being on call all weekend a short trip was required. So Giants round trip it was. Had the whole cave to myself and apart from getting lost after The Windpipe and ending up in an odd little chamber it all was good.
Total time about 2 hours car to car (no rush)
8th March 2014 – OFD II (in-out Top)
Straightforward caving, down the usual route to a quite sporty main stream. As ever much fun was had. Eventually arrived at Marble Showers, climbed up with a most stupidly positioned inlet that pours water right on your head, I mean who designs these bloody caves!
A little head scratching and we found the way on and the start of the traverses. One of the Marks kept grumbling about something, not sure what? Easy traversing with only a few stop and think moves (be they along or up or down), interspersed with walking along oxbows. Eventually we arrive at a ladder, of rope and wood construction, that clings to the wall like dog shit does to your shoe.
At the base, really just a few boulders wedged god knows how far up. Another short traverse and we missed the obvious climb up, so retreated and headed back up the main stream for even more sporting action!
8th March 2014 – Rumbling Hole
Only three of us (Chris Sharman, Dan and I) met in an extremely quiet Inglesport before heading up to a windy and cold (but thankfully dry) Leck Fell.
Ropes packed and changed, we wandered the short distance over to the impressive open shaft of Rumbling Hole.
Quickly rigging the first pitch, I was soon down to the traverse and dodging falling rocks amid shouts of “below” from the surface. Chris soon joined me and set off rigging the second pitch as I took some photos of Dan descending.
Chris carried on rigging the third and fourth pitches with one rope which marginally failed to reach the bottom of the fourth, necessitating abbing off the end of the rope. Taking over the rigging for the final two pitches soon saw us all at the bottom.
The abruptness of the end was quite surprising considering the size of the final pitch.
Dan opted to derig as far as the first pitch so we began our ascent, swapping bags here and there as they became full.
Back at the second pitch, Dan decided to take some pics as I began ascending. However, once at the deviation things did not seem right, the deviation was angled down and solid – the bloody rope had somehow become hooked under flake of rock on the opposite wall. “Oh shit” was my first thought, quickly followed by “I wonder how sharp that hook is?” Reverse prussicking down around 10ft gained a good ledge where I could flick the rope about to release it from the snag. Once sorted, it was back up and “rope free” to Dan who had been wondering what the hell I was up to. Luckily, the flake wasn’t sharp with the rope showing no signs of damage.
At the foot of the first pitch, I offered to derig, so Dan set off up only to realise that he’d intended to take some more pics, so positioning himself at the re-belay, he managed to take a few as I ascended.
After a quick change in the sun, we headed down to the Whoop for a quick drink before going our separate ways.
2nd March 2014 – Bruntscar Cave
Xander (Alex) and I had originally planned to do Craftsman’s, but after yesterday’s fairly muddy and loose alternative route in Knacker Trapper, we decided to do something different. Mainly because we liked the idea of entering a cave through a barn, we opted for Bruntscar Cave.
When Xander mentioned this trip at the YSS hut, Mel from MUSC asked to come along too, so we three gave the farmer a donation and penetrated his barn. The first section has been enlarged, so is stooping height through a small stream, then after joining the main stream there are 3 waterfalls to climb, followed by impressive flowstone, which we climbed up and three short passages led off, not very far though.
After this the cave became quite arduous, mostly sideways crawling through sharp rocks (my oversuit is ruined) with a few flat out sections and a duck under a calcite blockage, easy enough on your back. There was a bit more crawling and a small chamber beyond this, only really enough space to turn around. On the return journey we managed to stand up a lot more, which made things a lot easier. No hard sections at all, just unrelenting narrow rift.
1st March 2014 – Knacker Trapper Hole
Full trip report.
The cave with a dubious grade, repelled one of the five. The remaining team ploughed onwards to undertake the round trip via Veg Inlet.
22nd February 2014 – Wensleydale and Swaledale
Don drove me down to Askrigg in Wensleydale, where we met Xander at the Village Kitchen: a trifle flashier than the cafe in which we usually meet. After our extravagant breakfasts we headed up to Mill Gill to excavate Butlers’ Matrimonial Hole, so named because I had first noticed the resurgence on the morning of the wedding of Mr and Mrs Butler.
We moved a few fairly large rocks and got in 3m. Beyond this point the passage continues but the way on is obstructed by a big block that seems to be holding up the ceiling. There’s quite a decent stream coming out, but very careful digging would be needed to extend any further.
We got back in our cars and headed up to The Buttertubs, descending the main hole by a gully out of the waterfall, which was quite powerful. At the bottom of the pitch we followed a short, loose climb down into darkness, but a dead end.
We then headed across the road and onto the other side of Cliff Beck where we entered Cliff Force Cave. The entrance shaft looked slightly improbable but we were soon in water in a walking passage. Following the survey got us quickly to the main stream, which was great fun, but with high water levels, rain forecast later and very recent flood debris above our heads we decided not to push all the way to the sump. On the way out, we stopped to inspect Shower Chamber and climbing up from here got into dry passage that was not on the survey, though others have clearly been there before, and we just kept on going, climbing up and down, flat out crawls, big chambers. All completely unexpected.
Afterwards we realised this was Orange Egg Passage, full survey in our library but we’re all just so effing lazy we hadn’t looked at it.
After our Cliff Force adventure we briefly entered the Buttertubs resurgence, Cliff Beck Cave, to give our oversuits a clean in the very wet crawls.
To round off our day of fun we ate some good food in the Kings Arms Hotel in Askrigg. We should definitely meet in Askrigg more often!
20th February 2014 – Bull Pot (Kinsdale)
The original plan was for Alex, Roz, myself and Jimmy to go down Lower Long Churns. Though the weather was supposed to clear up a bit towards evening – when we’d be starting the trip – in fact the opposite happened. After some discussion via text it was decided that Bull Pot would be the safest bet. Alex understandably decided not to come. Then Roz decided to head home as well as she wasn’t feeling well. This just left myself and Jimmy.
After getting changed we headed up the hill to Bull Pot. About 1/3 of the way there a huge streak of lightning and loud thunder greeted us. We stopped for a bit, then decided to head on, though the thunder and lightning continued. As soon as we got to the top of Bull Pot it started to hail, and I mean lots of hail. I hurriedly rigged the first pitch and down we went. The first thing we noticed was that there was lots of water. This was my fifth trip to Bull Pot and I’d never seen water in there before (apart from the small pool here and there).
The short second pitch at the end of the traverse had a very sizeable waterfall. There was no way of avoiding the water going down. I tried putting in a deviation on one of the anchors that’s used to rig slot pitch, but it was pointless. Gully pitch was impassable. I couldn’t believe how much water was going down it. Slot pitch was fine, and wasn’t any wetter than normal. I wondered whether or not we’d be able to do the fourth pitch as the only rebelay Jimmy had ever done was the one on the ledge halfway down slot pitch. I figured it would be too dangerous with just the two of us to have him attempt the free hanging rebelay on the fourth pitch. In spite of this I rigged the fourth pitch and swung over to the rebelay. Looking down I realised that there was no way that we would be able to do this pitch. Even if you put in a deviation after the rebelay, you’d still get soaking wet. There was water everywhere at the bottom of the pitch.
We then decided to head out of the cave. Jimmy had a few problems figuring out how to ascend, but eventually got the hang of it. Surprisingly we exited the cave to a completely clear and star-filled sky. In total the trip took us 4 hours, mainly because it took Jimmy a while to get used to the equipment. He did very well considering it was his first SRT trip though. In future I’ve decided to never take a newby on an SRT trip unless there’s at least one other competent person there to help out at the top and bottom of the pitches.
19th February 2014 – Old Ing – Dismal Hill
A pleasant trip through Dismal hill to Old Ing Cave, great fun and well worth it, we also had a look in Birkwith Cave.
16th February 2014 – Juniper Gulf
A bit of a different style of log entry… Bullet points man, it’s the way forward!
– Don’s Yorkshire Dales tours took people on their first road trip today all around the Dales.
– Don had a “smashing” time or is that crashing? crunching?.
– Between Don’s research and my compass, cave was found straight away, what a turn up for the books.
– First pitch was rigged by Don, second pitch had in-situ rope in good nick, so Don was upset he could not rig it. Third pitch traverse also had rope but Dan decided to rig it for the fun of it. The third pitch itself was not rigged, so Dan did. I took over for the last traverse and pitch.
– Cave was bottomed by two, though we did not actually reach the sump, the last cascade was bloody wet.
– Me and Dan were “two bag heroes”, Don was de-rigging hero. We exited in the sun (Though it was a cold winters sun).
2nd February 2014 – Cateran Hill
I went for a walk in Northumberland today with Don. We started by heading up Ros Castle, which has an Iron Age hill-fort on the summit and views to the north. Back down the hill, we went to another hill-fort, even more romantic than the first, then along the ridge to a fantastic derelict cottage called Blawearie, with a Bronze Age burial cairn nearby. Bewick Hill was just a short walk from here and the finest hill-fort of the day was on this summit.
We then headed across towards Cateran Hill to explore two caves- Cateran Hole and Cateran Rift. Cateran Hole is an amazing place- a hole in the moorland with stone steps carved by smugglers in the 17th or 18th century disappears into a 45m walking passage with a short crawl at the end into a small chamber. It was quite wet today, so we didn’t bother with the crawl. I’ve done it before though.
A short distance south from this cave we got to Cateran Rift, which Don almost fell into, then got scared off by spiders. Typical.
1st February 2014 – Valley Entrance (Toyland and Carrot)
Due to a coach party from Nidderdale commandeering practically all of West Kingsdale, the planned trip to Aquamole was shelved.
Concerns about the expected storm drove a decision to have a quick bimble up to Toyland. With five of us present, we only made it as far as the first pitch beyond Toyland chamber – this was far too wet to attempt a free climb so we all headed back down and headed for Carrot Passage where three of us bailed after so far leaving Alex and Chris Sharman to get to the end.
25th January 2014 – Boggarts Roaring Holes
Given the less than ideal forecast, and the desire to cave somewhere that was largely dry and stream free, Sharman and I opted for Boggarts. The walk up was actually fairly nice and settled, and the sun even made a few appearances. The cave was found without too much difficulty. No real problems getting to the bottom.
The biggest problem was having to carry/drag/push the tackle bags. Fever pitch (the 4th one) was a pain on the way out, but otherwise no issues. Once we got on the surface though, things were very different. Instead of a settled, semi-pleasant day we were greeted with cold temperatures and lots and lots of wind.
And I’m not just talking about the wind coming out of Sharman’s behind. I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that kind of cold walking to or from a cave before. It wasn’t so much the cold as the wind. I was sure I’d get frostbite and my fingers would fall off by the time we got back to the cars. Once back we quickly changed and just missed the rain.
A good day underground. A bad day on the surface.
24th January 2014 – Digging
A miserable evening, yet again! A fair amount of spoil was shifted at this dig, mainly by two bodies before a late arrival assisted some more. No real progress, but set up nicely for the next team in..
18th January 2014 – Lost Johns’ – Boxhead exchange / Notts II
A healthy sized team undertook an exhange trip between these two fine pots. The Tube proved too small for one person and instead headed through the connection to Notts II and exiting via the Iron Kiln.
A long trip all told, which had certain members on the surface worried and almost called CRO out!
11th January 2014 – Vesper Pot (Spectacle exchange)
A non-starter really!!!
3 of us opted for Vespers and 2 going for broke in Spectacle. A good trip with some varied and interesting rigging for the Vespers team and a cold (albeit short) wait at the bottom for the others before deciding they hadn’t made it through and derigging commenced. Met the two strays at the bottom of the third pitch and if a little sooner, they would have had the opportunity to bottom this one at least. Tales of woe re splutter crawl and the likelihood that the wet crawl may have been a tad wetter being the reason they didn’t progress.
An uneventful exit followed by some slippage off the fell before even more serious slippage and ultimately, a friendly farmer saw the team reunited in the Marton Arms LOL
8th January 2014 – A grim evening
A grim, wet and windy evening out on the fell with some snow mixed in. So pleasant to get underground. I can’t be sure if this is the exact date but I was rather angry with myself and things that had been said and was in need of some stress release.
A solo trip ensued going in Provy and out Dow. Due to lack of time given for call out (I knew no one would be awake after midnight) and a misreading of my watch, I did the trip in one hour fifty three, poor when compared to mr Beck but still considering how long I took to get up that climb to Gypsum owing to my limbs being numb, I still think that is quite an impressive time for me.
4th January 2014 – Lancaster Hole (digging)
We dug for a good 4 hours, at first the passage dipped down but it appears to be dipping up again with a possible lead to the left either at the dig face or in the left in the small chamber. In any case that chamber will need to be made larger as that will be a good place to put the drag tray.
In total we dug about 2 metres and about half a metre down. On the way out me and Chriss did a quick round trip down Wilf Taylors through the main stream which was at normal level and back up through Fall pot up that sketchy climb.