Saturday, 10 June 2006
Excellent trip down a really cool cave that’s definitely one of the best trips i’ve done for a while. The morning started with the usual faff, and a certain individual phoning me at 9am (the pre-arranged pickup time) to let me know he’d just woken up and would be along soon…(It’s okay Si, I haven’t listed your name above, so they’ll never know…..Genious!). By this time, already one caver had been lost, as Noah had failed to make it back after a few civilised alcoholic beverages in Fab cafe!!
We were soon on our way to the dales, and met up with the above at the cafe in Kettlewell, where our presence went relatively un-noticed, until the ‘serving girl’ made an appearance and a certain individual cried out excitedly “Is THAT the serving girl????,” but failed to notice the large, open windows in-between.
Anyways, after the usual breakfast, and chocolate cake we set off in the direction of Langstrothdale, and soon later found ourselves crawling up the hill to the entrance in the baking heat. The entrance was quickly found, and all were glad to get underground, and away from the Earth’s scorched surface.
The entrance series is a nice, varied bit of cave that is a bit awkward with a tacklebag but not too bad. The two or three wet bits were very refreshing given how hot I still was after walking up the hill. Soon arrived at the 23cm slot, which I was just about to go through when Sam Allshorn pointed out a much, much larger crawl to the right…..Not quite sure how I missed that. Needless to say, this proved to be much better, and the head of the second pitch was soon reached.
Sam Allshorn rigged, and after declaring it a ‘piece of piss,’ we all braced ourselves for yet another tortuous, awkward, nasty bit of caving, but it was fine after all. The third pitch followed after a few metres, and after this, a fine stream passsage is followed for a fair distance to the next three pitches. At the bottom of the 6th pitch, we followed an inlet to the right (looking downstream), and this eventually led to some really excellent formations (2-3m long straws). Well worth the effort of getting there!!!! (see Sam Allshorn’s photos)
Back in the main streamway, the last two pitches were rigged (the last one being very nice) and we were soon at the bottom, where Sam Allshorn’s mate very quickly popped through the sumps to do the through trip before coming back to join us. The journey out went pretty quickly, and we were soon back at the entrance after a 5.5hr trip! A quick trip down Langstroth Cave to the other side of the sumps rounded off the day nicely.
NB: Rigging was a mixture of ‘naturals’ & ‘spits’, so take plenty of slings & hangers although some of the spits are in poor condition.