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Tatham Wife Hole

Tatham Wife Hole
Friday, 18 April 2014

After a damp winter we now had the luxury of a sunny bank holiday weekend. I needed to be back at a relatively reasonable time for the next days caving, so Tatty Wife seemed like a good idea.
We got to Salfords just after opening time and were faced with a long wait. It looked like lots of people had chosen this weekend to move house. After half an hour we were given a scratched Corsa and collected Shezi and the tackle.

We laughed as we passed through Far Headingley, the scene of an amusing incident the weekend before. A small road sweeper had become stuck inside a bus stop. Apparently, the driver did not feel like driving around the obstacle and instead attempted to drive straight through it. This was doomed to failure and the stricken sweeper was seen stuck, with its brushes optimistically rotating and its operator looking defeated, unable to exit the cab.

Approaching Ilkley, the traffic became very bad. Everybody in West Yorkshire who was not moving house was instead driving to the Lake District. Many of these people were using a lot more fuel to drag their cramped accommodation behind them. Progress to Ingleton was very slow and we were still in the Thief at midday.

After food and gear we parked near Ingleton Granite Quarry. This layby seems to attract random people who pull up for a few minutes then drive away again. Ignoring the voyeurs, we got changed and set off towards Ingleborough.

The first part of the walk was fairly steep but gives the reward of a glorious view over Chapel le Dale. The excellent weather made the experience very enjoyable. As David Yeandle wrote in his excellent book, it was one of those days when the Yorkshire Dales is the best place to be in the whole world.

Crossing the wall, a short scramble led to a plateau and a view of Ingleborough, where tourists and ramblers could just be seen milling about on the summit. We followed the ruined wall then made our way to the entrance shakehole.

We sorted gear briefly then set on in. It was already mid afternoon and we didnt expect to bottom the cave. Shezi rigged the climb and the first pitch. The CNCC rigging guide refers to a thread deviation on the first pitch but none of us could locate this. Instead, Maz put in a deviation using a flake on the true right wall with one of the clubs massive slings.

I rigged the second pitch and Shezi soon joined me at the bottom. We turned around here so that I would get a decent amount of sleep later. We made a rapid exit, with Shezi derigging, and were soon
on the surface again.

We walked back over the plateau towards Chapel le Dale. It didnt matter that we only did half the pothole: we were having a really enjoyable day in the Dales with good walking, good caving and good company.

Once changed, we headed to Settle for very good fish and chips from The Fisherman. Back on the A65, the Lake District traffic had disappeared but we became stuck behind a very slow, erratically driven car. We suspected the driver was drunk. Past Ilkley I gladly took the opportunity to overtake them and eventually we reached Leeds.

I refuelled the car (only £12!) then dropped Shezi and the car off, before getting the train back to York to get some sleep.


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