Lancaster Main Drain: Rubber Dinghy Rapids
Friday, 24 March 2017
After arriving at the farm early for NCHECC, Richard and myself decided that the best thing to do was go caving. It was a beautiful clear night with lots of stars. We wanted to try and find the entrance to Maracaibo in preparation for a furture visit. Rope packed, kitted up and beer in hand, we set off.
Rigging was faff-free and soon we were through Kaths Way and into Wilf Taylors. After finding the Wilf Taylors 2 streamway, with richard nearly slipping in due to having to wear my wellies and finding their lack of traction to be a problem, we located the BPOTW sump. Then upstream to the main drain and downstream sump. This completed, we were away up the excellent meandering canyon which was at the optimum level of wet: not dangerous, but plenty of water for downstream fun. I had never been heere before, and found myself wondering why I had neglected the passage, for it was the finest underground streamway I have ever visited in the UK, a trult magical and life-affirming bit of passage. After pretty much zero navigational issues in the Oxbow Corner boulder choke, we were passed the oxbow and in the vicinity of Maracaibo. After some slippery and muddy exploring in the upper level just beyond the oxbow proved fruitless, we headed on upstream towards Stop Pot for a bit before deciding we wanted to be social and turned round. Anothwer brief look to no avail in the boulder choke and then we were off back through the Oxbow Corner choke, which we navigated a lot less successfully in this direction, but still pretty efficient.
Then the fun began. Wetsuit attire is required for the tobogganing option, and there is one steep one which is a bit dangerous (ankle breaker) and should be avoided. Perfroming the toboggan in a two man formation is the recommended method for maximum inertia when turning corners. This was one of the most fun things I have ever done in a cave without exception when it comes to sport caving, will defintiely be back for more. Out via Fall Pot rather than Wilf Taylors then swift return to the hut for Silverbacking, Fighting, Moshing, Shaving and General Debauchery. Absolute belter of an evening.