Sleets Gill
Monday, 1 May 2017

After a hearty breakfast in Pen-y-gent Cafe, we left Peachey and Sarah (FSG) and set off over Fountains Fell to Warfedale. I was too busy enjoying the road to worry about the fuel light, meanwhile Ann concentrated on scribbling down the NFTFH route description taking momentary pauses to hold back the travel sickness, and Mike gave chase behind.

Having previously done rigging training trips in Pool Sink and Bull Pot (Kingsdale) over the weekend, I was keen for a bit of horizontal caving for a change, and with water levels so low, now was the perfect time for a long awaited trip into Sleets Gill. None of us had been to the cave before, but we were all too aware of it’s ‘very sobering hydrology’, as the black book puts it.

With the lure of the free-divable crystal clear ’68 Series Sump I decided to wetsuit up, taking along a mask and hood, while the other two made do with furries and over suits.

Making stomping progress along the Main Gallery, we dropped down the slot on the left, taking the first right, followed by the less than convincing left down stream, all in accordance with Anns scribbled copy of the description. I could have sworn that down stream lead to Hypothermia passage, a grim sounding place we intended to avoid, but putting doubt in the description behind me I pushed on forward, slithering and bobbing along the body sized tube, with just enough air space for a tilted head. It was at this point I felt bad for saying to the other two wetsuits weren’t a necessity, as they seemed to be suffering behind. After about 10 to 15mins of deteriorating progress, we realised our copy of the description was no longer tying in with anything around us, that mistakes must have crept in during the copying, and that cave trolls had lured us down Hypothermia passage after all.

With energy sapped and faith lost in our description we sounded a retreat, poking our heads up a boulder choke passage which took us in a circle, we then headed out. Leaving the glistening sump pool for another day.

Many thanks to Mike for patiently escorting us back to Skipton, finding us the nearest petrol station just in time.

TU about 1.25 hrs