After two previous trips we were hoping to finish all of the surveying this trip, I got the train out from Leeds and everything was unexpectedly efficient considering Becka had to drive to Ingleton to pick Emma up, and then Bentham to pick me up; neither of which are particularly en-route from Bullpot Farm to Leck Fell. After all this to-ing and fro-ing we arrived at the Fell in miserable rain, spirits undampened we headed down and after a bit more to-ing and fro-ing in the cave we were up into Gour Inlet (after 2 previous trips finding the right climb up shouldn’t really be an issue…sorry Becka).

We quickly arrived at the top of Darkness Visible rift and roles were assigned, Becka made vague noises about not doing book as she couldn’t see but convinced herself that she was able to, Emma was on disto and I was station monkey, marking stations was made more difficult with Becka’s ancient liquid paper. Surveying down the (surprisingly large for Notts 2) pitches was awkward as the big one kinked necessitating 2 legs, once at the bottom there were several ways on (as described in northern caves), we went down the miserable grovel leading to a pleasant streamway first and it was a bit disconcerting to see foam fairly high on the wall. The stream ends in a sump (theoretical duck?) that’s drafting (not explored beyond, Emma sounded slightly keen to return). Following this we went up the long muddy ramp (partially on rope) with that also didn’t have footprints; despite the stream seeming fairly insubstantial between original exploration and 2018 it must have flooded to the top (?) of the muddy ramp :O. At the top of the ramp the rope abruptly ended leading to some mud acrobatics to get up into the roof to see the choke (big blocks with darkness visible beyond and between, drafting). Becka’s disto started to struggle on some of the larger legs by doubling (plus?) the distance of the leg, after a few on/off’s it started to behave itself again but careful judging of leg lengths followed.

All done at the bottom of the pitch we headed back up to have another look at a duck we’d decided would do with revisiting (off oh bother it chamber). I got half immersed and then decided I wasn’t that keen, fortunately Becka was half clad in neoprene so had no excuse to not go through. After handing me her helmet and balaclavas with instructions to dry them, she wallowed through for a couple of metres where it sumped. Fortunately Emma and I didn’t have to follow her, Becka emerged slightly cross that I hadn’t dried her balaclavas despite the fact it would have made no difference as she was completely soaked.

Mr Mirthful

Surveying done we headed out, pulling out some digging crap and tidying up the rigging on the way out, replacing some woven rope with semi-static caving rope and pulling some of the ladders out. You can prusick (or self line some/abseil everything where there used to be ladders, where the ladders are particularly useful we left them in, but they’ve probably been in there since original exploration so use at own risk. Some of the bolts/hangers/krabs (especially in Darkness Visbile rift traverse) are particularly awful so long term would do with coming out and being replaced by something more permanent.

All in all a grand day out, thanks to Becka for driving and to Emma for putting up with mine and Becka’s bickering.