Trip members: K Brook, Mirim, Joan, Sam, Joe, Alexander (Rory), Josie (make it to the end of the year and I’ll remember your last names)
Nearly a trip member: Michael Bringham
It was leg day. It’s always leg day.
Raised up bright and early at 6AM to get my shit together and set off. It’s an early fresher trip and I knew this would be a first SRT trip for a bunch/all of them, so this needed some good organisation. I was assured I’d have a small group with another experienced leader and there would be no issues.
Got to chapel and my group size had doubled. No issue. Who am I to discourage keen beans. My other group leader had no experience leading an SRT trip. Lovely lad, but the issues are mounting up. Michael Bringham agrees to step up and help out so I’m please at this.
Plan is to do a Short Drop to Gavel exchange and a quick pop down Gavel to see Glasfurds. We roar away in the focus, listening to rockabilly all the way to the dales to inject stoke. It worked for me at least.
Arriving on Leck Fell, I quickly got changed to pre-rig Gavel and noticed I had forgotten my SRT kit. Another setback. Michael took one for the team and agreed to loan me his, so I’m down an experienced leader. Told Rory where to go and threw a description at him and ran off to rig Gavel.
Gavel rigged I got back to the surface and found the rest of the group still bumbling on the surface. Turns out I had sent them to Eyeholes, and a rambler (who was probably also a caver) had tried to set them right but I was too stubborn to take the advice. Humbled we set off back to the road and set off down Short Drop.
If you want a description of Short Drop, you better buy the guidebook. We went along a crawl past a junction or two and found some great stream passage and a great looking arch. Go down it if you want to see it. Takes 20 minutes on your own, 3-4 hours with freshers. Rigged the first pitch with my own rope as the club stuff is shite and set the young ‘uns down it. One trip member had never used a descender before, so I gave them a quick crash course and sent them off with Rory very closely looking on bell ringing duty. We all lived. The stream was in high flow, so the pitch was not free climbable that day and I left the rope rigged in order to keep our escape open in case we needed it.
The traverse to Gavel was further away from the first pitch than I remember but the passage is a great bit or Yorkshire stream passage, and we got soggy. Traversed to Gavel and the group had a mix of wonder on their faces and the beauty of the place, as well as a look of a relief to it being over. It was getting late and base on the rope skills I had seen so far, a trip down to Glasfurds would be an invitation for an epic.
Got them up the entrance pitch of Gavel and I set of back to the first pitch of Short drop to de-rig it as a pull through. Did that, de-rigged the traverse and got back to the car. Left all the club kit for Ben Chaddock to deal with (thanks Ben) and got home. Ate chicken dippers with rice for dinner.