TRIP REPORTS - what have you been down to? > Sporting Trips in The UK

Soft Southerners let loose in the Dales

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The two of us have just come to the end of a fortnight in the Dales.  This was not a dedicated caving holiday, but naturally some caving would be had.  Otherwise we were out walking, climbing etc.  I thought I'd share what we got up to underground and a few of my 'on the fly' photos taken along the way in case any others heading this way are looking for inspiration...

The first job was to spend a few quid in inglesport!!!  Being a distinct lack of caving shops or even a descent outdoors shop in Dorset we seem to make a habit of going shopping on holiday.  I'd been considering a new light and helmet for a while having been using one of the yellow Ecrin's fitted with a custom duo and couple of Fenix E35's as sidelights.  Not a lot wrong with the old set up but was keen to find something lighter and less bulky.  Being someone with a small head I come away with a CT eclipse, Fenix HM65R (main light) and E12 (backup).  Many thanks to the guys in Inglesport for advice & time whilst I was trying things on.  Obviously my new toy needed testing...

Very impressed so far - much lighter; in fact the first couple of trips I found myself checking I was actually wearing a helmet.  Far more comfortable than the old Ecrin's too.  Loads of light from the Fenix HM65R though I found I was draining the battery pretty quick getting about 4 to 5 hours from it when frequently using the higher power settings. 

Back to the caves...

As mentioned on the other thread the first trip was to give Sas's uncle Tony a taste of vertical caving having previously taken him into Swildon's when he'd been down our end of the country.  We'd not previously done many caves in the Dales so stuck to one we had, Sell Gills.  Very much enjoyed the cave again.  A cracking short SRT trip down three easy pitches.  I'll not post all the same photo's again, just this one.

Our next trip was Notts 2.  I'd read online it was a no-kit cave, 50 m form the road with plenty of pretties.  Just the sort of thing we like and the cave certainly didn't disappoint.  Many thanks to those who dug out the entrance shaft allowing this trip to be possible.  I think we were in the there about 3 hours having a good poke around.  Started by going downstream then upstream to the pretties and had a nosey at some of the inlets along the way.  Really enjoyed this one.

The next trip was Alum pot.  Our original plan was to have a look at the Churns, Borrins Moor and drop down Dolly Tubs to look out over the hole however we got talking a few day before hand to a local caver and were convinced to descend to the bottom of the pot.  Unfortunately I'd wish we'd stuck to the plan!  Not being hugely experienced at SRT we tend to be quite slow and since we both consider it a necessary tool to get to where we want to visit rather than something fun in it's own right perhaps bottoming Alum wasn't the right choice.  Nether-the-less off we set, carrying pretty much every bit of rope, maillon and krab we own.  No real issues with Dolly Tubs just a bit of faffing as it wasn't quite what I expected from the topo.  Then we spent considerable time playing read the topo, hunt the bolt, tie the knot until we got down onto the bridge at the top of the main pitch to the bottom of the pot.  I'm sure this is a controversial opinion but by this time we were bored and our only thought looking down the hole was of the effort required to come back up so called it quits.  A load of untying and rope stuffing later we were back at the top of Dolly Tubs.  Dumped the SRT kits and did the short through trip through Upper Long Churn to finish.  Now we know a bit more about the place I suspect one day we'll be back to go right to the bottom just to say we've done it, but for us the place wasn't all it's cracked up to be and just appeared to be a big green, slimy hole.  The Churn's however we're beautiful clean washed stream ways.

Next trip was Ireby.  This was a trip I'd read about some years ago and wanted to do, but our previous ventures in Yorkshire had not delivered the right weather.  As I'd hoped it turned out to be the perfect combination of short vertical pitches requiring minimal effort alongside a descent amount of streamway.  We followed what I believe is the normal route down to the sump at the end of Duke Street and back up.  Thoroughly enjoyable cave and one we'll certainly repeat at some point.  Very little water in there this week with Ding, Dong, Bell being completely dry.  As a result we were able to make the SRT very easy dropping down bits of the pitch which I'm guessing would often be very wet.  Unfortunately the cave was very steamy and the photo's were naff!  One thing I have learnt this last fortnight is that to cave or climb in Yorkshire you need have a sadistic love of carrying heavy bags of rope up hills. 

Finally we decided on a gentle trip down Valley Entrance to have a look at the Kingsdale Master Cave.  Decided against the soaking to take a look at the Rowten sumps but did go up to Swinsto Great Aven.  Didn't realise there was a little round trip we could have done until I got back and looked at the survey.  Not only that but I think we took the longer / worse route of the two to Great Aven!  As the book says it's a pity the streamway in the bottom is so short.  Could do with being about a mile long really.  Great little trip with plenty of interest and once again a sensible distance from the parking spot.

We've certainly had a cracking couple of weeks with perfect weather.  Unfortunately from home its typically a 6 to 7 hour drive so we're not likely to be back for a while as it's only worth the drive for a week or more but ready for when we do I'd love some ideas for future trips???

What we like is a mixture of short and very little effort trips which could be done in a couple of hours and slightly longer trips like Ireby.  We don't like pitches over 20 m, we do like trips where the amount of cave exceeds the amount of time hanging on rope, we do like pretties and we really don't like carrying bags of rope up hills!

Other trips I'd read about and sounded interesting but we didn't do this time were Great Douk, Browgill / Calf Holes (CNCC says no access at present otherwise we'd have probably done that one), Tatham Wife.

Yep, Alum Pot is the most over rated 'cave' in Yorkshire.  Unless you go down via Diccan :)

It is indeed just a green slimy hole!


Well done. How about: County Pot, Shuttleworth Pot, Heron Pot and Yordas, Thistle & Runscar, Great Douk, Sunset and Hardrawkin to the pitches, Out Sleets Beck ... and moving a bit further east ... Providence to Dow Cave (or maybe just Dow Cave), Goydon Pot and Manchester Hole.

Ian Ball:
Think of pitches as vertical sightseeing rather than access through to bits of exploring and you will find them less offensive.

Great report  :clap2:

short, little vertical, sensible walk, pretties = Hagg Gill


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