Bottom of Rowten twice in one day...


New member
I didn't set out this morning with the intention of visiting the bottom of Rowten twice today, my original plan included Jingling (as I only had enough rope for that with me) and Rowten via the sumps.

Whilst looking for a suitable layby to park in I saw a man struggling up the side of hill with a big bag of ropes, I stopped to inquire which cave he was visiting in case he was heading for Jingling (I didn't want to get there and find it rigged..) he said he was heading for Rowten and also on his own. We decided to team up and I supplemented his bag of ropes with one of my own as he thought his might be a bit tight. Turns out we were due to meet up anyway as we were both on the upcoming Wessex Yorkshire weekend for which we had both arrived early for.

So off we walked up to Rowten, I had some minor concerns about caving with a complete stranger and i'm sure he thought the same about me but I decided that if he was going to do Rowten on his own then he's alright by me !

The light showers forecast for the day hadn't appeared yet so the walk up was very pleasant, water levels were down from the previous day and Kingsdale Beck had dried up.

We reached the fences at the top and were soon kitting up having walked up in furry suits. I was ready first so began rigging the eye hole route. After Simon joined me on the bridge we swapped leads and he began rigging the next section, progress was good and I was soon unlocking my descender and sliding out of the roof tunnel and down the spectacular main hang of Rowten, light barely touching the walls as I looked around. Once at the bottom of the big pitch I took over the lead and rigged to to the bottom of the cave, we took the Y hang straight down rather than the partial descent and traverse.

At the bottom I waited for Simon then we clambered down to the water and had a quick look at the upstream and downstream sumps, a quick congratulatory handshake and agreeing on a de-rigging plan and we were on our way back out.

The last time I ascended the main pitch of Rowten I was knackered before I even began so was dreading it slightly, Simon had volunteered to derig the main pitch if i did the rest so I only had to ascend with one full rope bag and didn't find it too bad.

Good progress was made all the way to the surface and by the look of it still no rain had come, we were about 4 hours away.

A pleasant walk back down the hill then some lunch in Ingleton completed the trip nicely. ;)

Now for the second trip to the bottom of Rowten....

Visiting Rowten in this manner has been on my list for quite some time but weather has been in the way on my other two attempts, I tried yesterday evening after arriving and took the wrong turning and ended up going up Philospohers crawl, fortunately without any extra kit...

So after studying the survey and working out where I went wrong previously I set off for Valley Entrance. I would class myself as confident underwater (frequently free diving sumps 1,2,3,4 in Swildons) though I elected to take a small 2l bottle with me. I soon found myself ducking through the roof tunnel cricking my neck in the process. Simon who I had met earlier wasn't into diving so couldn't be persuaded along. Water levels were down about a foot from the previous day (Thursday) and i'm sure a lot lower in the days preceding that !

I dumped my SRT kit at the master junction and kept religiously to the right this time and found the way obvious. The passage here is brilliant, gliding through the water was effortless, none (apart from a few short cobbly bits) of the crawling and wriggling associated with the East passage or Philosophers crawl  I would recommend a trip to non divers just to take a look along the passage. On the approach to the sumps the roof lowers a final time the free diving line is quite obvious and different to that of a normal dive line so i knew i was in the right place.

Crouching down I got my stuff ready, spit in mask, hood on, mask on, checked my air and I was ready to go. The first sump had a very small airspace and was short, the second sump was actually a sump but again was quite short, surfacing in the airbell now I had the longest sump to get through around 8m I believe. Visibility was around 25cm so not much of the underwater surroundings could be enjoyed and not wearing any weights I was mostly bobbing along the ceiling. On surfacing I was greeted with the roar of the water coming down Rowten, earlier in the day i thought it looked like the main flow of water was though this sump but it seems to divert through another route leaving the sump i just passed fairly calm in comparison. I gave myself a mental handshake at this time as there was no one else's hand to shake and thought right now I just need to exit safely then mission complete !

Heading out seemed much faster as is always the way when traversing a known passage when compared to an unknown one and i was soon craning my neck though the roof tunnel, I was out in just over an hour happy to have finally been though the Rowten Sumps. Having been down Rowten a few times and now had a look at the sumps I will have to go for the pull through trip if i can find some willing partners in crime. :) :)


Simon Beck

An enjoyable read!
Yes Rowten Passage is splendid!... I used to carry gear up there and dive purely for the experience of passing through that water logged world.. 


New member
Funny you should comment Simon, i'm a fan of your adventures..

when i intially spoke to the Simon i did this trip with and he said his name was Simon i did think is this you...

Meant to do a quick recce into Langstroth as well but ran out of time...


New member
It's a brilliant trip the pull through trip.

Me and MattJ on here took my girlfriend. I believe it was about her tenth trip.

It was my first trip there so whilst we pulled-through a team from Rubber Duck rigged properly, just incase we got lost and cos they didn't want to do the sumps!

Fortunately we didn't!

Interesting thing about the pull-through is if you're happy dowb climbing, you only need to rig the main pitch and the final pitch.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk