Author Topic: July Yorkshire trip report  (Read 577 times)

Offline CandnPearce

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July Yorkshire trip report
« on: September 02, 2020, 09:51:20 pm »
 Heron pot, Christopher Pearce, Nicky Pearce, Mike Moxen. Date 10th July
Here begins a marathon of trip reports, after a long drive (6.5hrs) we finally arrived in Kingsdale and we given the traditional welcome of Yorkshire, sheet rain. Thankfully it was just a short shower and when mike arrived we struggled into caving kit and set of on the next part of any Yorkshire trip, the slog to the entrance. Before hand we checked the resurgence entrance to ensure drowning  wasn’t obligatory on this trip, as it was passable we soon arrived at the top entrance, passing a plethora of voles that scurried a few meters in front of you. The pot started with a climb to a short crawl and several minutes of fine stream passage ending at the pitches, here we opted for the high level route which is a traverse leading to a fine 15m drop. At the bottom waiting we indulged in the essential part of any Yorkshire trip, slowly becoming  an ice block (for anyone who hasn’t caved in Yorkshire staying warm is impossible, especially if there are pitches). After several more minutes pleasant stream passage we entered a long wet crawl to the exit. A pleasant starter trip to Yorkshire.

Meregill hole. (aven entrance) Christopher Pearce, Gareth Farrow. Date 11th July
When we arrived at the parking the road was lined either side with 3 peak walker’
s cars turning a 2 way road into 1 way. However as the nearest other parking was a couple of km away if you can’t beat em join em . The walk to Meregill was about 2km but fairly flat so not too unpleasant even with 230m of rope. One of the bags was a monster, carrying 160m of rope but a array of straps meant it wasn’t any worse then the caving one to carry, at least on the surface… After 20min searching for the cave I handed the map to Gareth and he promptly found it in 5min ( I can only guarantee my navigation below ground). When we reached the depression you could already hear a deep toned rumble of water. I went in to rig the first pitch and once I turned the first bend to find a snug crawl to the pitch head I realised the monster sack might not fit through… oh well good thing Gareth had that not me. After an awkward struggle to rig the pitch I descended into a spacious chamber, followed by an array of curses and swearing as Gareth broke the laws of physics to shove the tackle bag through the crawl and descended down to me. Beyond a pleasant section of streamway reached the second pitch where halfway along the traverse I managed to drop a handful of my rigging snap gates, after the expletives finished we descended to the bottom. here I was handed the monster sack which when clipped to the harness weighed enough to turn the me into a staggering drunk. After another short stream passage we reached the 3rd pitch  This certainly fits the definition of “nylon highway” with several rebelays/deviations/traverses in a spectacular shaft with the classic Yorkshire fluting and large waterfall. At the bottom a few cascades reached the 4th pitch which Gareth rigged, unfortunately the first descent is “refreshing” on the way down let alone the way up. I then rigged the last pitch which at the bottom had a icy chest deep wade just to remove any memory of warmth and to provoke increasing shrill voices in the cavers that were foolish enough to wade in . After a quick stroll down the excellent main drain we began the journey out, I derigged the 5th and 4th pitch with the last section of the 4th pitch being an invigorating prussic under a waterfall (oh well cleans your kit). It was actually far more enjoyable ascending then descending as it allowed more time to savour the phenomenal views and positions of the shafts. After a glacial wait as Gareth derigged the 3rd pitch we headed to the base of the 2nd pitch where I offered a beer if Gareth could find the karabiners, when I next looked down he was engaged in heroic attempts to drown/find the krabs. However he was unsuccessful (both in drowning and finding the krabs), at the top I took the monster sack and headed out. I then spent a “fun” 10minutes wrestling it through the crawl while my legs failed over the pitch, but miracles do happen and soon it was out and we headed down back to car. A superb trip that exemplifies all that Yorkshire is famous for; clean washed shafts, superb streamways and bitterly cold. The 3rd pitch of Meregill also gave me the opportunity to use the 100m Spanset rope from last year Cavefest, which overall was an excellent SRT rope which fed through ascenders very well, unfortunately for me that was both ways but that was due to the ascender.

Little Hull pot, Mike Moxen, Gareth Farrow, Christopher pearce
After parking and changing the usual routine slog  up the mountain began, however the entrance was for a change easy to locate so I entered first to rig the first pitch. The cave begins with an annoying crawl which the description says is only 30m (it lies 60m is more accurate ), after that an excellent and sculpted stream passage led to the first pitch. About 4m down you swing through a rock window to another traverse and y hang, this is the usual Yorkshire pitch of clean washed with attractive views. At the bottom we reunited before following the short passage to the next pitch, this starts with a traverse then through an awkward slot to a balcony with an “entertaining” swing out at the y hang, this pitch redefines free hanging as that is the last time you are within a meter of the walls till the bottom(33m drop). The first deviation was easily found but the second was a natural and came of the wall, not relaxing especially with the boom the rocks made hitting the bottom, after that a spectacular descent is made to the base of the shaft. At the base a short climb down led along a rift to the duck which we decided to avoid by taking a squeeze along the wall. After I’d fought through a very tight rift they other 2 then found the correct way which was much larger, the scumbags, however I did have the joy of watching mike attempt to battle another upward squeeze before pointing out the way at his feet was the larger way. After another awkward squeeze we followed a rift to the final pitch, it looks like there has been some rebolting here as the, bolts didn’t fit the CNCC topo. Unfortunately our rope was too short and callout approaching so we headed out here. On our way  we decided to head out via the duck as it was easier, due to the water being like ice a variety of sounds where made by everyone as the cold water crept down there oversuit. From there an uneventful exit was made from the cave to emerge in sunshine at the surface. Gareth then stripped to his underwear for the walk down (obviously to scar the children we passed for life), I passed the walk by dropping various gear on the way, thankfully mike told me about most of them. Back at the cottage I opened the bag I’d been carrying since the top of the first pitch to find a large rock in it, when injury was threatened to whoever did it Gareth then said “it’s a nice rock and you didn’t seem to notice”. Vengeance was vowed.

Rowten pot 13th July Christopher Pearce, Gareth Farrow
Originally we had planned to do Swinsto, however when we arrived in Kingsdale the drizzle was turning into rain so we decided to rethink, after scrounging the 40ish krabs required me and Gareth set off for Rowten pot. The walk in was short(10min) but still packed a brutal punch as it was very steep and with 200m of rope, upon reaching the entrance there was an impressive roar  and a glimpse of an enormous waterfall of brown water. As Gareth was rigging the eyehole I instructed him to be a scrooge with the rope (we were 5m short of the rigging topo, this I later regretted as the first rebelay was more like a vertical traverse line. After another rebelay a fine 20m descent dropped us into a stunning hole, lit by daylight and with walls of moss and ferns. From here a exposed rock bridge led to the main pitch which was great for me as I could sit back and take the piss as Gareth (who isn’t the happiest with heights) teetered across. After that was rigged we descended into the rift traverse to the top of the big pitch (45m), this was a spectacular traverse in a narrow  slippy rift over a black chasm below combined with a constant thundering of water. Once Gareth had rigged and descended the pitch I began my descent, the views were unbelievable, with daylight filtering in from the surface and the truly gigantic waterfall alongside me. The bottom was like a hurricane with winds hurling spray into your face, as I rejoined Gareth we located the flyover route which I was rigging. So I gratefully left the freezing spot and descended to the first rebelay, which wasn’t any bloody warmer! The prospect of hypothermia convinced me to rig the fastest I have done in my life and a short time later we were both at the bottom of the flyover route. Here a short easy passage should have led to the sumps, however round a corner we were confronted by a solid wall of brown water, deciding we didn’t have time for drowning today we turned around an began the trip out. A uneventful ascent was made to the base of the 45m pitch, as I was derigging I attempted to huddle in an alcove while doing plank and press ups in a attempt to keep warm as Gareth ascended. Once he’d reached the top I defrosted from my alcove and headed up after him, the long ascent gave time to appreciate the truly outstanding views of the pot. At the top I rejoined Gareth and we continued back out to the surface. Here we decided to do the nearby Rowten cave which is an excellent short addition  composed of a superb stream passage with the odd cascade and crawl into Rowten pot. On the way back to the car we noticed the Kingsdale beck was a brown torrent of water, a change from the dry riverbed 4hrs ago! The link is hopefully a couple of pictures of the Spanset rope again being used in the flyover route.

Swinsto Hole pull thru, , Mike Moxen, Gareth Farrow, Christopher pearce, Mike Kushy, Nicky Pearce
The trip started with a gentle bimble to the entrance… course not this is Yorkshire and the walk in was similar to Rowten, shortish but brutal. At the entrance a short crawl led to the first  wet pitch, at the bottom Swinsto Long Crawl began which is fairly easy mixture of  wet hands and knees and flat out crawling for 10min to the second pitch, afterwards several more pitches followed in quick succession. All these pitches were sporting abseils with the waterfall pouring on top of your head, great fun but just a tad too warm… if you were descended from a polar bear. The biggest (split pitch) had an aquatic abseil (where you struggled to keep dry) to a ledge where you had to walk under the waterfall to get to the next abseil. At the bottom a quick gym session ensured before we regrouped before we headed along an excellent an varied streamway for 10min to another 2 short abseils, here several sporting climbs and cascades emerged in a much larger passage. Here Simpson pot joined and we descended Swinsto last pitch to remove any memory of warm and dry from our minds, at the bottom and short section of crawling and stooping led into the brilliant Kingsdale master cave. This was a outstanding streamway, 5m high with small cascades and a powerful torrent which led to a 6m pitch up to Valley entrance where 15min of stooping led the entrance near where we had parked. A superb trip, probably the most canyoning like cave I’ve done with a great variety of passage and constant interest. Kay joined me and mike and we headed up again do Simpsons pot next.

Simpson’s pot, Kay Mattews, Mike Kushy, Christopher Pearce
After repeating the slog up to Swinsto we entered Simpson pot, which started with a short section of easy crawling to a series of cascades and a traverse over a pit. Beyond a very short pitch led to another very short one, and another, and another…. At the bottom of storm pot we followed the water to a duck, except we were confronted with a foamy sump, after some mild panic the way on was thankfully located through the actual duck behind us. Then there was more and more short pitches, despite being much dryer this pot was just as cold as Swinsto as the lack of horizontal passage meant you never warmed up. Eventually we reached Slit pot which was a squeeze through a slit to a fine 25m pitch down a fluted aven to re-join Swinsto pot just before Swinsto final pitch  and the way out was the same as for Swinsto. Overall I found this cave tedious as the constant short pitches were time consuming and the wasn’t any interesting horizontal passage to compensate. Would have been better just to have headed up to do Swinsto again. 

It’s a Cracker/ Boxhead pot exchange, Kay Mattews, Mike Kushy, Christopher Pearce, Mike Moxen
This trip was unusual as it began with a flattish and short walk, in Yorkshire???, however it was a misty drizzle outside so not completely out of character. Mike Moxen and Kay were rigging cracker while me and Mike Kushy were descending boxhead pot. The trip began with an concrete entrance pipe leading into a fine free hanging 20m pitch with a couple of deviations to a boulder slope down to the main pitch which Mike rigged, at the bottom I took over and began rigging Kendal Flyover. This began by hanging over a black maw of darkness 70m deep which then led to a series of rebelays and deviations to the start of Lyle cavern extensions , our rope was rather precise and it was with some relief that it made the bottom . As the others were not here yet me and mike set off for a brief explore of the way to Lyle cavern, this was a series of crawling/ walking tunnels leading to a keyhole traverse (cresta run), at the end of this we decided to turn back as the others were  probably near the exchange point. An interesting set of passages much more like a welsh cave and a welcome bit of variety for a pure SRT trip. Back at the rope and Kay and Mike Moxen had joined us so we set off up Cracker, as I was derigging the first 2 pitches I was treated to a spectacular swing across the shaft with a collision with the other wall when I removed the belay at the bottom of the 3rd pitch. At the top we passed a squeeze to some boulder scrambling to Park Bench Pitch which was a beautiful fluted clean washed pitch about 30m in height, once again at the top I went up Paparazzi pitch as mike was derigging which was another sculpted and clean washed pitch about 30-35m high with a couple of deviations. At the top was large ledges to switch over to the traverse line,  one of the most friendly pitch heads I’ve done, beyond a wriggle lead to some “flexible” boulders to the entrance climb and daylight. Several hours and about 50m distance between the entrances covered, a startling rate of progress only beaten by Southern rail. A very pleasant trip with an excellent variety of pitches and SRT challenges.

Washfold pot, Kay Mattews, Mike Kushy, Christopher Pearce
The day started out with a quick bimble in the easy but very pleasant long churn caves before we began the trek to washfold pot. The cave began with a short drop to a sideways walking streamway  which soon degenerated into an awkward crawl/stooping passage, not particularly tight unless you picked the wrong way. After several minutes we popped out into the depot where after we had  changed into our SRT gear I went to rig the first pitch, this began with an traverse in the top of the rift over the pitch and got progressively worse as you had to struggle not to sink down lower. Many curses were uttered and I vowed I wouldn’t be derigging this, once rigged a short descent led to a deviation with “vintage cord” and then a fine freehanging drop of about 30m  down a clean fluted shaft to the floor. At the bottom I wriggled up into a rift to shelter from the icy wind and rain while the others descended, once reunited we set off through a short crawl to a series of traverses and rift climbs. These were excellent providing varied climbing with the odd bit of tat to guide you where to descend. Eventually this led to the final 2 pitches, both short but with a change in geology as the walls were covered with chert nodules. After a snack at the sump we headed out which was uneventful to the base of the first pitch which while Kay ascended mike and me amused ourselves by slowly becoming glaciers. “Are you derigging this?” Mike asked hopefully which got a rapid response of “no you are” from me , once Kay had reached the top I defrosted and headed up the rope. Once at the top the struggle back along the traverse began, easily the worst pitch head I’ve done, but it was soon passed and after we changed out of our SRT kit a rapid return was made to the surface after 4.5hrs underground . Overall an excellent trip providing a more varied range of obstacles in a fine streamway, definitely cleaner and better then Priddy Green Sink.

Lost Johns Cave,   Kay Mattews, Mike Kushy, Christopher Pearce, Mike Moxen
Monastery route
The final trip began in the usual Yorkshire scene of a damp and misty day, after 7 days of caving some cajoling was needed by Mike Kushy to persuade me to do the trip rather then laze in the car. As I had a 7hr drive home after this the trip had a time limit of an hour and a half so it was debatable if we would have enough time. Once changed a short walk to the start of the cave was followed by several 100 meters of easy walking passage before a climb up led to a traverse and a short pitch. After we had descended this the stream led to a long traverse in a rift (thankfully far easier than the one in Washfold pot) before the pitch continued down a short descent to an oxbow with a rebelay. From here an excellent descent was made down the 30 meters to the floor, the pot (Monastery pitch)  had the classic fluting of the walls with a sizeable stream making the bottom the usual cold and wet experience. Beyond a short way along a rift led to the next pitch, while Kay and Mike were descending me and mike went off to check if we would have enough time to descend the final pitch. This led through a rather unnecessarily wet crawl to an excellent stream passage, this lasted about 10min which meant a descent of the last pitch was impossible so recently we headed back to the others to begin our journey out. The bottom of Monastery pitch was the cold wait huddled in an alcove out of the wind, but an otherwise uneventful return was made to the surface. Despite not finishing the trip it was still an excellent trip, with fine pitches and streamway throughout, a fitting end to the weekend.

Offline Ian Ball

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Re: July Yorkshire trip report
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2020, 10:39:34 pm »
That is a great week of caving in my book!

Offline Groundhog

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Re: July Yorkshire trip report
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2020, 08:54:47 am »
Excellent report and great pics.
Yes a great week of caving. Well done!  :clap2:


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