Author Topic: How flood prone is birks fell?  (Read 5695 times)

Offline smollett

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How flood prone is birks fell?
« on: July 01, 2007, 10:21:03 am »
I have a permit for birks fell this coming weekend but think it will probably be too wet to do it. Is it likely to be partially doable or should i give up on the idea? Got a permit for penyghent on the Sun but given up on that one. :confused:
Any advice would be great
Thanks
James
sunshine bores the daylights out of me

Offline damian

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Re: How flood prone is birks fell?
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2007, 10:31:53 am »
Annoying isn't it?

We had permits for Pen-y-Ghent and Washold last weekend ... which we naturally didn't use.

We have a permit for Birks Fell for 14th July (the weekend after you) and may well find it's not going to be used.

Coming back to your question ... I've only been there once but remember that you definitely wouldn't want to be there in a flood .. so forecasts for heavy rain would definitely make it a non-starter. However, if the weatehr's settled but the water is up a bit then, provided you don't mind some damp crawling, I think you should be alright. You won't do the last section though.

I'm sure someone else can give you some better info that this, though.

Offline gus horsley

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Re: How flood prone is birks fell?
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2007, 10:52:17 am »
The way the weather's been lately I'd be inclined to give Birks Fell a miss.  Better to be safe than sorry.

Offline graham

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Re: How flood prone is birks fell?
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2007, 12:03:41 pm »
This, of course, is the flaw in the "book permits months in advance and sod the weather" system.
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Langthwaite Pot

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Re: How flood prone is birks fell?
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2007, 12:57:06 pm »
Personally I'd consider Birks Fell to be more serious in flood than Penyghent Pot. You definitely wouldn't want to be down there if it started chucking it down like it has done recently! I wouldn't completely write off PP for next weekend though.

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Offline Anon

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Re: How flood prone is birks fell?
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2007, 03:40:27 pm »
I'd agree with whats already been said of Birks Fell, theres a few places that could get a tad damp in there. Looking at forecast for the week its yet more showers so not looking good. I certainly recall Shale Pitch being wet and it hadn't been raining that much before our trip!
Never been to PYP so can't really comment - I believe in wetter conditions its best to rig the pitches rather than climb some of them..

Went for a jolly in County on Thursday afternoon and it was suprisingly dry in there, although it was raining a fair bit when we came out - was expecting it to be wetter with all the rain - just goes to show you can't tell what it's like unless you are up there! Although Easegill has dry options whereas Birks and PYP don't so we always had that safety net..

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: How flood prone is birks fell?
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2007, 05:42:24 pm »
There's a very good article in a CPC Journal entitled "Three Birks Under The Fell".  Anyone who doubts the flood risk in Birks Fell Cave should read this article, which describes in graphic detail what it's like to be caught in there and then be the subject of a rescue.  It's one of the Dales' finest caves but treat it with a lot of respect.

Offline smollett

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Re: How flood prone is birks fell?
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2007, 09:17:59 am »
Thanks for the advice, I won't be going down either unless there is some miracle change in the weather. Think I'll re apply for them in september. I would be interested to read that birks fell article, would you be able to let me know how to get hold of it?
Thanks
James
sunshine bores the daylights out of me

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: How flood prone is birks fell?
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2007, 06:26:23 pm »
My apologies Smollet - the article title is actually "Pilgrim's Progress, Birks Fell Cave".  The "Three Birks Under The Fell" I'd remembered was a suggested alternative title actually within the text of the final paragraph.

The proper reference is CPC Journal Volume 5, No.2 (1974), pp.80 - 82.

Most decent caving club libraries will have this.  If you are really desperate to see it and can't find it anywhere then PM me with a postal address and I'll try and get to the photocopy shop and post it to you.  Note - much of the article is not about the flood; it's about climbing an aven and exploring some new passage.

As with many (but not all) caves in the Dales, as long as the water is falling and the forecast is good then in theory you shouldn't come unstuck.  But having seen the effect of a storm yesterday on Ingleborough I wouldn't want to be anywhere near Birks Fell until the weather is a lot more stable.

Offline ditzy

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Re: How flood prone is birks fell?
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2007, 09:08:45 pm »
I did gaping gill at the weekend and that had quiet a lot of water in it and it is said not to be an overall wet ave through the baf pot way. the second pitch had water running down it. all three water falls in gaping gill were in full flow aswell and there was water going in all directions in the chamber.
The resivoirs seem quiet full on the walk back to the village and the river that goes by the show cave had a lot of water in it and absalutly loads that had come through gaping gill origonally  :o

Prince of Darkness

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Re: How flood prone is birks fell?
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2007, 10:01:41 pm »
Well I suppose I'm the unwilling expert.
I was flash flooded in there virtually at the bottom. We were sat at the head of the last small pitch to the final sump and a sumped crawl., not a happy experience! Basically if it's going to rain or if there is a chance of it, don't go down it. It would be very difficult to predict what amount of rain would lead to impassable flooding and of course who can accurately predict how much rain will fall.
My experience was that about a 1/4 of the cave had flooded to the roof, there are plenty of dry bits but would you want to take a chance? There is a small cascade pitch about 1/2 way as I remember, we had a ladder hanging in the stream, it was virtually unclimbable, we only got up it by a combined tactics of a climbing superman and pulling the ladder out of the stream at the bottom. We got up it with the ladder being trapped to one side from above. There may be better hangs bolted now for rope or ladder which would overcome that little problem.

Offline Lurker

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Re: How flood prone is birks fell?
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2009, 05:16:05 pm »
Maybe I should have started a new thread for this question but in the interests of tidyness I haven't!
Got a permit for Birk's Fell this Saturday - anybody up there reckon it's been sufficiently dry lately to be doable? Also, I've never been there but are wetsuits recommended or furries?
Cheers for any info :)
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Offline Hatstand

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Re: How flood prone is birks fell?
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2009, 05:43:23 pm »
This, of course, is the flaw in the "book permits months in advance and sod the weather" system.

You need to book permits in Yorkshire???  :doubt:

Offline langcliffe

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Re: How flood prone is birks fell?
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2009, 05:51:56 pm »
You need to book permits in Yorkshire???  :doubt:

No - only the caves.

Or some of them.

Offline Brains

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Re: How flood prone is birks fell?
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2009, 10:22:53 pm »
furries are ok to the elbow, which is a resonable place to turn round when it is damp.

Offline Anon

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Re: How flood prone is birks fell?
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2009, 04:39:24 pm »
Quote
Got a permit for Birk's Fell this Saturday - anybody up there reckon it's been sufficiently dry lately to be doable? Also, I've never been there but are wetsuits recommended or furries?
It can be done to the bottom in furries, might be chilly after Elbow Bend if you hang around too much though..

There's been a bit of rain in the Dales this week, looking at cdg's vis pages (not sure how much has fallen today though) and last forecast I saw was possibly drizzle on Saturday so it depends how heavy the drizzle is as to whether or not it would have any affect on water levels (if it's like the forecasted "drizzle" I experienced today I'd be wary!).

 

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