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Saturday March 9th 2013

Aquamole Pot

Ade, Gary, Matt, Nick

Matt wrote...

The weather was looking a bit grim, so we wanted a clean and uncomplicated, and relatively water-resistant SRT trip to start off our weekend staying at the NPC hut near Clapham. Aquamole came to the rescue, and provided an exceptionally efficient and enjoyable trip, and something I was keen to do again (my last trip there having been six years ago).

To find Aquamole, park in Kingsdale as for Rowton (about 300m north of the road to the farm, by the sheep fold) and follow the wall up the hillside where at the top another sheep fold provides a route through the wall and onto the turbary road track. On the left is Rowton Pot, however, turn right, follow the track for 100 m before bearing slightly off to the left away from the wall and uphill until the obvious depression of Jingling Pot is seen (with prominant tree sticking up from within). The concrete top of Aquamole is only 20m away.

We followed the CNCC volume 2 rigging guide, all rope lengths were correct.

The breezeblock shaft lands on a shelf from where another couple of short pitches descends into a rift. Down the rift, a few rebelays later and you are in a chamber. The way on has clearly been excavated, and leads down into a reasonably simple crawl which after only five minutes breaks out to another pitch. Aquamole Aven pitch is soon reached, which is spectacular shaft with multiple deviations to pull the rope away from the water (we used two, probably unnecessarily, but a third was available had it been wet). From the bottom, the sump is immediately reached where loads of diving gear was stored.

A quick snack later and we were on our way out. Gary was derigging and was last up, so was naturally confused to look down and see another caving light bobbing about some 20m below. It would seem a diver had emerged from the sump! Good job that hadn't happened 10 minutes earlier as I was stood on the water edge eating my choccie bar or there might have been brown stains in my undersuit!

Arrived out to a lovely blizzard, total time underground only 4.5 hours. Overall, a superb, uncomplicated and clean SRT trip.

11th March 2013

Matt Ewles

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Sunday February 3rd 2013

Penarth Slate Mine

Chuck, Gary, Matt

13 photos by Gary...

5 photos by Chuck...

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Saturday February 2nd 2013

Cwmorthin Slate Mine

Chuck, Gary, Matt

10 photos by Chuck...

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Sunday January 13th 2013

Swinsto Hole to KMC and back up

Chuck, Gary, Laura, Mark, Matt, Chris Jewell

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Tuesday November 27th 2012

Boulby Potash Mine

John S, James G, Chuck, Chalky, Laura, Max, theyorkminer, Sparky

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Saturday October 6th 2012

Juniper Gulf

Matt, Gary, Chuck

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Sunday September 16th 2012

Maskhill Mine

Gary, Chuck, Nikki, Matt

4 photos by Gary...

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Saturday September 1st 2012

Marble Steps Pot

Ade, Gary, Mark, Matt

Matt wrote...

We wanted a nice simple trip down a classic Yorkshire Pothole, and they don't get much more classic than Marble Steps.

We took the Sidewinder route down, which was a pleasant change as I have always taken the classic gully route on my previous visits. Sidewinder provides a slightly more convoluted and interesting route down with an impressive pitch broken by a huge buttress half way down. This lands at the main chamber where the Gully route also joins. The sobering sight of an entire tree trunk propped against the wall reminded us how glad we were of the settled weather, as Marble Steps floods badly particularly beyond this point. We then took The Ninety route down to the terminal dig. Rope lengths in the CNCC guide were correct. Total time underground was just under five hours, and as always, a superb, clean and fun trip.

3rd September 2012

Matt Ewles

5 photos by Gary...

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Sunday August 5th 2012

Water Icicle Close Cavern

Matt, Laura, Gary, Chuck, Boyd Potts (OCC guide)

Matt wrote...

We had a great weekend at the Orpheus CC hut in Monyash.

On Saturday, Gary, Chuck and I took a walk along Lathkill Dale in some lovely summer sunshine. I had no idea what a pretty valley this was! We found the entrance to Mandale Mine and Lathkill Head Cave, which is great to know for future trips. We had a pleasant pub crawl back to Monyash, only interrupted by a sudden shower.

On Sunday, we were luck enough to have a leader to take us down Water Icicle Close Cavern, and into the leader-only extensions. An early start saw us abseiling down the 30 m entrance shaft by 11am, and we made quick progress to the gate. It became clear very soon that carbon dioxide levels were particularly high, and we had breathlessness all round, although nothing so severe that we needed to turn around.

Through the gate, and the boulder choke we were impressed by the sizable chamber beyond, and then even more impressed by the lovely stomping main passage with its abundant formations. It is nice to see this having been taped quite soon to preserve the best of the formations on the floor, including some fine crystal pools and the ‘urchins’. It is great to stomp down such a pleasant passage and be treated so such formations.

Back at the large chamber we took a short crawl along a different passage to see one of the caves most promising digs with a draft and smell of fresh air (very welcome as we were breathless after the crawls).

Returning to the entrance shaft we then headed to see the new extensions reported only in the issue of Descent we received last week. A short flat out crawl along another passage at the bottom of the entrance shaft soon opened out into the new extensions, a superb 60 m (ish) stretch of mostly stomping passage with calcite decoration. It is easy to see why thy Orpheus guys are digging at the loose fill at the end of this passage, as it seems unlikely that such a large stomping passage should suddenly stop.

We all experienced serious breathlessness ascending the pitch. Even just several metres off the ground we were gasping, and the ascent was very difficult and slow. Headaches were setting in all round, but these quickly cleared once on the surface in fresh air. We were out at a very civilised 2pm.

It was a great trip, and it was good to see the discoveries I have been reading about for the last few years. Although short, the passages are of lovely proportion and extremely well decorated, and I’m sure there are a lot more of them still to be found.

Many thanks indeed to Boyd Potts for taking us on the trip.

6th August 2012

Matt Ewles

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6 photos by Gary...

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Sunday July 29th 2012

Parys Mountain Copper Mine (through trip from Mona Mine)

Richard G, Nikki, Max, Matt, James G, Gary, Tim (leader), Ollie (leader)

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Saturday July 28th 2012

Cwmorthin Slate Mine Round Trip

Gary, Matt

16 photos by Gary...

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Sunday July 8th 2012

Ingleborough Cave

Nikki, Matt, Laura, Gary, Chuck, Ade

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Saturday June 2nd 2012

Coast to Coast walk

Gary, Matt

Matt wrote...

Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk by camping

Not really a caving trip, but this seemed as good a place as any to post our report on our coast to coast walk. We hope that this description may prove very useful to anyone planning the walk as we did (Wainwright route, camping, carrying all our stuff, but getting all food from cafes, pubs and shops). The stops described below allow the trip to be done in 12 days with an average of 16 miles per day, so is suitably challenging, but not excessively difficult for many fit walkers.

The total cost of the trip was about £400 each, which included camping, breakfasts (usually a full English), lunches (usually a sandwich from a shop) and evening meal (typically two courses and a couple of beers at least). However, by simply obtaining a cheaper breakfast from a shop and having a bit less beer, the cost could probably be reduced to £300 each with no great hardship.

We navigated purely using the Harvey maps – these are highly recommended. We also had a copy of Terry Marsh’s book which we never actually used. We are very surprised to see that this book details the low level route from Keld to Reeth as the main route, with only the high level Wainwright route (up Swinnergill and past the lead mines) described as a less desirable alternative. We took the high route and were very glad we did as it was one of the highlights of the entire walk.

We camped every night with the exception of Keld, Reeth and Brompton-on-Swale. In Keld it was very wet so we opted for our own room in the Park House bunkbarn, although there was camping available at the same site. In Reeth the extremely nice site owner at Orchard Caravan Park gave us one of his old static caravans to stay in for the same price as camping would have been. At Brompton-on-Swale the weather was again very poor and the owners of this YHA-run site gave us use of an old static caravan as the bunkbarn was full, but camping facilities were also available here.

Summary of each day

Where breakfast is in a pub this usually needs to be ordered the night before. Most pubs only serve food until 8-9pm, and so for the longer days it is worth taking this into consideration, although we rarely set off anywhere before 9-10 am and after a leisurely breakfast. However, slower walkers may with to consider this and set off earlier. On most days it is worth phoning ahead to confirm camping, and at weekends, book at table for food.

Day 1
York to St Bees (Train) then Ennerdale Bridge (14 miles)
Lunch: Probably best to bring some sandwiches from home for the first day
Camping (£5/tent), dinner and breakfast at the Fox and Hounds in Ennerdale Bridge
Summary: A superb and very welcoming community pub with great local ales.

Day 2
Ennerdale Bridge to Stonethwaite (16 miles)
Lunch: Worth carrying from shop in Ennerdale Bridge
Camping at the National Trust campsite in Stonethwaite (£4/each)
Dinner at the Langstrath Country Inn, Stonethwaite
Summary: Gastro pub with gastronomic prices but great food.
Breakfast: Nothing available in Stonethwaite

Day 3
Stonethwaite to Patterdale via Grasmere/Griesdale (18 miles)
Lunch: Lots of cafes in Grasmere but we found Heidi’s to be superb
Camping at Side Farm, Patterdale (£8 each but showers are worth it)
Dinner and breakfast at The White Lion pub, Patterdale
Summary: Good ales and food – book a table if at weekend

Day 4
Patterdale to Shap (16 miles)
Lunch: Can be purchased from the shop in Patterdale before departure
Camping (£5 each in beer garden), dinner and breakfast at The Black Bull, Shap
Summary: A friendly non-touristy local pub with great value very simple food

Day 5
Shap to Kirkby Stephen (21 miles)
Lunch: slight detour off-route into Orton (8 miles) to chocolate factory tea room
Camping: Pennine View Caravan Park (£8 each but superb facilities inc. laundry)
Dinner: Croglin Castle Hotel, just next to campsite
Summary: This is the microbrewery for the superb Nine Standards ales
Breakfast: Numerous cafes is Kirkby Stephen

Day 6
Kirkby Stephen to Keld via the Nine Standards (12 miles)
Lunch: From shop in Kirkby Stephen, cream tea from farm at Ravenseat (9 miles)
Camping, dinner and breakfast: Park House (we backed out of camping this night due to the wet weather and instead took their private double room in the bunkbarn which was only £47 including a self service breakfast)
Summary: A superb place, offering all types of accommodation (camping, bunk barn, private room) with hearty home cooked food delivered to your room/tent.

Day 7
Keld to Reeth via Swinnergill and Gunnerside mines (12 miles)
Lunch: No shops so worth buying two days of lunch from Kirkby Stephen
Camping: Orchard Caravan Park, Reeth (£5 each, static caravan may be available)
Dinner and Breakfast: Black Bull pub in Reeth (not a great culinary experience)
Summary: We would pick a different pub in Reeth next time (there are three).

Day 8
Reeth to Brompton-on-Swale (15 miles)
Lunch: Tea room in Marske, or numerous cafes in Richmond
Camping: Brompton-on-Swale camping barn (YHA-run). Due to the heavy rain we were going to stay in the bunkbarn but it was full so the owners kindly put us up in an old static caravan. Camping was also available.
Dinner: The Crown pub, Brompton-on-Swale (200 metres from camping barn)
Summary: A friendly, local pub, the food was extremely tasty, good value with excellent portions.
Breakfast: There is a Spar shop opposite the camping barn

Day 9
Brompton-on-Swale to Ingleby Cross (20 miles)
Lunch: Shop in Brompton-on-Swale or pub in Danby Wiske
Camping (£5 each at back of pub) and dinner: Blue Bell in Ingleby Cross
Summary: A friendly country pub with good ales and tasty food
Breakfast: Could have got at pub but went into Osmotherly to The Coffee Pot where we got one of the best breakfasts of the entire coast to coast (opens 10:30am so quick progress after breakfast is needed)

Day 10
Ingleby Cross to Blakey Ridge (22 miles)
Lunch: Lord Stones Café is now completely closed so call via shop in Osmotherly
Camping (£2.50 each), dinner and breakfast: The Lion Inn, Blakey Ridge.
Summary: A superb place with an unmatched atmosphere, great food, and great full breakfast buffet (at weekends The Lion Inn can get extremely busy so booking ahead for food and camping would be advisable)

Day 11
Blakey Ridge to Grosmont (12 miles)
Lunch: There is a pub/café at the bottom end of Glaisdale village
Camping: Priory Farm on the left on the way into Grosmont (£4 each)
Dinner: The Station Tavern by Grosmont station
Summary: A good, friendly pub but quite expensive
Breakfast: North York Moors Railway café on station platform

Day 12
Grosmont to Robin Hoods bay (14 miles)
Lunch: Tea room at Midge Hall (best cream tea of the entire walk).
Camping: We could have gone straight home, but we stayed at Hook House Farm (£8 each)
Dinner and breakfast: Loads of places in Robin Hoods Bay

18th June 2012

Matt Ewles

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Sunday May 27th 2012

Nenthead Mines Smallcleugh to Capplecleugh Level

Ade, Andy B, Chuck, Debbie, Gary, John D, Matt, Max, Nick, Nikki, Sparky, Richard G, Richard W

52 photos by Gary...

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Saturday May 12th 2012

Little Hull Pot

Ade, Debbie, Gary, Matt

Matt wrote...

We have had permits for Little Hull Pot each year since the club was founded, but every year it has been rained off. Having never done this Yorkshire classic before we had no idea how it responsed to rain, but the warnings in the guidebooks put us off doing it in anything other than very nice weather. This weekend was good, with little rain the day before and a beautiful sunny day forecast so at last, the trip was on!

We had a fine breakfast at the Singing Kettle in Settle (Superb portions at a great price!). After parking in Horton village centre we found the entrance easily by following the Pennine way footpath towards Penyghent from Horton-in-Ribblesdale. A gentle incline cleared out our cobwebs, and after about 20 minutes we reached the gate where the path to Penyghent turns right. The way on is up the unofficial path ascending the slope to the left at about 45 degrees to the wall. This is followed up to a relatively flat plateau where the track becomes less distinct. After a few hundred metres the depression with the obvious entrance to Little Hull Pot is on the left only 20m from the vague track. The water sinks approximately 200m further up this shallow valley, but it is easy to see that in flood it could quickly reach the Little Hull entrance.

The cave starts with a few minutes of easy meandering passage with some nice moonmilk decoration, before lowering to a crawl. This turned out to be nowhere near as bad as some of the reports I had read – it was a pleasantly easy hands and knees crawl through shallow (2-3 inches) water – not bad considering the previous week had been extremely wet until Friday. The crawl lasted only 40-50m and then we were back to pleasant stomping and crabwalking down a twisting stream passage. Only a couple of minutes later we reached the first pitch and the ropework fun commenced.

The first pitch is a spectacular one. Water cascades over the edge, but thankfully the initial descent only follows this down for a couple of metres down, before you swing forward and through a giant rock window to the far side of the shaft and a re-belay which marks the start of a very exposed, almost free-hanging traverse out over the pitch. This was great fun, and the view down the pitch was superb. We rigged a re-belay two thirds of the way down from an eco-hanger, although once we were down it became clear that this would have been much better as a deviation.

The second pitch was reached within minutes of the first. Initially we stayed at stream level all the way to the pitch head where two inviting eco-hangers provided an excellent Y-hang. Gary went down and started to search for the deviation that we were expecting four metres down near a shelf, while Debbie, Ade and I provided pleasing renditions of songs from 1980s children’s cartoons. Some time later, and unable to find a deviation, Gary returned up the pitch. We soon realised that the route down this pitch is actually to climb up 3 m over the pitch head about 3-4m before the edge and squeeze through blocks to reach an exposed balcony half way across the top of the shaft. This is a stunning place and one of the most exposed head-first approaches to a pitch you can ever make!

From this balcony, yet another exposed Y-hang provides a lovely hang down the shaft. There is a deviation a few metres down, which we used, but we decided that with water being quite low we didn't need the deviation half way down. The pitch lands on a large rock-floored chamber, with a continuation of the pitch down a slot in the floor, which in the low water conditions we had, was easily free-climbable (Selected Caves says 70m rope to rig the whole thing, but CNCC rigging guide says 55m +15m, with the 15m being for this last free-climbable bit). Looking back, we probably could have descended from the stream-level take-off and taken a nice shower on the way down the pitch.

Gary was first down and disappeared off to rig the third pitch. With me, Ade and Debbie down we followed. The cave from here enters a very long, straight narrow rift passage. Only 20 m along the passage the first obstacle is reached – a narrowing in the passage at stream level, necessitating a low wallow in water. Gary was waiting for us, preparing to go through the water, having declared a tight bypass over the top to be too narrow. He went into the water, which became an almost flat out crawl in several inches of water, but soon popping back up again. Gary was wearing a neofleece, and the rest of us were not, and so the prospect of a soaking did not appeal. I took my SRT kit off and squeezed along a narrow slot against the right hand wall until it became wide enough to climb up and onto blocks above. Another tight squeeze against the right hand wall returned me to stream-level, although I was glad I took my SRT kit off. All in all it took the three of us about 20 minutes to get through here – the wet route would have taken only a minute – but it was 20 minutes well spent to stay dry.

By the time we were through, Gary had disappeared along the rift to rig the final pitch. Debbie, Ade and I therefore continued along, traversing up and down where necessary, until I arrived at a shelf where the water cascaded down several metres. Looking up, Gary was several metres above me, rigging the final pitch. It would seem that we had made the mistake of staying too low, when the route to the pitch head is by keeping as high as you can. We backtracked about 30-40m down the rift to where a climb up to a higher level could be made and the correct pitch head reached.

The eco-hangers on the final pitch are far from ideal. One hanger provides a take-off on the right hand wall, with a sharp deviation off the far wall just over the edge. The rope does rub slightly on the edge of the rock before the deviation so extreme care is needed. Once past the deviation an easy descent reaches the floor.

We took a short stoop through to the final chamber. I climbed up the slot to reach the sump chamber, which following my exaggeration of how great this was, Debbie and Gary also decided to take a look. An extremely speedy ascent then followed with no difficulties at all. We were out by about 6:30pm to a lovely sunny evening, total trip time about 5 hours. A curry in Settle provided the ideal end to the day.

For future reference, Little Hull Pot isn’t somewhere I’d want to be in heavy rain, however, our trip was following a week of very heavy rain, and with only one day of fairly settled weather before our trip, so it clearly drains very quickly. The Selected Caves and CNCC rigging guide descriptions are very clear (don’t forget to climb up high 3-4m before the second pitch). In low water the second pitch can be rigged with a 55-60m rope and the second part of this pitch can be easily free-climbed. Thin cavers can bypass the only wet bit just after the second pitch, so furry suits are fine.

14th May 2012

Matt Ewles

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Gary wrote...

A true classic Yorkshire pot hole! This cave should be on every SRT cavers list of things to do.

The sun was out (for the first time in ages) and despite our concern that it had been too wet we set off from York anyway. After all Matt had a wet weather backup-plan-with-no-drawbacks which consisted of... "chuck another 60m in and we'll find something else to do". Hmm.

A swift and very cheap breakfast at the Copper Kettle (or some such) cafe in Settle then we were on our way to Horton. The tourist infested village was particularly busy on arrival and with non of the Yorkshiremen in the car willing to pay £4 to park, we opted for giving £2 to a dodgy looking man in a field. After leaving our car in the hands of this portly gentleman, we headed off on the long but not too steep walk to Little Hull Pot.

The entrance was rather a relief after what I had been told. After a couple of years doing some of the horrific things in Not for the Faint Hearted, I had become used to and expectant of a low, wet, awkward entrance. This was not the case; the roomy stoop lead into an easy cobble floored crawl before being able to stand again. More easy passage followed to the head of the first pitch. Nice easy rigging soon gave way to a swing through a window and an (almost) hanging traverse to the free hang. At this point I became aware how little water there was, despite several weeks of rain. The CNCC guide says it floods badly (and may well do) but there was no sign of this today. This was probably for the best as the next pitch went right down the waterfall. Well, it would have, had I not rigged it wrong. Matt pointed out more anchors higher up leading to a rather acrobatic manoeuvre through a squeeze to pop out head first over a 50m pitch!

The rigging became more scary with a very exposed lean out over the pitch to reach the not-so-well placed anchors on the far wall. I put the first deviation in just a few meters below, although it wasn't required, before starting the 40 odd metre decent down the middle of the very fine shaft to land on a large shelf next to the waterfall (but far enough away to stay dry). A single anchor (re-belay?) formed the start of a continuation down the last 10m to the rift floor below.

Some horizontal work now, with a short easy crawl leading to a low wet section. After some time spent being wussy and looking for a way over the top, I opted for the water (which wasn’t too bad). After popping up on the other side and inspecting the route over I found that I had been one boulder away from completing the dry route. Oh well, wet now. Should I tell the others the dry route? Foolishly I did!

A good 15 mins of rift followed, awkward in paces but following the worn route was easy enough. I had gone off ahead to start rigging the final pitch, and as I was doing so noticed the others about 5m below in the rift! After telling them that was very much not the way down, they had to retreat back to find a place to climb up.

Some interesting rigging via a very long 'Y' hang from the opposite wall and an almost 90 degree deviation (only just avoiding a rub point on a sharp rock bridge) drops down the final pitch to a roomy chamber.

Well worth exploring this area as we found an awkward chimney up into an unusual dry sandy chamber leading to the final sump. Not much else to see so back up and out in only a couple of hours for Curry in Settle.


14th May 2012

Gary Douthwaite

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Debbie wrote...

What a glorious day!

The trip itself was brilliant. As someone who hasn't caved very often in the past few years, especially SRT trips, it was a shock to the system as some of the pitches are rather exposed. I needed to quickly learn to trust myself and my gear again!!! However, this momentary panic and fear led to a fabulous adrenaline rush and sense of achievement when completed.

The pitches really were spectacular. Not too wet, and brilliant hangs down into the chamber. We later met the rifty part, which wasn't too bad, and I'm pleased to say I could fit through the tight bypass of the wet crawl without any problem :-) Ade, Matt and I got vaguely lost later on in another rift as we couldn't figure out how high to be. When I say lost, I really mean just exploring the scenery....

Because I was vaguely freaked out on the descent, I was a little nervous about prussicking up what in my head had turned into 100m pitch. I didn't look up while ascending, and after a decent length of time, I thought, ok, I must be about half way by now. One more prussick and my head hit the top deviation a metre or so from the top of the pitch! A nice surprise.

After a glorious and exhilarating trip filled, we emerged from the darkness into the beautiful sunlight and warmth, and meandered down with wonderful scenery all around, and headed to for a well deserved curry and a pint.

Fun times!

29th May 2012

Debbie Flowers

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Sunday April 22nd 2012

Sell Gill Holes both entrances exchange

Ade, Cat, Chuck, Debbie, Nikki, Toby

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Saturday April 21st 2012

Boggarts Roaring Holes (sort of)

Ade, Cat, Toby

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Saturday March 10th 2012

Pool Sink to Holbeck Junction (Easegill)

Matt, Gary, Chuck, Ade

Matt wrote...

Having explored much of the Main Drain part of Easegill over the last several years, one classic entrance was not yet familiar to me. We have been wanting to do Pool Sink for some time, but being one of the more flood prone entrances, we have been rained off in favour of some of the safer entrances in the past. We had a permit for Pool and County this time, but the weather was looking OK (although the fell was very wet underfoot) and so we went for Pool Sink.

We were going to pop in and pre-rig County Pot for the through trip and a pull through down Pool Sink, however, we were not 100% confident in route finding to Holbeck Junction from Pool Sink, and we didn’t know what the water level in the Main Drain would be like. So we decided to stick with going in and out of Pool Sink on this occasion.

The entrance is easy to find, a natural, worn rectangular slot about 5-10 minutes walk upstream of County, to the side of, as the name suggests, a deep pool (which I guess would be dry during summer). Not to be mistaken for Wretched Rabbit (which leads after only 15m to the top of several free climbs with fixed ropes). It was quite wet and the fell was saturated, so we moved some rocks to slightly lower the level of the pool outside the entrance and to allow it to drain should the water levels rise while were underground.

Once inside, the entrance is a narrow winding tube with a couple of sharp bends causing pain for the taller caver. However, it’s really quite easy, and enlarges to stooping after only a few minutes – this was the only slightly hard part of the trip! The first pitch was soon reached, which we rigged with a deviation from a P-hanger 5 m down to stay out of the slight drizzle coming down from above (and to safeguard the return trip against a rise in water levels).

A more significant stream was then joined and followed downstream. I was having quite a leisurely trip, and I didn’t pay much attention to anything beyond this point until we got to the bottom of the final pitch – but the description and rope lengths in Selected Caves is spot on and you can’t really go wrong. It’s all quite easy and enjoyable, good simple classic Dales caving. You actually forget that you’re in Easegill.

We didn’t know what to expect from the bottom of the final pitch – the route to Holbeck Junction sounded easy in principal, but we suspected that there were sure to be some complications. Not so! Although there are a few bits where you could go wrong if navigating without description, the Selected Caves description is spot on and you really can’t fail to find your way to Holbeck Junction. The only bit with slight confusion is the huge block, which Selected Caves says almost blocks the passage - if you're not paying attention you fail to notice that this is a block, as it just looks like a blank wall, forcing a stoop down to pass it - but you still can't go wrong!

A quick chocolate bar and we were on our way out, just in time to catch a lovely sunset across Casterton Fell. First class gentle trip and looking forward to doing it as a pull through next time.

13th March 2012

Matt Ewles

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Sunday February 5th 2012

Ogof Draenen to the Dollimore Series and Medusa's Children

Matt, Mark, Gary

Gary wrote...

Everything was definitely against us for this trip. After Matt got some kind of flesh eating infection in his foot the night before and me being full of cold (not to mention knackered from doing Aggy for 7 hours), we'd all but written off our planned Draenen expedition. Things didn't get any better the next morning... it had snowed overnight and the road didn't look good!

Despite all this, and not leaving the hut until 11am, we managed to get to the Draenen car park and were swiftly underground!

After the usual fun dunk in the entrance waterfall we were making good time and were soon in Indiana Highway. At this point my cold caught up with me and I was on the verge of turning back, but I soldiered on thanks to the plethra of drugs Mark had with him!

Mostly easy going for a while with a quick stomp through Megadrive and on to Nunnery Passage. We had a bit of discussion about which passage off the Nunnery it was but we chose right. It was not long before the formations started with the very unusual gypsum crystals in Mid-winter Chambers, shortly followed by the Snowball which you can't help put sit and stare at for some time!

Then the crawling began...

There was a lot of groaning and grunting (mostly from Matt) through the Last Sandwich crawl which seems to go on forever ending in a few squeezes which turned out to be not that bad. The reward was worth it when we popped out all of a sudden in the HUGE passage called MS&D (more singing and dancing??). After (yet another) food stop we stomped off down the vast space to arrive at Luck of the Draw.

It was at this point that the description stopped stating distances in meters and moved onto kilometres! 'Follow the passage for 1.2km' it said! So off we went. After an easy rope climb up we entered some easy walking passage which mostly remained that size for it's length. Some time later we arrived at our goal for the day... Madusas Children.

I would agree with all descriptions I have read about this place... it is by far the most amazing formations I have ever seen and definitely the best in the UK as far as I know. For about 30m of passage the walls and ceiling are literally covered with the most bizarre bright white helectites, any one of which would be worth a long trip to see. The well taped path took us carefully through into another section of the same formations. Mark took some video while Matt and I headed on a bit.

By now we were all pretty knackered but pushed on to The Light Bulb formation then attempted to find the Geryon but failed after several crawls. Never mind - next time!

The return trip was arduous to say the least but we were out before midnight to a snowy Wales and thankfully didn't get stuck on the way back to the hut!

14th February 2012

Gary Douthwaite

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Saturday February 4th 2012

Agen Allwedd to the Music Room

, Nikki, Ade,

Nikki wrote...

Great trip! The main passageway is really impressively huge, and there were some very cool ice stals and curtains in the entrance. Fun snowy walk there too :-)

3rd March 2012

Nicola Gover (Nikki)

YCC Trip History

Here you can see the list of pretty much all the trips YCC members have been on over the years. Members can also submit reports which will hopefully help others to avoid problems or just for some inspiration! Use the filters below to view by year or cave.

Trips by Year...

2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009

Trips by Cave...