This weekend I persuaded Gamble to come caving with me in the Dales. Kathryn was drinking in the pub with Jack and Will in Sheffield on the Friday afternoon lamenting that there were no trips going over the weekend when she was bundled in Gamble’s estate with enough provisions for a weekend – and seemingly half Jack’s wardrobe – and magically transported to the BPC.

Whilst waiting for a late NUCC to appear Gamble, Kathryn and I settled for irritating Benji and Stemple and generally making mischief before celebrating when NUCC arrived with more wine/gin/unknown alcohol and merriment irritation to the people trying to sleep in the guest room. Eventually I toddled off to bed at 6am unable to find my keys so I could get my sleeping bag out my car. I decided, therefore, to pick the two NUCC freshers that were sleeping closest to each other, burrow between them for warmth and attempt to get a little sleep.

Earlier than I would have liked – 3 hours later – I was prised out of my prone position by Jacob whose sleeping bag I promptly claimed. Around elevenish, a very hungover Benji and I decided to surface and go in search of caffeine and breakfast. Gamble was unnanimously decided upon as the driver as, although I had found my keys, I couldn’t quite put them straight in the door – let alone drive.  The rest of the trip was fairly nice and pleasant once I hit the water which woke me up and Kathryn has covered it all in this super report.

When we got out of the cave the strangest thing happened – Brendan’s car mysteriously started itself, rolled forwards and parked itself in a bush. We were astounded and quickly left the scene in case the same thing happened to the Gamblemobile.

That night I went back on my new promise to become teetotal and made merry at the BPC, Pub, Craven and then the BPC again to instigate the squeeze machine. Around 4 I remembered that I needed to go caving the next day so I stopped teaching the baby how to unscrew a wine bottle cap and retired. (The baby scored 0/10 for success, 8/10 for perseverance)

That morning I felt fresh as a daisy so I went to meet my parents in Bernies for breakfast (and to buy a new pantin strap from Inglesport which made me both sad and poor) before heading up to Leck Fell.

After a bit of a faff we headed down the hill. Now my small little trip with five-ish people  had expanded over night to include 8 NUCC’s (and a partridge in pear tree) so off we trundled down the field looking very much like the ragamuffins that we clearly we. We decided that we’d split into a 6 and an 8 to make movement a bit quicker underground than have 14 people lumbering after each other. 

The entrance climb was fun – turns out my mum makes me look like I don’t complain at all. There was more than a fair bit of sqwarking as she didn’t like the entrance ‘it looks a little precarious’ and didn’t like not being able to see ‘it would help if you turned your light on’.After lots of faffing and general encouragement we were all down in the streamway and had a stomp upstream (NUCC went downstream first).  We went up to the top and I sent my mum down the shitty mud crawl at the end of one of the inlets. This genuinely seemed to cheer her up which was a bit weird. Kathryn revealed at this point that her arm hurt as she had whacked it on the scaff on the way down and would probably be one armed for the rest of the trip. She rejected our offers to cut if off for her and we wander back to look at the sump.

Kathryn, Bob (parent’s friend) and I decided we’d have a wade in the water to find the sump which was very cold and deep. I had to go for a little swim on occasion which meant Kathryn got to practice her one armed swimming which was hilarious! We found it, looked at it and then went back to meet the others.

We went back down stream and then Gamble, Bob and I went up a rope climb. I say went up, I flailed and then was given a massive boost but I did get there. We followed the passageway until it finished at a small ratty dig at which point Bob decided to turn back and I had to extract myself from inside the dig tray (no idea!). We dropped down into the stream way and headed downstream.

MUSC appeared just before the entrance (they were staying at the NPC) and we had a short chat before they pottered off in search of pretties. We passed the entrance and heading towards the waterfall met a wet looking NUCC. A quick look at the downstream sump and we headed out.

Progress was much quicker on the way out than in as mum’s confidence grew more as she could see more of what she was doing. Kathryn is surprisingly quick when climbing with one hand! Eventually a very relieved parent appeared out of the top to be greeted by glorious sunshine. Kathryn then appeared and tried to exit the concrete square using what can only be described as a backwards twist somersault which apparently didn’t help her arm.

Decent enough Sunday trip – although I’ve given myself a black eye from walking into something down there. 🙁