Caving in the Yorkshire Dales always appeals, and when it involves Gaping Ghyll it sounds even better. Armed with permits, SUSS members drove up to the hospitable Bradford Hut to spend the weekend.
Saturday morning delivered a great breakfast (thanks to Alisa) and everyone was fired up to go underground. Tim, Ali and me were destined to go via Disappointment Pot to the main shaft of Gaping Ghyll, meet up with some others and maybe exchange for another route.
After the long walk in past all the snow, it was good to be underground. The infamous duck was nice and sporting, and upon reaching the other side Tim decided that it might be an idea to eat the Creme Egg that was in his chest pocket before it got even wetter!
The route is varied with tight rifts, crawls and stomping passages. Ali was rigging, whilst Tim sang and I just sat! On the last pitch there was no back-up, so after much deliberation we decided that a rock in the floor didn’t look like it would budge – so used that!
At the bottom we met Glen, CiderDave and Sally about to head out… and we headed on to find Brendan, Sam and Chris. We managed to persuade them to enjoy Disappointment Pot on the way out (although thought that Sam might enjoy the rather tight bits a little more than we had!)
Our route out was via Flood Entrance, and fuelled with Jelly we climbed the pitches – safe in the knowledge that we wouldn’t have to do that duck again!
On exit we went to check Disappoinment Pot – they weren’t out…oh dear! Tim gallantly went in and had a look, leaving me and Ali freezing on the misty moor. Sitting in the entrance we were delighted to see Chris’ grin as he climbed the final pitch – it meant we could get warm soon! Apparently Tim had had to sing to coax the team through the lovely wet duck.
We all descended back to the vehicles at a record speed – it took that time for me just to feel my fingers again!
Having had a slightly more eventful evening than first thought – the next day we decided to go down Calf Holes. Chris had just purchased a shiny new SRT kit, and he was eager to use it.
I began to rig (first rigging in about 2 years) overseen by Tim. We noticed the river being quite high, and upon reaching the bottom -the water reached my thighs. And it was cold, icy cold! Tim followed me down, whilst the others sat at the top.
We had a little reccy, going downstream was pretty nippy and the water was pretty deep. We decided to turn around. It was a good decision as I was frozen as I was prussicking up the rope. Unfortunately, Chris would have to wait for another oppurtunity to dirty his kit.
All was not lost – we did get to have a walk to Old Ing and Me, Sam and Chris got to skip merrily down the road (apparently Tim’s car couldn’t cope with the bumps and potholes), before we started our journey back to the Steel.