Aygill Caverns Helen, Chris H, Barney, Tim K, Sophie, Ed, Jason
Though the weather was bracing, the snow had held off, so there was a good turn-out at the farm. It was a long time since I’d visited Aygill, so I was glad to follow Chris as he unerringly located the entrance. Despite knowing the immediate entrance series was a bit tricky, we were still tricked for a few moments before finding the way on (as Nick Cave advises “you’ve got to get up before you get down”). Having done so, it’s not far to the first pitch – one of those that a brave person could free-climb. An even braver person would have used the frayed tat in situ, but fortunately Helen had brought a 9m rope which was exactly the right length.
The way on is through an uninviting slot right under the pitch leading quite soon to the second pitch, immediately before which is a deceptively awkward little constriction.
There follows the excellent Cascades streamway which all too soon leads to a labyrinth of crawls, climbs, chokes and chambers. Despite being armed with a printed copy of the Red Rose guide, we failed to find the sump, although it was fun poking around everywhere else. On our way out, Chris found what might have been the ‘low wet crawl’ leading to the sump and we both said that we’d give it a try if the other would. In the end, I managed to convince Chris that there was more to caving than long low crawls in very cold water – like sitting in a nice warm pub – so we left it for another day….