Darren kindly offered to lead this trip, opting for the high-level route in case of wet conditions. It had rained most of the day, but water levels in the becks were reassuringly low. We were soon at the pitch, where I dangled for a while for Darren to get some photos (not necessarily of my best side!) from below. Scott had the job of lighting me from above while balancing on the tiny ledges at the pitch head, not easy when you’re trying not to look down! Tom later mentioned the traverse to the pitch had got his heart racing – I assured him his was not the only one.
I recalled the guidebook mentioning a high-level Phreatic Inlet, so we decided to find it. At the first right-hand turn, I sent Darren up a fruitless climb in the roof, but there was another turn soon after, at which we managed to climb up to a promising passage – except Tom, who was exploring downstream. The passage went some way to a nicely-decorated chamber with another awkward climb out of it. Scott conquered this and slithered along a narrow rifty passage above for a little way before returning. It might be worth returning to pursue this to the end, but the guidebook doesn’t hold much hope of ‘marvellous things’.
Returning to the pitch bottom, we realised we hadn’t made a plan with Tom – which way had he headed? In the end, Scott nobly volunteered to get wet going out the downstream entrance in case Tom was waiting there, while Darren and I ascended the pitch. We found Tom waiting for us at the entrance – had he gone up the rope first? No – he had pushed on out of the wet exit on his own and come back to meet us. Good effort! As we walked down the hill, we met a dripping Scott and returned to the cars in what passed for daylight, low cloud having descended as we walked back. Still, a good trip, and nice to find a ‘new’ section of a familiar cave.