Dave, James, Ray

We had such great plans. Dave and/or James could put their recent rigging training (courtesy of Scott) into practice on the first 2 pitches. I would rig the Chapter House traverse/pitch. Then James and/or Dave could derig the whole thing. What fun we would have. Sure, it would be a bit on the wet side, but isn’t Yordas best in such conditions? There’s nothing better than traversing and performing various aerial acrobatics out over the raging torrent then finally sliding down alongside, but safely out of, the deluge.

The first sign that things may not go to plan was the thunderous sound of the waterfall before we even got to the bottom entrance. Inside, the main chamber was a vast swimming pool. I say swimming pool, but no-one could actually be tempted to swim.

Hmmm. Never mind. We didn’t intend to come out the bottom entrance anyway. Our way in (the middle entrance) would be nice and dry. We would meet the water coming in from the top entrance and get a bit wet in the crawl to Chapter House, but then we would be safely clear of the water.

It became clear that plans may have to change long before we got to the middle entrance. Again, the sound and then the sight of a raging torrent suggested we may have to rethink. We had intended to go in via the more upstream of the 2 slots constituting the middle entrance. This was taking a massive stream, much more than I’ve ever seen before.

Not being a team to be put off by such trivial matters, we entered via the more downstream middle entrance slot. Even this was taking some water, but it was at least passable. Dave took the lead and did an excellent job of rigging the first short drop. He carried on rigging the 2nd pitch, but looked a bit concerned about actually going down it in view of the thundering waterfall that may not be avoidable for the last few metres. I wouldn’t have blamed him for deciding against it. In fact, I was hoping common sense would prevail and we could have an early pint in the Marton Arms, rather than an early shower.

In the end, Dave made it look easy to stay relatively dry by bridging out away from the water. I followed and did a passable job of staying relatively dry. James, on the other hand, took the option of an early shower.

If I’m being honest, I kind of knew where the trip would end. Just around a left hand bend is a short climb down with a pool at the bottom. This is usually just a bit of fun in normal water conditions. Tonight it was a positive death trap. It would certainly have been possible to get down (not necessarily under control), but may have been impossible to get back up against the force of water.

So that was, indeed, as far as we got. James valiantly offered to derig. I think his logic went essentially along the lines of “I can’t get any wetter”. Dave and I weren’t about to argue. At least we would both have someone to hold us out of the water for the first bit. James took his inevitable drenching with a stiff, if slightly moist, upper lip. He did an excellent job of derigging.

After a particularly slippy-slidey walk back down to the cars, we retired to the Marton for a bit of “rehydration”. Although we didn’t get very far, this was actually a most enjoyable evening. It’s great to see such caves in full flow and gain a bit more respect for the sheer power of the water that forms them.

We will all be back very soon to finish what we started.

Photos by Dave & Ray.

Alum Pot

Claire, Dave, Ray, Scott, Vicky:

My first lead after a suggestion wanting to save myself paying for a day trip with work, first Saturday trip and also the first one setting off and coming out in sunshine, busy day!

With a plan of attack set, discussed over a breakfast and a brew at Inglesport cafe, we set off towards Selside in glorious sunshine. Scott and Ray collectively having enough rope to rig everything possible as least once.

We opted to go in via Long Churn bottom entrance and take the Dolly Tubs alternative descent. Apparently this was also the intention of the YSS members who turned up just as we were setting off, leading to a race to the entrance, quite how they caught us i’ll never know but we got in first! Scott lead the way and got the first pitches rigged up.

Here our riggers swapped with Claire taking the rope bag for the Greasy Slab (maybe, opinion was divided about which side was which) and across to the Bridge before dropping us down to the bottom ready for the last wet abseil into the sump. The waterfall from Diccan Pot was in full flow with the sump foaming with all the feed coming in.

Pretty safe to say this was a soaking wet trip, with water coming at us from all angles, so we made out way back out via Dolly Tubs with Dave giving the Cheese Press an obligatory visit with some words of encouragement from Ray. We detoured on the way out and emerged back into sunshine from Long Churn middle entrance, swiftly marching downhill with the taste of a well earned pint at the Station already in our minds.