Coniston Coppermines

Dave, John, Miranda, Tom

Upon reaching Levers Water, Dave noticed a group of 10 heading in, so we gave them a little time to get ahead of us, but by the time we reached Arete Chamber we bumped into them. A friendly bunch from The Caving Crew. We had a bit of a natter and they kindly let us overtake them. 

Off we headed across the MAGS stemples of doom, and into the Top Level Extensions. Pausing at the cart, we decided the traverse rope across to Earthquake Passage was looking in decent nick and that it’d be rude not to. So into new ground for us, enjoying a few artifacts and some nauseatingly deep holes in the floor.

We headed back up and over the stemples, and the Crew were still enjoying the first pitch. Once again they kindly stood aside for us and we leapt onto the second pitch. A whistle-stop look round a few side passages as we were all overstocked on photos of the lagoon and the blue rock. Down in Pinnacle Chamber, Dave made a scramble up into a hanging stump of a level and found some lovely mine pearls off the beaten track. Down onto Hospital Level and on our way to the Black Bull for a post-blue-Bluebird

Photos by Dave

Boundary Pot – Spiral Staircase

Dave, James, Tom

Dry Gill was on the list, but once again the weather decided it wasn’t Jason’s day, so we decided to get to Easter Grotto having failed with high water a couple of weeks ago itself. 

Water levels were nice and low, we got into Boundary no problem, surprised to find the wet entrance bits not too bad at all; I’ve only done Boundary in dry summery conditions. We made our way down the sketchy climbs, Fusion Cavern and past the crystal Grand Canyon map and found ourselves at Hiroshima in no time, and down the Manhattan Connection to Nagasaki. It’s always surprising how thirsty Easegill makes me, but we’d left our water bottles by the entrance of Wretched in an effort to travel light, and were pretty sweaty by this point. 

Thankfully we had Easter Grotto to distract us and take a breather. Dave got a few photos, then we headed on our way downstream and out through the speedy shortcut that is Spiral Staircase. Bursting out of the entrance pipe to our water bottles, we drank deeply and once again I promised myself I’d always take water down with me on Easegill trips.

Photos by Dave

Wretched Rabbit (damp trip)

Dave, James, Maz, Tim K, Tom

Really damp week, so we had to be more realistic about reaching our plan of Easter Grotto. The Gill was flowing when we got down to it, and after negotiating the entrance climbs we took one look at the hole down into Spiral Staircase and thought ‘sod that’. Instead we made our way down WR passage, through the flood escape of Fourways and into Stop Pot. The water was churning and we headed a short way upstream before being stopped by the low bit that spits you out at stream level just above a churning deadly chaos of streamway. We turned back at this point and headed back out the same route. At least we got a decent bit of exercise in the assault course that is WR

Rowten Pot

Dave, James, Ray

Rowten has always been a favourite trip of mine. Back in the day it was a great Sunday warm down after some epic or other on the Saturday. These days it’s the perfect evening trip.

As has been common this year, entry into Kingsdale was marked by a thick mist descending. The beck was in full flow too. While this may be ominous for planned trips to other caves, Rowten just gets better in such wet conditions as the rope can be rigged clear of the water.

We entered via The Eyehole, with the usual fun and games on the 2nd rebelay over the lip. On the main shaft, we took a hybrid route. This route descends from the 1st Y-hang in the bottomless rift, then swings over onto the opposite wall about 20m or so down to join the various rebelays encountered on the Gully Route. This has several advantages over the straight hang from the end of the bottomless rift. First, it breaks up the big pitch, which can speed things up on the ascent. Second, it keeps well clear of the water in even the wettest conditions. Third… it’s damn good fun!

From the foot of the main shaft we followed the Flyover Route, probably the only option in the conditions. The 1st rebelay on this, just round the corner in the perpendicular rift, is always a real pain. After that it was plain sailing to the bottom. James was particularly keen to have a look at the sumps, but even he had to admit defeat when faced with the thundering waterfall through which we would have had to climb to get there. Next time.

The ascent went without a hitch. Once again, this was a big step up for Dave & James… and once again they smashed it. Great effort guys. As far as I’m concerned, you’re both up to any SRT trip now.

Photos by Dave & Ray.