Tim Donovan, Darren Mackenzie, Steve Physick, Alec Hunter, Tom Calpin, Scott Nixon, Ray McGarry
A classic Tim D trip – tight, damp and full of surprises. If anyone wants to write an in-depth trip report, I didn’t get past the squeeze between the first and second pitches, so I can only assume that fun was had beyond!
Tim D, Darren, Tom, Scott, Alec, Steve, Ray
Aygill is one of those caves that I’ve never been able to work out. Although it isn’t very long, there seem to be a maze of passages. Luckily our leader, Tim D, knows his way around… well, mostly… there was the small matter of missing the climb up on the left not far inside the entrance, but we can forgive him that as he led us through the rest of the cave without a hitch.
The going is fairly cramped until the 2nd pitch. Immediately before this pitch is an awkward little section with a tight left hand bend. This proved too tight for Tom, but he gave it a damn good try. Unfortunately all his effort was in vain and he reluctantly headed out for an early bath. To my mind, the best way to tackle this awkward section is feet first, left side down and stay low. As far as I could tell, those who attempted it head first had a more difficult time, as you then have to somehow swing your feet under you to approach the pitch the right way up.
Anyone expecting a nice stomp down the streamway at the bottom of the 2nd pitch was to be disappointed. It’s a mixture of crawling (mostly in water) and climbs down some entertaining cascades. Some of the wet crawls appear to be bypassable, but it’s hardly worth it as others aren’t so you get a good soaking either way. Despite grumbling in the ranks, Tim did a great job of urging us all on, largely due to the promise of “the most scenic sump in the Dales”… or some similar dubious claim. To be fair to him, it was quite a nice sump, the best bit being the ability to stand up in the sump chamber.
After a few photos we headed out. Some of the entertaining cascades provided even more entertainment on ascent. There was general agreement that the awkward section at the top of the second pitch was easier on the way out. I personally put this down to the fact that most people tried to approach the pitch head first on the way in. All in all, another great mid-week trip. Thanks Tim!