Roaring Hole

Roaring Hole 18/10/2023 – Connor, James, Rhod,  Jason

I always like to begin a trip to Roaring with half-an-hour or so fruitlessly wandering the limestone pavement on the slopes of Ingleborough, and tonight was no exception.  It turns out that a) What3Words isn’t as useful a navigational tool as I’d hoped, and b) my recollection of the entrance of the entrance was woeful.  Anyway, when Connor’s phone got a signal, it didn’t take long before we were heading down.

The first (and only, as far as we were concerned) pitch into Bandstand chamber comes in two halves – the first a simple drop to a wide ledge, and the second a rather awkward Y-hang down the last 5m.  I rigged both parts, but regretted it.  It’s quicker and easier to tiptoe round the edge of the chamber to the bottom, and really not too terrifying.

There follows one of several scaffolded boulder chokes.  There wasn’t much water – the promised storm having held off – but what there was found its way down the back of our necks. A short crawl, and another boulder choke or two leads to Slab Chamber.  There are hangers for a handline, and I had brought some rope, but once again the rope doesn’t really help – it takes you away from dry rock with good handholds.

A final boulder slope led down to the streamway, which we explored as far as The Rift, which we left for another time.  Getting out is easy enough, though warm work – until the final upward thrutch into the entrance slope.  The youngsters all managed this with minimal assistance, but I was badly in need of a shove from Connor, who manfully ascended unaided.

A good trip, and thanks to all for bearing with my attempts at above-ground navigation!

Sunset Hole

Sophie, Tom, Tim K, Rhod, Maz, Steve, Yolanda, Ryan (3rd KCC trip)

Report from Sophie:

A rather soggy trip down Sunset Hole on Wednesday night. A classic little Yorkshire stream way. An enthusiastic turn out with Tom, Tim, Rhod, Steve (wonderful to have you back buddy!), Maz, Sophie, Yolanda and first-timer, Ryan. A good, if wet, time was had by all and the caramel cake was an absolute winner.

Hardrawkin Pot

Darren, Sophie, Helen, Tom, Pete, Jason, Ray

This was sort of a continuation of last week. when we did High Douk. Hardrawkin starts in the same shakehole as the lower HD entrance, but goes downstream, whereas HD goes upstream. The 1st obstacle is the incredibly slippery climb down into the entrance. The 2nd obstacle on this particular occasion was a frog blocking the way. This was delicately, if unceremoniously, manhandled along a human chain out of the cave, but insisted on hopping straight back in. I can’t say I blame it, given how much cooler it was in the cave. Eventually the frog was sent on its way upstream towards High Douk and we were on our way.

I always think of Hardrawkin as a miniature version of a classic Dales pothole. It is essentially just an entrance passage leading to 2 pitches. The entrance passage is quite nice, well decorated even in some places, but not quite as large as you would like, necessitating a reasonable amount of crawling, but with the odd walking section. We made quick progress through this and were soon at the 1st pitch. Darren set to rigging this, with a long queue waiting expectantly behind him.

The 1st pitch had been Sophie’s nemesis for a number of years, but she made short work of it in the end. Phew!

This pitch is always wet, even in these almost drought conditions, so we were glad Darren had put both deviations in. Although it’s not the longest pitch around, it is very nice indeed.

At the bottom of the 1st pitch are a few short climbs down to the 2nd pitch.

The 2nd pitch lands almost in the final sump pool, which (for some reason no-one could quite understand) Jason decided to traverse over, even though there’s nothing on the other side! Whatever floats your boat… although, not having a boat, it’s just as well he didn’t fall off into the sump.

There was nothing to do at this point, but turn around and head out for some solstice beer and carrot cake. Not a bad way to spend a summer solstice evening!

Great Douk & High Douk

Yolanda, Tom, Tim K, Pete, Nick, Ray, Ryan (2nd KCC trip) and Saskia (1st KCC trip)

Yolanda comes up trumps again… 2 more novices to (hopefully) swell our growing ranks. Ryan had been caving once before with KCC (unfortunately in Great Douk again) and Saskia was a total beginner, although I believe she has some climbing experience.

With such a good turnout and the recent dry weather, we were guaranteed a great evening… and it didn’t disappoint. A leisurely change and walk up soon brought us to the impressive Great Douk shakehole.

Ryan showed his experience (of this particular hole) by traversing into the entrance along a high shelf…

…thus avoiding the climb up the waterfall.

Once inside, the hole in the roof appears pretty quickly, looking better than ever on this occasion.

A bit of easy walking led to an oxbow crawl on the left, which everyone took, apart from yours truly… for purely photographic reasons. The crawl ended with bit of a tight squeeze back into the main passage.

Eventually the main passage got lower… and lower…

… until we eventually popped out of the top entrance. The views of Ingleborough and the surrounding Dales landscape were breathtaking. Unfortunately so were the midges!

Not yet satisfied, we set off in search of another short series of caves, High Douk Holes. These took some finding. We initially tried to find the top entrance, instead finding an entrance that led only to a chamber filled with midges, which we named Midge Hole. No idea what it’s really called. Yolanda didn’t seem to like the midges.

Eventually we entered High Douk Holes via the easier to find bottom entrance, which is conveniently located next to Hardrawkin Pot (next week’s destination), following it through various underground sections, punctuated by daylight where the shallow roof had collapsed. Eventually progress was halted by an extremely low section, blocked by fallen rocks, but High Douk was well worth a visit.

A very enjoyable evening indeed. Thanks to Yolanda for leading us. Some hardier types retired to the Marton Arms for some well-needed rehydration. Roll on Hardrawkin!

Meregill Hole

Gareth, Jason, Tom, Ray + Bruce Grieve (friend of Ray’s)

With the recent very dry spell, the weather was certainly playing it’s part, so things were looking good for a cracking trip. Tom had decided against joining us in the end as he was due to attend a CNCC meeting in the morning. Gareth, Jason & Ray turned up on time and just about managed to squeeze into some parking spaces. Bruce arrived later and spent the next 30 mins or so driving up and down the road unable to get parked anywhere – he has high standards. In the meantime, Gareth and Jason had set off to start rigging. Bruce eventually ended up parking just short of the Station Inn, with a very long walk back down the road.

When Ray & Bruce eventually arrived at the entrance, Gareth & Jason were just at the bottom of the 1st pitch, having spent some time exploring the dry mere. It was dry, I mean totally dry! One consequence of this is that you can see just how deep it is when the mere is up.

We soon caught up with the rigging party at the 2nd pitch, where an interesting traverse leads to an even more interesting top of the pitch proper. Rather helpfully, Jason fully testing the strength of the y-hang belay by doing an incredible Tarzan swing onto the rope. If he planned to do that then he’s a braver man than I am. If he didn’t then credit to him for not squealing like a girl, like I would have done.

The 3rd pitch (the Canyon) has to be one of the best around, although it is never quite as long as I expect. The rigging is constantly interesting. Jason decided he had had enough at the 2nd rebelay, so started back up. It was a shame, as I think he had passed the worst by that point. Anyway, he made his way out and Bruce & Ray carried on down to pass the final tackle bag to Gareth, who continued the rigging.

The rigging on the 4th pitch is somewhat strange and out of character with the rest of the cave. Whereas all other pitches start with a high-level traverse far out away from the water, the 4th heads straight down with the water, although there is a fixed Tyrolean traverse line to guide you away from the water. But this just makes things quite awkward, particularly on the way back up.

Eventually Gareth arrived at the bottom of the last pitch, closely followed by Ray. Bruce couldn’t be coaxed down the last drop. Apparently seeing the bottom was enough. Why would anyone actually want to get there? Fair point I suppose, given that there wasn’t much enthusiasm for exploring the (extensive) passage at the bottom. Had there not been a very deep pool to cross right at the bottom of the last pitch, I suspect there may have been more enthusiasm. Ray did make a token attempt at exploration, crossing the deep pool and going maybe 100-200m along the passage while Gareth started prussicking.

The journey out and the derigging went as smoothly as could be expected… although there was definitely a bit of language from Bruce at some of the pitch heads.

Apparently Tom did decide to pop down after all. On his way in he passed Jason heading out. Tom got to just below where Jason had turned back, before feeling a bit dehydrated and turning back himself. Good solo effort! Ray, Gareth & Bruce were unaware that Tom had been in at all until he texted to say that he was sorry for missing us.

Once back on the surface, Gareth, Bruce & Ray sunbathed a bit before setting off back. A support stall for some scouts doing the 3 peaks was a great chance to blag a free drink. They even threw in a banana for each of us. A perfect day was rounded off nicely sat outside the Station Inn. Well, Bruce was parked up there anyway.

Thanks to Gareth for his rigging expertise.

Hardrawkin Pot

It was a beautiful evening to be on Inglebrough. Gareth, Darren, Andy J., James and Sophie headed for Hardrawkin Pot in the sunshine. A little climb down led to some interesting passage, decorated in places with milky coloured glittering rock. This quickly led to the head of the first pitch. Trip reports online suggested that this was going to be an abseil down a booming great waterfall. Due to the dry weather this summer however, the decent looked pretty dry. A second pitch led to a sump. Then it was back up and to the Marton Arms (they apparently have a better gin selection than the Hill Inn *rolls eyes*) before heading home – Will this do Darren?! 

Roaring Hole – 13th March 2013

Roaring Hole   Ed, Sophie, Paul, Jason

I’d wanted to revisit Roaring after a previous attempt under Mr Gordon’s leadership two years ago only got as far as the 2nd boulder choke due to the volume of water cascading down it.

It was new to the others, and my memories of the route to the cave were hazy – perhaps because of the blizzard that had been blowing at the time.  Consequently our search for the entrance (in a “prominent shakehole west of Braithwaite Wife Hole – you can’t miss it”) took a good half-hour of quartering the limestone pavement on Ingleborough.  (For future reference, turn off the path to the right only about 50m after the sharp right-hand turn in the path as it starts to pass BWH on the left).

Down the entrance climb/slither,  then the first ‘boulder’ choke (more of a scaffold choke) and the giant’s staircase made of rubble cemented into retaining walls – pausing only to wonder at the engineering effort that had gone into it all.  Ed rigged the first pitch, all the way to the top of the second boulder choke.  I skipped the second half of the abseil, not wanting to miss the airy tiptoe round the Bandstand.  The choke was much drier than previously, but what water there was magically found its way down the backs of our necks.  A short crawl followed, then another hole in the floor leading to another boulder choke apparently named after Morecambe Pier – again generously scaffolded.

This led to another chamber, where we had been warned by Helen of a ‘committing’ vertical squeeze.  Coming from such a hardened explorer, this caused some nervous anticipation – so the consensus was that Sophie should try it first (the slimmest, and least argumentative?)  She did so, having removed her SRT kit, so I followed.  It was snug, but the drop far from abyssal – by exhaling slowly, one slides down a couple of feet to a gentle landing below.  Paul pronounced his physique too manly for the attempt, so Ed came next but pronounced it ‘uncomfortable’, so retreated (a radical idea that – that caving should be comfortable !)  Sophie and I continued down a short walking passage and a climb down into Slab Chamber.  Here there is a near-vertical slope onwards and downwards.  It looks intimidating at first, but on closer examination it’s well-provided with handholds and makes for an entertaining climb.

At this point, Sophie generously left me to it, and returned to Ed and Paul.  True to form, at the bottom of the climb, there is another hole in the floor and another boulder choke leading to a streamway which goes on to the Rift with a pitch to the bottom.  However, I turned round at this point in case the others had tired of waiting.

The return journey to the Bandstand is easy, if more strenuous than before.  As I was still not kitted-up for SRT, I was tempted to investigate the in-situ bit of looped tat that adorned the first part of the pitch.  Together with a metal bracket someone had helpfully bolted to the rock, it is possible to haul oneself up the start of the pitch, after which free-climbing becomes eminently possible.  However, any feelings of achievement I might have had after that were dispelled when it came to getting up the beginning of the final climb out.  This involves a surprisingly awkward upward thrutch without the benefit of any kind of foothold.  Fortunately,  Ed’s knee, and a shove or two, provided the necessary impetus.

Apart from that, I thoroughly enjoyed Roaring Hole, a nice clean cave without being too aqueous, plenty of fun scrambling about and – I believe – can reasonably easily be done without ladders or SRT, which is always a bonus.