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!