Maz, Rhod, Tom, Yolanda
Four folks who’d never visited Black Reef turned up, buttered up with tales of discomfort and the need for wetsuits. And most worryingly, Jason had got in touch to express that it was one of his favourites! It did actually turn out to be a lovely little trip being fairly warm weather, and doesn’t deserve its reputation.
After kitting up we wandered down to the approximate area and found it right away. First we made a quick trip downstream from the entrance, with a loop round an oxbow. We then gritted our teeth for the fearsome entrance canal upstream. It reached chest high on some of the shorter cavers but was over in about 3 minutes. With the wetsuits it was nowt but a quick dip.
We headed upstream in the main passage, enjoying the relatively nice formations. The black reefs themselves showed up, creating a few fun little waterfall scrambles and some paddling pools. Rhod led the way further into the upper reaches of the main streamway, getting lower and lower (and more wetsuit-tearing) until we reached that usual point: ‘it does go on, but….’. Where we all happily agreed to an about turn and made our way back down.
On the way back Yolanda led us up a waterfall into the long crawl of North Inlet passage. Again, we reached a point where Yolanda wanted to press on to see what was just around the next corner, while the rest of us were happy to wait and hear about it rather than experience it first-hand. Her comments when she returned seemed to suggest we hadn’t missed out. Back downstream for a quick wash of the suits in the entrance canal, and back out to a muggy evening and a daylight car-change!
Darren, Emma, Vikki, Alec, Maz (3rd KKC trip), James (2nd KCC trip), Ray
A short novice trip, fearlessly led by Darren. I’d never been to Katnot before, so I was looking forward to this one. The clocks had changed the previous weekend, so for the first time this year we were changed and at the cave entrance in daylight. It was still a bit cold, though.
The trip started in a most unexpected fashion, with Darren leading us straight to the entrance! And what a nice entrance it is too. Unfortunately, after the recent rain, it was a bit on the wet side, which was a bit of a theme through the whole cave. Darren led off with his train following. The main passage is a good size and liberally decorated with flowstone of various colours, red being the most common. Careful not to touch it though… it doesn’t half stain your oversuit. Progress was a bit difficult at times against the fast flowing water.
It’s quite a photogenic cave and we stopped at various points for Darren to take a few snaps. We passed a few side passages, but didn’t take any of them – perhaps we were leaving them for the way out. Vikki and I did stick our heads into one, which looked quite nice (dry, anyway), but we didn’t go far as we didn’t want to lose the others. Eventually the roof lowers and the main passage continues as a (very wet) crawl, with the main flow coming in from an inlet a short distance in. Even after the inlet, the main passage was still very wet, although the flowrate was much less, so progress was easier.
With the roof getting progressively lower, various people decided to turn back at various points. Only Darren, Alec and James made it to the bitter end. Well done guys. Everyone was now thoroughly soaked and getting a bit cold, so we beat a hasty retreat… ignoring all the side passages in our hurry to get back to some dry clothes.
The trip didn’t take long at all, so it was still half light when we emerged. As we were getting changed, who should drive by but our Chairperson Sophie. If that wasn’t the perfect reason to stop off at the Station Inn for a pint I don’t know what is.
A great evening. Cheers Darren!
Photos by Darren.
A Ribblehead classic, but neither James nor I had done it before.
Found the East Sink entrance ok (thanks, Garmin), and as the water levels were fairly low, we made it through the Tube without flipping onto our backs, thereby keeping a small area round our shoulders dry.
Kudos to James as he hasn’t got a proper undersuit!
Found our way to Middle Entrance, popped out, admired the view, back down again to the lower entrances – both of them although the last one did seem like wallowing for the sake of it.
Back to the cars as light was fading, and we had our photos taken with the viaduct in the background by a nice lady who said we looked incredible. But we knew that!