Valley Entrance

Dave, Jordan, Ray, Tom, Vicky, Yolanda

First trip for new recruits Dave and Jordan, and it were a damp un. We headed in to find the master cave pretty heaving, close enough to call it but we sent brave volunteers down to test it out and it turned out to be just about passable with a lot of legwork. But with this kind of flow the waterslides become pretty fun, and we enjoyed riding the river right back down to the pitch, with the adrenaline cancelling out the hypothermia. Jordan laddered back up and the rest of us SRT’d up including Dave’s first ever attempt at SRT, which went swimmingly – he’d watched enough Youtube vids that he’d pretty much taught himself already 🙂 Yolanda cracked out the Bounties before heading back out to a chilly change and a pint at the Marton.


David ‘Tom’ Holden Memorial Outing

A fantastic turnout of members new and old, to honour one of the club founders, David ‘Tom’ Holden. Great to see the Old Guard, and a lovely time was had by all.

The morning kicked off with tents and tables set up outside the entrance to Yordas, before active members headed up the hill for two trips – Darren leading from the Top Entrance, and John leading from the Middle Entrance. As trips finished and people congregated at the bottom entrance, food was conveniently ready, with fantastic home-made soup and cakes aplenty. 

President Fred and Vice Pres Andy both said a few words about Tom’s life and efforts at maintaining KCC; we looked through some folders of old photographs that Fred had brought along, and the KCC cake was cut jointly by the oldest and youngest cavers present. 

We then headed into Yordas together with sparklers for some photos and light writing. By this point we were well fed and entertained and ready to start making our ways to places warmer than Yordas, with some having been there about 5 hours.

Big thanks to all who attended, organised and made the day special. Here’s to Tom Holden!


Maz, Scott, Tom

What a damp evening. The initial plans for Aquamole were scrapped and we’d planned to visit Heron instead. However, on the walk up the rain set in really heavy and didn’t look like it was stopping so we decided to turn back and head to Yordas for a play instead. We headed in the middle entrance, Maz had a try of his new foot ascender on the short pitches then we headed to the traverse to rig and have a general SRT practise

Jingling Pot

Darren, Chris D, John, Miranda, James, Maz, Tom

Multi-route rigging, with the big hang, the pretty big hang and the Lateral Cleft all being rigged. The teams went their separate ways, and while Darren yo-yo’d up and down the big hang to practise for expedition, people made their way down and back up.

A bag was sent for a flying lesson down the hole in the floor of Lateral Cleft which may or may not still be down there… 

Bull Pot, Kingsdale

Quick sneak down BPK on a rainy Wednesday evening to reinforce some SRT skills with some of the newer folks. It was interesting seeing it going from dry and silent to flowing waterfall during the course of the trip.

Simpsons Pot

Scott, Tim D, Tom

An unsettled morning saw us parking up at Braida Garth with a minibus full of scouts kitting up for Valley Entrance. With Scott and Tom in wetsuits, the march up the fell was a sweaty lark, with Tim enjoying a pleasant stroll in normal kit on the promise of sacrifices later in the trip. As we neared the entrance, another group of cavers was on our tail and followed us into the cave – oh no, were we going to be double rigging and leapfrogging the whole trip? Were we ‘eck – by the time we’d quickly freeclimbed the 5 Steps we heard them calling Rope Free on the first step.

Scott’s cunning plan for this trip was to take 2x 40m ropes in 2 bags, tying them together for Slit Pot at the bottom when we needed it. As we rigged the first pitch, the plan came crashing down as Tom discovered that not only had he forgotten his Stop, but that the bag he’d picked up was a duff one whose bottom fell out, spilling its ropey contents everywhere. After a couple of pitches carrying 80m of rope in one bag, Tim had an ingenious idea to nip together the break in the bag with a maillon. This worked an absolute treat and we were back on course, with Scott kindly sharing his Stop with Tom or sometimes just Hitching down. 

We made good progress and reached everyone’s favourite bit, the Duck. No problems here, particularly for the wetsuit contingent. Onwards and downwards, until we reached Shuffle Pot. Initially we traversed far too high, and although we reached a set of bolts, Tim had a rayt struggle squeezing down the pitch from here. However he soon spotted another set of bolts from a lower ledge, and we realised we could traverse back and then forward at a lower level to reach a much more comfortable hang. 

Onwards down to Slit Pot without any drama, and Scott hooked up his double 40m pullthrough rope and headed up to the overhead bypass to Slit Pot. Flawless descent apart from rigging from some maillons on a bit of tat. The descent was pretty damp, and the stream pouring in from Swinsto at the bottom was much more ‘sporting’ than it had been a month ago when we did Swinsto in drought. The final pitch into Great Aven was really hammering, and we crossed our fingers that there hadn’t been a cloudburst outside that had swollen the master cave.

Thankfully the Master Cave was fine, although it had risen enough for a few toboggan slides down in the water for the wetsuit folk who were still nice and toasty at this point. At the roof tunnel pitch, the scouts’ ladder hung as we made an efficient ascent and the usual back-breaking exit from Valley Entrance. 

Swinsto Pot

Tom, Darren, Tim K, Pete, Steve, Rhod, Ray

A classic pull-through in dry conditions with Darren rigging. All went smoothly. No hang-ups or jammed ropes. Photos by Ray.

Jingling Pot

Darren, Tim K, Tom, Pete, Sophie, Rhod, Ray

A good turnout for a Wed evening. 7 cavers, most of whom seemed to have brought their own ropes! So all possible routes were rigged. Darren rigged his own rope on the direct hang from the tree (very brave!). Tim rigged Ray’s ropes on Lateral Cleft. Ray attempted to rig Tim’s (as it turned out, experimental) rope on the main shaft route via Little Gully – it was fast, so fast that it was impossible to rig the rebelay.

Sophie, Pete & Tom followed Tim down Lateral Cleft. Rhod followed Darren down the direct hang. Nobody followed Ray down Tim’s rope – very wise. A quick trip to the bottom for most then Darren, Sophie, Pete & Tim ascended the direct hang, while Rhod & Tom ascended Lateral Cleft, with Ray derigging.

Another great Wed evening trip, rounded off with a very nice pint in the Marton Arms.

Rowten Pot

Darren, Helen, Sedgey, Ray

A great trip down a classic Yorkshire pothole. Rowten is one of my personal favourites – technical SRT in some very impressive situations. And it can be done whatever the water levels.

Unusually for this year, the weather was kind to us. A bit chilly, but sunny, which made for a pleasant walk up the hillside. As it was a Sunday, there was none of the usual Wednesday evening rush to get out at a sensible hour. So the first (surface) pitch was rigged at a leisurely pace. For the first 3 (surface) anchors I prefer to use maillons, which led to the usual barrage of abuse. I was first down, followed by Darren, with Helen giving Sedgey some moral support (as he hadn’t done anything quite this serious before). He did very well indeed, so he’s well on his way to being an expert!

The 2nd Y-hang rebelay over the edge of the first pitch is always a bit awkward as there’s nothing to stand on to remove your short cowstail, but everyone seemed to cope ok. At the bottom of the first pitch, you land on a ledge above an even bigger drop, from where you teeter across a rock bridge to another ledge. The 2nd pitch starts at the far end of this ledge and is certainly not for the faint hearted. There’s a rebelay just over the edge, then you have to swing (awkwardly) into a rift. This rift is challenging for 2 reasons: (i) it is narrow, and (ii) the bottom is about 40m below your feet. Traversing along this rift leads to a very well-placed Y-hang for a stunning descent down into the Main Chamber.

Helen took over rigging for the 2 pitches below Main Chamber. The first of these requires abseiling down exactly the right distance to find a Y-hang rebelay hidden around the corner. This isn’t easy to pass, as Sedgey found out… although he did a great job of it.

After that, there’s another awkward rebelay and then onto an interesting traverse to the final pitch… all expertly rigged by Helen.

All arrived safely at the bottom, but it was a bit on the wet side to get to the sumps. So a relaxed retreat was called for. Darren “2 bags” McKenzie did all of the derigging. We tried my new MicroTraxion for hauling bags up the big pitch, which worked a treat. To cap a great trip, the sun was still shining as we emerged triumphantly.