Boggarts Roaring Holes (Dowlass Moss): Ian Cummins, Simon Beck (22nd July 2007).
What a great name for a cave and the 2001 extensions provide a sporting trip, even in poor weather. The entrance allegedly has bolts for a belay, but we could find none and after a lot of searching, we rigged from a thread, a Hawthorn bush and a spike rebelay, dropping onto the rubbly floor with a big drop into the regular route up the slope and a low section behind into the extensions. We rigged the first three pitches on a 50m rope, all from naturals, with the cave having an abundance of flakes and spikes. Enlarged passage leads to the tricky Fever Pitch – a 16m abrupt drop at the end of a low crawl, with probably the most awkward part of the trip being the rigging here. Chockstones provide a backup, but hangers have to be fixed to exploration studs for the main hang and one of these had a jammed nut on it and turned in its hole allowing only a couple of threads for purchase, although the other was solid. I was contemplating bringing a few wired nuts for emergency hangers and in the absence of a pair of pliers, a wire would have been just the job here. Anyway, once rigged it’s a nice pitch into a chamber, from which exposed crawling over deep, blind pots leads to another pitch, with the only falling water in the whole cave. Again the promised bolt was not to be seen and we again rigged from threads and a spike for this short pitch.
The water disappears into a small crevice and a crawl off to the right leads to a small drop and more blasted passage leading to another short pitch rigged from a sound rock bridge above. Landing on a ledge here, a tight flat-out section leads to a drop into a chamber above another short pitch, again rigged from spikes and threads. More blasted territory leads to the longest pitch in the cave, with bolts for the belay, but requiring several deviations down its twisting route, landing on a rubble pile of blasted rock hewn from the passage leading to the final pitch. At the base of the final pitch 2 passages soon close down and it’s obvious that the diggers had put in a lot of effort to reach thus far.
Ascending the final pitch and stepping off at the top, I broke off a foothold, which crashed to the base of the pitch. Fortunately Simon was clear of the base, but there is a fair bit of loose rock at several of the pitch heads and this was not the only rockfall we encountered.
Derigging was a lot easier than the rigging and we were out pretty sharply, completing the trip in about 6 hours. This was quite a tiring trip, since although lacking any nasty obstacles, there is very little walking passage and although very enjoyable, the lack of an appreciable stream and the obvious man-made cave sections don’t quite give it classic status, but it is a fine wet weather venue.