Caseker Gill Extension, Dow Cave by Ian Cummins

Caseker Gill Extension, Dow Cave: Ian, Simon, Steve Warren (29th March 2008).

On my first trip back to Dow since my teenage years for the Christmas meet of 2006, I had gone to the second choke, where I presumed the cave ended, only to find out that more passage lay beyond.  Returning with my son in the summer, I managed to get totally lost in the chamber beyond Hobson’s, so I enlisted the expert in the form of Steve to point the way for this trip.

Meeting in the café in Kettlewell, a draft of the survey was perused and we aimed to reach the chamber of the Albert Hall beyond the choke.  Steve was suffering from a cold but suggested he would go as far as he could without getting too cold or wet.

Reaching Hobson’s, a lot of water was flowing and Steve went first, attempting to keep his head dry, but then reversed to let me have a go.  Squeezing through, I got established in the tiny chamber above, only to look down the large hole to see Steve below!  Pointing out the easy route, we were soon all through and in the First Miners’ Chamber, where I was keen to test out the climb up to the ramp with its large wooden ‘foothold’, whilst Steve got a few pictures.

After having done so much constricted caving recently, it was a pleasure to enjoy the grand passages, with the extra flow of water making for great sport.  In the Second Miners’ Chamber we enjoyed a dip in the crystal-clear water of the Swimming Pool and climbed up the spoil to investigate the long, stooping passage of the Rattle and Sploosh workings, picking up a vintage baccy tin from a ledge to take out.

Passing the Third Miners’ Chamber, the fine rift waterfall was gushing nicely and Steve decided to head out to keep warm, giving Simon a few directions on how  to pass the choke ahead.  The climb up the rift was great fun, as was the stream passage and cascades beyond.  Reaching the confusion of the Second Choke, we explored lots of mucky leads, complete with old bang wire, but did not find the scaffolding described by Steve and decided to head out, taking a trip up Dowbergill Passage on the way.

The majestic, high passage leading to the Buddhist Temple was a pleasure, as always, and Simon and I enjoyed the quiet of the still, deep water in contrast to the roaring of the streamway behind.  Passing the duck, I described my climbing mishap and subsequent fielding by Steve (see Steve’s photo in the Gallery), showing Simon the gear placements and the spot where I landed!  Resolving to return in a tighter pair of boots, we set off out, emerging in the heavy rain that had been forecast to arrive in the afternoon.  Steve was supping tea in his van when we arrived and soon made a brew for us too, pointing out where we had gone wrong in our explorations.

A fine trip – thanks to Simon and Steve for a top day out.