Alum – Long Churn by Steve Warren

Alum Pot and Long Churn Meet (11 January 2009). 

On a cool damp day, all met up at Penyghent Cafe to discuss the plans for the day. There was lots of frozen snow on the tops and a thaw was imminent. Rain was forecast for later in the day and in view of the number of flood rescues that have taken place in recent times, the writer for one was pessimistic about the options, although the river at Settle Weir had been seen to be quite low.

However the general concensus seemed to be that a quick look at Alum and Long Churn was appropriate. Our party of ten was soon confronted by vastly superior forces from another organisation that cannot be named. Half of these seemed to be geriatrics and the other half novices tied together with washing line and onsequently offered no real threat to the WRPC descent.

Amidst pottering about the classic cave passages of Upper, then Lower, Long Churn, others cavorted on SRT as far as the window into the Main Shaft,  learning the tricks of the trade under the watchful eye of Ian Cummins. A further third went as far as the Bridge but retreated under a bombardment of great chunks of ice falling from above as the oncoming thaw started to bite.

Genevieve gets to grips with the rope on Dolly Tubs (Photo © Steve Warren)

After an exodus to Penyghent Cafe for a brew, several returned to the hole in a truly bracing gale to ensure the safe emergence of Andy, Nigel, Chris and one other (sorry, forgot who)  together with a noticeable rise in stream levels. On the journey back through Settle, the Ribble was seen to be coming up into a good flood.

In all it was a good day for several newcomers to practice SRT techniques which bodes well for membership and for future meets.

Steve Warren