Family day out by Ian Cummins

Hole in Floor to Langstroth Cave Pull-through: Leif, Ian and Beth (4th July 2010).

Apart from a run through Heron Pot last summer, daughter Beth hadn’t been caving since our Dowbergill trip, although she had promised to when the weather warmed up.  Into July and with school slowing down – and the drought about to break – we were set for this favourite trip.

The Viking was keen to do the sumps again and would serve to watch the rope at the bottom of the pitches to be on the safe side.  The plan was for me to dive through with bottles and other kit from the cave side and free-dive back, leaving Beth the option of the free-dives or air, so we all made the trip to the downstream side of the sumps for me to do my job.  Dragging the bag of weights, masks, hoods and other kit through the sumps was fun in the clear water, noticing an unfortunate dead frog en-route and I de-kitted below the last pitch to free-dive back with my weight belt and mask to be carried down the pitches.

Trudging up the hill, we almost lost sight of Beth in the burgeoning bracken, catching sight of her red helmet occasionally as The Viking and I led the way to our destination.  With 30m of 8mm rope, belay plates and harnesses, we were travelling light, although I had my weights and mask to take care of and finding the cave to be a little wetter than expected, despite the arid appearance of the Wharfe, we were soon passing a gin-clear Goat Inlet to enjoy the spectacular passage to the last pitch.  As always, this was a total pleasure and Beth was suitably impressed, whilst calmly making the rap down the final drop.

The plan was for Beth to free-dive the first sump, before kitting up for the final 2 to gain experience for a later trip.  Having gone through first, I noticed Beth’s light tracking through the sump and she continued across the pool like a torpedo until I caught her and raised her up.  She had enjoyed the experience and with The Viking also through, we dived back to kit up with 1 bottle each.

With The Viking free-diving out first, I waited in the air bell for Beth to arrive, where she moved past me to dive out to the cave.  Following behind, I was soon through and we packed the kit for the short walk to the surface, where it was absolutely chucking it down – although it was very warm.

An unusual family day out, in a cave I don’t think one could ever tire of.