Double Trouble – Ian and Adele.
When it rains in the dales a favourable trip is always found at Nenthead. It’s closer than the dales, and we have enjoyed many sporting and exploratory trips. Trip options were discussed, The Traverse, Bog Shaft, or Double Rise thru trip – Caplecleugh to Smallcleugh. Ian didn’t fancy carrying a ton of ropes, I didn’t fancy carrying the SRT kit and pies. This is a trip we have done several times; however we have always failed to take many pictures en- route. I’ve been debating taking my iPhone along for a while and today was the day, so prepare for a photo report!
A later than usual start – I have always enjoyed driving up to Nenthead; these times are filled with chatter. Overnight rain had a chance to start passing through Caplecleugh. Ian throws glances at all the rivers, its looking rather wet. With snow on the forecast for Nenthead the skinny tyres on my newly acquired cave car are going to be helpful. Parking up, the car is blasted with cold wind, causing a slight shudder as we survey the car park. Not fancying my 9-stone mates chances of survival kitting up outside – we don wetsuits in the car, prepped!
Surface water in the beck didn’t look too bad, however the water flow is the highest I’ve seen coming out of Caplecleugh and heading underground conditions seem sporting – perfect. The initial passage is always slightly annoying, it hinders my chatterbox tendencies. Water falling down the incline is booming today, this is going to be good fun. Moving further into the mine, there is less water seeping from above, water levels improve. Impressive formations of foam are noted – it looks like floating egg meringue!
Moving forward the shale falls remain in a similar state, there are 2 sections of dangling doom that require due care. The water is beginning to back up in these areas, due to the flakes blocking flow. The water is cold, but we have plenty time on our hand today so stop to take some pictures of crystals on the walls,
loving my iPhone’s ability to actually work down here. Flooded tunnels prove a little testing when I can’t touch the bottom, no matter – progress is a little slower.
Ian suggests ankle weight might be helpful, can quiet understand that – wouldn’t that mean I was underwater?
We pass by Toilet Box Junction heading left for a change. This is a familiar path although I still check out with Ian the route at a junction in deep water. Water levels remain high, yet fun!
What’s next on the agenda then … oh it’s the muddy bit. Mud sinks into ya wellies, providing ankle weights!
Fine Mud formations are carefully passed to preserve their beauty. Moving quickly towards Double Rise, noting the familiar rotten wood.
Meeting the metal ladders, I begin to wonder what sort of start the rest of them are going to be in, – will they have completely turned to stone yet.
Double Rise seemed to pass quickly – much to my surprise.
Landing on familiar territory, we manage to find the bypass (for the first time) to the collapsed bridge around Luke Hall’s Sump. Smallcleugh passages are never much fun; they seem to go on and on are slightly boring.
Smelling the fresh air, it’s been a good trip with my matey – pub time!
Heading to the Miners Arms is always a welcoming sight – friendly locals no longer laugh when I appear covered in mud.