Wednesday Caving by Jack Upsall

Hagg Gill Pot: Jack, Fay, Denis, Phil, Adele (Wednesday 7th March)

Spot on with our Window of Opportunity – the Wednesday before, Northern England was covered with disruptive snow, and the day after, the snow returned. Yet on the 7th Langstrothdale looked stunning – white edges to every field and lane, and, by the time we got out, warm sunshine. But back to the cave…

Swiftly to the hole and rigged a ladder for the entrance. Now us oldies cut our teeth on ladders, while the younger generation… But all down ok eventually.

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Down with the water and then upstream to the divide and left to follow the stream. Last time I’d been down, it had been too wet to go up here (the Wharfe had been in spate) but not so today. Only it had been snowing, so the water was c-o-l-d! And you have to lie in it! And it goes on for a long time (well, that’s not true, but it felt like a long time). Hmmm.

Into the rift proper and really that’s the next hour or so’s caving – on and on, magnificent helictites, odd crawls, lots of sideways shuffling (with the chert grabbing at every bit of gear or clothing it could find), brilliant straws and finally the “end” with Denis proudly pointing up to the waterfall climb.

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And back, Denis and Adele following the stream all the way, those with more judgement climbing up to avoid the duck.

And out to glorious sunshine, with the youngster in the party somewhat relieved to discover that what I said about it being easier to go up a ladder than down, turned out to be true!

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