Club Trip – Andy Cole, Ian Cummins, Nigel Easton, Adele Ward, Elise Ward, Peter Whitiker, Steve Woods.
Pub Trip – Chris Camm, Joe Parsons.
I don’t know about anyone else who caves but the plan in my head is; wakeup, cave, pub, and basically nothing else that happens I am awake for. Me being a provisional (uninsurable) driver, Ian took to the wheel with an early start on the 2nd of June: off to Kettlewell we go!
Being a responsible caver these days I have learnt from my mistakes and made sure to read the description before committing myself to an underground adventure, don’t want another “ oh it’s a small walk and a few pitches nothing too offensive” and then off down Ireby I went, never again, for the record. With description read and with the “sensible” Friday night antics, I woke up Saturday morning surprisingly excited for the day ordeals.
I fall asleep coming out my road and before I know it I wake up in lovely rainy Kettlewell. I walk into the café to see a familiar face Steve, and three others Peter, Andy and Nigel. As Adele has banged on about them for the last three days I kind of new them pretty well, forgetting they might not who I am.
I believe the introduction came moment after finishing the entrance pitch. I will not hang around with any more details apart from we walked down a hill and opened the hatch under someone.s kitchen window and climbed down some ladders. Now in the cave and ready to go, I am told straight on, simple right! The first bits of passage were walkable and enjoyable, and then I started to notice the mud more and more.
The walk way slowly turned into crawling tunnel. On this day I had being told it was fairly dry for the cave, I was wishing it was a bit wetter when crawling through the mud passages, as they would have being fairly fun to slide through instead of the dry much making it hard to flat out crawl at points.
The passage became ever lower, and ever more painful on the knees. This soon grows to vertical walking, what a relief. We follow more massage along until we reach a chamber in which we stop for break. Ian as curious as ever scurries down a passage in the side filled with water, shortly follow by Steve. We all wait for Ian and Steve to reappear. Once Steve popped out, he, Andy Peter and Nigel carried on, me and Adele waited. Adele can almost feel another one of her epics on the rise, then out pops Ian!
Then we clamber over a bunch of boulders and carry on the path, more and more mud and more and more low crawls. I can’t say this bit was my favourite, although a particular highlight was sitting and making a mudslide, and then stopping at the horrid job of having to clean the suit.
We then carried on down a hole in the wall, which led us down into some more flat out crawling before the duck or sump. As we headed there we all climbed down a short laddered drop, no one particularly impressed at all about having to use them. I don’t personally mind at all.
After more passage we reached the water was very low so it wasn’t anything testing. We all swan through some turning back at different point and Adele, Ian, Steve and Peter all carrying on to further part of the cave. I didn’t carry on, no excuses really; I just couldn’t be bothered with any more moody wetness.
So me Nigel and Andy headed back to the ladders and then straight on were more downstream passages that lured them in. I knew more flat out crawling was coming, so headed back and sat by the ladder. When everyone arrived back it was quite literally a race to the entrance! Beer on my mind and off I went. We all ascended the ladders once again. Me second, Adele and Steve worked as a team to tie a bowline. I do believe it only takes one but it seemed particularly tasking right then. With no fear of falling, I reach the top and top out again under someone’s kitchen window. Eager to rinse off the lovely famer sees me trying to wipe mud of my face in the kitchen window and point me in the direction of the hosepipe.
Once out of the wetsuit and all dry, could finally relax with no more mud, at least for a good while. We head to the pub where we meet up with more of the club, Joe and Chris. 90 minutes fly by and so do the pints.
Before I know it I wake up on my drive ready for for a night of kit cleaning!