Hagg Beck Sink Langstrothdale by Adele Ward

Hagg Beck Sink

It must get easier?

12th August 2018

Ian and Adele

It doesn’t really seem so long ago that upon exit from Hagg Beck Sink, in a semi manic state “I won’t be doing that again”. As always, I have a short memory.  At the time Hagg Beck Sink had some intimidating sections that made me feel like I was clinging on to sanity and cursing Club diggers.

So, managing to accomplish a total memory failure, first time Ian mentions Hagg Beck Sink, I’m chomping at the bit to get back. Message from Ian night before – ladders or SRT, oh deep joy what a choice – the thought of dragging SRT kit or ladders of certain doom.

Ian arrived with the glint in his eye of  – this is gonna be a little nasty, again letting out little giggles, reminding me of previous antics. Having finer weather than when we were last here, the overcast conditions offered a not too bad a walk up. This time we have more tackle, which means sadly we are both going to be carrying kit. Having adapted one of my lightweight climbing helmet’s to be useful this trip – i.e. I duct taped a light on, as I recalled last time having to remove my helmet most of the way.

Ian leads in initially traversing above the small stream, this is my mate being helpful, replicating his contortions – this is going to be hilarious! First off – it’s actually easier than I recall. Tight crawl slithering, feels good going. Checking my thoughts that I’m not getting too “clever” the passage seems to head down dip which is noticeable.  Still feeling happy enough, having a chat, the narrow passage has a cobbled floor – this is luxury from what I remember!

Arriving at a point that looks tight mid-way – Ian is off wiggling through, listening to  him do that weird chest collapsing thing, looking for alternatives “ do we go into the roof here mate” reversing and into the roof. This isn’t welcomed – really a sideways roof squeeze, has me nudging the ladders as far forward as possible. These little blighters are constantly unrolling and becoming a pain.

Forward process of one arm ahead, with feet propulsion is strenuous, but at least I’m making ground. Now with the unrolling ladders happening to get stuck under me …… “Ian, erm can ya help me out here mate.” Phew! Best get these sorted out at Green Oversuit Pit. With some haste scooping ladders up, quickly I’m scratching my head…. is that a snapped wire? A bent rung – has this damage really been caused by my predicament?

Proclaiming to Ian these ladders are shit and can’t be very solid if they have taken this battering so easy. Calming words are heard – the ladders aren’t ours, in just in a tangle with original dig ladders.

Green Oversuit Pit reached, I’m defo beginning to wish I was somewhere less taxing, and when the torture will give respite. Whist ya can rest in relative comfort here – looking back out looks shit – looking onward looks shit – but great fun! Questioning my sanity (again) more awkward progress passes by.  Ian is already down the brightly coloured hand line. Wow it’s bizarre what I suddenly find an inviting passage as we move down. Having a quick glance, this doesn’t exactly look inviting squeezing down, reckon it will be tricky with tired arms. The main carrot dangled in front of my now battered mind – has been the thought of a rest and a quick smoke. Ian in full keen mode is off.  It gets big and pretty now Adele are the words I hear – as I look at the grovel ahead, but it aint so bad. Slide over the block; weave through arriving in a decorated chamber!

Looking back at the gloom

  Fine straws and formations that you just know, there aint been many travelers because these are prefect!

Water is heard, and the sump ferret is off whilst I decide a nice rest is in order. I reckon we will be back here, to look at this sump again – in knackered and feel in no rush to tackle the ladders held in place buy the one spit of certain Adele epics.

Ian suggests I head out, so he can offer any assistance on the hand line upward squeeze out. Why did he have to remind me of that! Thinking nimble thoughts, the climb back to the restricted section isn’t bad at all. Chatting away suddenly back at Green Oversuit Pit, I’m not sure where to go. Is this the bit I need to be in the roof, or in the middle shit bit? Deciding forward insertion to the roof was a good idea was quickly abandoned when both shoulders became wedged above the rift below … hmm…don’t think this is right.  Calling for Ian to pop along as fast as he could, whilst not wanting to alarm my mate, is a tricky balance.

“Ian you there mate can you pull me out in stuck” Ian informs he is slightly behind but will be along forthwith! It’s hard not to make slightly grunt noises when trying to reverse. Aware this may be causing me mate anxiety – I try to intersperse these squeals with – I’m ok mate, just stuck, don’t rush …. Just quick as ya can please please. To be fair Ian’s ability to pull me out was limited by the space, reversing into Green Oversuit Pit to a horizontal position. My lightweight helmet is driving me crackers – and doesn’t feel comfy at all.  I suggest Ian might be best leading out so I can play copycat. This isn’t easily achieved as the poor lad has to crawl over me. The only positive foothold is obscured by my head so it’s a case of needs must.  Ohhh you do it like that … now I see! Following on arm down sideways slither on knees – we are motivated!

Reaching the solid-floored rift – I could actually give it a kiss. This makes me chuckle, it still looks tight, – it’s all relative. Thinking to myself – Ian best not mention this place for another 6 months.  Ian comments he’s able to see daylight; I instantly reduce this time deadline to 3 months! This cave is fun and horrible all rolled into one.


By the time we have got back to the car, I’m up for another trip. I suppose it’s like anywhere, the more times ya do it, the more you learn it. What a brilliant trip, highest praise to the White Rose Diggers that teased this passage – you certainly maintained the character.

Quick pint then back to Teesside for a night by the fire with Ian and his wife Sue …. and a bucket of beer.