Sleets Gill – Hyperthermia: Ian and Adele (19th January 2019).
I felt totally deprived of caving having missed the weekend just gone, we had a quick evening trip to Redmire mid week – to stay familiar with the project. We fancied a superb weekend trip – so firm plans to visit Magnetometer Pot were made. A quick breakfast stop at Kettlewell was to be the perfect calling-in point from the north east, driving up via Halton gill and I enjoyed thinking about the wonders of Littondale. The Magnetometer Pot Plan was quickly abandoned. Ian is a County Durham lad and therefore used to driving in rather challenging snow conditions. Feeling confused how such little snow on the road could afford such difficult driving conditions up the bank – quickly reversing down I was happy to jog alongside the car, down the hill shouting through the open window – yeah the car was skiing in the right direction.
Quick rethink – fog, cold, light snow – what to do and running out of time… Ian suggests Sleets Gill – excellent ! With a quick change we are soon at the entrance and Ian suggested I lead off. Knowing full well this was only suggested as there is no rigging required, we quickly skipped down the cobble slope, and into the passage. Quick skip and a jump and we were at the Bottom Connector, slithering down, there seems to be a little more water here than last time. However due to stable, cold conditions it was worth a look. Slithering begins – met with 2 rocks blocking the passage –
“erm Ian it’s blocked with rocks.”
‘’Can you move them?’’… sadly yes.
It’s around this point I realised I had forgotten to zip up my wetsuit. With easy progress made, it did seem to go on a little further. Ian admirably carries his camera in the case, which looks a bit of a pain. Travelling first it’s possible to see the most beautiful side of this passage – round holes in the rock hold small pebbles ground to what look like pearls. Sharp rock jabs the knees; we really enjoy this passage and it’s best to take a pace that respects how pokey the rock can be.
When I first read about this trip I imagined it to be all small and generally horrible, since then we have been a few times, the vast majority is totally pleasant caving. Cosy in a now zipped-up wet suit we make progress to what is becoming a little lower, and more akin to a duck – lacking hoods and satisfied with time we stop for a quick picture, that makes us both a little chilly – heading out is double quick to stay warm.
I’m reminded not too rush to much if I want to look after me knees, sharp rock hide all around.
The return trip is a pleasure – Ian floats the Peli case down to me – I pop it on the rock shelf. Exiting the Bottom Connector I have to as always remove my helmet, and scurry forward to take some pics of Ian emerging! I really should have helped him with the Peli case and helmet floating antics – but it’s art recording this 🙂
Carefully moving up the slope to what sounded like a bad day at the OK Corral in the next field, making ourselves known to avoid any confusion. Thanks to Ian for driving, reckon my car would have ended up in a ditch.