Friday, 8 October 2010

More Underground Adventures

This week, the intrepid band of mud grovellers head for a pothole called Pool Sink. The entrance to this cave begins as a somewhat unnerving slightly-more-than-body-sized hole, with a couple of acute bends, just for the heck of it. Once this bit is done, the cave opens out into a lovely high meandering stream with small cascades to climb and four vertical pitches

Here's Chris just starting the descent of the second pitch.

And here he is again, at the bottom of the pitch.

This is what we went to look at, a highly decorated passage just off 'Straw Chamber'. The ceiling is covered in straw stalactites and helictites, and they're all glittery white.

Here's a close up.

Finally, all good things come to an end, and we have to leave. Here's Chris nearing the top of the fourth pitch.

And here's me just reaching the surface.

What a great way to spend an evening! All that remained was the long (well, it seemed long) walk back across the fell to the car and a very welcome set of dry clothes. Caving is a fantastic winter activity 'cos you don't need daylight. Thursday nights are caving nights from now on. I'm going to write up as many trips as possible and may eventually put them in a separate blog but for now, they're going to get mixed up with the paddling. You never know, I may entice one of you salty sea dogs into an underground adventure...any takers?

Friday, 1 October 2010

Something a little different

Having spent almost every waking moment this year either paddling, planning paddling trips, writing up paddling trips or washing salty paddling gear I was somewhat shocked to discover that my Cave Instructor Certificate is due for revalidation soon. My caving log is full of great trips but none of them are this year. Time to put that right.

Dave and I decided on an afterwork exploration of Cow Pot, part of the massive Easegill system, also known as the Three Counties System as it straddles the border of Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Just starting the descent of the daylight pitch.

A bit further down.

Dave gets to the bottom of the first pitch.

Then a section of easy crawling.

After another two pitches, named 'sneaky' and 'the crap trap' and a fair bit of wriggling, swearing and getting stuck we reach the Easegill main drain. It is somewhat sobering to see where the waterlevel was yesterday.

Foam was all over the place, sometimes twenty feet above our heads and a good reminder of the power of water. I wouldn't want to be here in the wet. We went for a short stroll down the stream to the sump and a brief forray into waterfall passage. The noise of falling water in the confined made conversation impossible. Eventually it was time to make our escape back the way we went in.

Here's Dave emerging, hot and bothered from the top of Sneaky pitch.

Me in the crawly bit.

Approaching the deceptively awkward wriggle before the final pitch.

Still wriggling.

Having not been caving for so long, I felt like I had used every muscle in my body. The final pitch out was easy and we were soon walking back to the car in the dark. Great to have an activity not dependant on daylight.

Now I've just got a load of muddy ropes and kit to wash. I think salty sea gear is preferable to mud!