Zero Carbon Dales trip - 10-12th June 2011
Jan, Clare, James
Friday Night - Getting there
The idea simple: practice bolt climbing on a weekend trip to the
Yorkshire Dales. We decided to travel by train and bike to save money
and CO2. At 7,30 pm on friday I headed over to Euston, met Clare and
immediately realised a problem: I had forgotten my wellies. The train
was not for another hour so I figured I had -just- enough time to head
home, pick up the boots and make it back. Which I did. Just. At
midnight-ish we made it to Lancaster, from where a 30 km ride awaited
us. For the first 10 km or so the excitement of riding in the dark was
rather exhilarating. During the next 10 km, the excitement abated
somewhat to be substituted by a low level of annoyance. The last 10 km
would have been pretty miserable but luckily Dewi and Dave passed us
in their car after a CRO meeting and carried our gear for the last
leg. Awesome. We got the the NPC to find a group of Nottingham
students having a few drinks. It appears they remembered us and Clare
from last year's trip to Car Pot - felt kind of like a celeb! In a
Saturday morning - Brown Hill
Our ultra light get up meant that breakfast involved a cycle ride to
Ingleton. So we packed our kit, headed to Inglesport and enjoyed a
massive meal. During said meal, it became apparent that we did not
have a hammer, making bolt climbing in Yordas rather impossible. No
problem. Call Sir Dave and await for rescue. A cup of tea later and
there he appeared with a claw hammer! We headed up to Kingsdale on our
bikes (what a lovely ride!) and parked in Yordas. Unfortunately the
drill was not co-operating and showed no sings of life. Bogus! We
therefore split in two teams: Clare and I went to Brown Hill while Jan
went to Dent on his bike and had a massive lunch. The reason to pick
Brown Hill was because the cave is currently being dived & so rigged (on 8mm) and does
not require materials.
I had not been caving for a while and must admit that BH is a bit of a
rough reminder. After squeezing down a metal drum comes a narrow rift.
The rift gets narrower until it develops into a rather nasty dog-leg.
The first corner is on a pretty tight angle, but is rather spacious.
The second part of the dog-leg is not as tight angled but is narrower.
I was first down the passage and found myself if not panicking then at
least a little worried. I knew I had done this before, but found it
hard to commit to passing the corner bent backwards. After some
umming and arring I went for it and passed the difficulty: a great
relief! Soon we reached the two first pitches and got to what I
consider the more fun bits of the cave: crawl traversing in a rift,
not too exposed, never too hard, but always engaging. The last pitch
is an absolute beauty and the formations in the walking passage below
it a well earned treat. We dumped our SRT kit, went for a walk to the
top of the last pitch and made our way out. Clare helped me carrying
my harness on the exit and we were much quicker. Surfaced three and a
quarter hours after getting in and enjoyed the beautiful views of a
sunny day on kingsdale: how often does that happen I wonder? At the
Marton arms we stopped for a lemonade and once again Dewi and Dave
drove by (they had been to Bull Pot). Once again they carried our
sacks back to NPC, leaving us for a light ride home. Shortly after
they left Jan passed by.
At the NPC, an evening of curry and wine, a visit to the New Inn in
Clapham (with live music) and an evening of caving games with
Nottingham and Reading. Thoroughly enjoyabe!
Sunday - Newby Moss
I woke up and rode to Ingleton to buy some more grub for breakfast.
When I got back we had commited to visiting Newby Moss - the closest
cave to the NPC on Not For the Faint Hearted. I must admit I
originally was not enthusiastic about another tight cave, but decided
to go with the flow. The ride up to Newby Coote was quite steep: nice
road! A long walk up the valley and a bit of looking around shake
holes lead us to finding the right entrance (told you Jan!). Here I
realised I left my dry socks at the NPC. Bogus! NM starts off with a
loose slope and two constrictions. It is not exactly a sociable cave
as there are not many places were three people can fit simultaneously!
Clare was first with the tackle and dropped the first pitch. This has
a rather tight head, but is only 8 m or so. The next section of the
cave is good fun, with small climbs and short sections of rift. Soon a
flat out section on cobbles and water is encountered. The obvious way
on become impassable and it is necessary to take a narrow by-pass tube
on the right. Not much praise for this passage: it is muddy and kind
of smelly. The exact nature of the mud is a bit suspicious in my
opinion, but I'd rather not think about it. I almost lost my wellies
here on the way out btw... After this the passage opens up
significantly. One more climb and you reach the next pitch, which we
rigged from a hanger and an ancient steel bolt. The pitch is a cascade
broken by a large platform half way down. In order to reduce rope
damage we rebelayed off a flake. Acceptable rigging, but probably not
up there with the 100 most bomber bits of rope work ever in the
history of caving. I wonder whether another way down is possible from
higher up? At the bottom of this pitch the cave comes into its own. It
stops smelling funny and being muddy and you stop touching all walls
at once all the time. There are lots of decoration and it's all pretty
jolly. As we are rigging the final pitch it is three o'clock: time to
turn around to leave enough time for me and Jan to catch the train.
The way out is uneventful. We are greeted by drizzle on the surface
and cycle back to Green Close in our caving gear. Luckily it's all
down hill. All in all in a great trip - not sure I would go so far as
describing it 'leisurely' as NFTFH does. But definitely worth it.