I wondered if I was destined never to do this cave, after last year’s meet when I was the only one to show up and a night of heavy rain in the North East suggested another possible cancellation. Turning up in Kingsdale, more in hope than expectation, I was not surprised to find no cars, but after a few minutes I recognised Donald from the NPC as he arrived and he reckoned leader George and Abigail would soon be present after making a confectionary stop in Ingleton.
With the 4 of us kitted up, the plan was for us to rig, whilst a second wave of the NPC elite would arrived to get the gear out – if they got out of bed!
After calling at the farm and slogging up the slope, we tried to find the correct shakehole, which took a while, but if one heads pretty much due east from the corner of the wood, past the shakehole with the old muckspreader in it, past another with some trees and an outcrop of rock, you will soon find the small entrance hole in a further depression.
Abigail declared that since the males of the group were in training, we had to carry the kit. Fair enough I guess, especially as she had a good supply of munchies in her bag. Thanks again for the Fudge Finger, Frusli Bar, Double Decker and malt loaf that were exchanged for spotting duties on the climbs!
My main memories of the descent to the master cave were the strenuous sections of the T-shaped passage below the second pitch, the horribly loose chokes near King Henry Hall, the fine Elizabeth Pitch and the impressively wet master cave streamway.
With the second wave catching us at King Henry Hall - well actually more a ripple than a wave, in the form of John and Martin, we visited the downstream and middle sumps before heading out.
John was pretty made-up to find the Pantin he’d dropped on the way in and after a bit of a fight for some of the party in the T-section, we emerged after a trip of about 9 hours, craving a drink in the Marton.
Thanks to the NPC for a fun day out – see you int’Berger.