Torrent Inlet, Meregill.
I guess most people have looked at the spout of water pouring from Torrent Inlet as they romp down Meregill’s Main Drain and wondered from whence it came and then carried on, as I have done on previous visits. However, on this trip this passage was to be investigated, as I had perused Northern Caves and some of the passage, at least, seemed to be quite inviting.
Arriving at the Hill Inn layby at 9:30, we had the place to ourselves, unusually and coffee and cake were consumed whilst The Viking made his roll-up.
Making quick progress down the cave, I had forgotten how impressive the big pitches of Meregill are and although the roof traverse is a bit of an artificial faff, the situation is spectacular and the rock architecture of the following big pitches is superb.
As my companion had been calling me an old git at the climbing wall, revenge was enacted by making him free-climb all the short pitches and pointing him at the climb up into Torrent Inlet, where I took some grim pleasure in watching him flail (sorry mate, but I did warn you).
The volume of water emanating from this inlet far exceeded that coming down the pitches and once established above we enjoyed the fine walking passage with some superb, rough fossils protruding from the walls – no idea what they are though. With Viking ahead, I heard him shout with surprise as he came upon - wait for it – a nice yellow sledge, stuck in the passage – presumably used to drag bottles to the upstream sump and I wedged it up in the roof out of the way.
Reaching the low, cobbled crawl, we continued to where the space between the foam on the roof and the chilly water required helmets off and half one’s head in the murk. A few metres of this, without hood or gloves felt a bit miserable and knowing it would only lead to a sump and having crawled for far too long a couple of days previously, we retreated. Even after a dry week the flow was pretty impressive – so be warned if planning to force your way to the sump!
The de-rig was great fun, chasing my companion up the pitches, whilst suggesting he practice ascending a bit more!
Emerging with pristine-clean kit, we had the plod down to the car against a tide of upwardly-bound hikers, who no doubt wondered why 2 scruffy gits in wetsuits were out for a hill walk.