Not quite spring weather, but at least the flowers were trying - primrose, butterbur, marsh marigold and cowslips were brightening the soggy landscape as we waded up the flooded lane, passing the mighty white cascades from Bown Scar to clamber up for my first sight of the cave.
Having previously enjoyed a rather sporting trip into Bown Scar Cave, I’d always written off Scoska as being a simple plod – not true by any means, as my swollen kneecaps testify! Steve had suggested that kneepads were essential and it turned out that my holed wetsuit trousers, threadbare patches and neoprene pads were not quite sufficient for the amount of crawling required.
Ignoring the rather wet-looking Historic Way on this trip, we took the right-hand branch, passing the historic graffiti, to emerge at a junction after a fair bit of hands and knees crawling. Having no idea where I was going, instinct told me to keep heading up and right, with seemingly interminable crawls over mud banks leaving me in danger of succumbing to heat exhaustion in my wetsuit before a long section of chilly canals cooled me off until the air ran out. Finding that I had no company, a return to the junction found us following more crawls towards a distant roar and draught.
Eventually bumping into Chris and Jane on their return from the stream, I carried on finding Steve and Geoff taking photos in this rather wild spot, with the foaming stream dropping into a tight rift. Very nice indeed.
On the way out the loop was completed for an easier exit and a return to the entrance passage showed a much-increased flow from the Historic Way stream. Donning my hat and gloves, I was prepared for the chilly walk back, finding the cascades from Bown Scar to be much increased and very impressive, with the beck being about 6 inches deeper than 2 hours before – must have been some downpour filtering through the hills – wonder what Sleets Gill was like?
A very interesting day – thanks to Steve, Chris, Geoff, Jane and Leif.