After a couple of attempts in recent years that were rained off, I was lucky enough to get an invite along on this Burnley trip and with the weather remaining dry for a couple of days, it was fingers crossed regarding water levels in the cave.
I was well prepared for a good soaking – shorty and wetsuit on top, neoprene gloves and hood meant I was ready for a swim. Good news was that the flow from the cave was not too great and we were soon romping along the show cave and into the unknown. Unknown as no one else in the party had much idea of the route, although Fay had a survey and I had a copy of John Gardner’s description from his Braemoor website. Whilst is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words, in my experience this is not quite true for caving directions, where a good description is worth a thousand surveys, so thanks to Mr Gardner for his fine work.
Now this trip is my favourite sort of caving, featuring lots of rock and water, no mud and no fiddling around with ropes and the bonus of some impressive chambers at the end. Needless to say, there is a lot of crawling in this cave and our party was soon split, with Fay and me heading off to the terminal lake sump pool.
The Wallows has a fearsome reputation and yes the water is rather chilly, but with hood on and helmet in one hand, guideline in the other, I was floating on to the promise of spectacular large passage, with a rather chilly companion just behind. Entering Inauguration Caverns brings relief from the cold wateerl and it is indeed spectacular, with a fine deep pool and noisy cascades. The finest passage in Gaping Ghyll? Well for me, Troubled Waters and Middle Earth have a more secluded, picturesque quality, but as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I wasn’t disappointed.
After a quick dip in the Terminal Lake, I reckoned on making a quick exit to avoid hypothermia and progress with the flow was nicely speedy. With only one minor error in navigation, we were soon in sight of the show cave lights to bump into Mr Cordingley with a group of punters.
A super trip, with the only negative being the amount of sharp sand stuck in my nether regions (something John Gardner and I definitely agree on).
Thanks to Fay of BCC for the invite and to the Jarmans for access to the cave.