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Birkwith 1 and 2 (27th August, 10th Sept) Bar Pot (24th Sept)
After a 20-year break from caving, what made me start again. Curious really -
scouring Teesdale last winter for the bouldering motherlode, I came upon a
sinkhole and felt the urge to investigate - but sensibly decided to go home
instead. A few months later on the 3 peaks walk took a detour to Juniper
Gulf - the name evokes a scene of natural grandeur and the sight of that
long, narrow rift was enough to make me want to cave again.
wonders of the Internet brought me to the White Rose site. Abby said yes I
could come along and even better, Steve would lend me some gear.
First cave Calf Holes. This is obviously a very popular novices cave,
but is not without interest. Plenty of water, a bit of crawling and
squeezing and the fine waterfall chamber. I really wanted to free-climb the
fall, but reckoned that everyone else might think I was being a bit gung-ho
for my first trip, so I resisted the urge.
Second cave - God's Bridge
- it almost got dark in there.
Finally - Old Ings - nice walk-in entrance
into fine, clean streamway with a few deep pools. This felt almost
Mendip-like in its character. We ended at deep water next to the sump,
where I was reminded of why I used to cave in 4 mm of neoprene!
in all a fine re-introduction, with thanks due to Abby and Steve.
weekend saw me and family in Inglesport buying a hybrid undersuit:
- Guy in
shop " Na - don't need one of those - Yorks caves are mostly dry"
- Me " I was
up to my neck in water last week - I'm buying this"
- My son "Dad you look
funny in that"
As Steve reckoned trip 1 was incomplete,
a further meeting saw me, Steve and Dave Walker meet up again. See Steve's
report for our attempt on the old Dismal Hill entrance. Dave disappeared
during this time and we ended up descending the rift, which was fine - an
easy chimney leading to some flaky holds. We went both ways from here and I
went alone along the rope traverse, into the waterfall chamber and up the
other streamway to its end - no Dave!
Returning back, Steve was on top
talking to said missing caver, who had exited via Old Ings.
to Birkwith Cave where I tested the insulating properties of my suit - that
canal was cold and deep!
A fine day, leaving me wanting to find the
connection used by Dave.
Returned next week with friend from Durham Uni club
and finding Dave's marker stone, we found the blasted crawl. Emerging from
Old Ings, we had enjoyed the trip so much, we went straight back in and did
it in reverse. This is a fine, varied trip with 3 different streamways and
the waterfall chamber past the rope trav is a fine spot.
A couple of
weeks later I went to meet Gary, Abby and Tony at the factory to check out
SRT gear prior to Bar Pot. It had been a long time since I jumared out of
Alum Pot, although I have had a few adventures ascending 9 mm climbing ropes
on El Capitan!
Met Tony for the first time and he put me through the mill
passing rebelays etc.
See Gary's report also, but for me
a very fine trip.
The main pitch in Bar Pot is a fine sight and the main
chamber was incredible. Curiously, Gary found a large, live frog down
here. Did it grow up down there or does a frog have a low terminal
For me the most memorable part of the trip was a long, high rift
traverse, requiring a lot of concentration!
I was very impressed by the
young cavers who came along and learned a lot watching Tony rigging the
pitches. All in all a brilliant trip.
Off to California shortly to
climb, so I'll miss the next trip, but looking forward to the one
Trip Date: 24th September 2006
Added: 4th October 2006
Reviewer: Ian Cummins
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