Present: Steve Warren, Abby, Gary, Frank,
Phil, Dave, Roy, Ian Cummins.
My first trip to Leck Fell – a mild,
drizzly, November day, but the West coast was visible during clear spells. We were a bit unsure as to whether ladders or
ropes or both were being used, so most people put on harnesses by the cars
anyway. Gary and Abby headed off to rig an exit from
Gavel whilst the rest of us headed for short drop. I don’t know whether this is the case with
all entrances on this fell, but the ones we used were easy to spot, being well
stock-fenced with stiles. Roy made the rest of us
look like namby-pambies in our waterproof/insulating layers, sporting shorts
and T-shirt for the trip (OK – a bit of poetic licence here) and still seemed
to be immune to the cold and wet. A fair
bit of water in here, but it was only knee-deep and fast-flowing and relatively
warm compared to the canal in Red Moss I had swum in the previous week. This cave was fine, clean streamway, allowing
easy progress. In some of the wider
parts there are some ‘wedged boulders of Damocles’ bridges and more
disturbingly, some ‘fallen boulders of Damocles’ in the streambed.
Roy and me arrived at the eponymous drop
first and waited for the ladder to arrive.
It turned out that Steve and Phil were catching up on news on the way
down, so after a while Roy
produced a 10 mil rope from his Tardis-like backpack and we abbed the drop,
next to the decent-sized fall. A
technical note – when landing in the stream, the water is much deeper than you
are expecting – and is the sort of obstacle we used to pass by jumping in when
I was a student caver. We met Gary and Abby here and
had the entertainment of watching the ladderers get a good soaking. From here more pleasant walking led to a
rigged traverse above the streamway to the ladder exit in Gavel. I assumed we were all going out here and gave
Steve and Roy a belay to the top. It
turned out that Gary,
Abby, Frank and Phil had gone on from the ladder to a pretty part of the system. Steve gave me a belay out and we
re-positioned the ladder for the others.
The drizzle returned and we retired to Steve’s mobile cafe for tea and
biscuits, after Roy
had towelled himself with the soaking towel he had carried in his pack through
the cave! (Only a little poetic licence
here). After an hour I cleared off for
the North East, so I hope the others found the ladder OK. Steve produced the new meets list in the van,
so see you next year.