Smeltmill Beck, club meet 10/06/07
Present – many!
I’d arranged to meet Steve and Phil at the cave at 11, but a rapid trip to the cave saw me arrive at about 10=40. Thrashing downhill on the A66 I could see a couple of cars and yellow-suited figures there, but also got a glimpse of a van on the north side of the road, which reminded me of Steve’s. Anyway, all this distraction meant savage braking to negotiate the hairpin into the bridleway. Pulling up by the cars, I didn’t recognise the cavers and I wondered if these were WRPC from out of the woodwork. They looked really shifty when I walked over – maybe I should have wound them up and asked to see their permit! Turned out they were from Morley and they disappeared off to the cave. Still no WRPC, although it was not quite 11, so I sat in the sun and listened to Test Match Special. A few minutes later a sweaty beard with a tackle sack appeared and grouched “ are these cars cavers?” Upon my affirmative he grumbled and disappeared towards the cave.
Now well past 11 I decided to play dodge the 90 mph traffic to see if it was Steve’s van over the road – but there was nothing there, so I returned to the cricket. At around midday I reckoned some calamity had overtaken Steve et al., so I started to get my wetsuit together to go into the cave. As I was bagging my gear Steve appeared from the direction of the cave, having gone under the road via the culvert! Turned out they had hidden their vehicles out of sight of any villainous eyes.
I got changed into my wetsuit by the cave and was so plagued by midges I went to lie in the water inside the cave to avoid being bitten. Eventually I could hear Phil and Chris above, who then disappeared again! Steve and everyone bar Phil then walked up the beck and we set off. The previous cavers had muddied the water, making the submerged blocks a bit of a hazard and I was now so hungry I decided to thrash on to the end alone. The water was clear just after the rock window near the sumps and the deep blue water was crystal clear here. Back at the rock window I met Andy and the teenagers, who turned back here and I went off alone again, taking a total dip when I tripped over a hidden block in a deep pool and eventually catching up to Phil and Chris in a state of hilarity in the duck section.
We emerged to find an injured Steve building a dam to raise the water level and he then produced his camera to picture the ‘whale emerging from the cave’. Chris then decided to climb the grass/rubble above the resurgence, dropping rock onto Phil’s head and then proceeded to keep Phil trapped in the entrance with a stream of missiles. Phil was in stitches, but the midges forced him out in the end.
I dragged my bag of gear into a windy spot to keep the creatures off and had a quick change before heading off home for food. A great day out in a fine cave.