First (wet) caving trip of the year – Yorkshire

Jane Bradburry

Saturday 12 February:
It was dull and grey when we got up and the rain of the past week meant that our plans to run an “expert”
trip into Rumbling Pot (Neil’s birthday treat) and an easier SRT trip elsewhere had to be rapidly re-thought.
Eventually, a plan was hatched. Neil would lead a trip into Jingling Pot, a Grade 3 cave in West Kingsdale,
and Mike would lead a trip into Sell Gill Holes (Grade 3) to give our least experienced member (Adam) a
refresher course in SRT.

The Sell Gill team (Mike, Jane, Bill and Adam) was joined by our previous president, Steve Kirk, now a
member of the Craven Pothole Club, so we were able to park in the CPC car park at Horton-in-Ribblesdale.
From there, it was a little under 2 km along the Pennine Way to Sell Gill Holes, far enough in a PVC
oversuit, I can tell you! Our plan was to tackle the Fossil Route, a good choice that was amazingly dry given
the recent rainfall. Mike expertly rigged the first pitch and we watched first Bill (no excuse) and then Adam
(every excuse) make a meal of getting onto the first descent. Still, the delay meant Mike was able to get well
ahead and do the rest of the rigging without anyone breathing down his neck.


Steve and I descended quickly to guide Adam onto the next pitch head and then the slightly awkward final
pitch where we could hear rushing water not far below. We had a quick wander down the stream way, past
the extremely wet exit from Goblin Route while Bill shimmied back up the bottom pitch before coming to
a complete and extended halt while he attempted to get off the rope. It seems that Mike had rigged as far
out from the more or less none existent water as he could, which made for a dry descent but an awkward
hanging rebelay. Still, nothing like making sure Adam had to learn quickly! Steve was sent up once Bill had
cleared the pitch and talked Adam off the pitch head, quite a long process and one that left Adam clearly
wondering whether SRT caving was really the sport for him! Steve kindly stayed at the top of the pitch to
instruct me on the best approach. After that all went quickly and smoothly and we soon emerged into the
evening sunshine and the bemused looks of some passing dog walkers.


The Jingling Pot team (Neil, Reynard, Gordon, Callum and Stuart) first went for some retail therapy and
then had to wait for the Golden Valley team to clear the pot so it was a late start underground, reminiscent
of the pre-Jane days of CCCC caving! The trip went smoothly, taking advantage of the new traverse into the
Lateral Cleft that avoids the need for a wild swing for the rigger. At the bottom, the team explored a new
extension as far as they were able without additional rope before returning the surface and the Marton Arms
for a pint or three.

Sunday 13 February:
We woke to rain and apathy after a good evening in the Old School and in the Helwith Bridge. Eventually,
Neil, Reynard and Stuart tackled the now no-longer-dry route into Sell Gill. “As wet as I have ever seen it”,
was Reynard’s assessment. Mike, Gordon, Adam and Jane went for a ramble along the Ingleton Waterfall
walk, very spectacular, and then for retail therapy in Bernies.

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