Saturday 21 November 2015

Dudley do Yorkshire: On a slippery slope to nowhere

November's caving meet in Yorkshire attracted 5 of the usual suspects, all agreeing to meet at Inglesports for breakfast on the Saturday morning. After breakfast there was the compulsory fondling of kit in the shop, with Mike kitting himself out completely with shiny SRT kit and Jess insisting on matching cowstails for her caving outfit.

After yet more shopping in the local Co-op, with Brendan panic buying food to replace the delicious lasagne he had left on his coffee table at home, we finally set off to the Red Rose hut, to sign in and actually do some caving.

Unfortunately the Yorkshire weather and road conditions had other plans. As we headed uphill the road became icy and slippery, until all 3 vehicles became stranded at the side of the road, unable to continue. After some pushing and panting to avoid sliding back down the road sideways, we had no option but to abandon our trip.

Luckily we were able to find the Bradford hut open and welcoming, so accommodation was sorted, but where to go caving? Mike, of course, was desperate to try out his new SRT kit, and the options boiled down to a dry, but boring, Sell Gill trip, or a prettier but decidedly wetter Long Churn trip.

Having only brought one rope with us, as that was all we needed for the original plan, we had to cobble together enough ropes from kit we carry in the van. This made for an interesting set of pitches but in the end Mark managed to rig Long Churn right down to the bottom of Alum Pot. With 5 of us in the group it was quite slow going so Brendan opted to stay at the Window, and Loz and I decided to forego the last pitch with only Mark and Mike going right down to the sump.
Mike dealt well with all the SRT challenges including rebelays, but by the time we were on the way back up we were all freezing, especially in the more exposed Alum Pot. Getting back underground through the Window into proper cave felt almost tropical in comparison!

We exited the cave in good time to get back to the Bradford where Brendan produced a great impromptu dinner.

Long Churn Entrance
Looking out in to Alum Pot

Loz at the window to Alum Pot

Present: Mark Burkey, Jess Burkey, Brendan Marris, Loz Appleby, Mike Bonner

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