Mike was to rig the three pitches and as this was his first attempt I first showed him a few variations he could use. As we went through these we heard the thunderous roar of a flood pulse ahead of us and within five minutes a second inlet near the pitch head begun to flow.
We took a couple of minutes to photograph this unusual phenomena before Mike continued with his rope work and led the way down the first pitch.
At the bottom Rich and I took a couple of pictures of the huge volume of water coming in whilst Mike continued on to rig the second pitch. Again Mike did a great job with the rigging and we were soon at the third pitch head which would lead us down to the 2nd oxbow.
Mike headed down first with myself and Rich following. At the bottom we had a quick at the upstream end of the oxbow which I remember as being completely dry in normal conditions and this was just above the knee. We were soon chest deep in water and the force of the flow meant we could venture no further. We retreated back taking yet another photo of the unusual water conditions as we went and reversed our route with Mike and Rich de-rigging as we went.
As Mike had done all the rigging Rich, who had carried the tackle in to the cave, offered to carry the heavy bag of wet rope back out again... I think there may have been a couple of points during our exit when he may have slightly regretted his decision, but did a sterling job and didn't collapse until we were back at the hut!
|An inlet releases at the head of the first pitch|
|Flood pulse releases just after the Nave formation|
|The 2nd Chamber|
|The 2nd Oxbow OFD II Main Streamy|
Present: Mark Burkey, Rich Gibbons & Mike Bonner.