Saturday 14 January 2012

13th January 2012 - Hardrawkin Pot

Dick enjoying the liquid refreshment on offer at the sump pool

Having to meet up later than usual, I'd had a look through the rigging guide for a short trip, not far from the road. Hardrawkin pot with its two short pitches and almost en suite pub seemed to fit the bill. As I'd never heard of it, in fact I'm not sure I can even pronounce it, I wasn't expecting much but as they say, even a bad caving trip is better than a good day in the office.

Changing in the car park above the Hill Inn another car pulled into the lay by and two other cavers began to get changed, their objective the same as ours. Hardrawkin was quickly changing from an unknown pot to the busiest in the Dales.

The short walk was stunning, under a clear, starlit, moon free sky we crunched through the frost on possibly the finest night of the winter so far. The entrance was soon located and Dick made short work of the initial climb down to the stream.

Almost immediately the quality of the trip is apparent with some beautifully shaped passageway, decorated with moon milk. The occasional crawling sections and right angled corners adding further interest.

The first pitch soon arrived along with the realisation that the bolts in this cave had been put in by somebody just an inch or two taller than me. It didn't help that the other two cavers had also arrived at the pitch head and performance anxiety had me firmly in its grip.

As soon as the y-hang was above me, a smile spread across my face. This is a great pitch. Searching for a natural or two to provide deviations to prevent a real soaking, revealing a stunning white gully entering the main shaft. "Rope free" and a quick scurry away from the spray lashed base of the pitch.

On Dick's arrival we decided to use the tail of the rope to descend the first of the little cascades that follow, though god sent holds make the others pure joy. The second and final pitch is soon reached and once again I wished I was just a little bit taller. An uninterrupted descent brings you to the sump pool and once again I quickly left the spray to find a drier vantage point to watch Dick's descent.

Ever the experimentalist, Dick made sure that it really was a flooded shaft at the pitch foot, before it was time to once again turn upwards.

The waterfall meets the sump

Starting the prussik back up

Returning up the second pitch

It always amazes me how little water it takes to produce ominous booming sounds and the return up the pitches was just as exciting as the descent. Not sure if it was the other two returning up the streamway above, but the water flow was far from steady, occasional pulses making me glad I'd followed Dick's advice to put my hood up.

If you're looking for a quick trip and the water's not too high I can highly recommend a trip to Hardrawkin, the Kylie of Yorkshire pot holes and when you're done a warm welcome can be found in the Hill Inn too.


Tom Phillips said...

"even a bad caving trip is better than a good day in the office"

Sorry - that just is not true!

Gerrish family said...

A bonus of the trip was that we left the cave cleaner than we entered!

Tom Phillips said...

you mean you were cleaning the cave?