Friday 20 January 2012

20th January 2012 - Wet Wetched Wabbit

Perhaps we're just getting used to it. After what seems like months of grey, wet conditions with only a few crisp days respite, we just didn't think it would be this wet. Admittedly we'd changed our plans due to the forecast rain, but the "puddles" encountered driving along the Lune Valley came as a bit of a surprise.

Heading up to Bull Pot Farm, rain was exchanged for fog and the only reason we got changed in the van was "because it's there". Walking over the moor, trying to pick put the reflectors on the posts, the slight drizzle was hardly worth mentioning, not one of those days when it's impossible to wear to glasses if you want to see anything at all.

We weren't expecting Easegill to be dry, but crossing and recrossing to avoid the steep section of bank by County was definitely more interesting than usual. The plan was to head down Wretched Rabbit to drop into Spiral Staircase passage to take some pictures of the pretties in there before returning to photograph the climbs on the way back out.

Dick not heading down Spiral Staircase passage (the route of all the water).

We quickly dropped down the climbs, delayed only by Dick's attempts to free me from the tackle sack on my back that jammed as I was sliding down one of the climbs. Fortunately the emergency eject system on the sack was fully functioning and with the tearing out of the bottom of the sack, I was released down the climb (note to self: don't do this again). Traversing through the rift the sound of water grew ever louder and a surprisingly large waterfall greated us at the climb down to Spiral Staircase. While it still looked possible, it didn't look pleasant and so we made a quick change of plans. Down to the main streamway, a look up County and back out the way we came. Leaving the camera and flashes in their torn bag we set off meandering down to the main stream.

We met the stream a bit sooner than we expected and as we made our way down to the junction, it was an eery sight that lay before us. Normally a big fast flowing stream makes lots of noise, but this rapidly moving mass of water was almost silent. Strange noises reminiscent of sumptuous sump sounds the only accompaniment. The grass and foam in the roof testament, that while the water levels were high now, they'd been much higher. Our mud cubes gave us an estimate of the rate the water was rising, a couple of inches in the ten, fifteen minutes we sat watching. Unsurprisingly now, our attempt to head up the County passage was quickly curtailed and the only safe way on was back up Wretched Rabbit. Passing the entrance to Spiral Staircase once again, we were very glad we hadn't gone down it, the waterfall cascading down it now even more of a torent.

Ascending the first climbs

Dick was very patient on the way back up the climbs, dangling on the ropes while I messed trying to compose shots and then scurrying back down them to switch on the flashgun that I'd forgotten to turn on and then again on multiple occasions to point it in different directions.

The final climb out of Wretched Rabbit

Emerging back into the open there was still no more than drizzle in the air, but the gill had risen significantly and the crossings were even more interesting than on the outward journey. Things had changed in the Barbon Inn too. While we were able to sit in our favourite seats, the nice fire and fireplace had gone, replaced by a little electric heater that wasn't very good at looking like a woodburner and even less effective in heating terms, blowing cold air up my trouser legs. These were very recent changes as the paint on the walls was still wet and the painters were still at the bar. Nice pint though.

1 comment:

Tom Phillips said...

great action picis!