Friday, 23 November 2012

23rd November - A County Round


Classic trips are ones that you can return to, time after time and still think, "That was great".  The round trip from County pot via Platypus junction and Spout Hall is definitely one such trip.

Fortunately the icy hail storm that blew in while we were getting changed was short lived, though an ominous rumble of thunder while we crossed the moor kept us focussed on the weather.  It has been very wet of late, but Easegill was dry and we were soon at the hatched entrance to County.

The pitch allowed me to practice some of the skills I'd learnt on my level 2 training and even Dick was kind enough to let me clip him in, the comments about "ropes and blommin' belays, never had those back in the day..." becoming quieter as he descend the ladder.

From Broadway we made our way downstream to Toadstool junction where Kate and Joe found that cave photography can often take a little bit longer than photos on the surface.  Continuing to follow the water we quickly arrived at Platypus junction and decided that in actual fact the formation just above the "platypus", looks much more like a crocodile. 


Upstream now and passing Poetic justice we made our way up into Spout Hall.


It was then just a short distance back to Broadway, the small climb, pitch and thrutch up the final meanders.

The Barbon Inn is now back to it's very best, a roaring log fire with comfy sofas around it and pretty good beer too. 

Sunday, 11 November 2012

9th November - It's crackers...


...it's only November and advertising execs seem to have gone more loopy than usual, the shops filled with Christmas stock and every second TV advert having a Christmasy theme.
Well if you can't beat them, join them and so for our first trip of the season we headed to the "seasonally" titled It's a Cracker.
Whenever we're there a heavy fog lies over Leck fell, but this time we were armed with a GPS and soon found ourselves at Boxhead with the information that It's a Cracker lay close by slightly further up the fell.  Sure enough close by, just up the fell lay a shake hole with the beautifully crafted lid of It's a Cracker.  The craftsmanship carried on beneath the lid with a well shored, square shaft.  At the bottom we entered Waterfall chamber and began the "walking shuffle" downstream.  I don't know if we got to the "thrutch up into the widest part of the rift" as none of it seemed to be very wide and after a bit of hopeless thrutching we had to retire.
The night was still young, however, and a few minutes later we were making our way down the stunning pitches of Boxhead to the Kendal Flyover ledge.  From here a rope swung up into the darkness of NPC Aven and so we followed it upwards.  At its top we climbed up to the foot of a boulder slope that lead to more stable ground and the bottom of the Park Bench pitch and it's small shelter.  Here Dick took a short break for some photos before we headed back out through Boxhead.
I don't know whether it's because it's the first trip of the season but nothing seemed to flow; climbing the rope, rebelays, it was all very hardwork and it was with some relief we reached the surface once more.
The Timmy Taylor didn't flow either at the Snooty Fox as they had just run out, but the replacement wasn't bad at all.
As for next week, a slightly fluffier trip might be in order (if I've finished aching by then).