Sunday 11 November 2012

9th November - It's crackers...

Update: Please don't be put off going to It's a Cracker by this post.  Cracker is superb. I'm a muppet. Having been back soon I've no idea where I went. On a recent return we went in the entrance, followed the obvious route and arrived at the point where most descriptions talk of a thrutch through the rift 1m fabove the floor. Rather than the thrutch we opted for the route with the water, at stream level. This way wouldn't even get a mention in a description. It's big enough to go through with SRT gear on if you wanted to and possibly even a tackle sack over your shoulder. We've now been through both ways on multiple occasions with no issue. It is worth noting though that in wetter conditions the stream rises and it becomes more interesting. This is when the thrutch in the rift would be necessary. The only thing I now need to do is find where I went on my first trip there!'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).

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