Sunday 17 February 2013

15th February 2013 - Wetter than last week

Tom back at the van.

Incredibly it hasn't rained for a couple of days and some blue sky has allegedly been seen over Lancashire.  Having had a great trip last week in Yordas and needing a short and exciting adventure for my brother-in-law, I thought a pull-through trip would be perfect.

Driving up Kingsdale, I was quite surprised to see the river running relatively high despite having had a couple of dry days.  The remains of the snow on the flanks of the valley gave a clue to its source and potential temperature though.

A five minute uphill plod, made slightly more difficult than usual by the neoprene/PVC combo, soon saw us at the Middle entrance.  The two short entrance pitches were soon negotiated and we set off along the streamway. 

Arriving at the final pitch the waterfall looked and sounded awesome.  Descending first to make sure the rope ran clear, I tried to sneak my way down the side of the main fall.  Though this was partially successful, there was no avoiding a couple of refreshing showers, the biggest being saved for the last couple of feet into the plunge pool.

Waving my lamp at Tom, he began his descent through the maelstrom, again trying hard to avoid the main fall, and again receiving the biggest soaking just before the bottom.  Signalling to him to climb through the window, with fingers crossed, I began to pull on the abseil rope.  Fortunately it came through easily and we were both soon in the impressive hall of Yordas.

I pointed out the line of foam about 5 foot up the wall and told Tom that this indicated how high the recent flood waters must have been.  He then asked about the line of foam about 11 foot up!  It must be a truly incredible sight when it's in flood.

Two minutes later we were back at the van and not much later, sat in the warmth of the Marton Arms, the noise and power of the rushing water a distant dream.

Saturday 2 February 2013

1st February - Back down to earth

The rain had fallen steadily all day in Lancaster, while this is the usual state of affairs, it hadn't been forecast and so as the afternoon approached we decided to change our original plans.  A quick flick through the rigging guide and Dick decided we should go and have a look at Yordas pot.  
First though we needed to head to Ingleton, as the word on the street was that Inglesport had some of the long awaited Meander suit replacements.  The bush telegraph was indeed accurate, but Lyon's sizing wasn't and while Dick was able to adopt the customary Inglesport oversuit pose (see here and here), further movement wasn't going to be possible even in their largest suit.  (If anyone from Lyon's reading Dick is more than happy to lend his dimensions to help with the production of a new sized suit as, given the rave reviews, he'd very much like one still).  So with his old, leaky Meander we set off, at least this wasn't going to be a wet trip.
Road side caves are fantastic and within a few minutes we were descending down the first entrance pitch and shortly after the second, which brought us to a lovely streamway.

While I tried taking a couple of photos, Dick started off, rigging the traverse over a roaring waterfall.  With having taken the kids into Yordas, I had wrongly assumed that this would be a very simple trip, but the third pitch is very good fun as it first traverses out, before heading down to the waterfall plunge pool.

Pretending that daylight wasn't but a short walk away, we looked round the impressive main chamber, before once again stepping back through the window to the waterfall chamber.

Starting the climb back up, some strange force propelled you into the waterfall, before the force of the water spat you back out.  These are the type of conditions when a fully waterproof, PVC suit comes in handy.

Returning along the traverse we soon swapped the verticallity of the waterfall, for the pleasant stream way and began making our way back out.

Once again the road side nature of the cave came up trumps and we were soon back at the van and shortly after in the warm environs of the Marton Arms.  Worth visiting for the very good beer and also to contemplate the price of a steak dinner.