Saturday - 2nd June 2001
People present - Duncan Jones, Pete Dale, Andy Whitney, Dave Thompson, Pete & Julie Mohr, Gary Taylor , Alan Darcy
After our failed attempt in Ingleborough last time Pete booked the trip so we could try again to reach the Inauguration Series. The day began with everyone meeting in Bernies, where upon we were all faced with Petes faffing trying to buy socks and wellies, he tried on numerous sizes and colours - Gary said it was worse than going shopping with the missus! Eventually the foot department was sorted and then Pete bought a new FX-led, which he decided to use on the trip which meant even more faffing as he fiddled to fit the thing.
When the faff was over we all assembled in Clapham got changed and made our way up to the cave, except Jan who was nowhere to be seen. At the cave entrance we waited for a while for Jan, Pete suggested that other people should go in and we would catch them up, so we Me & Pete were abandoned and it wouldn't be the only time that would happen. After a nice rest in the sun we saw Jan walking towards us with something missing -Caving gear! Her excuse was 'I didn't want to walk up here in a wetsuit' so we left her to sunbathe and we entered the cave and flew along the show cave and got to Giants Hall to see Pete & Julie making there exit. We approached the start of the Far Eastern Bedding plane where everybody had stopped to find the way, we soon found the right way and we were on our way again.
The Far Eastern Bedding is a generally flat out crawl sometimes sandy, this was enough for Alan and the cave claimed its third victim, he turned round and made his own way out. Five of us left we continued along the bedding down the slope to the start of the wallows, this section of passage is low and wet - lie on back with nose in roof from what I saw. Having seen that we retreated back to the drier route of the Upper Inauguration Caverns, which involves a flat out crawl up a muddy slope which is rather entertaining. At the top of the slope a flat out crawl leads off through a squeeze (we knew this from last time) arriving at the squeeze we found that some bastards had banged it making it bigger and less fun (we found out later it was done to allow bigger people a way of escaping floods in Inauguration Series).
After the flat out section a junction is reached we went left again to explore a rift we had seen last time, this route involves crawling in some lovely mud and eventually a climb down and the start of the rift. It is an ominous looking thing, deep water mud on the walls, last time I traversed along but got nowhere so this time I climbed up (yes Pete kindly let me go first). Upon reaching the top I easily traversed along and shouted for the others to join me, after a bit of persuasion Pete joined me and we made our way along the rift. The rift was large and had a few formations, but the inevitable happened and it narrowed and became choked, we looked at a rope climb but when Pete pulled the rope we got showered with rocks so we left that and returned.
We retraced our steps with no sign of the other three, back at the junction we heard distant voices - they had gone back to the Eastern Bedding, 'soft tarts' we thought, the cave had claimed another three. Just the two of us left again we carried along the muddy crawls of Upper Inauguration in search of big passage. At first things looked gloomy - mud crawl followed by wet crawl and into a small decorated chamber, a climb up out of this led into, yes you've guessed it, another crawl. This crawl was easy and the further we went along the louder the noise of the waterfall became. After a short distance we reached a hole in the floor and another hole slightly to the side with rope going down.
The climb looked like it might be awkward so I lowered what was left of the in place ladder down and very carefully put my weight on it - the bottom half of the ladder was trashed with numerous wires being broken, another ladder had been hung from a rung on the first ladder (bit dodgy but we had to get down there somehow). Thankfully I reached the bottom in one piece and Pete followed, at the bottom you immediately enter deep water and then a small cascade, with a reasonable size stream. What followed was big passage with some nice formations, after the effort of getting here we both decided it was well worth it!
We soon reached another waterfall and at the top of that was Terminal Lake and the unfortunately the end of the best part of the cave, we knew that we probably wouldn't come back again so on the way back we explored just about every side passage we found, most ended in chokes of rocks or mud (some get close to Gaping Gill - maybe one day a dry route will be found through one of these passages).
Arriving back at the ladder we wizzed up it trying not to notice its sorry state and looked at the climb - it didn't look as bad from that angle and was probably safer than using the ladder. At the top we slowly made our back knowing that we wouldn't be standing up for quite a while, the mud was still muddy but the water was strangely warm, it was nice to get into water and flush grit out from my arms as it felt unpleasant when crawling.
Making our way out we stopped a few times to rest from the continuous crawling, we were glad when we reached the show cave as that meant we could stand up again and we progressed rapidly along the empty show cave. Emerging from the cave we saw one of the cave guides and asked what the time was - 4.55, not bad timing considering we had to be out by 5.00!! especially when neither of us had a watch.
Outside the stream looked inviting for a quick wash and numerous Bradford members who had been digging were washing in there so we hopped in and cleaned off but soon found the water colder than what it was in the cave - we soon got out again. One of the BPC asked us if we were the two lost/missing cavers - us missing or lost? We were just exploring, some people worry far too much.Duncan Jones
Petes view of the trip.. Where brave wellies tread!
Well by popular demand I booked Ingleborough again and was very surprised at the amount of people ringing up for the trip. Arriving at Bernies I decided it was time to buy a new pair of wellies and wet socks and a FX LED! Soon everybody had arrived and we set off towards Ingleborough apart from Jan.
We all got changed and were ready but Jan was nowhere to be seen so after a bit of waiting we set off walking up to the entrance. Finding Pete and Julie resting on the bench we talked while we waited for the others to catch up, still no Jan! Everyone's entrance fee paid I decided to wait outside for Jan and told the others to venture forth as I would catch them up in a bit. They then entered while me and Duncan waited for Jan…and waited…and waited! Eventually she turned up but seemed to be missing one important thing? Caving gear! Asking her why she hadn't got it with her, she came out with some sort of excuse about hot weather, so we left her to sunbathe.
Practically running through the show cave section we reached the end in no time at all. A quick crawl saw us at the Radon fan, we then passed the Bradford potholers who were digging! A short flat out crawl at the second Gothic arch led us to Pete and Julie who were on their way back out (Already?) because Pete's back was playing up. (You're getting old!) Avoiding the crawling boards this time we soon caught up to the others who were confused about which way it was. (I think Andy was looking for Barnard castle!) Pointing them in the right direction we were on our way again rejoicing in the pleasantness of Far Eastern bedding! This is where Alan bottled it and made his own way back out of the cave.
Five of us left we finally reached the area were Andy bottled it last time. We had decided to give the wallows a go but Dunc didn't have the nerve to go through the duck. (Or was it a sump?) So I made my way up the roof tube to the squeeze. Reaching the squeeze I found it to be a lot larger than last time as somebody has blasted it out (I didn't even touch the sides!)
That obstacle passed, muddy flat out crawling followed for a few metres and then it was all over. Everybody through and into upper Inauguration series we decided to have another look down stream at the big rift we found last time. A couple of crawls and boulder chokes later. Me and Andy were sat on a sand bank at the edge of the flooded rift looking for a way to pass it without getting wet. I then noticed that it might be possible to get across by traversing at a higher level on slippy mud ledges. "Duncan!" I shouted "Come and have a go at this." Seconds later Dunc was climbing up into the roof covering us in mud as he did so. He then beckoned me up to follow him which I did. A dodgy climb up and an even dodgier traverse across crumbling mud ledges we were soon at the other side admiring the formations. We both shouted across to Andy and the others to follow but without success. (Tarts!) Having had a good look around we made our way back to were the others should have been waiting but they were nowhere to be seen.
Once back at the start of the muddy crawl we could hear their distant voices at the other end. So now we had been abandoned we went in search of the way down into Inauguration Caverns. A low wet section was passed were we could then stand up in a small chamber covered in flowstone. Duncan tried to force himself down a tight passage which he failed miserably with. We then found a way on up one side of the chamber into some sandy crawling passages with the faint rumble of a waterfall in the distance! This made us even more determined to find the way down so off we sped. After only about 30m we were confronted with two holes leading down into waterfall chamber, at the far end of the wallows. Hanging down one hole was a very pitiful electron ladder which did not seem safe at all, as one of the wires had snapped and the bottom of the ladder had been clipped onto a rung lower down! Seeing as though we had no other means of descending the pitch we trusted it just this once! From the bottom we immediately entered the water (Up to our chests!) Carefully traversing around the edge of the pool, and trying not to slip off the ledge we were on. Which would result in both of us being washed into the sump. We climbed the small waterfall to enter the inauguration caverns.
Wow! Impressive they are with pure white flowstone with stalagtites and stalagmites all over the place. All too soon though the passage ends at the terminal lake. On the way back we investigated every possible passage and boulder choke with me being scared out of one when it started to move while I was in it! As with all good things though it was over all to quickly and with no more left to look at. We reluctantly climbed back up the ladder and made our way back to the show cave.
How nice it was to exit the cave to warm sunny weather and to wash off in the stream. Not bad timing either as we were out with 5 minutes to spare as neither of us had a watch on! There were rumours of two cavers missing in Ingleborough? No idea who they were though! Well definitely a better trip this time for me and Duncan anyway. Don't know what happened to the others but everyone got out safely.Pete Dale