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Yorkshire Dales - the Chairman’s Chill-out Weekend

10th - 11th December 2016 - Nigel Dibben

There is an   album     related to this event

Saturday

Some of the group went up on Friday night but most of us arrived on Saturday morning for the planned trip down Bar Pot via Small Mammal. After getting ourselves sorted, the Small Mammal group turned out to be Anton, Rob, Gina and Nigel. We set off at a fair pace up the hill overtaking the parents and kids heading to Ingleborough Cave to admire Johnny Dingle’s legs dressed as an elf – but that’s another story. At the entrance at quarter past one (yes, it was a Crack’O Noon start), we got ready to go with Anton in front to rig the pitch. Dropping the first pitch was fairly rapid if a bit hairy and then we looked for the way down to Bar Pot which took a couple of attempts before we found the flat-out squeeze through to the main route. Then it was on down to the second pitch where we had to wait for another party to come up. Once down, progress to the main chamber was fairly rapid. A few pictures were taken and mince pies eaten (it is nearly Christmas after all) before we started out. Climbing the pitches took a bit of time for Rob and Gina for whom this was probably their first serious prusik underground. However, we got to the surface at about 7.30 and stomped back down to Clapham so as not to miss Steve’s Curry. Steve, Charlotte and Tom had had an easier day mooching around Diccan Cave and Long Churn although it seems Tom was giving Steve a hard time making him stand in cold water while Tom took photos.

Saturday night

“Steve the Curry” is clearly aiming to take over from “Lennie the Stew” by producing a very tasty curry followed by cheese and biscuits provided by Rob. Things never got out of hand and we were in bed not long after midnight encouraged by Tom producing Cola Caos con Wobble (if you want to know what these are, ask Miguel at the Baker’s Bar).

Sunday

Heads weren’t too bad so a trip was planned for Old Ing and Birkwith caves. Steve left for home but Yvonne arrived and we went over to Horton-in-Ribblesdale and up the lane to Higher Birkwith, fortunately without meeting any cars on the way. A quick change as it was getting colder and three of us, Yvonne, Rob and Nigel set off up the track to Old Ing. A little bit of map-reading later (a wall had vanished - which didn’t help) and we were in the easy entrance of Old Ing and following the stream down. It’s a short cave but the streamway is sporting with a couple of deep pools, one in particular which required some interesting acrobatics to cross it dry. Finally at the sump, we had a quick look at the Guinness-type head on it and turned back. Outside, it was down the track and into Birkwith cave, the resurgence for the area. It took a few moments to work out that the start involved a flat-out crawl in the stream but then we reached the cascade and soon climbed up to reach the canal on the right and muddy crawls on the left. Thinking that the canal would be exceptionally cold, we left that for another day. Yvonne and Rob looked up the muddy crawls and then we all turned and went out, reaching the cars in daylight. Three caves in a weekend were enough so we all headed home.

A great weekend – pity there weren’t more of us there but the small numbers did mean we could get around quicker. There are some pictures on a linked album.

A footnote

Nigel couldn’t remember going to Old Ing or Birkwith. It turned out he had not done Old Ing but had visited Birkwith only 43 years ago. Clearly his memory is starting to fail if he can’t remember that.
 

Below 1: Preparing to go down Small Mammal   Below 2: GG Main Chamber   Below 3: Old Ing Sump   Below 4: Birkwith Waterfall   

Picture 1: Preparing to go down Small Mammal Picture 2: GG Main Chamber Picture 3: Old Ing Sump Picture 4: Birkwith Waterfall

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