Take Three Holes

3rd. October 82

.. . . add two cavers, some fine breezy weather, a dash of daring, a rush of blood, and treat lightly with a pinch of salt, As with handling a recipe the first time, the ingredients don’t always rise to the occasion. Undaunted, Dave and I set off up Clapdale lane for Hurnell Moss, accompanied by Olwen, Sandra, two ropes, one ladder, and a partridge in a pe…. No! No! Forget the partridge.... Dr. Farrer is not supposed to know about that….

Well, swinging left, or doing a gay Labour party by the Rayside plantation, we did the Hokey Cokey and stumbled about a bit till we found ourselves on the lip of a deep shakehole. On with our suits we took a low club and the ace of spades and crawled off into the heart of the mountain. This turned out not to be the new hole I thought it would be but Newby Moss Sink, Thence we indulged in some trundling in the old digs to relieve the painful ignominy. Dave tried to make it more painful by crushing his perambulators with a big rock, but just failed. Shame on you who cry ‘Pity’ !

This trundling soon became worthy only of Delta class people, and as I knew that Dave fancied himself as, at least a Beta, we cleared off in search of more promising paragraphs, I mean pastures. Up to our toenails in wet moss we squelched away over the moor and in no more than a twinkling arrived at a PROMINENT SINK. (The capitals are just to help the reader who can have no idea just how prominent this sink really was. Hope you appreciate this!) At this juncture Dave inserted hnise1f in the upper, and only remaining part, of Grey Wife Hole? and then promptly announced that the way down was too narrow This was attributed to Dave being such a big boy in all the wrong places (wrong ?) with the effect that Dave was withdrawn from the hole and the rusty tin sheet replaced.

What next we asked ourselves, seeing as this was a schizophrenic outing. Well, it would have to be a schizophrenic hole so that we could both get down it. Faced by a vast array of shake holes we naturally. headed for al1 the wrong ones and found ourselves gazing at dead sheep or grassy bottoms (is there any difference)? Dave then discovered a courting couple in one hollow, the male, as if by divine providence, suddenly finding a new use for his hands digging holes, whilst the long legged fell nymph climbed up the bank and turned to blush at us. This only made Dave grin quite horrendously, so I affected to draw his attention away from the unfortunate duo by announcing that I had found a shakehole that actually went.

This ploy succeeded and switching to main beam (a few clouds had, gathered overhead) we groped our way to the bottom of he shake hole and into the cave. Squeezing down beneath a quite ghastly hanger the passage opened up before us into another precarious squeeze with a pitch below. Dave was dispatched for the ladder which as a mere fifteen minute in arriving - apparently Dave had to talk it into coming down. With the aid of the metal broomstick we were soon on cur way into a tremendous little drain pipe which got our woolies frightfully wet. Avoiding a 1oose chamber we climbed down with the stream through some pleasant cascades to sudden dead end.

But no, the deceitful cave only turned tail at this point with a thrutch over a boulder and sharp turn to the left into a quite unmentionable passage of few dimensions. We played at being hard, lying alternately in the water logged bedding plane murmuring the Blue Danube through the froth. But it was no good. We simply didn’t have the bottle, and beside, my digital watch wasn’t waterproof. Excusing ourselves on the premise that we had a Ron de Vous, we said our thank-yous and departed. The Guillotine at the entrance fortunately stuck in the raised position.

A quick change on the fell and I soon felt my old alter-ego again. My other half groaned under the weight of a sack full of wet sear and lurched dangerously down the moor on a bearing anywhere between Dublin and Shanhai. We managed to hit Clapham in our wanderings which was just as well as we had left the cars there. I found my Vauxhall grazing or some old oil leaks and made a mental note to run it in for service in the next three thousand miles or so.

Calling in at Ingleton for the rest of the tackle, we had quick sneak in the guidebook at Pal’s and found that we had just savored the first few delights of Newby Moss Pot - nothing that a pint and a fag won’t repair,
but none the less, not for the. feint hearted.

So to cut a long story short, we had a pleasant afternoon on Ingleborough and descended Newby Moss Sink, Grey Wife Hole and Newby Moss Pot. Isn’t it wonderful how you can spin  things out to fill the pages ………
H. St. Lawrence




Back To Contents