Ireby Fell Cavern, †† Sunday 13th February
Party: ††††† Bob Johnston, Derrick Butcher, Dave Fenna, Pete Hall, Sarah Hall, Jason Pitman, Hugh St.Lawrence.
validation under the watchful tutelage of Mr. Johnston. Being a bit rusty on technique I though
that I would go along to Sunday School and try to
emulate the success of the French Boules party which
had bottomed the hole on Saturday. So there we were at Masongill
at the unbelievably early hour of 11.30. Trouble was,
no one wanted to get out of the cars as this was without doubt the coldest day
of the year. The ground was iron hard and a real express of a wind came out of
After cracking ice to get some water for carbides we slid down the concrete tube into a welcoming +30 degrees temperature difference. Unfortunately, someone else was already down the cave and had rigged all of the pitches, including Shadow, so we had to make do with clipping our hangers into their tie-off loops. Derrick and Dave rigged the normal route as Bob followed along behind with his marking-book and cane. Jason and I did Shadow and Pete and Sarah did their own thing. Shadow men were the first down and waited for twenty minutes, during which Jason kept me amused with an explicit account of his latest romance.
slowed down again at Well pitch where we met the other group returning from the
bottom, but soon we were romping on to
of the trip was definitely the walk back across the fell. Grabbing
the iron bar at the top of the concrete tube instantly welded skin to metal.
It was bloody freezing! At the top of the shakehole
this was multiplied by a factor of five as the wind hit us straight in the
face. We walked with arms folded to keep fingers warm but then found that we
couldnít unfold them to climb the stile, being imprisoned in solidly frozen
suits. Back at the cars Jasonís cows-tails could be held out horizontal without
flexing and gear had to be ruthlessly flogged before it could be folded and
bagged. Sarah had to be thawed out of her caving gear in front of the fire at
the farm, Pete still complained of frostnip three
hours later in the pub and the ropes needed a hot bath before we could run them
through the washer
All in all a fine trip down a fine cave with a Grade 5 walk out for extra spice. Sorry about those rocks Derrick!
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