Volume 34 Number 1 Article 1
Ray Duffy, Angela Hare, Neil Pacey
It's Monday, everyone's gone home and there's just three of us left at the farm. It hasn't rained in the Dales for weeks and weeks so me and Ange have to come up with a really good idea because we know Neil's hit list involves some very obnoxious caves. Hmmmm!!!
"I've got it, Boundary Pot" says I. "OK" says Neil.
Now that's just got to be a bad sign, when Neil agrees to one of my choices that quickly, something's up, so I quickly dash to the bog and start looking at the guidebook with new intensity. All right, so it does say 'Entrance passages liable to total flooding after a little rain' and 'watch out for loose boulders in Hiroshima Chamber', just the sort of thing you'd expect of a Neil type cave but he'd agreed far to easily????
We sat down to a nice leisurely Pacey-style breakfast of as much dead animal as the normal abattoir handles in a week, washed down with that Bull Pot Farm bottomless pot of tea and then after several more loo visits we're ready for the off.
On the way over I give the two of them a lesson on weathercraft using my watch-barometer, you know the sort of thing, when the pressure drops you seem to go up in altitude and it usually rains because we live on an island etc. etc.
By the time we get to the entrance the dear blue sky we're supposed to be basking under looks a little bit more like your normal Easegill gloom, still the barometer shows the pressure is the same. Just as we start to get changed a few drops of rain land on the parched, dry and very fast run-off, baked ground. Seeds of doubt spring to my mind e.g. Quaking, Mossdale, these are the sort of trips Neil likes ... oh shit!
"It'll be reet." Just the sort of comment he'd come out with, so in we go.
I don't like crawling, 'a short crawl and climb down', and we're standing in a small chamber. After a while our eyes adjust and we can see the light coming in through holes which probably lead straight to the stream bed!! A little scramble down and the way out is 'a wide crawl, to an awkward little drop into another small chamber'. Fatarse gets herself stuck in the awkward climb but a loud shlumpp and she's through by which time the snake is well ahead of us dimensionally-challenged types.
The way forward is a "flat crawl" under the left wall to a short drop into an aven and the tortuous and for me very tight passage to a 'shingle crawl' in water, to the left is Bar Stewards' Passage. Fortunately, our way on was dug by the Savages and since filled in by the FLOODS, so off goes our racing snake to clear the way. Neil's idea of a passage varied from mine by about 6" so it took me a long time to dig the 'crawl' deep and wide, Ange was very grateful for my efforts.
"You might as well leave your camera gear there," shouted Neil which told me I wasn't going to like the next bit. I was right, it got tighter and the Z-bend in the middle looked a lot worse than it actually proved to be and then another awkward climb down to the head of the 25 foot pitch into an amazing and large, fluted chamber.
Downstream leads to a choke while a climb up to the left goes to join Fusion Cavern. Wow!! Monster Avens!! Large cobbled stream way!! Lead downstream to some of the best passage and formations in Easegill. "Well you said to leave it, so you can get it'' I'm amazed but off goes Neil to get my camera gear (thanks Neil).
Downstream chokes fairly quickly but a little tight crawl through on the left led to a descending passage into another even larger one. We set off down this large passage with a bit of stooping past good stals and the largest pure white stal flow I've seen in the Dales, precedes, crystal false floors and into .... HIROSHIMA!!!
Remember the warning, 'loose boulders', they weren't kidding The Boulders are very large and unlike the rest of Easegill these are not cemented together by boulder clay but left teetering on crumbly sandy clay. "Don't talk too loud." We scuttle about in the bedding planes and 'crawls' but are not really here for a pushing trip, we'll leave that for the 'demon duo.' '
On the way out we take lots of lovely photos because I don't think I'll be back there until the next drought in 2015. It was really pleasant outside, it hadn't rained or we'd have known about it almost instantly and the walk back even dried out the gear.