Volume 36 Number 3 Article 5
The August Visit to Wharfedale
Participants: 8 farm animals, a bicycle and a thought of a Buckden Lady
This was a great weekend - the last one in August.
A fortnight beforehand, Roger had been slightly worried that no-one had shown interest in the event, and I was also unsure if I would be able to make it.
As Wharfedale is relatively nearer to the North East, I live in, I decided not to go all the way to the farm, but get my bicycle on the train to Northallerton on Friday night and cycle from there to Buckden. Somehow made it for the last connection to Northallerton and was ready to pedal just after 10:30pm. The initial plan was to cycle till I got to Buckden, but as I was quite tired from the long day I had had, and because it started to rain at around 2:30am I decided to stop to sleep until the morning, underneath a tree, in a roadside field.
I got up early enough, and was in Buckden by half nine. Not long after I saw Neil and Tanya drive past towards the village parking. They had "camped" at Kettlewell's parking. Soon we were joined by Duncan, Rob, Carmel and eventually by Roger, who had all the gear, plus the permit.
As we were to set off towards the cave, Dave turned up, gasping from his long drive from North Wales. He caught up with us, by the time everyone had stopped mumbling about the waste of a sunny day we were just about to accomplish. What a team it was - hahahahaha
As the guidebook says, the trip has a lot to offer in every respect - pitches, water, formations, traverses, rifts.
The weekend was one of the driest for the whole summer, and even so there were plenty wet moments. I would imagine that the 3rd, or Shale Pitch becomes impassable in wet weather, having seen it in a "dry" state. As far I remember, Roger and I were the first to get down the 3rd pitches' ladders and decided to go and look for the last pitch and the sump. We free climbed something that we thought was the pitch and this was followed by crawling until we reached a sump, which we decided was the final one. There was a small side passage [oh, why didn't I make a sketch a bit sooner after the trip] before we got to the sump and it sounded pretty close to some boomy water place, but neither of us two was willing to give it a proper try as it looked narrow indeed and was in solid rock. A job for Lev Bishop, Paul Wilkinson, Sam Lieberman et al... It would be helpful to see a large scale survey of the end series.
Everyone was out by 9:30pm and soon headed towards Kettlewell for some beer, (Duncan sped towards the farm instead) also hoping to meet someone from the White Rose, so that we could ask them about their new discovery in Great Whernside, but there were none of them.
The visit to the pub was supplemented by a number of lager bottles which appeared from one of the vehicles.
Later we departed for the kingdom of Morpheus, with a 4:3 split between in-car and grass facilities.
On the following morning everyone wanted to go climbing, apart from myself, as I didn't have any climbing gear and also because it would have been too much of a hassle to get back to Northallerton. Roger decided to break another one of his principles (not to ever cave two days in a row) by deciding to do Providence Pot to Dow Cave with me.
This is another classic Dales through trip which was connected by the CPC in 1954 and has been the scene of more than 100 rescue call-outs, due to the way its intricacies are being underrated. Have a read of "Anytime...Anywhere" from the club's library for a good picture.
It was my forth time down the cave and Roger's first, and both of us quite enjoyed it. As it was quite dry, I was pleased, not having to go high-up in the rifts, but to be able to stay at water level.
We were out by 3:30pm and soon had finished our nomad food supplies. It was verrrry kind of Roger, giving a lift to me and my bicycle back to Leyburn, which allowed me to get home before 11pm!