Volume 37 Number 2 Article 8
(or Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory)
Saturday 10 June 2000
Members present: Peter Dale, Duncan Jones
After a severe headache the night before, (not alcoholically inflicted), I woke up Saturday morning with an urge to go caving. I thought I'd drive up to the farm to see who I could persuade to come caving with me as it was too wet to do Keldheads as planned. Strangely enough, on arriving at the farm, nobody was there, so I thought I'd have a drive into Ingleton to see if I could find any members.
Just as I got to Ingleton, I remembered Andy (Whitney) was meeting Alan K and Sam C at the Bridge Inn car park. Sure enough, when I got there, they were deciding on a suitable trip for the day. Well, it was decided to do Long Kin West, although probably not to the bottom due to water levels. So they said personally I just think they didn't want to prusik all the way out WIMPS). [The author is sadly mistaken here see next article Ed.] Well they set off and I said I would meet them there, as I had to go to Bernie's for some glue for my TSA suit.
Upon arriving at Bernie's, I met Zig & Zag and Beardy. After a bit of conversation, Beardy mentioned about the club trip down Juniper Gulf the following Saturday and was I up for it. (Of course! I'm up for anything!). Unfortunately, since it was his birthday that day he wanted to bottom it on ladders. I said I'd think about it. (No f***ing chance! But I'd think about it.) I said my goodbyes and left. Upon arriving at the car park, I found Andy playing with his new, second-hand camera. They were already changed.
Since I wasn't too keen on the idea of only going half way down, I thought I'd give Duncan a ring. Sure enough, he was on his way up, but apparently he was stuck in the Gala precession at Caton. But after a bit of contemplating, it was decided that we would go and find Wizards Chasm and look at the blue formations. First of all though, I told him I would go and organise a trip in White Scar Cave, (not that any members would turn up!!!!!), and then meet him in Settle car park. Upon arriving at the car park, after slowing down to look at some pretty ladies walking along the footpath, I spied the almighty chunky one waiting in his car. We then got some supplies from the nearest shop and sped off up to park at Attermire.
After scoffing our grub, and watching some hitchhikers play about in the nearby caves, we decided to get changed and go caving, (unlike most of the club.) Since we had a rough idea of where the entrance was, we set off in the rough direction with enthusiasm. After locating the entrance with no problem whatsoever, we removed the rocks and bits of wood covering the entrance. After quite a few problems with my mobile phone, I finally got a signal and told someone where I was and what time I was expected out. Well, I could hear the cave calling. Looking down the entrance shaft, it consisted of bits of wood and metal bars holding foreboding rocks at bay, (sound familiar?).
It was decided that Duncan was to go down first just in case it wasn't safe, (you wouldn't want a good-looking lad like m'self to be injured, would ya?)
Anyway, Duncan went down, cursing because it was tight at the top, and as I didn't like the look of the tight bit, I decided to remove the rest of the rocks and wooden planks as Duncan was climbing down! After a couple of expletives from Duncan as it rained stones and mud on him, much to my amusement, I made the entrance easy and started my descent.
Upon reaching the bottom, I could hear Duncan, but I couldn't see him. Duncan found again, he descended the in-situ ladder first as it was covered in mud, plus we didn't have a lifeline. After a short pause, it was my turn to climb down. An exciting climb down revealed that this trip was going to be muddy, (GREAT). From the foot of the ladder, (strange, didn't know ladders had feet), the way on was found to be down between some boulders into a stream passage with some brilliant white formations. (With all the mud, they wouldn't be for long). We then followed a guideline, which had been laid by the YSS.
The wire lead us through some pleasant climbs down mud covered boulders onto a mud covered floor with mud covered walls. Then it was a flat out crawl in mud into the muddy streamway, which terminated in a muddy boulder-choked rift. (Get the picture!) The way on was up at the choke, which lead into some muddy crawls. At this point, all the mud on our suits was acting like glue and making it very difficult to move in the confines of the passages. So after a lot of struggling, mixed with a lot of swearing, we vacated the area in search of the blue formations. As we were crawling back along the passage, we noticed some beautiful red stalactites, which we photographed. We then climbed into a chamber with a mud floor where we spent an hour or so playing in the mud. (Well, we were bored!) It was then decided that we would carry on with our quest for the blue formations.
After studying our memorised survey, we found the right passage to follow. Typically, a 13m pitch, which wasn't laddered, stopped us, so we had to turn back. After a bit of fun trying to find the climb back up to the main chamber, the bottom of the ladder was found. We then decided to explore the upstream passage of the chamber where much to our surprise we found (although not completely bright blue) the elusive blue formations. We then carried on up stream a little bit further where the chamber degenerated into a tight, muddy rift which carried on down getting tighter, so I sent Duncan first. Much to my amusement, he was not impressed at going feet first down a body-sized tube. So we vacated the rift and decided to head to the surface.
Upon reaching the bottom of the ladder we realised it would be dangerous to climb it with muddy wellies and hands since we weren't lifelined, but we did anyway.
After five minutes or so sitting in the sunshine on the surface, it was decided to re-cover the entrance shaft and make our way back to the vehicles, which we managed to park only 1 km away. Due to our efforts of locating the entrance and descending the cave it was unanimously voted that we would go and reward ourselves with sausage, chips and gravy from the chippy in Settle where we sat in the car park and watched the women walk by.
We thought it would be a good idea to stop and take another look at a mine entrance in the Trough of Bowland between Dunsop Bridge and Abbeystead. Strangely enough, this didn't happen as events took me a different route home.
As Duncan and I made our exit out of Settle, what should I notice but a female hitchhiker. After slowing down considerably as I drove past her, I pulled over at the next available opportunity to await my fate, noticing Duncan shaking his head profusely in my rear view mirror. As it turned out, she was requiring a lift to Skipton Gala, and since this was 20 miles in the wrong direction, I said "Yes, of course I will." (I'm a gentleman of course!) After a seemingly endless journey to Skipton stuck behind a campervan, (I'm sure it was Alan Kerr), [Wrong again Ed.], in which I was bombarded with a thousand questions, which I didn't mind answering because it was conversation, (she wasn't that bad- looking to be honest,) we said our goodbyes and parted. If only I wasn't dressed like a scruff I might have gone with her to the Gala oh well!
After a slight detour to Grassington, (yes, I took a wrong turning), I eventually found my way home. As for Wizards Chasm, I decided that I wasn't going back again as it would make it even more muddy and I would advise that no one else should go and visit the cave as it would be putting the fine formations at risk. You will just have to make do with the photos of the cave in Decent.