RRCPC Newsletter
Volume 37 Number 3 Article 1
September 2000

Nidderdale : Goyden and the Gorge Adventure!

Saturday 24 June 2000

Members present : Peter Dale, Duncan Jones, Peter and Julie Mohr (Zig & Zag).

Well, another club trip had arrived. This time it was Goyden Pot and, to my amazement, three Red Rose members had phoned to say that they were coming on the trip.

Duncan said he would be picking me up at 7:30am so that we could get there early and get a few of the caves in How Stean Gorge rattled off. (Yeah right! It was well after 8:00 when he finally turned up).

When we arrived in Lofthouse we found the road up to Goyden, so off we went to check the reservoir water level. Good, it hadn't rained so the water was 4ft off the overflow. We drove back down to get permission off the farmer. Permission granted, we met Zig & Zag at the handy car park where, to my surprise, they put their and another lads names down for White Scar. (At last, members actually coming on club trips.) All changed, we set off down towards the cave entrance. Reaching the final gate, Pete noted the flood debris interwoven in the fence, which was roughly 20ft higher than the cave! (Must get wet.) Facing an air assault by midges, we hastily got underground into the depths of Goyden.

Entering the pot you walk down an ever-enlarging streamway. Pete was leading at this point and he reported to me that we needed a ladder to get down the pitch, even though there wasn't one according to the guidebook. So Pete shot off down another passage, closely followed by Duncan, while I took the more tactical approach of having a quick natter with one of the diggers from the Black Sheep club.

The way on was found, which led to a series of climbs down huge chunks of limestone and, finally, the main stream way. It was at about this point that I mentioned to Duncan about the huge tree trunks wedged across the top of the chamber, which was well over thirty feet above us! We followed the meandering stream till we reached the sump, where we took a left turn and entered Labyrinth Passage on our way to Five Ways Chamber. From Five Ways we followed a north passage till we reached a short length of ladder which led up into Cap Tunnel.

We explored around there for a bit, and I forced Duncan to follow me down a body sized wet crawl to avoid the nasty five foot ladder climb down! At A junction, Duncan and I went one way and I sent Zig & Zag the other because I fancied a look around the Labyrinth itself. After getting hopelessly lost we re-traced our steps, found Zig & Zag, and set off back towards the main chamber. On the way out of the cave, Pete mentioned a flood escape route that had been found, which apparently enters Goyden from Gaskell's Passage.

We found the climb up to Gaskell's, where I ascended first, followed by Pete who, at the top of the climb, chickened out and went back down. Duncan came up and Pete said he'd give us half an hour to look around to find the way out, which we did. We went back and told Pete we would meet him at the entrance of Goyden. We parted company and made good our exit.

After waiting a couple of minutes for Zig & Zag to re-emerge, we then thought we would have a quick look down Manchester Hole, which we did. We went back to the cars where we tried to persuade Zig & Zag to come with us to do a couple of caves in How Stean Gorge, but with no success. So we said our goodbyes and off Duncan and I went to see what we could find.

We parked at the car park at the bottom of the gorge to avoid paying the £2.50 charge at the café. Off we went, trundling up the stream, crossing from one side to the other till we got to the entrance of Tom Taylor's Cave, where we played around for a bit, amusing the tourists with our agility and no-sense approach to caving! We even answered a few questions about our hobby to the bewildered punters who were happy with just the light from a lighter!

We emerged from the cave which, incidentally, is a 180 metre long walking passage emerging in the car park at How Stean Gorge café. [So you didn't find the middle entrance, then? -Ed.] We peered down a couple of other caves in the area and decided not to bother with them. [Shame, they're better-Ed.] It was at this point that I noticed a group of people stood on the road bridge over the gorge, rigging a rope to abseil down. We had a quick look and I decided I wanted to have a go.

There was a quick sprint back to the car to get the necessary gear, where Duncan started complaining of an injury he had acquired somehow and decided that abseiling off the bridge wasn't for him. So I was on my own, (but not for long!).

When I got to the bridge, most of the group had already got to the bottom. (Did I mention they were all women?) I rigged up a nice triple hang for the roughly 15 m descent, attached myself to the rope, hopped over the railings and in true SAS style, careered to the bottom as fast as I could. After a nice graceful landing at the bottom and a few comments from the other group, and some clapping from the people on the bridge, I gave a quick bow and floated back up the rope without stopping to the top. I then hung just below the bridge, out of sight, to get my breath back because I was knackered! I then swapped back to my descender and went back down to join the other group for a spot of canyoning.

We progressed upstream. Where they traversed round the deep pools I just walked through them. (I had to look good; I also had my wetsuit on!) At one point they had to jump from one side to the other over a 5 ft gap with very deep water in the middle. (I couldn't touch the bottom anyway.) A couple of more traverses and we were at the entrance to How Stean Tunnel where we didn't wait around as we were being eaten alive by midges. After going through the tunnel, (using no lights whatsoever), we emerged at the other side. I then switched my light on and raced back to the bridge to de-rig the pitch. I then wizzed back through Tom Taylor's to the car and got changed. We then went to find a chippy for you know what!

A good day was had by all, especially by me, and thanks to Zig, Zag and Duncan for coming on the trip. After all, it is a CAVING CLUB!! Isn't it?

Pete Dale

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