Volume 37 Number 4 Article 5
(also known as... Roger Kirk Cave)
Saturday 5 August 2000
Members present : Peter Dale, Andy Whitney, Ian Eeles, Peter & Julie Mohr.
I arrived at the car park on Leck Fell at around 10am and waited for the others to turn up. At around 10:30am I got a phone call from Andy asking where I was, then I got a call from Pete Mohr telling me he wasn't able to make the trip due to his ankle giving him grief, and Julie would not be attending either! He informed me that Ian had all the ropes for the trip and was on his way up. Well at least Andy and Ian where still going.
They arrived and we started discussing our tactics for the trip. It seemed as though I was rigging and de-rigging. We proceeded to get changed into our caving attire and as I was putting on my harness I realised to my horror that my descender had vanished! Checking my kit bag and the boot of the car, it was now obvious that I'd either lost it or left it at home. That changed everything.
We now had a choice of bottoming the hole on two descenders between three, or abandoning the trip and doing something a little easier. I was all for doing Rumbling on a fig-8, but Andy and Ian weren't too keen on this. So it was decided, after about an hour or so, that we would go and do Roger Kirk Cave at Ribblehead. Well, out of the five times I've attempted Rumbling, four have either gone wrong or I have injured myself on the way down, so to descend it on a fig-8 was just tempting fait.
Now we had decided on a suitable trip we left Leck Fell, still in our caving gear wearing helmets (with lights on) for added effect, and set off to Ribblehead. Cars parked under the viaduct, we set out across the fell towards the small scar of Roger Kirk. (I can't believe I'm actually going down this cave again after I vowed never to return!) Peering down the entrance into the cave I noticed one good thing, it was dry!
After trying to get Andy to enter the cave before me, without success, it was voted for me to lead the way as I'd been before. Knowing the last time I had attempted it we had gone the wrong way and ended up at a sump, this time I was determined to make it all the way through. Entering the cave,, you start with a flat out crawl over cobbles, followed by more flat out crawling to the start of a lower flat out crawl which could be followed at stream level, but we took the easier roof tube. As soon as the roof passage starts it seems to end, so you are then forced to flat out crawling again! Soon enough though, you reach larger cave and a short climb up in a rift reveals a small chamber where daylight can be glimpsed.
Back down at stream level you reach a hairpin bend with an inlet entering on the right from an impenetrable fissure. I waited till Andy and Ian caught up and then we had a well deserved rest. We spent a bit of time going on about future trips and past ones, and inspecting Ian's new LED pilot light. Andy and I where very impressed by the amount of light it gives out, plus it lasts forever, (well almost!)
The passage now changed from a hands and knees crawl to a sideways shuffle with the stream trickling around our feet as we progressed with the trip. At this point Andy was leading and kept pointing out the fine formations to Ian and me. Upon finding an area of particularly impressive gypsum flowers on the roof, Ian decided to photograph them. Unfortunately the flash on his camera failed to function so that idea was soon abandoned.
The cave characteristics now changed to a canyon type passage with the stream a few feet below us in a narrow rift, we followed this for a couple of metres to find a boulder choke with a rather dodgy way through! I was surprised when Andy dived straight into it and disappeared from view! (Unlike Andy to be brave!) I followed, and squeezing past a rather large rock, I felt it grip me a bit more than it already was. Anyway, I didn't wait around to find out if it was actually moving or if I was imagining it all! Everybody safe again, we carried on towards our exit in a now easy meandering stream.
All to soon the exit was reached, so once we had all emerged we decide to have a look at Thistle Cave. A pleasant dash through saw me layed on the grass absorbing the sunlight. Ian joined me, and as he inspected his camera it began to spark violently!