Volume 42 Number 1 Article 6
Trip to Cherry Tree Hole
16th April 2005
Team: Ruth M, Carmel, Dave, Paul W, Simon J, Duncan J, Andy H, Geoffrey, Tim E
The trip was originally destined for Out Sleets Beck Pot, however the weather and water levels put an end to this. Ruth, Duncan and myself were to be a de-rigging team and Ruth and I thought it prudent to meet the rigging team in Bernie's before they set off. Luckily we did as the trip was redirected to Cherry Tree hole and the same teams were to be maintained.
Ruth and I waited about 2 hours in Inglesport café eating breakfasts and chatting to various people wondering why we had become Inglesport groupies. Luckily they could fill us in about Cherry Tree Hole and the whole trip took on an interesting new perspective, especially the warnings of a hole difficult to find. The guide said there was a large cherry tree in it. What could be easier? - we had a grid reference, a map, a nearby footpath and a cherry tree to help us.
Duncan arrived and we rushed him through his lunch (sorry) and off we went for the long drive. We arrived at Tennents Gill farm and began to change in a cold wind and snow still on the ground.
The map was consulted and Duncan revealed that he had done the pot some years ago and could roughly point out the hole. Off we set and marched up the track to warm ourselves. We crossed the wall and were heading for the hole when we saw a returning set of cavers. The cavers turned out to be our rigging party and had spent the past 2 hours searching around the fell side to find the accursed hole!!
Enter Duncan the secret weapon, who casually walked off directly to the pot - incredible.
Paul quickly got into rigging the hand-line and we soon had a rope dropping down the new entrance amongst scaffolding and loose rock. We landed in a chamber with two streams cascading down a rift. I struggled down this and found a water-chute dropping down but could not see further because of the amount of water.
I shuffled back up the rift and it was decided to abandon the second pitch due to the water, so we left rope and SRT kits at the entrance and moved on.
The chamber went on and there was a sneaky left passage (the main way on) just at a flat block, but we went off to explore ahead. This ended in a large loose block filled chamber where I saw Tim climbing.
We reversed and went up the left passage to a well-decorated chamber with some nice gour-like formations off to the left as you walk in. Onwards we went to the junction, left to the pitch and large chamber and right to the sump and a promised 85m of glutinous mud. This was of great appeal to Ruth, not having wallowed in mud for at least 48 hours.
We set off in this direction and soon found water and some lovely cascades, followed by a wet low squeeze through a tight rift. (Tim and Dave went over this - not a bad plan!) The streamway enlarged and was quite pleasant until we met a large waterfall. This did not succumb to the climbing tactics we attempted, due to the water levels, and after a good soaking we abandoned this. Back to the junction, (Tim did not go high this time and wishes he did!)
At the junction we all met up and made our way down the stream, around, over and through a series of lovely cascades to end up in Large Chamber. This comprised of boulders, more boulders and even more boulders.
The whole area was like a 3D maze of small passages worming their way through the boulder heap with the laughing elusive streamway just a few metres away. The team got remarkably split here, each person choosing their preferred passage and the sound of "where are you now?" "Where's Andy got too?" and "Oh bugger this one's crapped out now" was heard for a good hour and a half. It was quite good fun really, (at least for about 20 minutes).
We eventually reached another chamber. A dig went off at the far end, nice and sandy. The sound of the streamway gave the clue that the pitch was nearby. Tim and I pushed the dig, but the whole place hummed and vibrated with the sound of water so we headed back to the chamber and met Ruth and Andy. We found a little slot and landed in the streamway about 5 metres above the second pitch. This pitch was rushing with water and looked impossible to rig for a dry SRT route anyhow. Ladders definitely way for this cave. We could see a spray washed ledge about 7 metres down but none of us were too keen to nip back for the rope!
The return was uneventful apart from some amazing route finding through the boulders by Ruth, Tim and Andy, despite my assurances it was this way not that way. (SJ does it again!)
We hit the last pitch and out we got, both Ruth and I managed to fulfil our tasks as de-riggers!
A good trip, interesting cave passage, waterfall needs climbing in dry weather and perhaps hand-line being left for future trips.
Good to see so many folks on a club trip. Good second choice of venue, Paul and Tim.