Volume 42 Number 2 Article 3
The Search for More :
Ireby Fell Cavern and North East Inlet
12 June 2005
Team: Dave Ramsay, Ruth McDonald and Simon Jobling.
The meet was at Inglesport for a hearty meal before the usual long day underground in Ireby, the home of much digging activity and cooking delights in The Kitchen.
We had decided upon North East Inlet as a trip to explore the possibilities of a link to some of the various passages that have popped up in this ever-growing system.
Dave hastily rigged the Ding, Dong and Bell pitches as if he had done it a hundred times (he probably has). As we passed The Glory Holes I felt an unusual desire to climb up, probably out of habit, but no, we continued down the main passageway.
It has been some time since my last trip to Duke Street so this passageway was all new to me and I really enjoyed the twisting and turning and ducking and diving around pretty formations.
At Well pitch Dave continued the rigging and we landed safely and continued on to the already rigged Rope pitch.
We landed in the growing streamway and searched for the climb to lead us on. The climb was quite straightforward up but I felt a little uneasy for the way down. We entered a dirty aven where someone had kindly arranged some spent carbide to spell the word 'OUT'. (Rather a pointless exercise as there was only one way to go anyhow!) From here it was up again onto a jammed boulder and a steep sloping heap of boulders to gain the inlet stream proper.
After a series of rifts and clambers we met the tight squeeze Bill had told us about. Dave went first and wriggled through, Ruth and I followed not without difficulty or wet arms, legs and backs. Then the pretties started. It seems that every time you force yourself through a tight awkward constriction you are inevitably repaid by unspoilt beauty in the form of pristine formations and delicate straws, I suppose this is how many of the more accessible caves looked before visited by hundreds of underground explorers.
The pretties seemed to get better and better as we neared a boulder slope which led to a cross passage.
We started to the left past two delightful stalagmites, which seemed to be guarding the way. The way on leads to a rift on your right with avens beyond and a narrowing passage ahead, which gradually fills. Back to the junction and on to the right passage. This was initially less attractive until we saw a whole squad of the stalagmites to our left. Dave found a muddy crawl off to the left at this point and I followed the streamway below the squaddies to meet another series of junctions, all of which turn squalid and tight (perfect digging ground for Pacey and Ramsay).
So with things pressing it was turn around time. The trip out through the passageway was easier on the way out and the squeeze seemed less so as the footing for the push was better. The climb down, which had caused me concern, was soon passed without any trouble. It was my duty to de-rig the route and so waited whilst Ruth perfected her technique with her new 'Pantin' and took a shower in the waterfall so as to avoid a big clean up operation when I got home.
The entrance pipe was all too quickly reached as Dave was busy rebuilding the entrance slopes, and out we popped to be greeted by rain and cold winds. Off to car and the end of a thoroughly good trip, once again Ireby keeps it's diggers entertained.