Volume 45 Number 2 Article 8
Ian Eeles – RRCPC, Peter ?-something to do with lighthouses, Leigh Delorme -ex girly para (Diver), Alan Darcy - ex RRCPC, Gary Taylor – RRCPC, Thursday 10th April 2008
My dive buddy had been asking me to take him underground for a long, long time so following chats with Ian we decided on Calf Hole for his 1st trip. Unfortunately we picked the day last Christmas that the couple sadly drowned in Long Churn, so we spent a couple of hours in Bernies chatting with Slug who had been on the call.
We took a drive up to look at Calf Hole & the water was gushing around the back of the fall & down the pitch take off, quite spectacular. I was quite surprised when Leigh said he was happy to come back another time when it was drier, I expected him to quit caving there & then.
We managed to get back to Calf Hole on 3rd February & although he was only on the rope for about 30 seconds Leigh was hooked on SRT & loved every minute.
His next trip was down Spiral staircase? in Wretched Rabbit, not SRT but I hadn’t done it so fancied a look (me, me, me).
Leigh was now itching (as always, but that’s another tale), to get back on ropes again so Ian & I thought Bullpot would be an ideal novice trip. Leigh, Alan & I met in a cafe in Silsden to avoid the dreaded "Bernie breakfast" & got to Ingleton around 10.30 to find Bernies crammed with excited cavers(1 person + Andy). When Steve came down he kept us amused with tales of price increases, staff shortages etc & how his van was running outside just waiting to get off when the place was sold.
So we eagerly awaited Ian to lighten the tone,(if he could get there without getting caught in a flood, writing off his car, or trapped under a transit van). As it happened he arrived safe & well & more to the point early, only to be told by Steve "we’re not cooking" he eventually talked Steve into cooking egg on toast for him & Peter, & Steve wandered off into the back shouting to Andy "If anybody wants me I’m in the back cooking, but if anyone asks we’re not cooking". After his "breakfast" Ian decided to look at some new lights as he’s down to his last 14 now, so Andy & I told him about the brand new "speleo" light emitting, low odour, self heating caving candle, to which he replied "**** off".
It was then time to do what we’d all come for, CAVING. We arrived in Kingsdale in glorious sunshine & quickly got kitted up. Leigh was using Alan’s SRT kit due to him just being diagnosed with Acute Angina (nice legs too, thanks Chubby Brown).
Leigh & I set off to rig 2 ropes down the 1st pitch so I could get him to practice some changeovers up & down with me beside him, off the spits & down Ian’s favourite deviation. By this time Alan, despite Angina, had got to Bullpot before the other 2 (shame on you). There were already a party in the cave heading out so we hung back to allow them to exit safely. It turned out they were from the Army with an ex Army instructor from Ripon, so a little chat was in order.
They were heading into Jingling after to do the lateral cleft & had done Alum (Dollytubs/Bridge) the day before. The way was now clear so Leigh dropped in first, followed by me & I was expecting Ian & Peter to follow. I carried on & rigged the next pitch with a nice long traverse line in from the drilled flake to the Y hang to protect Leigh as he traversed, at the pitch head I watched as he threaded his descender, put on a soft lock, tested, cows tails off & away he went, perfect, I told him to land on the ledge & wait for me to descend.
We now had 2 choices,(3) really, the slot or the gully, I didn’t fancy taking Leigh through the gully as it can be awkward on the ascent for a novice, so we decided on the dry gully. Once the 3rd pitch was rigged I had a bit of a stop & rethink, is it a good idea taking him down 3 pitches on his 1st SRT trip? The obvious answer was no, I hadn’t really seen him prusik yet, lets stop here & head out.
As it happens he had no problem up from the ledge, I had gone up in front to help him off at the top of the pitch & met Peter, who incidentally had only done a couple of hours SRT on the climbing wall with Ian, who had not come in due to not having a descender & thought Peter would gain more from the experience.
At the bottom of the 1st pitch Peter went up 1st & did very well with borrowed kit. Leigh was next & went up quickly only to end up in knots at the top, with comments from Ian & Alan of "don,t take that out, twist this way, turn that way, do this, stop doing that" he eventually got off laying on his side somehow dragging all the rope up with him on his Croll. Once out & derigged we headed back to the cars quickly as the sky was looking very grey, & within minutes we had hail, rain, snow etc. It was then back to Inglesport for a sausage butty & tea, where Peter forked out £140 for a sparkly new SRT kit & a promise of " I’ll be back" well, in about 6 weeks when his boat gets back anyway !!!