RRCPC Newsletter
Volume 46 Number 3 Article 3

June 2009

Short Drop to Gavel

Pre Annual Dinner Club Trip.

31st January 2009

Andy Macdonald

Tim and myself made our way to the car park at Cowan Bridge at the appointed hour armed with ropes and ladders for this through trip, expecting to meet maybe a couple more people for what promised to be a cold day out.

Imagine our surprise when we arrived to find Chris Hunter, a new member, already there eager to get going and not long after we were joined by Malc, Titch, her two young uns Sophie and Katie, Andy Ive, Pete Devlin, Sam Lieberman, Jim Stevenson and Dave Gledhill (I think! A lot of beer has past under the bridge since then, so apologies if I got it wrong). The best turn out to a club trip in many a year.

When we thought no one else was going to turn up we condensed the number of cars going to Leck Fell and set off.

Having arrived at the car park we piled out of the cars and proceeded to get changed in the cold biting wind, some of us using the shelter of a minibus to hide from the wind.

The first two changed, Tim and Andy Ive, set off to rig the entrance to Gavel for those doing the through trip to exit. Everyone else waited around for all to be changed then we sauntered off to the entrance to Short Drop, where we waited in the hollow by the entrance for Tim and Andy to return from rigging.

A verse or two of “I have a dog, his name is Rover” was sung while waiting, and I got some killer looks from the young uns when singing the line, “When he shits, he shits all over!”

Then Tim and Andy arrived and we could begin. Filing down the hole like some oddly dressed army, we left daylight behind and headed down hill. At the first opportunity I took photos with the last remaining disposable camera of everyone, and finally took up the role of rear guard in case of attack from behind. I need not have worried as all the killer cave animals must have been on holiday or resting after good feed on something or someone else.

After marvelling at the hanging death of a bridge of rocks over the passage we got to the ladder climb at the waterfall pitch. At this point we parted company with Titch, Sophie, Katie, Chris and Jim, as they had no SRT kit for the climb out. Having told Titch to take the left fork at the only junction that there is on the return journey (as I know how crap she is with directions) we bid them farewell and headed down the ladder. I did make a bit of a meal of the ladder but was cheered when I swung round and bashed my head and back on the rocks beside it. Thank God for helmets!

We may have had the numbers reduced but there was still a lot of chatter going on and it seemed to be as loud as it was before the others turned back.

The only real hold up of the day came when we reached the high (ish) level traverse from Short Drop to Gavel. But it all went reasonably smoothly, Andy Ive rigged and Sam de-rigged.

At the head of the pitches in Gavel, Malc and myself decided we would go looking for the pretties, which I failed to find last time, I was there, and left the rest of the party to descend to the sump.

Malc and myself bumbled around a bit and found what looked like a likely looking hole to crawl down, but it turned out to be an oxbow that led us back to where Sam was waiting to descend the pitches. So we did an about turn and went the other way and found a familiar looking crawl. However the crawl had been taped off so we thought better of going through it and having bimbled some more we headed for the exit. I went up the first pitch first then Malc headed up the exit pitch first and as I followed I noticed that there was a potential rub point on the edge of the rock, as the deviation had not been employed. Being the conscientious person that I am I thought as I approached the rub point I would remove a kneepad and somehow attach it at the rub point. But just as my hands were passing the edge of the rock my feet slipped and the full force of my not inconsiderable weight was brought to bear on my hand on the under side of my jammer. So all thoughts of taking my kneepad off were forgotten in an instant. I pulled myself over the edge using one hand on the jammer and kept the other hand away from everything so as not to damage it any more.

We then made our way back to the car, changed and waited for the rest of the party to return from their foray.

Finally they all made it out and as they returned to the cars to change Andy Ive said “Well, we knocked that bugger off!” and was also heard to mutter “I am getting too old for this!”

Once everyone was changed we made our way to the Falcon Manor Hotel where we were greeted by the sight of Skipton Brewery ales on the bar and a dinner fit for king followed by more of that there lovely beer. All in all an eventful and grand day out. As I always say “It beats sitting at home in front of the telly!”

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