Grey Wife Hole – 23rd. October 2012

Participants:   Richard Timms, Mick Rye


Well it was half past 9 in the evening before I found someone to cave with for the following day. I first caved with Mick in 1988 indeed he was the one that introduced me to the ‘pleasures’.

So every couple of years we still manage to meet up. Meeting up outside the Station Inn we had the usual conversation, How fit are you? How much have you done lately? Have you got any neoprene? Not, Nothing and No.


How about err … you know how it is. In the end we made it to Inglesport café for a brew a chat and to see Lyndon who we also used to cave with at the time. Dave Ramsey passed on some recommendations but in the end we went for Grey Wife Hole. I had walked up there last year only to spend an hour in someone’s dig by mistake.

It’s a twisty short cave with the canyons best done without a harness on in which case you can sideways step through all but one section of the first canyon, that is if you are my size as of today. Ladder or Rope will do for the pitch.

The ‘sump’ / pool had about 30 cm of space and we didn’t find The underwater ledges but were able to chimney and bridge around the corner with knees on a sloping ramp line so only got wet up to our chests.

This is actually the bottom of the cave and the NFTFH trip takes you upstream from here which really is a different cave inlet.

 Tip for next bit, if you don’t want to read this then don’t….. climb up to the roof and then an easy traverse misses out more up and between crawling and stepping and back to crawling in water.

Next interesting part is Jim’s Traverse. If you climb or climb in caves confidently then I would downgrade Mike Coopers guide in that I thought the rock pretty solid with abundant sling protection available. I can’t see most of my caving friends needing a climbing rope to complete it. The hardest bit is the initial climb up to the very good thread runner.

 The best straws are definitely along Surveyors Series, its only 4 minutes from the top of the waterfall but then so is the duck. This was a proper duck. Mick had had enough and stayed at the top of the 7m high waterfall. So I looked at the duck, lay down and let the water chill me, shuffled forwards reluctantly got the back of my head wet and then decided to put a neoprene hood on. You’ve got to go headfirst but not having the description with me and not having any moral support it was easy to bottle the duck with only 4cm airspace. This was even more so as the caving is going upwards.


I went with neoprene shorts and a rash vest but would need a wetsuit top to enjoy the duck on another occasion.


Weather – dry for a few days but ground really sodden in that the duckboards on northside of Ingleborough were apparently under 10cm of water 4 days previously.


Take a camera / video for the duck laughs.

A GPS would help locate the cave or a good grid ref and using it.

The lid is a tight fit and if you are going when its icy then you may benefit from a screwdriver or small chisel to help open it.

?? - Does the rift on the far side of the ‘sump’ go anywhere? 


Richard Timms


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