Sunset Hole – May 2014


So there we were, sat around the Grumpy Table, with El Presidente, Andy Whitney and Steve Round, listening to even more infeasible ways of getting a live feed from the Tour de France up to the Farm, ranging from an eight mile long USB cable from Ray’s house to lifting Ray up on a 200 foot high mast with a hand held TV aerial.


Why?  Well, Starkers was on the verge of having his second hip replacement done, and he wanted to say goodbye to the last original major joint in his legs in the only way possible, by taking it caving of course.


Who’s we then?  Starkers, obviously. Me, Martin, equally obviously, Malcolm and Connor.  It turns out that this was also Connor’s first (official) caving trip, so given that, and Starker’s hip, we were off for an easy bimble on a not particularly promising afternoon.


So, where we going then?  Well, for those of you who didn’t read the headline, we were going up Chapel le Dale to have a wander into Sunset Hole.  Starkers being Starkers, we of course were going to ladder it.  Off up the Dale we go, and get changed in the layby at the foot of the Ingleborough track.  For once, the OAP tour buses were not around to get a free eyeful of us, so I hope they applied for a refund.  A little later we’re at the entrance, and I can start testing my latest DIY LED lamp (the No.3 Fagan Speleological Illuminator) – which, joy of joys appears to be a success, so now, with just a few tweaks, it will metamorphose into the No.4 “Little Orpheus” Speleological Illuminator, - well it keeps me amused at least.


I like this cave, the situation and formations are full of interest.  We laddered all the little drops (for Connor’s sake mainly) – each of which was rigged for SRT, which set Starkers chuntering, on the theme of “faster on ladder” and “looks like dinner time in a Chinese laundry”.  Further we went till we came to the top of the 50 foot pitch, which was as far as we were going today.  Down at the bottom, the folks on the SRT sets were starting their ascent – who turned out to be Zig and Zag!  I hope they hadn’t heard the comments…


On the way out Malcolm was pointing out the fossil coral formations in the walls and floor of the passage, and we had a discussion as to whether this was an actual coral bed, or whether these fossils were the result of storms breaking off pieces and these being deposited later on the sea bed.  If anybody can give us a definitive answer, I’d be grateful.


All in all, a very satisfying little trip.


PS      Starkers finally had his hip replacement on 8th June.  He plans to start wrecking the new one by September.


PPS    If anybody has any old Petzl Zoom or Vario battery boxes, lets have a chat.  It’s the hardest part of the lamp set ups to knock up at home


Martin Fagan


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