Dunald Mill Hole - June 2017

Dunald Mill Hole - June 2017







On 24th June 2017 we arrived early at Dunald Mill Lane just off the Kirkby Lonsdale Road from Halton. Sam and I lathered up with Skin So Soft, as we were expecting midges once out of the car, then sat and waited for the others to arrive. We were joined by first bill Holden and just behind him Peter Standing. As the approaching witching hour arrived Johnny Baker turned up but we were still missing our guest caver Andrew Hinde from Natural England. By the time wed changed at the Gas Terminal Andrew had caught up with us complaining about my directions, well I had been starting from Halton so my left had sent him down to Aughton, oops!

We set off down the road to the Mill House and entered through the gate into the copse and down the slippery slope to the entrance. It is a very impressive sight and so unexpected in such a soft environment. This was my first underground trip, if you dont count digging, since damaging my shoulder and having it sewn back together. In that time Id noticed the hair had started growing back on my knees and elbows so I was glad to start caving again to stop me reverting back to a hairy monkey.

The entrance and most of the rocks was extremely slippery due to the amount of greenery around or just maybe the run-off from the farms further up the valley, yuk! Anyway we all made it down through the 1st Chamber easily enough but with care and then to the 2nd and 3rd Chambers. The walls of the cave have some impressive white calcite flows and some very pretty small gours. Even further into the cave you have to remain wary of the slimy cobbles and bedrock. By the time wed reached the first crawl we were one member short as Peter had a prior engagement or two, busy man. At Boss Chamber we stopped to admire the chiselled graffiti from the ancients, they knew how to do it properly, no MUFC or KIROY sprayed quickly, only careful and uniform stuff was left by them

When Sam and I visited over a year ago it had been quite dry and although itd not rained much the week before the trip was quite wet and the crawl down to the sump was quite aqueous. Even when we got to the sump the level had gone up considerably and we were at least 5 metres away from our previously furthest point.

A leisurely retreat ensued until we reached the entrance again where some of the more adventurous members went off to explore Dunald Mill Cave. They returned after half an hour to report on draught and possible continuation and covered in mud. We retreated to the cars and had only a Grade 1 change, as it was warm, not raining, non-midged and on asphalt how good is that?

GroupJohnny in out of CrawlSam in 1st Chamber

Group at Dunald Mill Johnny Baker in crawl Sam Lieberman in 1st. Chamber

Ray Duffy

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