Lizzie, Mark K, Maddie, Luke, Tom H, Jen, Chris A, Adam
27th – 29th June 2014
By 11pm on Friday night we had all arrived at YSS. We couldn’t get in the lounge as it was full of Germans so we instead sat in the dining room and, like the mature adults we are, put skittles in their cereal and slightly messed up their place settings.
Eventually the comfy seats were free and we relaxed by slut-dropping while standing on a pan and falling over while entangled in a coffee table. We went to bed at about 2am with our new roomie, catheter man, and drifted off to the dulcet tones of Chris Adams’ snoring.
We awoke after a healthy 8 hours and, after the obligatory faffage, set off to Inglesport for lun – er, breakfast. With all that in our bellies, I bought knee pads and Luke bought wellies!
We drove to the cave, parked in what was clearly a layby and NOT a turning circle for farm vehicles with trailers, packed and headed up the vertical cliff face masquerading as a small hill.
At the top we all looked around blindly and realised no-one actually knew where Rowten was. Putting our faith in Dr Luke I’m-90%-sure-it’s-that-one Nugent, we all trampled over to what was clearly not Rowten. We then walked in completely the other direction and found the cave.
Luke started rigging, passing very close to a recently dead sheep, followed by me et al. After a few pitches I commented that this didn’t seem to match the rigging guide and were we sure we were in Rowten. This didn’t bother anyone as we were having a good time until Luke pointed out that if we weren’t in Rowten then no-one, including cave rescue, knew where we were…
Nevertheless, we continued (having only descended about 70m at this point and still being able to see daylight) and I took over rigging hoping for one of those really fun pitches where you swing in and out of a thundering waterfall and aren’t sure if your rope will reach the bottom of the pitch. Well, boy was I in for a treat! Luke followed me down, then Chris A, Adam and Mark K. As the pitch’s biggest fan, Chris A was desperate to enjoy it again and prussucked back up to tell the others about how great it was, rigging a rebelay on the way to stop the rope rubbing through and trapping the rest of us in the mystery cave.
Bizarrely, Tom, Jen and Maddie didn’t fancy joining us so we decided to head on out as we only had one short rope left anyway. Mark K headed up first while Adam dug around in the water and found himself a whole new SRT kit including new style Pantin and pulley (and excluding an SRT kit).
Adam de-rigged and we left the cave feeling rather deflated about not having reached the bottom. Once back out however we found another set of p-bolts and realised we had been in Rowten after all! Silly cavers!
A quick change, a bitchy note, a whistlestop tour of the Wheatsheaf dining room and we found ourselves sitting in the Helwith Bridge Inn watching Adam eat the World’s biggest and most delicious smelling burger. Eventually everyone else’s food arrived and Adam watched us eat that whilst translating the beer mats into different languages using an app.
After dinner Chris A, Tom and Jenny headed home and the rest of us trotted back to YSS. Luke had inconsiderately condemned us all to a fiery death by parking his car near the door of YSS (and thus, like Sims and lemmings, there would be no possible way we could escape a fire) but luckily a hawk-eyed YSSer had spotted this and saved us all. Huzzah!
(Side note: catheter man had directed Luke to that parking spot whilst a YSS committee meeting was going on, coincidence…)
We all had another lovely night and woke up early on Sunday for tea and bacon rolls. Adam left for Liverpool and the rest retraced Saturday’s drive, parked, changed, packed and trampled up the vertical cliff face/hill, this time to Jingling, so Maddie and Mark could get some more caving practice in.
Luke, showing outstanding dedication to procrastination, joined us for the walk to the cave but eventually had to head home and pack for a month in Cambridge. As you can tell, he was super excited at the prospect!
I rigged the 60m drop then set off rigging the rest of the cave followed by Maddie and Mark. It was a quick, fun bit of rigging practice as I haven’t done it in a while and we were soon all at the bottom of the cave. Mark and Maddie timed themselves out of the 60m pitch (Maddie = 10 mins, Mark = 6 mins) while I de-rigged. We then packed up, changed and headed back down South. All in all a fun weekend AND we caved two days in a row. Result!