Yorkshire Trip

My first proper trip away with NUCC, we stayed in the lovely old farmhouse home to the Bradford Pothole Club. On Saturday I went out with Jacob to descend Alum Pot via Long Churn to introduce freshers to their first bit of SRT in a cave. When we got into the first chamber we suddenly realised that the cave was packed, there must have been over four clubs and groups there with a large group bogging up the easiest pitch down the Dolly Tubs! Luckily, we found another pitch further along where you descended a few meters and then traversed along a flake of stone to the next pitch. Jacob went first but then found that the rope was short by about a couple of metres, he tied on another rope which I passed and helped, with impromptu teaching, half a dozen freshers how to pass a knot (but if you were tall you could stand on a ledge and get off, sucks to be short). We were a big group, and we didn’t have enough time to descend Alum Pot proper but being able to watch the sun pass over from the Window, huddled in a group shelter playing ‘Granny went to Inglesport’, appreciating Alum from such a special view point was enough for me.

On Sunday I went with Alex’s group on an easy trip to Calf Holes, a classic Yorkshire streamway it had numerous dry oxbows that featured some interesting carved rocks and many pure-white stalactites in the recesses. At the end of Calf Holes we walked into a deep gorge with a peaty stream falling into it, and our ladder. The waterfall falling into the pool really did look it came from the Garnier hair adverts, myself and another club member eagerly stood underneath it, washing our silken tresses! However, I think those adverts must have been filmed somewhere like Hawaii because we could then barely manage to climb the 11 meters to get out!

Some people were too cold to carry on while I carried on to Birkwith cave. On trying to find it we completely overshot the footpath, climbing over a wall into the wood. The highlight of this trip was the really the bush-whacking and gnarly canyoning to get to it! The entrance was a forbidding crawl between the bedding planes before we stumbled onto the true cave. There were many fun cascades to climb over in this cave before reaching a T-junction where going right required a dingy, and going left was a horrible arduous crawl called the Coppy Gill passage, we turned back at this point.

By Frances Porter, 19/11/17