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Present: Andy and George

Me and Andy set off at the leisurely hour of 1.30pm from Durham, just in time for lunch in Bernies. We finally arrived at the cave, which is very easy to find at about 4.30pm – just as it was getting dark. As the route finding is a bit strange I’ll write a factual trip report:

Slide down about 4m of oil drums and make a feet first contortion into a low, narrow passage, squeeze around a tight bend and drop into a small chamber. Follow the obvious way on until after about 50m you are forced to crawl around a double bend under a calcite mass. Just beyond this is a small chamber. The guidebook reccommends climbing into the roof and ‘thrutching’ along to a tight corner, however crawling at stream level is simple and leads in about 4m to the sharp bend (easy) after this is an awkward section about 5m long. Following this the rift becomes wider, and progress is made at stream level, until the rift narrows again and progress is made along obvious ledges. These lead to the head of the first pitch, which is constricted and awkward to rig. The second pitch follows immediately – 40m rope for both.

After this a short section of hands and knees crawling in the stream leads to a short and easy higher level traverse. This leads past an impressive inlet on the left, until a climb down on chockstones can be made, this is followed by another short climb down to stream level (distinctive  flake on the right for handholds). Follow the obvious way on until a large boulder fills the passage. From the level of the top of this boulder a rising traverse leads upwards, and then more easily along. Both me and Andy went along this passage for quite some distance, before deciding it couldn’t possibly be the right way on. In retrospect it probably was, but never mind. After about an hour of messing around looking for other ways on we finally gave up and retreated (don’t drop down to stream level after the big boulder – it’s shit!)

Anyway, an excellent trip so far – constricted but never actually tight.