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Present: Ian W, Pete H, Ralph L

Ralph and Ian had long since agreed, in those far-off days before exams, that we should mount a return to Brown Hill in East Kingsdale before the end of the year. The reasoning was that three times previously Dusa had attempted and failed to reach the bottom of this particular pot; this time we would be prepared, for the two of us had been down it before.

It wasn’t to be. Ralph and his rower’s physique failed at the calcite squeeze even before the first pitch was reached. After this, Pete and Ian spent many hours searching the various routes in the different levels of the rift that follows the 18m waterfall inlet chamber. None showed much promise until, at last, one yielded and we passed over the top of a pot (we thought it was the 9m blind pot mentioned in NC3) and along an easy crawl which ‘pops’ into the side of an enormous chasm. This was not eco-hangered and there were only two bolt hangers (one with bolt in) and so we assumed it not to be the main pitch of 50m, though it was a very big hole! From what we could see, it was most likely that we were too low in the rift: we returned along our route, back over the pot (hairy) and back up into the main ledge passage in the rift. We tried the rift again, keeping to the roof this time as the ledges lead upwards, though it gets very difficult (ie no floor or ledges of any kind and a long way down in which to get stuck). Rather than tempt fate and try push our way along a dubious route which may well not be the right one, we returned to the waterfall gallery and made our way out.

The journey out from here passed with ease and Pete and I were seemingly soon stood in the glorious summer sunshine, six and a half hours after going underground. Bah! Brown Hill defeats Dusa once again! I resolved to determine the correct route and bottom the cave some time…

Ralph had, in the many hours he had to doss around, been into Ingleton and bought bread, cheese and consumables of a more pastry-like nature. We changed out of our caving gear (that which was still on after the walk down the hill) and ate the goodies and made for Durham.

Summary: A fine trip – a fine cave on a fine day.

Lessons re-learnt:

  • The way through
  • Tacklesacks want you dead
  • Wear the seatbelt in a Volvo VW Transporter which is likely to become airborne at 60 on the Kingsdale road

Ian W