(Report by Sarah Hendriksen)
The first Monday after exams, and what better way to spend it than down a cave?! Having not caved in a couple months, as soon as I saw Andrew’s post on fb about upcoming trips I had to sign up straight away.
The day started off with a wonderful surprise, as our meeting time was 9:45am (as opposed to the usual 8:30)! After meeting the others up at the DSU we went to pick up Lynne from her quaintly named cottage which, to our disappointment, turned out to be your average terraced house. Now that the group was complete, we set off on the 2-hour trip to the Yorkshire Dales. Once again breaking away from the usual traditions of DUSA caving trips, we skipped the Inglesport breakfast and headed straight to Notts II (Committee Pot). After donning the sexy caving onesies at the side of the road and saying a happy hello to the landowner, we headed over to the entrance of the cave.
The entrance was a 40m descent via many precarious scaffolding pipes and wobbly ladders. Andrew led the way with Annabelle following close behind, then myself (Sarah), Lynne and Connor. This was Anabelle & Connor’s first caving trip which I found wonderful to be a part of as I think there’s nothing likes someone’s first reaction to being down in a cave. They did not disappoint, and it was a great group to share the excitement with. The descent down was a little daunting as at first, as it felt wrong to be climbing down a vertical shaft without a rope. But, it was a fairly easy climb, just with the added thrill of adrenaline and hey we all made it to the bottom in one piece (although I did think we might lose Annabelle at one point)…
Once in the cave, we explored down a passage to Curry Inlet, which had lots of pretty calcite formations which of course we had to photograph courtesy of the wonderful Lynne’s waterproof phone case! Along the trek, the water slowly started rising from below the wellies until we suddenly found ourselves wading through passages waist deep (there was a lot of pained yelps). As the water continued to get slowly deeper, we were all ready to call it a day and turn back. However, Connor marched on forwards through the neck level water which to our surprise then shallowed off again beyond. Now, of course we couldn’t get Annabelle or Lynne’s nice jumpers wet and so Andrew the taxi service was born. After he had successfully ferried them through the water on his shoulders and I had taken the hit and swam the metre or so I couldn’t stand in, we were all then able to continue exploring up until we found the start of the diver’s rope for the sump. Finally, forced to admit defeat to the depths of the water we headed back through the winding passages. We were considering further exploration, however due to us all being freezing cold after the quick dip, we decided it would be best to head back to the surface.
Once again, the climb up on the scaffolding provided great excitement. We were only slightly alarmed by the fact that the bottom rung of every ladder was clearly starting to bend from the many people who have graced the cave. But hey, if Andrew says its safe then what can you do?! Whilst clinging on for dear life to the breeze blocks, I spotted a mystery bug that was white all over and looked a little like a spider mixed with a mini dragonfly which was pretty cool. Finally, we all made it out the cave alive and in pretty high spirits as we headed back to the car. Here, Annabelle & Connor were introduced to the great excitement of getting changed by the side of the road (where for once it wasn’t raining)!
Finally, we had a fairly chilled journey back with a very random route of every small windy road the satnav could find and some excellent discussions on opinions of the monarchy and the celebration of the Queen’s Jubilee…
All in all, was a very fun trip with a great group of people.