Denis, Adele, Ian.
We met at Curlew Café at 10:30, had a quick drink and then were off to Kingsdale. After a quick change, Ian and Adele were in neoprene, whilst I was wearing a fleece. Ian spoke to a group of student cavers who were off on a Swinsto/Simpsons exchange and they kindly allowed us to pass them on our pull-through trip.
I was to take the rear and Ian led a sharp walk to the entrance, where we immediately caught the exchange cavers at the first pitch and didn’t see them again. Adele had new SRT kit, helmet and state-of-the-art light (Duo upgrade) and was excited by her first cave trip after Ian and Leif had been with her on several Nenthead mine trips, so she was used to being in water.
Steady, wet progress found the head of pitch 2 and with many to follow, where a smiling Adele made a perfect subject for my camera and attempts at underground photography and quickly learnt the downside of SRT kit in low, wet crawls, whilst
Ian went over the procedure for pull-through at each pitch head.
Adele’s nemesis was the split 30m pitch, with Ian at the base and me and Adele at the spray-lashed ledge, with the pull-through anchor out of sight around the corner and away from the main flow of water, which was quite high. I passed Adele the down-rope and advised her to swing out into the void, which she did without hesitation.
Arriving at the well-watered last pitch, which is undercut and lands in Great Aven Chamber, I attempted to give Adele some relief from the water by damming the stream with my body, which worked fine until Adele was attempting to unrig herself as the force of 30 million tons of water overwhelmed me wiped out those below.
I arrived at the base sheepishly, with Adele saying it was no problem and Ian knowing I was a plonker. With rope and SRT kit packed to the delight of Adele, we set of down the Master Cave to the Roof Tunnel. Ian sent me up to the top to assist whilst he instructed Adele on the ascent before showboating by free-climbing out showing his climbing expertise even in Wellingtons.
With all safely up, we made steady progress out to a gloomy Kingsdale, where Adele treated us to coffee and pork pies before a retreat to Inglesport for more coffee and a debrief as Ray Duffy tried to sell us the latest RRCPC Journal.
Ian had a drive home with the enthusiastic Adele, whilst I settled for Classic FM for company.
A great day.