Braida Stomp Weekend - 24/11/2001
Report by Jason Rider
The weekend began at 10:30am in Inglesport Café where Paz, Rob, Stik and Jase decided to take a trip down Tatham Wife Hole. Having parked at the layby just up from White Scar Showcave we made our way up the scars to the limestone pavement – thick fog making the going difficult. Once on top, it took about half an hour to find the entrance due to the conditions. We all breathed a sigh of relief when Paz’s voice rang out throught the mists that he had found the entrance. Tatham Wife is an interesting cave that has developed in places on an inclined fault line. Though there are only four main pitches, it is a surprisingly deep cave at 155 metres. There was plenty of water in the streamway which made for an exciting trip - much fun was had at the duck between the third and fourth pitches when we were unable to attain the dry bypass.
In the meantime, Nigel and Steve had arrived, having been delayed, but were unable to find the cave due to the conditions. We met them back at the cars later in the afternoon where Bob Toogood also appeared. We had tea at Bernies before making for the Marton Arms for a couple of pints before the stomp.
The stomp was at the Dalesbridge Centre at Austwick which is an outdoor activity centre. The room wasn’t very big and it was packed. It was a classic stomp with the band, The Thin Men, in fine form (this is the band that played at the Eldon Stomp for the Cavers Fair at Pindale last year). Their were quite a few Derbyshire cavers in attendence as we bumped into members from the TSG, Masson and Crewe. Needless to say, the evening degenerated into a drunken riot. We managed to get young Steve crowd surfing for a good 30 seconds before anyone dropped him. And there was a fight at the end for good measure.
The next day no one was up to much, however, Stik, Steve and Nigel took a trip down a very wet Long Churn which was an exciting trip given the wet conditions. Those left in The Dales met up for tea in Bernies before heading for home after an excellent weekends caving and drinking.
Tatham Wife Hole - 24/11/2001
Report by Steve Rider
Being the day of the eagerly awaited NCC Stomp For Braida we decided that an early start and a good caving trip was in order. This not just a good idea because of the stomp but because due to the Foot and Mouth epidemic of 2001 very little caving has been taking place.
Having met Rob and Paz earlier at Inglesport café we set off to look for the other two members of the party, Nige and Steve. Also they could not be found so the four of us made our way to the large layby about ½ mile past the White Scar Show Cave.
The day was incredibly foggy, with only 50ft or so visibility. It was going to be entertaining finding 'Tatty' in the first place. This proved to be the case as it took over 1 ½ hours to locate the entrance !!
Once inside, we met some other cavers who were on their return so a wait was required at the first pitch. At this point Paz subtly took over the rigging and we descended down the first pitch getting rather wet on the way.
A god bit of steady caving can be found down Tatham Wife Hole, nothing too serious, however the duck was pretty full and as Paz had a 'designer' three piece oversuit with no arms on he was not too impressed at having to get well and truly soaked!
We continued to the bottom of the fourth pitch where the streamway continues as a canal until the final sump, which is passable by divers.
Returning the same way, Rob took the derigging and we were all out on surface within 3 ¼ hours of initially entering the cave.
It took 20 mins to walk back to the car, which was by this time in darkness except for the headlights from Nigel's van. They had finally arrived and reported that they had been up to the limestone pavements but could not find the entrance! Never mind, they can get a trip in some other time, and at least they got to go to the pub. After not much time Bob Toogood turned up stating that he had a quiet day, just a quick run up Whernside!
After a few in the Marton Arms the seven of us made our way down to the Dalesbridge Centre where we were just in time to get seats for the evening's Stomp - see above.
Lower Long Churn - 25/11/2001
Report by Steve Rider
A good, clear-headed, early start was made (not! - see stomp report) to Bernies Café and then on to Selside for a little trip through Long Churn and down into Alum.
That's what we thought! After very heavy rain during the night most places were totally flooded, and Long Churn (upper) was no exception.
Having been warned by fellow cavers not to venture in we made a quick decision, - let’s go and have a look for ourselves. So Stick, Nige and Steve set off for Alum accompanied by Jase who was feeling the worse for wear.
There were plenty of nutters going up and down Alum Pot and we even bumped into our friend the Beer Fairy who was dropping Alum with another team. We carried on past and arrived at the Diccan entrance - this was in flood and would not be passable. We carried on up to the Long Churn Lower entrance and popped our heads in. Again, this was in flood. However, not to be out done by the water we decided to use the ropes (which were for Alum) to rig the stream passage to enable a safe and controlled traverse of Lower Long Churn to take place.
This we did and after much fun and excitement we could leave the fast flowing stream way at the point where the water leaves Long Churn for Diccan. At this point the stream way carries on dry but there was evidence of recent flooding…
After following the stream passage past several deep pools and cascades we finally arrived at the Dolly Tubs pitch which was wet today. We descended down using our last available rope to gain the vantage point in the side of Alum Pot, a stunning location to say the least.
This was an excellent little trip on a day when the conditions meant that the undertaking was serious and the place was not full of school kids.