Tatham Wife Hole, Yorkshire - 08/12/2005

Written by RobEavis.

Report by Jules Barrett
Cavers: Jules Barrett (EPC) and Chris Schofield (EPC)

The two of us headed up from Sheffield on the Thursday morning for a look at Tatham Wife Hole. Rope etc. had been packed in the comfort of my communal stairwell and the journey was uneventful. Arrived at Ingleton Granite Quarry Risings early in the afternoon and made our way to the cave. You definitely want an OS map for this one. The sketch map in Marshall and Rust's 'Selected Caves of Britain and Ireland' isn't very clear. It's a stiff pull straight up the fellside from the Ingleton - Grassington road but things ease once on the limestone pavement. One member of the party had opted to wear a wetsuit and regretted it on the walk up. The swallet entrance is to the west of Ingleborough, where the sloping ground meets the flat limestone pavement and is fairly easy to find in a large shakehole.

SRT kits on and we climbed down the small entrance and into winding canyon passage. This leads quickly into a chamber - Ogden's Chamber and on down to a short drop. This is free-climbable but we rigged it and carried on down towards the top of the first pitch. The first and second pitches are rigged together and pretty straightforward. From the bottom of the second pitch the going gets a bit more awkward and there's a load of stooping/crawling in fairly constricted passage. We made our way down the third pitch and The Ramp and on to the Duck. There wasn't a lot of water around so The Duck was pretty tame; just a short grovel in the water but never completely submerged. From here we continued down the fourth pitch and to the end. Never had to use any of the deviations as there wasn't enough water to warrant it. Just under 2 hours to the bottom.

We went a bit faster on the way out and exited in an hour and a quarter. There was a fair bit of frost on the ground outside the cave entrance and we headed back across the plateau and down to the road. A very enjoyable trip with plenty of proper caving rather than just swinging about on rope.