Report by Jules Barrett
Cavers: Jules Barrett (EPC), Chris Schofield (EPC)
I'd heard lots about the Swinsto and Simpsons pull-through trips but never done either of them so thought that we ought to see what the fuss was about. We chose Swinsto over Simpsons purely because we didn't have a guidebook that had any information on Simpsons. In fact we didn't have a lot of information about Swinsto but we did have the CNCC rigging guide so at least we'd know if we were in the right hole. Neither of us had been in Valley Entrance or the Kingsdale Master Cave either so we were sort of getting two trips for the price of one.
Walked up onto the Turbary Road and had a quick hunt round for the cave entrance; found a likely contender and went in. The rigging guide recommends two 50m ropes. Unfortunately I'd cut up my 50m rope the day before to get us down Gingling Hole so we were using a 70m. There was a rope on the first pitch but it didn't look very clever so we rigged ours and abseiled down. Next we were into the 'long crawl' which leads to another pitch which also had an in-situ rope. We arrived at the pitch-head and quickly rigged our 70m rope (or as quickly as you can rig a 70m rope for pull-through!). We then descended and found that the pitch would have been easily free-climbable and felt daft. Curtain Pitch and Pool Pitch followed and by this stage we'd got a system going with Chris pulling the rope down and me packing the bag. Arrived at the top of the Big Pitch and descended the first part. Tried to pull the rope down and it wouldn't pull. Hmmm! Chris prussiked back up to the pitch-head to see what was going on. Everything looked fine so he came down and we tried a bit harder. It started to move and soon we were on our way again. Sounds as though a few people have had the same thing happen here. Eventually found ourselves in Swinsto Great Aven and set off towards Kingsdale Master Cave. This proved easy enough to find and after a great (but short) section of splashing along in the streamway we found the rope up towards Valley Entrance. From here we were very much following our noses but thankfully the route-finding was dead easy.
Exited Valley Entrance after a very enjoyable three-hour trip.