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Providence Pot / Dow Cave - 03 Nov 2007

Saturday November 3rd 2007

Members present: Adrian Turner,  Andrew Gilmartin,  Gary Douthwaite,  James Gregory,  Jessica Walkup,  Matt Ewles

Report by Gary Douthwaite

Defiantly one of the best through trips ever. Its a trip I've wanted to do for a while and finally got round to it.

An initial bit of awkwardness in the Providence Pot end with some nasty crawls through water lead to the impressive Stalagmite Corner and the Doubergill Passage streamway. The first half of the streamway lulls you unto a false sense of security - the worsted is yet to come!

Fairly easy going leads over several boulder chokes and through some fairly substantial chambers before dropping down to stream level for some crab walking. Some discussion was had about weather we'd actually passed 800 Yard Chamber but eventually decided we had. From here the streamway takes on smaller proportions with a few awkward climbs up to the high traverse and down again. We got to the Narrows and Ade attempted to get through before deciding he couldn't fit. With the thought that if he didn't then none of us would, we went up to the traverse again via a bugger of a climb (very thankful of the handline!)

Traversing for some time we finally decided we'd got past the Narrows and dropped back into the streamway. Nice easy stomping got us to the Rock Window via some nice scummy water! From here, fairly easy going with just a couple of dodgy climbs up and over to finally fall into the stream again and out towards Dow Cave under some impressive flowstone (probably one of the biggest I've ever seen).

Very glad to reach Dow Cave and the lovely easy stomp out to fresh air. A great trip, I'd recommend it to anyone who hasn't done it. Make sure you have a strong team though as it's pretty hard work with some hard climbs.

As far as the notorious navigation goes, its not that bad. Basically just follow the streamway until you can’t fit then go up and over! We found the Selected Caves description quite basic really but in contrast, the description from the Not for the Faint Hearted book was a bit over the top.