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Hurnell Moss - 12 Oct 2008

Sunday October 12th 2008

Members present: Adrian Turner,  Andrew Vick,  Kevin Francis,  Mark Sims

Report by Kevin Francis

The following may or may not have happened ;)

At ten to 8 Kevin and Andy efficiently rolled up at the Shell garage to pick up Mark. After a slight wait we headed to the container to find Ade already parked up and dozing in his car. After waking him up we packed our ropes whilst Mark helpfully took pictures of us stuffing the 160 odd metres of rope and other gear into the bags.

By half eight we'd left the container, deposited the green form and hit the road. Bernies was empty when we arrived. We pottered about, I got Descent, Andy pondered lights and Mark denied himself a foot jammer. Ade failed to finish his Yorkshire Pud. A play on the internet showed that Ingleborough had disappeared in the fog. Excellent. After Andy had finished his second cup of tea and stopped chatting to the staff we headed... down the road. Mark was a little bit too keen and I left Inglesport empty handed. He paid for his keenness to leave because it meant he didn't get to buy his own wellies :p Can you believe he's gone a year buying all his nice shiny, BRIGHT, gear, headed down the Berger and still uses club wellies??

Anyways the church hadn't kicked out when we reached Clapham so we time wasted for a bit. I'd decided I wasn't going to wear gear up the hill so had brought a rucksack. The others followed suit and we took a while efficiently repacking the gear, before reparking the car in the normal place by the memorial (instead of where we originally parked - opposite the driveway to Ingleborough Estate Office!!) With plenty of banter and a couple of stops to remove what appeared to be an excess of clothing (my preferred method was topless after I realised I had only one t-shirt with me and it was getting quite moist) we made it to Ingleborough Cave.

It would have been rude not to have an ice cream so we stopped, looked at some pretty cave pictures and rested on the bench as a hoard of tourists approached. This was our cue to move on. It had only taken 50 minutes to walk this far! Efficient! Trow Gill was cool as ever and as we reached the top the fog appeared to be clearing. We headed over towards bar pot and had a bit of a rest. Ade and I had a look at some holes and took photos whilst Map Men Mark and Andy cursed at my compass and tried to work out in what direction we needed to head to get to Hurnell Moss Cave.

Less than 25 minutes later we had reached our destination. Not bad! Unfortunately, in our keenness to check we were all in the right shakehole we had left our bags on the moor top. Nevermind. Back up the shakehole to see the mists finally clear allowing perhaps one of the best views I have ever had the pleasure to stand and have a wee to.

Mark had partially kitted up by the time we'd all returned, and was keen on taking photos of us getting changed, apparently to show the new freshers. Not sure how well that will work... Nevertheless we now have numerous pictures of Andy V, in his pants and eating cake in a gloriously sunny shakehole.

After about 30 minutes of enjoying the weather Mark cracked first and went in to rig. The first pitch was fun, I think we all ignored the advice from those ahead and went in head first, resulting in an amusing need to perform gymnastics to get on the (now) awkward pitch head. The entrance pitch was short and led to the foot of an interesting traverse. I think Andy V commented on it being not the kind of thing Ben would of liked. I replied by saying it wasn't the kind of thing I liked!!!

There were lots of pauses as we headed to the pitch head as Ade took numerous photos. Standing at the takeoff you could ponder how on earth you could continue traversing to make the full 90m pitch. Happily we were splitting the shaft and after a long descent hit the start of a second, easier traverse leading to the magnificent main shaft. It was stunning. On new rope the descent was fun and there was plenty of singing and shouting throughout.

On hitting the bottom we got to a large chamber which followed phreatic rift jammed in places with boulders. We had brought a rope to get between the boulders and set about finding a place to dangle it from. I spotted spits, Mark rigged and we shouted to Andy. I think he maybe thought he was in Wales because he appeared beneath us, showing us once we were down the dodgy climb he had made!

We followed the passage (which included a climb down through a waterfall if you are me, or an amusing open-legged stretch if you are anyone else, some ducking underneath perilous boulders and a climbing over an obstacle that was far from easy) until we reached the sump chamber. It was pretty pathetic. Until you turned back a little to the chamber that led to it and saw that the tide line was actually 2 metres above our heads. Fucking hell!

We departed merrilly after playing with our light sources to see what it is possible to cave with (results, watches not really, cameras win)
The long cheerful prussick out was fairly uneventful. I derigged, cursing at traverses and Andy helped whilst Ade and Mark shot out, taking more photos along the way.

Last out, I emerged to a dark but warm night. We shuffled gear around in rucksacks (now the rope was weight I was sure my bag had doubled in weight!!!) and headed down the hill. We took a different route across Ingleborough, following a large path that brought you close to GG and then took the normal route down. We didn't have many stops except to remove gear (it was hot!) and admire the almost full moon (especially good over Trow Gill)

We got changed (Mark insisted on more photos) and shanked rope (booo!) and headed to Skipton for dinner. I fell asleep after that, woke in time to observe Micklegate and was home, grinning after an excellent day for around 11.30. Go team! Great trip!

(I'm sure I should have mentioned the spotting of a rare snottite at the bottom too, but as the discover I'm leaving Mark to pass that one on)