After getting up at nineish we had breakfast and then five of us – Armitage, Wendy, Robin, Westcott and I – went off caving. We took the road up to the Reservoirs (turn left at Lofthouse I think) and eventually stopped by an old bricked-up railway tunnel entrance. We put our caving gear on and then went down the side of the valley to the entrance to Manchester Hole. It was a Grade I cave and also a group of nine-twelve year old kids from Grimsby had just done it so I was quite relieved.
The entrance dropped down under a rock overhang and eventually got very wet. For most of the way we were walking along easy (wide and high) passages up to our knees in running water. About 2/3 of the way in we went past a narrow oxbow entrance and eventually the cave petered out into a 150 foot long sump connecting Manchester to Goyden Pot. At that point we were on hands and knees neck deep in freezing cold water. It was so cold that I couldn’t breathe at one point – I kept drawing in my breath. We then turned around and on the return trip deviated up the oxbow which was really muddy and slimy; I got blathered in thick, tea-coloured mud; and then we continued back out.
After resting a while on the river bank (the country side around us made me yearn for hiking trips with Mum and Dad) we went 300 yds round the river to Goyden Pot. To get in we had to climb down over big boulders, which were wet and muddy, into the riverbed. The ceilings of the passages were covered in twigs and other debris, proving that when the reservoir sluice gates are opened, all the caves round here flood quickly and completely.
We had to turn back on this one too, because the way around the sump into which the main passage sank (a 20 foot climb), could only be done with a ladder to be safe. I wasn’t sorry either because the passage forward was a miniature fissure and, according to the book, the passage continued in a similar manner.
After reemerging from Goyden, Wendy, Robin and I stripped off our equipment and waited for Armitage and Westcott who had gone off along a passage to the left (as you go in), which was really muddy and choked up with rotting flood debris.
Getting changed into nice dry clothes is a superb feeling. When you are wet and muddy you feel as if you’ll never be clean and dry again but it never takes too long to make the change.
We continued along the road in the minibus to the reservoirs where we stopped. We walked along to Scar House reservoir, crossing the parapet and back, before going ‘home.’
One thing I was pretty sickened over was the fact that my boots (which were repaired on Thursday) were just as bed as they were when they were taken. The sole had been nailed in! (it should’ve been screwed). I felt sad too because not only had they cost Mum £15 only a year ago, but I have been all over in those boots.
After tea we (Westcott, Quinn and I) went exploring the Gorge. Quinn had all his caving gear on but me and Westcott were just in normal clothes. Unlike him we didn’t fancy a soaking so we tried to keep out of the water. We had to be ‘rescued’ once by Quinn when we got into a little corner and couldn’t get out. He dropped us the ladder down and we climbed out (only about 8 foot).
Eventually (inevitably) though, I ended up going in; I rolled my jeans up to my knees and waded out. Westcott and I kicked off at about 9.30 (the sun had just set), leaving Quinn to swim down the Gorge.
We went to the pub’ in Middlesmoor in the minibus, where we stayed until closing time. I had 1½ pints of Tetley’s (I drank them really because I didn’t want to feel left out), and we all sat talking and solving little mathematical problems. Quinn arrived later and we had quite an enjoyable evening.
Back at the campsite Westcott, Quinn and I had beefburger sarnis (at midnight), which I thoroughly enjoyed. We then turned in.