|Alan Rainford at Heron Pot Entrance|
With: Alan & Clare
Weather: Hmm, dry with brisk SW wind when we went in, with a dry forecast for the following few hours. However, by the time we got out it was raining quite persistently - several hours ahead of the "light" rain forecast by the met office.
Where: Kingsdale, Yorkshire Dales
It was fantastic to be out caving again!
Its been a while & this opportunity presented itself at quite short notice so Alan, Clare & myself set off for Kingsdale & Heron Pot. Parking is opposite Yordas Wood and we set off under grey skies but with the cloud high above the summits and moving quickly, the forecast was for several more hours of dry weather. Across the stile and the general direction of the faint "caver's" path is towards the obvious bend in Gaze Gill. We crossed the gill and continued up the steeper ground; through the gap in the dry stone wall; and along the dry stream bed until after a short distance we found the cave entrance in the right hand bank.
We've been in Heron Pot a couple of times before, its a good short trip offering a bit of everything: low crawling until the main stream way; a fairly classic meandering vadose "Yorkshire" passage; a choice of SRT routes (traditional or high level) and then more fine stream way before the option of an exit into daylight at Gaze Gill or a return back the way you have already travelled.
After a too long of an absence from caving the initial low section brought plenty of adverse comment! However, it wasn't too long before we reached the head of the first pitch, after some debate we opted for the traditional route & I got on with rigging the pitch which has a slightly awkward step round a right hand corner into a small alcove.
The picture (taken by Clare) to the left is of me rigging the Y-hang at the head of the first pitch (I did go on to "dress" the knot!)
We took just one 65m rope (plus a safety rope) and the single rope was more than adequate for both pitches.
A straight hang after the alcove on the first pitch lands in a damp chamber with an ascending traverse directly to the second pitch where a Y-hang tied unevenly ensures no rope rub at the top of the descent, for a completely dry abseil there is a single bolt re-belay part way down.