Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Exploring the Shittlehope

looking out of lynnkirk cave
Brian’s camera had to be returned, so we met at Stanhope and wandered off to see if we could find a cave in the Shittlehope Burn.
I’m not going to keep repeating the word “Shittlehope”. That sort of humour is just so schoolboy.
lynn kirk
Anyway, Shittlehope Burn (is nothing to do with eating curries….  damn….)  - is found just to the left, or East of Stanhope. Its a little, wooded gill of exactly the kind of thing you find in the Pennines – full of ash trees and stuff. There’s a good, if muddy path.
I wasn’t quite sure whereabouts in Shittlehope (snigger..) the caves were, so, at the point where the path started to climb, we stuck to paddling up the beck.
That would be Shittlehope Beck, I shouldn’t wonder.
The cave is Lynnkirk Cave, in Shittlehope Burn. I guess that the limestone gorge is Lynn Kirk but the gill or dene is the other thing. (You know the word I mean. The S word….)
lynn kirk - the pool
Then we came to an impasse. In a deep part of the gorge, where Shittlehope’s limestone walls started to close in, we came across a deep pool with a couple of tree trunks in it. It was too deep for the wellies. I estimated that I could wade through to the little waterfall at the other end with water at round about belly-button depth. An alternative was a chossy , mossy climb up a chimney which looked about Diff or V-Diff, but risky in wellies/without a rope.
So I re-arranged my dress-code, stored anything I wanted to keep dry and paddled in. It soon became clear that the water was much deeper than I’d guessed and the contents of the rucksack were likely to get very wet. So I abandoned.
lynn kirk from the cave entrance lynnkirk cave
down the gorge
We scrambled up a loose and earthy bank and found the path and easily bypassed the pool.
A short scramble down the very narrow gorge brought me to a large cave entrance with a substantial stream resurgence. I had a good old plodge and crawl around inside the passages.
stream passage
This was Lynnkirk cave. Its a Grade 1 (easy) about 360 feet long. Some parts were too low for a wanderer with no caving helmet on.
back to stanhope excuse me, pennine way?
Later, we had a short conversation with some bullocks (or were they stirks?) and repaired to the Bonny Moor Hen for a pint.
On the way – I met Peter Shepherd on a raid to the southern softlands. TGO Challengers are always popping up at unexpected moments. He gave me a bit of TGO gossip and news of another participant in our forthcoming Peebles to Moffat (and back) walk.
We walked about 2 miles altogether today – plus a bit of a paddle and a cave.
Happy birthday Brian. (There may be further pics of this and the Gaping Gill trip from Brian’s camera later)


Unknown said...

Very funny (and interesting).

It's great to laugh out loud at 05:30ish, well anytime really but especially first thing. So thanks.


Mike Knipe said...

Cripes, how long has there been a 5:30 am? Thanks for the comment, Brian...

Louise said...

'Tis an unfortunate name indeed, but worth a giggle. I still don't understand the need for going underground in deep, dark, small and often wet holes,but it makes for an amusing read, nonetheless!

(05.30 is a tad early for giggling)

Mike Knipe said...

There's no actual need to go underground, Louise. Its just an excuse to get wet and mucky and drink beer afterwards. A bit like rugby, but without all the blood letting...