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Monday, 23 August 2010

Overground, Underground, Wombling Weekend

in ascending order
Not actually a weekend as it didn’t start till Sunday evening.
Late Sunday afternoon, I steered the knipemobile over Stainmore, down by Pendragon Castle, past the Wensleydale Cheese factory and to Clapham with a brief stop for pie and chips in Ingleton. (And very nice they were too – from the chipper there….)
After a few light bevvies in the New Inn (which is very old, as it happens) I was joined by Brian and Charlie, Colin from the Hare and Hounds and Ellis, a Weardale bobby. We had a bit of a session.
Later – much later, we put tents up exactly where we shouldn’t and drifted off to bye byes for a while. We determined to rise and shine at about 6:30 a.m. for the walk up to Gaping Gill.
walking up to gg
At 7:00 a.m. we heard the distinct raised voice of the local National park toilet attendant berating a family in a camper van and offering to fine them £50. He wasn’t personally all that bothered, but the camping ban was to stop things like this (I guess he was indicating our tents at this point) and said that this (indicating the tents) was ridiculous.
Brian soothed him using a bit of diplomacy but the toilet man said he was going to report us “to Bradford”. I think he meant Bradford Pothole Club who, if he did mention it to them, were not likely to be very interested.
trow gill
It was an ill wind, though (it got us up) and we were soon embarked on the short walk up to Gaping Gill.
At this time of year, Craven Pothole Club organise a winch meet at Gaping Gill, which allows easy access down the 350 foot shaft into the Gaping Gill cave system. Its a spectacular ride both down and up and the only down side to it are the queues that can build-up at the bottom and the top.
gaping gill 006
But today was relatively quiet and we were soon individually hurtling down through semi-darkness and a slight waterfall to arrive smoothly on the cobbles and stones at the bottom of this mighty hole.
gaping gill
entrance shaft
We gathered and set off toward Sand Cavern, though most of the party dropped out and made their way back. Me and Brian crawled around for a while and gave ourselves about half an hour as Ellis had to be back in Durham for his shift by tea time, and there was the potential for a long wait in the queue to get back out.
inside gg
So, we didn’t get much of an explore. I think we were underground for a couple of hours or so, but there was no wait and we were soon sploshing through the rain back to Clapham.
preparing to ascend
The three peeps we’d lost had left for Co Durham, so it was just me and Brian who later sat in Bernie’s cafe in Ingleton with pots of tea and a bowl of chips.
The walk above ground was about 5 miles. The underground but was much, much less.
And it was Brian’s birthday and 50 years since his first trip down Gaping Gill.
There may be more pics from Brian later (But he’s left his camera in my car) I await a response from Bradford Pothole Club. Our excuse is, I’m afraid, that we were, in fact, very very drunk.


The Odyssee said...

The photo's look quite steady considering. Must be image stabilising.

Mike Knipe said...

This is the camera that got dropped in a pool, Alan. It only does random functions now - i.e. whatever it feels like at the time. I didn't publish the fuzzy pictures!