Black Shiver

Posted by Swaledale Outdoor Club on 2010-06-13

The forecast Saturday night - possible thunder storms - did not sound too promising for going down Black Shiver the next day. After a bit of debate on the forum, we (Bob, Chris and I) agreed to meet at Bernies at 10 o'clock Sunday morning and decide then whether it was a goer or not. Thankfully, the forecast Sunday morning - light rain/drizzle with rain coming in later

in the day - sounded much more promising and the rain was light and patchy in Ingleton so the trip was on.

Chris, the only one to have been in BS before, remembered well and we went straight to the cave entrance - about 400 metres from Meregill – without any difficulty. We were in the cave and scuttling through the flat-out crawl at the bottom of the entrance shaft by 12.15. What can I say aboutthe cave? It's magnificent. Not at all the sinister, foreboding place I wasi magining. As Sam (my 11-year-old lad) said, why can't they give caves nice names? Why does it always have to be "Roaring Hole", "Quaking Pot" or "Big Meanie"?? The names are enough to give you the willies! I'm not really sure why it warrants a grade of 5, either, as I thought it was all pretty straight-forward caving. The 85-metre Black Rift pitch was stupendous. I missed the p-hangers for the rebelay at -30 metres but, luckily, had jus enough rope to reach the jammed boulder and deviation bolt. I was just about to use this bolt together with a sling to rig a 'y' hang when Bob spotted a pair of bolts 5 metres or so above me! We used these to rig the mind-blowing 55-metre free hang to the bottom of the chamber and Chris disappeared into the abyss at a great rate of knots with smoke coming from his rack; Bob and I, in contrast, descended much more sedately on our Petzl Stops!

From the bottom of the Black Rift, we followed the water downstream and went through the duck into a superb streamway with some fascinating helictites - this cave has even got 'pretties' as well!! We continued down the streamway to the final short pitch into a high aven (with a traverse line going off to the left) and reached the sump a short while later at 2.30. On the way out Chris and I went along the traverse line and up a very precarious-looking mud/rock slope. Bob didn't believe us when we caught him up but the formations were stunning - 2.5 metre delicate straws, ribbons of 'streaky-bacon' and some whacky-looking helictites, all in remarkably good condition.

We were out on the surface by 5.15 and back at the cars by 6 o'clock. The Hill Inn was open (for once) and we had a very nice pint of Dent Aviator to round off a perfect caving day. Strans Gill Pot next!!

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