Heron and Yordas

Posted by Paul Brooks on 2014-07-25

Sunday 22nd June 2014

This was listed as a "tba" trip, giving maximum flexibility to tailor the trip to the weather and participants. I needed a late start as I'd been on a Scouts "training" camp on Saturday, packing up on Sunday morning. This suited Chris (T) who could spend more time with his parents who were up for the weekend. The 2 of us met in Ingleton at 1pm.

We bounced a few ideas around; looking for something with a reasonable amount of action in a fairly short space of time. We settled on a pull through trip to Heron Pot in Kingsdale. The walk up was rather sweaty, but it's not too far and soon we could enjoy the relative cool of the cave. Pleasant walking passage with a few decorations led to the first pitch. A short rope allowed the slightly daunting step around the corner to be made safe and the main rope was threaded through the hangers and down the pitch. We were quickly down and pulled the rope down behind us (committed now). The second pitch follows immediately and was tackled in the same manner. The cave changes character at the bottom with more pools and a crawl to a chink of daylight at the lower entrance. This requires you to lie on your side in the water, but was quickly passed and we were out in the sunshine again an hour after entering the cave.

We'd wanted a quick trip, but this left us wanting slightly more. On the way back to the car we decided to pay Yordas a visit too. From memory, I felt that the same rope would be just about right, so we made our way up to the right of the lower entrance and found the middle entrance fissures above. We handlined the first drop (fairly quickly to escape the vicious midges) and rigged the rope on the first proper pitch (which can be climbed via a now very slippery tree trunk). Another short climb took us to the junction with the main stream from Yordas Pot. This was still quite lively despite the dry spell and promised fun on the Chapter House pitch. I looked down from the top and slight doubts crept in about the rope length. I didn't particularly fancy a lot of faff in the middle of the waterfall, so set about joining our 30m main rope and 10m 8mm rope to give us a longer hang. 20m should be about right and the knotted section would be fine to pull down.

A careful abseil down the waterfall allowed the worst of the water to be avoided and I got to the step above the last drop. I could see that the rope would reach (this was a good thing as my means of ascending was limited), but it looked difficult to avoid a good drenching in the main cascade. I set off down, holding myself to one side and remarkably got down fairly dry. I shouted up to Chris and enjoyed watching him pick his way down. He chose a different route down the last cascade and appeared to get considerably wetter than I did. Nevertheless, he emerged with a massive smile on his face - Chapter House is like that! The rope would have been long enough - but only just. It came down without a problem and we bagged it and marched out of the lower entrance. A couple of hours of action-packed, very enjoyable caving. A quick change and a pint in the Marton rounded the day off.

Paul Brooks

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