Its a Dogs Life - Calf Holes 21 August 2011

Posted by Swaledale Outdoor Club on 2011-08-22

I took Barney, Freya, and Freya’s boyfriend Owen for an introductory caving trip – Barney enjoyed the scrambling on Blencathra a few weeks ago (up Halls Fell & down Sharp Edge), and Owen fancied a go at caving, so I assembled my second-best caving kit, and my third-best caving kit, and off we went.

After a brief stop off at Caton to talk to a policeman who was so impressed with my Corolla he wanted to check its MOT and insurance, we proceeded to the finest café in Ingleton for breakfast.

Louise and Dylan returned from their walk while we were there, so Barney played with Dylan for a while, and then staked a claim to Louise’s caving kit. Off to the cave – I thought it would be a good idea to fit a torch to Barney’s harness, but he wasn’t convinced – while the rest of us got changed he bit through the cable ties.

I rigged the pitch, and Freya led – she had none of my difficulties with my old Petzl Stop, mainly because she kept the handle right in all the way down. Owen followed with no problems. Barney declined to go in the bag I’d brought for him, so I had to carry him down. Halfway down he decided to look over my shoulder for a better view, making us rather top-heavy, so we finished the abseil Australian style. Water levels were quite high at the bottom – around knee deep, rather than ankle deep. We set off downstream, Barney choosing the high level traverse at the side. Down through the letterbox and the going got easier – just a little assistance required at the climb down, and then out through Brow Gill.

Back up the hill and de-tackled, then over to Birkwith for a little explore – also quite wet.

Down to the Crown for a refreshing ale, and home.

All in all a bit too much swimming for Barney, but Freya and Owen will hopefully be out caving again soon.


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