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Legacy Logs

All pages containing trip logs (among other things) from the old wiki have been preserved (complete with formatting) in the legacy section of the archive.

The CUCC Blog

Hillwaking Joint Weekend - Bullpot Farm

Author Linus Gerdes - He came to Yorkshire with the hillwalking club, but decided to come underground with the caving club. Route: We entered County Pot and exited from Wretched Rabbit, passing by places such as Poetic Justice. Cavers: Tom Crossley, David Walker, Paul Fox, Ahu Aydin, Marta Grzelak, Naunehal Matharu, Linus Gerdes (author), Juliette Lee, Ross Thomas, Molly Sheldrick, and Wassil Janssen. As an avid hillwalker myself, I couldn’t resist the temptation of a joint trip with the cavers to embark on my first ever proper caving trip. I’ve only ever been in commercialized, well lit up caves before this trip, so I was keen to experience something new. The trip started in the epicenter of Yorkshire Dales caving, Bullpot Farm. The evening before saw the hillwalkers and the cavers drinking together around a cozy fireplace, and I was filled with excitement from the glorious pictures of cavers on the wall (time would show the glory does not reveal itself in the cave, but rather afterwards). As the hillwalkers went to bed to catch an early morning, the cavers revealed a wooden frame called the ‘squeeze machine’. The aim of this game was to squeeze through the wooden frame, which would get narrower after every round. Only thanks to the much welcomed and needed support from Wassil (“Just relax your butt”,”Just relax your bones”, ”Just relax your pants”) people went to their limits trying to beat the record of 16cm (6.3 inches for the English among us). The next morning Ross, Molly and I (3 caving hillwalkers) got out of bed early to see some of the Yorkshire Dales from the top. It only then came to me that cavers sleep long because they don’t require sunlight anyway. Finally, people rose from their beds around 10:30am and had the legendary caving breakfast at around 11:30am, and we got ready and geared up. As there were many novices amongst us, the gearing up part took much longer than expected and we only got ready by 2pm. After a surprisingly beautiful hike in the Dales we arrived at the entrance to the cave. The first descent was a 5 meter downward climb and gave me a rush of adrenaline. Little did I know that only 8 hours later I would emerge from just around the corner in a snow blizzard welcoming us back in the world. The next few hours saw the group squeezing through narrow alleyways, scrambling over boulder rocks and the first abseiling. Spirits were at an all-time high as we still had dry feet. We bounced around waterfalls and even skidded down a path that very much reminded me of going down a waterslide. I am also sure that there were multiple duplicates of Tom in the cave as one moment he was in front of me and a moment later appearing from a tight slid next to me I did not even consider possible to get through. I thought to myself, he was probably born and raised in a cave. Inevitably, the honeymoon phase had to end at some point as the first tight squeeze requiring a crawl flat on the stomach seemed to be the only path ahead. Luckily, I remembered Wassil’s words of wisdom and by relaxing my bones, butt and pants the squeeze was over quickly. My earlier decision to take a bag with water bottles turned out to be rather poor as I had to push the bag in front of me to fit through. After everyone passed the short but intense squeeze, we continued down a small archway, slowly moving forward with our hands and knees in the ice cold water. At this point, the inside of my shoes were already soaking wet. Being a hillwalker in the UK usually results in a high tolerance to being completely soaked, so this situation I luckily wasn’t unfamiliar with. We reached our halfway mark and our lowest point which was a river below the actual overground river we’ve hiked past before. From this point on we ascended up, with every step getting us closer to the exit as my mind wandered to the spicy hot fajitas awaiting me in the bunkhouse. Unfortunately, my caving ration of cereal bars were already consumed in a sugar rush after the squeeze. Furthermore, I also completely lost the sense of time so it came as a surprise when I found out it was already 6pm and that we would be back at 9pm only. The way up revealed some more beautiful cave formations and fun, windy alleyways. This was actually my favourite part of the trip and I felt the rush that I usually only ever get when I’m outside on the mountaintops. After an exciting last climbing session we reached the exit of the cave and hiked back the now not-so-beautiful way to Bullpot Farm. Though Molly and Ahu who were with me not quite enjoyed the hike as much as I did, my inner ‘arctic explorer’ carried me home. Once we arrived at the bunkhouse, a warm shower, Tom’s custom-brewed tea and the spicy Fajitas raised the spirits and we ended up drinking until the early morning with surprise guests from Kent.

-- Linus Gerdes, March 9, 2020. Category: Caving

Referenced in the following trips: CUHWC Joint Trip in Yorkshire (Bullpot Farm) [2020-02-28]