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Sunday September 10th 2017

Pippikin Pot

Walmslers, Aileen, Fleur, Mark

Fleur wrote...

The next day I let the others cajole me into going down Pip. Aileen hadn't done it and the other two hadn't been for a while. We had considered Ireby as an alternative, but the rain kept on coming and in retrospect we definitely made the correct weather decision.
I last went to Pip a two and half years ago on valentine's day. It was Tom Clayton's birthday do and we were doing an Easegill traverse exchange; my team going in Pip and out Top while others went in Top and out of Bye George via the Grind. I recall Pip being much harder than I had remembered (and Pete discovering he no longer fitted) hence my reticence for this trip. Still, I reassured myself that it was an exceptionally strong team and I would be fine.
There was a debate in the farm about whether the cave was still rigged. I remembered Gavin Lowe et al taking the ropes out fairly recently, but had a suspicion that someone had put them back. Tom Clayton agreed, but was equally unsure. So we packed the minimum pull through ropes we felt we could get away with a set off.
The first tricky bit was judging the best place to walk up the other side of the Easegill beck as we ended fighting our way through the vegetation. Arriving at the entrance we found it was indeed rigged. And Adam realised that maybe he should have brought some cowstails for the pitch heads........
To cut a long story short I was fine indeed. The cave is, in my opinion, genuinely tight in two places early on. The first place is after the entrance pitch, cellar pot and the awkward climb that follows. The second is following the second pitch. I took my SRT kit off (although the others didn't) just to make my life easier. And abseiled on an italian hitch on my belt on the second pitch just because I couldn't be arsed to put it back on again. Third pitch was a bit longer though and definitely warranted a harness.
Then came the bit I had really not been looking forward too. The stemple rift. My tactic here is always to send someone else first so I can avoid the committing head first dive from the rift over the 4m drop. This allows me to go feet first instead with someone to make sure I hit the stemple with my toes. But the disadvantage is that it is harder going feet first to keep your body up and horizontal to avoid the tight part of the rift. I had one "I don't like this moment", but then swiftly sent myself through, Mark directed my feet and it was all done. Phew. Aileen boldly followed head first but had to retreat for a second go having initially got herself stuck on her srt gear.
After that is was plain sailing. Well, apart from the bit where I entered the rift lower down facing the wrong way, got to the awkward corner and then remembered that I had done exactly the same thing last time.
We were down to the Pipikin boulder choke in no time and in danger of being out in less than two hours, so took a detour to look at Cigalere. It has been a very long time since I last visited this part of the cave. The Hall of the Mountain King mud was just as squalid as I remembered. But interestingly I had forgotten all about the climbs in the Cigalere streamway, instead focusing my memory on the canal further upstream. It was very very wet and the climbs were sporting to put it mildly. This will be interesting coming back down I thought (and was later proved right). Further upstream the passage lowers in a few places until I felt that it was not the place I wanted to be on a pissing wet day. So Mark and Adam carried on to see the waterfall and Aileen kindly came back with me. Good job too since the final climb down posed a bit of a problem. Luckily we had a long sling with us or else we would not have made the descent.
Finally we got to cover our clean and wet suits with goo again exiting first back through Hall of the Mountain king and then via Mistral. The Mistral exit was much as I remembered it. Not terribly inspiring and a bit slimy in places.
In the last section we met a family coming into the cave and helped them rescue a baby frog.
Then back across the fell in the pouring rain; stopping only to be impressed by Ray Duffy et al repairng the path between Link and Lancs in the most hideous of weather conditions.

18th October 2017

Fleur Loveridge

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Saturday September 9th 2017

Rift Pot (Allotment)

Walmslers, Aileen, Fleur, Mark

Fleur wrote...

We were supposed to be going to Penyghent but it had been clear for several days if not a week that it would be too wet. Aileen and I deferred the decision of an alternative trip all week as well. By chance we managed to collect Mark and Adam for the team too, and it was not until Aileen, Mark and I were departing York that we finally decided on Rift Pot instead. Main rationale being that it was sufficiently weather proof and I hadn't done it before (neither had Aileen) - a rare beast indeed.
Adam met us in Crummack and we packed the ropes, dodging the odd shower. The walk up was mostly pleasant and Mark and Adam found the entrance fairly easily having been there recently with the Ario crew. I started to rig the first pitch, taking instructions from Mark that it was hard to avoid a rub and to keep the y-hang to the right. It turns out that if you put the second y-hang in lower down on the other side of the rift then this is not such a problem.......
The bottom of the entrance pitch was an impressive space and I immediately made the mistake of going in the wrong direction into the inviting large space. Mark called me back, but him having the next rope this did not delay us. He carried on to rig the next two small pitches, where we found the rope lengths in the CNCC guide to be somewhat optimistic. It was just possible to get off the second pitch and the third needed to be rigged quite tight. Sure, we had fairly fat rope that will have consumed some meterage in the knots, but not that much. We recommend packing some excess.
A longer pitch took us to the end of the ropework from where you can admire the sound and spray of the water entering from Long Kin East (in flood). Skirting past this leads to a small section of streamway. Very nice but short lived, it crosses a large slope up to the left before degenerating to a low crawl mostly full of water which no doubt led to a sump that I felt no need to see. Back up the mud slope you can take a short cut back to the Long Kin East Waterfall.
So, that was it - a fine, but not extensive excursion. Adam derigged and we were out on the surface within about 2.5 hrs.
A quick jolly through Long Kin East cave completed our day out with the possible highlight - a swirling Guinness foam doughnut going round and round and round in an eddy in the stream.
A badly timed heavy showed as we got changed them possibly soaked us more than the caving trip.

18th October 2017

Fleur Loveridge

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Sunday July 16th 2017

County Pot - Cow Pot through trip

Josh, Jean-Luc Heath (YUCPC)

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Sunday July 16th 2017

County Pot to Molluscan Hall via Dismal Bypass

Gary, Matt E, Jack (RRCPC)

Matt E wrote...

After cancelling our scheduled weekend in Wharfedale due to the dodgy weather, my main aim during our substitute weekend at Bull Pot Farm was to learn more about downstream in County Pot, particularly the route via Dismal Junction and the possible connection to Ease Gill Aven, which we have visited from above on two occasions over the last year (via the Mancunian Way).

The weather on Saturday was a little dire, and despite very low water in the Main Drain during our Saturday trip, this was steadily rising. By Sunday morning Casterton Fell was saturated, and not surprisingly a substantial river was flowing down Broadway just inside County Pot, all disappearing down towards Dismal Junction. Things weren't looking all that good!

We headed down via Spout Hall and beyond, soon reaching Platypus Junction (apparently so called due to a platypus head shaped rock protrusion, although this was a little tenuous). Left here returns up Razor Passage back to Broadway to complete the famous short County round trip. Right however (taking an initial bypass to a low section) heads downstream towards Dismal Junction.

The going was all pretty good for a few minutes; stooping and easy crawling. Then it started to turn nasty. Ahead, a wide cobbled bedding meant a flat out crawl in the water. Gary and Jack seemed unimpressed, but I hadn't come all this way not to have a go, so I pushed on into the water. Around a slight bend, the water deepened and a rock arch presented a daunting obstacle which would require complete submersion and sucking air from the 10cm air gap. No thanks! The fresh foam on the roof emphasised how readily this passage sumps, and with the fells saturated I had no intention of continuing.

Returning to Platypus we headed towards Razor Passage, in search of a 'Dismal Bypass' that was marked on the survey. We had a copy of the survey (or rather, a printout of the relevant section), but we'd done no research on this alternative route. Still, we thought we'd have a go at finding it anyway. Our expectations weren't high for the quality of this passage. Given that most people prefer Dismal Junction, the bypass must be pretty hard work.

Only 20-30m up Razor Passage (from Platypus Junction) a 2m climb out of the stream on the right reaches a high level area, and a small scrotty passage disappeared off back in the direction we'd just come from. This looked well worn, and was going in the right direction so we followed it.

The passage continued, mostly awkward crawling and wriggling through blocks in a narrow passage for some distance, eventually reaching a small chamber with an obvious 1.5m high cone of mud, smoothed by the action of passing cavers, sloping up to a fissure. At the top of the fissure, we found ourselves in a much larger passage. In one direction (right) this was walking through liquid mud along a beautifully decorated passage, ending with a fine view towards a pristine white pillar and some flowstone. We didn't expect this especially somewhere so muddy! In the opposite direction an easy wide crawl passed several more (rather dirtier) formations and seemed to be the way onwards.

Soon, we reached The Funnel, a standing height chamber with a rusty metal bar, presumably used to pry open the boulder slope leading down and out of this chamber at floor level. More grim slithering over slabs and through deep mud in a small passage eventually reached what looked initially like a dead end; but squirming up through the boulders revealed darkness, as Molluscan Hall came into view.

We were delighted! Our recce has been successful and we were in the splendid elongated chamber of Molluscan Hall. A traverse along the right wall reaches the central point of the chamber where a steep route up boulders presented itself. However, we opted for the large hole in the floor leading down to the sound of water. Getting back down to the stream here requires an esoteric corkscrew climb down through blocks (with a few wrong turns that lead to exposed balconies over the stream) but with relative ease we found ourselves back in the stream beyond Dismal Junction.

Despite the temptation to continue exploring, we'd actually had quite enough. So feeling rather pleased with ourselves, we headed out, completing the round trip up Razor Passage. The cascades in Razor Passage provided an excellent place to wash off the thick mud now caking our entire bodies.

This has hopefully set the scene for further trips over the coming year or two to learn this less well visited, fascinating part of Ease Gill Caverns, with the ultimate aim being a round trip from County, to Stop Pot, then Mancunian Way, down Ease Gill Aven and then back via Dismal Junction. More research and recce trips are needed though before we try anything like this.

A lovely day out, and so nice to go somewhere we've never been before.

Those Yorkshire cavers who are reluctant to part from their trusty SRT kits take note; There is some top notch exploration and adventure to be had here. Get yourself the survey, some online descriptions, and instead of doing Rowten Pot for the umpteenth time, go somewhere new in Ease Gill Caverns instead.

17th July 2017

Matt Ewles

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Sunday July 16th 2017

Cow Pot

Fleur, Laura, Pete

Fleur wrote...

Actually, Fleur, Laura and guest Lou - a rare girls only trip underground.
A quick jolly down the pitches in cow pot before an early departure on a Sunday. With my third visit in the last year or so I remembered better all the rigging details and was hopefully fairly efficient. Main points of note were losing Laura twice (once on the way in and once of the way out) between the two pitches; rescuing a baby lizard from the climb down; Lou choosing the hanging rebelay on fall pot (of course) to get in a bit of a tangle. Fall pot as spectacular as ever. Easy exit since leaving the cave rigged for the the through trippers hence soon back at the farm for tea and cake. Yum.

29th August 2017

Fleur Loveridge

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Saturday July 15th 2017

Notts Pot

Pete, Laura, Gary, Fleur

Fleur wrote...

The weather forecast was not as good as hoped; I had promised Lou a nice SRT trip in the dales and it was decided that Notts would be a good bet. Initial plans for an exchange were shelved at the last minute since our numbers were reduced by Matt eating too much macaroni cheese for breakfast and making himself ill......
First challenge was locating the entrance in foggy weather, but we managed to do so fairly easily in the end. Gary, Pete and I shared the rigging of left hand route, my preferred descent at the moment. Laura later commented that it was interesting to observe the differing styles employed by the three of us with my expedition tight rigging being notable. We made fairly swift progress through the cave without any difficulty or incident. Well, until I was rigging the penultimate pitch when I realised that the top pin on my stop was wobbling around rather disconcertingly. Luckily just one more small pitch to rig an then it was all jammers. We paid our dutiful respects to the sumps before heading out with Gary derigging. An efficient exit and back to the farm for tea and cake. A lovely day out.

29th August 2017

Fleur Loveridge

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Saturday July 15th 2017

County Pot to Oxbow Corner

Matt E, Josh, Jean-Luc Heath (YUCPC)

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Sunday July 9th 2017

New Goyden Pot

Toby, Matt E, Laura, Josh, John D, John C, Gary, Jean-Luc Heath (YUCPC), John Holloway (ULSA)

Matt E wrote...

Despite caving in Yorkshire for 13 years this year, the caves of Nidderdale have so far eluded me. Some years ago a few members had a trip to New Goyden and reported it as being an excellent trip, and it's always stuck in the back of my mind. So with the CNCC meeting on Saturday 8th, which myself and Gary were attending, the Sunday seemed the ideal opportunity for a trip to Nidderdale on the way home from The Dales.

With a staggering turnout of nine people, including friends from YUCPC and ULSA, we were able to split into two teams. John Holloway (ULSA) kindly took a group from Manchester Hole to Goyden, being the only person in our group with a good knowledge of this complex and extensive system. My group instead headed first to New Goyden Pot, the plan being to 'swap caves' afterwards so everyone got to see both.

New Goyden is pleasantly accessible. Park in the layby immediately after Limley Farm or in the larger layby by the picnic tables a few hundred metres further. Walk back down the road to the main vehicular entrance to the farm, and down here turn right and then through a gate and onto a public footpath running south along the west side of the (hopefully dry) riverbed. After three or four hundred metres the path crosses the riverbed at a derelict ford, and a hundred metres further is the entrance to New Goyden in the right hand embankment under an overhanging tree.

Of course, we missed this completely and instead found a much more obvious lidded pipe only 50m further along the riverbed and descended this. We found ourselves at the top of a loose series of climbs with in-situ tat and scaffold poles, with the New Goyden stream below. John had mentioned a free-climbable route into New Goyden, but this was a little to hairy for our liking so out we went, this time locating the correct entrance.

Immediately inside the entrance, a short crawl reaches the first pitch, followed immediately by the second; both are splendid short pitches. The second lands in the New Goyden stream passage in the middle of the river.

The stream passage is stunning and I stood in awe for a few minutes, shining my light along a 10-15m high, 5-6m wide cavernous river, vanishing off into the distance! Upstream quickly reached an inlet through what appeared to be dig spoil (or possibly even mining spoil as there are some mines in the area), from which a stream issued. Just up here, looking up, we could see the scaffold poles where we had been stood 30 minutes earlier.

We then followed the dramatic river passage downstream for a few minutes down to a sump. A short distance back from the sump, a steep slope on the left took us up to a scramble up through blocks into The Planetarium. A few of us headed straight on from here into the continuing high level passage (this led to a junction where right was the main way on), and a few of us went right down boulders at the bottom of The Planetarium, but both routes soon reunited in another splendid short section of stream passage until we hit another sump.

We spend another happy hour exploring every nook and cranny of the cave and all the various inlets - an absolute delight.

New Goyden was a total surprise - a splendid, dramatic and inspiring underground river - well worth the drive up to Nidderdale for if you're looking for a gentle but thoroughly pleasant afternoon trip. The day was finished off nicely by some blazing hot sunshine and an ice cream in Pateley Bridge.

17th July 2017

Matt Ewles

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Sunday July 9th 2017

Manchester Hole - Goyden Pot

Josh, Laura, Jean-Luc Heath (YUCPC), John Holloway (ULSA)

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Sunday July 9th 2017

Goyden Pot

Toby, Matt E, John D, John C, Gary

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Thursday June 29th 2017

Cnoc Nan Uamh System (Cnockers)

Ade, David W, Josh, Rachel, Lots of others from YUCPC

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Monday June 26th 2017

Uamh An Claonaite

Laura, Jerry, Gary, Ade, Matt E, Philip, Rachel, Adam Walmsley (YUCPC) and Matt Bouwman (YUCPC)

19 photos by Gary...

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Sunday May 28th 2017

Ogof Draenen to Dogleg Series

Aileen, Gary, Matt E

Matt E wrote...

After numerous trips to the far reaches of Ogof Draenen over the last few years (including one to Medusa's Children, one to the Geryon, and one to War of the Worlds and Sandero Luminosa at the opposite end of the cave), we were on the lookout for new places to visit in this excellent system. A tip off from a few club members recommended the Dogleg Complex, a different branch from the end of MS&D. After watching the excellent YouTube videos by The Freems (Youtube name 'Catchpool'), documenting a trip to here, it was clear that this part of Draenen is home to some of the finest formations.

A trip here was a must and so a bank holiday weekend at Whitewalls was promptly arranged.

A reasonably early start for a team of five enthusiasts suggested an efficient day ahead. Unfortunately on arriving at the Draenen car park opposite the Lamb and Fox, myself, Gary and Aileen waited patiently for Rachel and Toby to arrive in Rachel's car. After 30 minutes and no sign of them we were wondering what had happened. With no mobile signal, we gave them another 30 minutes before deciding that we might as well get started and hope they would catch us up (we knew they had recently been as far as MS&D so hopefully knew the way).

Aileen, Gary and I made quick progress through the entrance series, Beer Challenge, Indiana Highway, Megadrive etc etc, arriving at the Snowball in about two and a half hours - Not bad going! Into Last Sandwich Crawl, and the 30-40 minutes of long but not too hard crawling commenced. It was good to be back at MS&D after a year or so away. We stomped along to the junction where on all previous trips we have headed up towards The Geryon, but this time we headed down to 'Into the Black' down a steep slope of boulders (with a handline at the top). In the chamber at the bottom, a cavernous stream passage disappeared into the darkness (hence the name), but up on the left a steep rubble slope lead up into the Dogleg complex, and then the route was on the right at the top of the slope up yet more scree slopes. This did not look like a place many people had visited!

The Dogleg Complex is a very old, high level fossil complex of joint-driven cave development. It is a three dimensional labyrinth of junctions. Thankfully, Tarquins description which is freely available online (http://www.cavinguk.co.uk/draenen), is excellent. There are a few confusing moments where it is necessary to read ahead considerably to see what bits to ignore and what to follow, and some creative interpretation, but we encountered no major difficulties. Within 30 minutes of entering the Dogleg complex we arrived at our target; a stunning, absolutely magnificent, grotto at the end of an inconspicuous low passage, hidden beyond five minutes of arduous flat-out crawling.

Peering into this grotto from the approach, it is like a fairyland of columns, stalactites, straws and helictites. Stunning! They were in splendid condition, thanks to the difficulty in reaching this location and the fact that this is a dead end so it is not a thoroughfare. We admired this stunning chamber for several minutes and Gary took photos before we moved on.

Next stop was Circus Maximus, where it was nice to be back into more typical Draenen type caverns. There were some very nice stalagmites and straws here. However, the real treat was just beyond Circus Maximus, another dead end with a stunning gallery of flowstone and helictites. Absolutely pristine!

After more photography, we started on our outward journey, stopping only for a brief stomp down the first few hundred metres of the Into The Black Streamway, and exiting the cave at 9pm after about 10 hours underground.

What a superb trip - I thought I'd seen the finest Draenen had to offer before today - But the Dogleg pips the others to take first place.

Arriving out we found a note pinned to the entrance hatch. Rachel's car had a blown out tyre on route to the cave. Very bad luck indeed, but at least they'd got a top notch trip to the Courtisan in Aggie the day before to slightly compensate. It was nonetheless fun telling them how great The Dogleg was!

16th July 2017

Matt Ewles

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Saturday May 27th 2017

Agen Allwedd Up Turkey Inlet

Gary, Jerry, Matt E, Philip, Tegs

7 photos by Gary...

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Saturday May 27th 2017

Agen Allwedd to The Courtesan

Aileen, Rachel, Toby

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Sunday May 14th 2017

Knotlow Caverns via Climbing Shaft

Gary, Jerry, John D, Matt E, Tegs

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Saturday May 13th 2017

Lathkill Head Cave , Mandale Mine and several other small caves

Chris, Gary, Jerry, John D, Matt E, Tegs

14 photos by Gary...

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Saturday May 6th 2017

Fairy Holes (Weardale)

David W, Fleur, Matt E, Pete, Ursula Seddon

Matt E wrote...

It'd been a few years since our last trip into Fairy Holes, and I was quite excited about the possibility of returning.

With the weather very much in our favour, we arrived at the quarry and made our way up the forestry track - or at least what once was the forestry track. Now it is more like the deforestry track. All the trees have gone (replanted with saplings) and the place is unrecognisable compared to last time. The parking spot was covered in forestry debris so we parked on the side of the track near the top gate.

Unfortunately, Gary was developing a migraine so opted out of the trip (choosing to fly his drone instead) but the rest of us made quick progress through the quarry and to the entrance. The entrance pipe has two locked gates, and is crawling in several inches of water, so you get wet legs and arms from the off.

Having done the trip in a 5mm wetsuit last time, and almost passed out with heat exhaustion, I opted for a neofleece today (half fleece, half 3mm wetsuit).

The description that was supplied with the permit was excellent throughout. About 25 minutes of fine easy caving in sizable stream passage with waist deep pools eventually reached the climb up into Vein Chamber, with a few reasonable formations. Back down the fixed rope to the stream, and upstream developed into an extensive streamway of straight passages broken by sharp bends - evidence for the highly fracture-driven nature of the stream passage. This varied from stooping, crawling, crabwalking, easy stomping, scrambling over blocks and everything in between, with nothing of any particular difficulty.

Part way along I stopped to read the Northern Caves Monitoring form that we were filling in - it referenced clastic sediments and various other technical jargon that I was wholly unfamiliar with. On vocalising my concerns about our ability to complete this, Fleur promptly reminded me that at the back of the group we had Pete, who just so happens to be a Professor of sedimentology! It seems our problems were well and truly solved!

Eventually we reached the choke with the climb up to Grave Chamber. Last time, we stayed in the water here and got very wet, but today we climbed up the steep slanting wall to a squeeze up into Grave Chamber, which is barely a chamber. A narrow sideways squeeze at the far right end of the 'chamber' soon opens out and a descent back down to the stream was possible.

A short distance on we reached the climb up into The Choir, a sizable chamber. This was shortly followed (via a crawl) by The Vestry, with some decent stalagmites.

At the end of The Vestry is a traverse to a window, which marks the start of about 25 minutes of rather arduous dry thrutchy crawling in a small twisting passage. Ursula, Pete and David opted to turn around here. Fleur and I pushed on at top speed, whizzing through the various crawls and building up enough heat inside our oversuits to melt lead. The crawls seem to go on for quite some distance but eventually we reached The Sarcophagus. This is a stunning chamber with some very nice unspoiled formations, significantly better than I had remembered, and worth the crawling.

After a few happy-snaps, we turned around here and headed out at top speed, arriving at the entrance only a few minutes behind the others. We were greeted at the end of the pipe by a buzzing noise - Gary's drone - here to greet us as we exited the cave into glorious sunshine.

Fairy Holes is an outstanding trip. It's proper Northern Dales caving at it's best, and a trip to The Sarcophagus is a lengthy day (about 4-5 hours) and a worthwhile destination. It's not one for wet conditions, but in settled weather neither is this one for a full 5mm wetsuit as the description suggests. Many cavers will be perfectly happy in a fleece and others in a 3mm wetsuit or ideally neofleece - You can actually keep your upper body completely dry throughout if you are careful, and the absence of any pitches to wait around at mean you don't get the chance to get cold.

Sadly Pete never did get to the clastic sediments; A good job otherwise poor Natural England may have ended up with a dissertation in the post!

18th July 2017

Matt Ewles

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6 photos by Fleur...

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Sunday April 23rd 2017

Hagg Gill Pot

Aileen, Gary, Laura, Matt E, Toby

6 photos by Gary...

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Saturday April 22nd 2017

Christmas Pot - Grange Rigg Pot

Aileen, Gary, Jack, Laura, Matt E, Toby

4 photos by Gary...

YCC Trip History

Here you can see the list of pretty much all the trips YCC members have been on over the years. Members can also submit reports which will hopefully help others to avoid problems or just for some inspiration! Use the filters below to view by year or cave.

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