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Trip to Dow -- 18th February 2009

Group: Dave, Dennis

This was a quick trip to check out the cave for a possible novice trip as an alternative to Long Churn if water levels there were too high.

The weather was dull and there was a a little rain in the air as we parked up at the foot of Park Rash. It didn't take long to change and head up to the stile and along the path to footbridge and thence across Caseker Gill. The water-worn slabs in the gill were coated with green algae and were very slippery. A climb up the boulder slope led to the cave entrance which was pretty damp and muddy. Water levels were moderate and we trundled along the streambed in water just over welly boot depth.

After a while the water level decreased below boot depth and some fallen blocks were passed by climbing on a shelf on the RHS. Continuing along the streamway you pass under a some huge jammed boulders and then two meanders forming a dog-leg. Water splashes down from a small inlet on the left.

There is a high aven here and some formations near to cracks in the bedding. After this the ceiling lowers and passage widens with a low curved roof over a pool. The ceiling has a modest collection of small stalactites. Further on the passage rises over some boulders to a small chamber. Ahead is the sound of falling water and there is a small mined passage on the RHS which leads to a dead end. Carrying on the roof lowers briefly before rising again. The start of Dowbergill Passage is visible on the right. It's a fairly tight muddy tube which we decided not to bother with today.

Ahead was the massive boulder pile of Hobson's Choice complete with dire warnings. We had a quick look in, but the way on seemed to be over a small waterfall and there didn't look like there was enough space between it and a fallen block. We retreated and headed back out. The weather hadn't improved.

A pleasant trip to while away a couple of hours.