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Trip to Ibbeth Peril Cave 1 -- 1st February 2009

Group: Dave, Ian, Graham, Chris, Paul, Mary

The first new trip of 2009 promised to be cold, but the weather had been fairly dry and so it was hoped the cave wouldn't be flooded. The lead party pulled up in the car park and had a quick look at the state of play before the others arrived. The water levels were low and there was only a trickle down the waterfall into the pool, however there was a lot of flood debris blocking access to the cave entrance and so a bit of digging would be required. Once the other car arrived Dave and then Paul set off digging out the branches, leaves, bottles and other debris to expose the entrance. Not knowing the exact location of the entrance, we started on the far RHS of the debris, but then shifted a yard to the left when we noticed what looked like a mesh covered door under the decreasing pile of rubbish. Once this was removed it exposed a nice cave entrance and we all piled it.

A stooping height passage led down towards a dam made of blocks and following this was a short flat out crawl before the floor cut down and a small chamber with a shallow pool was reached. The pool contained a few small fish. The exit passage gradually became higher and a bit further on the main chamber came into view. The floor which had been a mix of sand and small cobbles became littered with massive blocks which had fallen from the roof and made progress a bit slower. Over on the LHS where some magnificent limestone formations and some nice grottos.

Climbing over the blocks towards the back of the cavern led to a waterfall emerging from a upper passage. This carried a fair volume of water and was a bit awkward to climb. A little bit further on was another waterfall, fed from the same source and this was easier to negotiate, if a bit low and wet, and led under an upper cascade to the top of the original waterfall. The LHS of this area was a mass of quite pretty formations. Climbing up the other cascade led to a large walking height passage which carried on for a while before the roof lowered and it was necessary to stoop, then crawl in the water. We stopped when we got to the ox-box on the LHS as the survey shows a pool followed by a sump a little further ahead. Chris spotted some living creatures, probably small shrimps, in the water.

Returning to the main chamber we had a quick look in the lower passages where there is a fine streamway which would deserve a bit more exploration. Mary (who avoided the wet trip up the waterfall) reported seeing a strange glow looking down a muddy rift. Dave had a look and initially could see a pale glow at the bottom, but then failed to see it again having shifted position. Ian didn't see it despite careful inspection so the juries out on this. It could be bioluminescence as there is a fair amount of organic matter in the cave from the surface in-wash. Certainly there are some nice dry-rot threads emanating from some of the wood washed into the cavern.

After a bit more looking around we headed back to the entrance passage and noticed more fish. We crawled back to the daylight, replaced the mesh hatch and got changed. There were a few snow flurries so we headed to the pub in Dent to warm up.

A really excellent trip - we will definitely do this again! Total trip time about 3 hours