Saturday 25th November 2023
Cavers - Andy, Stuart, Alasdair, Kate and me ( Robin )
We met for breakfast at Inglesport cafe and discussed options for the day, given the slightly higher than normal river levels we decided to all attempt the classic Ding, Dong, Bell route rather than try an exchange trip.
We headed up to the parking above Masongill to find no other cars there. We changed in the freezing temperatures and walked up to the entrance to go underground about 11am.
Andy started rigging while we waited above the steps down to the first pitch out of the water. Once ‘rope free’ was heard we started descending with space between us to ensure we could avoid waiting under the shower. The first few pitches were rigged and descended before Stuart took over the rigging.
Once we were further down and onto the lower pitches we were out of the spray so had chance to feel warmer. Eventually we reached the streamway and continued to duck under the calcite formation.
The duck was passed with a few shrieks in the cold water and more submersion than previously experienced.
We continued to the Duke Street stream way and followed for several hundred yards to a sandy area. We decided on a quick photo and turn around due to time restrictions.
Kate and I headed out first, leaving Stuart, Alasdair and Andy to derig.
Heading back up the pitches we got to the top of one of the wetter pitches to hear another team on their way down. We shouted up to them and started the climb to be accompanied by singing from the other team, once at the top of the climb they were singing and dancing away, I guess in an attempt to keep warm in the damp conditions.
We passed the other team of five and continued to the surface without incident relatively quickly. Once out the temperature was noticeably cooler. Fortunately Andy wasn’t too far behind with one of the bags. We headed back down to the cars as Stuart and Alasdair weren’t too far behind.
We got back to the cars and changed quickly to warm up. Stuart and Alasdair had jogged some of the way back to warm up !
We didn’t bother going to the pub as Andy had to get off and Stuart was off camping on the summit of Gragarth !!!