Sunday, 22 January 2017


Not much of a report really and more of a 'new year start as I mean to go on'  type of thing.
After the overdue nature of my previous two pieces I'm going to try and keep my online logs up to date.

Recent activity with Ian (Cummins) has felt reminiscent of those bitter winter affairs of past, spent down some three peaks test piece.

The 2017 opener down Meregill Hole was like an ice cold wake up. Meregill's defences were under siege from the elements that day. The noise alone was enough to make me feel unwelcome. It was an experience that blew the cobwebs off my nervous system for sure. Ian did a great job of rigging in the face of such hostility, sometimes feet from falling water and no doubt wondering what the return would be like. I looked on mainly in awe at the situation and hoping like hell he wasn't continuing purely for my sake. We turned around at the base of the fifth and final big pitch feeling we'd seen enough. The de-rig was initially rather intimidating but for the most part still a good distance, just. If only we'd had a camera with us that day.

Over the final four months of last year I only had three underground trips and yet I've just had the same amount in one week. The first was an impromptu trip down Jackdaw Hole with R.Gibson. It's an impressive site and one I'd not visited before. The bespoke route of descent was fun, especially the tree rebelay part way down the face.
The second was mid-week, where I ticked my new yearly obligations with a Dowbergill solo.
The walk to Providence Pot via Hagg Dyke Hostel felt every inch the way it should. The hostel was vacant as I passed, as would be the passage below I was yet to pass. I'd had a seven month break from doing Dowbergill on a regular monthly basis. A break I definitely needed in order to appreciate it again. The trip flowed like a well oiled machine and I was enjoying it so much I slowed down a little. It felt like the best solo trip I'd ever had. I gained the surface at the Dow end after a shy two hour trip little realising I'd be going the other way with Ian three days later.
We'd planned on a return trip beforehand (Dowbergill both ways) but on reaching Stalagmite corner decided to go out of Providence Pot. Ian wanted to check his navigational memory where exiting Providence was concerned and I wanted to search for my Rab skull cap lost during the approach on Wednesday.
I always forget how much tougher Dowbergill passage is when going the other way (upstream). Gravity appeared to impose greatly today or maybe it's just the fact I ached from the two midweek trips. I found a fifty pence coin in the bottom of Providence Pot. Expecting it to be old, as you would, I was shocked to discover it was a 2015 coin. Typically Ian, who is well ahead of me on the free booty found something as well. Although I can't complain as we traced my footsteps from Wednesday and found my lost rip-off Rab.

© Simon Beck, 2017. The copyright for this article and photographs remains with the author. It should not be reproduced without permission.

The ever dependable Providence circa 2015

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