Tuesday, 6 November 2018
Mossdale Session 74
Sat 20th Oct 2018
'All the piggy backing in the world could never substitute the advantage gained in getting there alone'
After missing two perfect opportunities over the course of previous days, I felt it necessary to make an effort this evening, regardless of productivity.
I was still delicate and recovering from a once yearly weekend party. Which never fails to lead me down the fuck-up-trail till some time after.
I shouldn't complain in this instance, it was far longer before I returned to Mossdale after the previous year's event.
With errands decided upon that morning, the visit was cancelled. I originally planned on Mossdale first then the errands after. Driving back around mid-day, I couldn't shake the proposition of visiting Mossdale that evening. The only thing that appeared to stand in my way was enthusiasm.
Showing even an ounce of weakness to my self usually guarantees the source of my unease will occur.
No matter how much I rationalized it would be a wasted outing with little work getting done, I just couldn't resist the gains. A little extra resilience gathered. Like collecting body armour in one of those old Sega games.
'Future gain comes with excess past effort'
Arrived at the Scar early evening after traveling my old approach via Howgill. An unexpected comfort came with that choice. Nostalgia mostly. But nevertheless a pleasant companion all the way.
I left the last of the day's light, knowing it would not be there when I returned.
There is an added element in visiting this cave alone at night. The trail of darkness no longer ends at the surface. You feel gripped by the clutches of the added night sky.
High water the previous weekend really had reeked havoc. Froth hung high & heavy in the entrance series, and a ludicrous amount of fresh sand was dumped in Blackpool Sands.
Not one to miss an opportunity, providing the resources, I brought a borrowed head cam, and filmed my journey through the Swims that evening. Surprisingly my first ever attempt to capture any real material from that part of the cave. Even though I'd threatened for years I would.
The camera unit was far from waterproof which made for clumsy movement, trying to keep both hands dry. I hadn't expected the results to be any good, but was astounded at the quality when viewed later, especially considering how blaze the attempt was.
The main reason for bringing the head cam was to have a rough first attempt at the 'Voices of Broadway'. I've heard distant voices in many parts of this cave, but no more so than at Cigarette Junction. Where the added volume and ferocity of Broadway appears to conjure a crowd of bickering souls.
The original idea was mainly just sound. The sort of thing people listen to relax etc. I envisaged a segment about an hour, and something I could upload on to Youtube. I was also curious how it would sound at home and far away from the cave. Would the magic be lost?
Anyway that first attempt was a flop. I filmed my journey down Broadway, set the camera down on a ledge and left it running as I walked away. Unfortunately the camera stopped recording minutes after I'd left.
No instructions nor attempts to fathom the device, beyond the logical, mean't I was at the units mercy really. I was fortunate filming the Swims was such a success.
With only two weeks since my previous session, the changes made by last weeks flood were very clear. I was again surprised with a negative reading from the lowest high water marker at the Serpent.
Ouroborous Passage was a train wreck, having carried a substantial current. Signs of severe backing up before the choke were again observed, and this time, evidence that Piston Chamber had been severely breached. The bag of scaffold foam had this time floated to the downstream side of the chamber, to rest against a temporary boulder dam where the scaffold cage once was.
The slope leading to the first pitch had also suffered severe damage. The once solid flake and head of the short drop was now loose. I chose to ignore this expected new issue and save for another day. Safe passage was still possible with care.
The difference in temperature between the main cave and Black Edge Choke that evening were significant enough to notice. I cooled very quickly once I'd begun surveying.
Spare Wet Socks were brought overland but I decided to leave them at the surface in the end. I felt I'd enough on the cards that session and uncertain I'd be at the choke long enough to justify the hassle.
Surveying the whole of the Alley Cat Series was decided upon but in the end I only managed about 1/3. A puny amount overall, but ask me if I cared. You can't put a price on experiences such as these.
The mostly false floor of Alley Cat appeared freeze dried. Which I suspect was partially imagined due to the very cold dry air. The entrance series of the main cave was also bone dry.
There was again a definite hint of the unexplored lurking.
When I made my first break through of the project, to what became the White Hotel, I felt like I'd already been there. As if it's presence alone for all those months was responsible.
There is certainly a lot more to all this than just sight and sound.
My weekend of partying had also reignited the smoker in me and today's session was my first time ever smoking in the extensions. I'm grateful of my will power on this rare occasion and blessed to be six days smoke free as I now write. I think I smoked a years worth in those three weeks!
Cold, wet and feeling a little dog eared I made my way out. Followed by a ghostly blinding mist all the way back to the Serpent. Where the sudden clarity in the air signaled warmer climes. Dave Hodgson if you are reading this would you be interested in expanding on this with some real science, data collection etc?
A rare smoke was enjoyed at Cigarette Junction in passing, to the cacophony of unanswered voices.
Trip duration: 3 hours
Mossdale Swims part one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Xjm1jLt3s8&t=29s
Mossdale Swims part two: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBylH_u2TJw&t=45s
Next installment: Mossdale Session 75 https://simonbeck.blogspot.com/2018/11/mossdale-session-75.html
© Simon Beck, 2018. The copyright for this article and photographs, remains with the author. It should not be reproduced without permission.