Endless Faff in Meregill Hole

The weather was good, the sky was clear; drop everything for Meregill Hole. It had been over 10 years since I last descended the depths of Meregill, the last being with the York Uni crowd and some rather inexperienced freshers. The result was a very cold nine-hour trip, most of it spent going up, missing call-out by an hour to find our "rescuer" on the surface, mostly passed out drunk.

I was keen to go back, with a strong team and no faff.. or so I thought.

Despite efforts to entice other people out of bed for this SRT extravaganza, the previous night’s frivolities at the club winter dinner had taken there tole on most Pennine members. Matt and I were keen, and we wrangled a Ian, an enthusiastic YCC member, to join in as third bag carrier. Ropes packed efficiently we made it along to the sun-soaked Chapel-le-Dale and parked up - it was looking good.

Shortly followed was the somewhat unusual admission from Matt that he had forgotten his over suit. Bugger. After much criticism of Matt by Ian and myself, Ian then had to admit that he'd forgotten his under suit. Back to the cottage we went. The slight problem was that Ian didn't have an under suit at all but after hunting around Greenclose we managed to find an ancient wet-suit and off we went back to the very busy Chappel-le-Dale.

Finally organised, a lovely walk up the side of Ingleborugh and onto the limestone plateau. Further faff ensued as we couldn't seem to find the way in. It turns out that the tree we were supposed to rig off was now mostly dead and had fallen over the hole covering up the backup anchor. It looked bomber so on we went.

The mere was around half full with a small waterfall entering from the side but we felt safe to continue so the rigging commenced. Pretty awkward in places - I'd forgotten how technical the SRT was with some interesting manoeuvres to get to the pitch heads, but we were glad of being well away from the water. Well away that was until the penultimate pitch where the anchor installer seems to have given up keeping out of the water. More faff trying to rig a dodgy sling deviation off a tiny bit of rock, but it largely kept us dry and the bottom was now in sight. Or not.

A very fast descent of the penultimate pitch came to an abrupt stop when my descender hit an obstruction in the rope - the end of it. 

After having a little "moment", I called to Ian to turn around and head back up as we were a good 10m from getting to the bottom and I was aware that Ian had never done a knot pass so I thought a very wet and noisy shaft was not the place to explain it from ten meters below.

So, a slightly cut short trip, but great fun never-the-less. We made it out in time to see a glorious sun set from the flanks of Ingleborugh then back the Greenclose for tea and medals.

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