5 July 2020

Toyland in Valley Entrance

Toyland: An entertaining but underappreciated route in Valley Entrance!

Valley Entrance is often used as a quick route to the Kingsdale Master Cave, or as a way out after a pull-through down Simpson Pot or Swinsto Hole. However, there are other routes that offer a fine, short and tackle-minimalist day even in moderately wet conditions.

About 150m into Valley Entrance, the Milky Way is a crawl on the left. This leads towards Toyland (an impressive chamber) and then an enjoyable cascading streamway with opportunities for exploration of several extensions.

The route to Toyland involves one up-pitch (free-climbable by good climbers), and onward to the Victoria Extension involves two more. All were previously rigged with tatty in-situ rope from rusty anchors and natural belays. The poor positioning of the belays resulted in the ropes rubbing and degenerating into an extremely poor state (one had nearly cut through).

Through May/June this year, a few members of our anchor installer team (same household) decided to do something about this. All three pitches up via Toyland to the Victoria Extension were fitted with IC-anchors to enable a safe and rub-free hang for a rope. The unsafe in-situ ropes and anchors were removed. As with all such scenarios, new in-situ ropes will no-doubt appear on these anchors, but of course the safety of in-situ ropes cannot be guaranteed and the CNCC recommend that cavers need to make their own decisions about how to safely ascend these pitches.

Therefore, if you are stuck for a short but rewarding exploratory trip on a moderately wet day, why not visit Toyland or beyond? It's a rather fine section of cave.

A rigging topo and updated route description have been uploaded to the CNCC website.

Photo: Toyland in Valley Entrance (by Gary Douthwaite)


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