14 August 2023

Wretched Rabbit reopened

Wretched Rabbit reopens

Over two years ago now, the entrance to Wretched Rabbit, a popular, non-SRT entrance into Ease Gill Caverns, became dangerously unstable. The cliff face above the entrance, having been subject to extensive fracturing, finally deposited a large boulder into the entrance, with remaining roof slabs showing dangerous signs of movement. 

Based on the reports we received, we took the immediate decision to advise against all access.

Work to restore this entrance was partially delayed by Covid, volunteer resource and other factors, but over summer this year, the team from Red Rose Cave and Pothole Club, assisted by CNCC, have been hard at work.

Permissions were arranged, and materials were brought down to the site, with many thanks to Alan Middleton at Leck Fell House.

The unstable cliff face has been shored up with scaffolding and a plastic pipe installed into the entrance. The area around the pipe has been back-filled and stacked blocks built up the cliff face to hopefully provide a long-term solution to the fragile rock behind. In due course, the blockwork will gain moss and blend in more with the surroundings.

To top this off, the team have done some gardening on the handline climbs just beyond the entrance, and some remedial work on the stacked block walling around the upper section of the Spiral Staircase route.

A permanant hatch for the front of the pipe will be forthcoming to avoid any sheepy friends from gaining unwanted entry, and some conveyor belt placed into the pipe for improved grip and to avoid wear as several hundred cavers each year drag themselves through it (with that volume of traffic the plastic may quickly wear thin).

Caution is advised, because the blockwork will no doubt settle over time and may shift slightly. 

Wretched Rabbit has been added back to the Online Booking System, which we continue to encourage cavers to use, out of respect to the landowner, and also as a useful tool to help spread traffic and avoid congestion.

Copyright 2024 Council of Northern Caving Clubs.