Date:21/03/2015 – 22/03/2015
Its been so long since I have done Du Faur that all I can recall are leeches on the walk out… It’s time to revisit as part of a wet canyoning weekend exploring the Du Faur and Bell creeks.
This trip will be weather dependent.
This will be a long trip so I am only comfortable taking people who have previously been on overnight walks and have been on canyoning trips involving some climbs (people I have talked to said their some tricky climbs in upper Bell so some team effort and/or early exit might be required).
The plan is to leave early on Saturday morning finding a way into the headwaters of Du Faur. I would then like to continue down to the junction with Bell and head upstream to a suitable camping spot. The next day we will continue to the cars.
I would recommend a wetsuit and at least a pair of thermals – for more enjoyable Clatterteeth 😉
I am not sure if will be able to make a fire as I haven’t camped at this spot before, so think about bringing a small stove or food that doesn’t require cooking.
I haven’t done this trip before so be prepared – bring a headlamp + extra snacks.
Attendees: Me and Martyn
Despite the temperature and a drizzly weekend forecast, we met up at Watertrough Hill at about 8am. Because of the weather we threw a lilo into our packs in case the cold water became intolerable.
I wasn’t quite sure where on the map we had parked so I ended up leading Martyn down the ridge to the south of the one I was trying to hit.
I again borrowed a compass as I hadn’t yet bought a replacement, but navigation was quite difficult in the fog; I couldn’t see further than about 400-500m. Because of this we where quite far down the ridge when I spotted the high points to the left and realised what had happened. We contoured around and hit a track before the 1019 point (whacking my just above my left knee in the process). Removing some tape/ribbon from the trees we headed west following the ridges into a side creek of Du Faur. There where a couple of short canyon sections and a great camp cave before we reached the junction.
The canyon was intermittent, but there where some really great sections you’d normally miss by only doing the standard trips. I kept my map and borrowed compass out to practice navigating in the canyon; I was surprised how much I had improved. I picked the creek entrance on the right, but missed the crossing that gives access to Little and Lower Bell. I was surprised to pass an unmarked canyon around GR 536 895 but new it wasn’t Joe’s as it was far too early.
It was well into the afternoon by the time we reached Bell Creek. The water felt colder as we started reversing up the creek. A few hundred meters in, after a boulder choke I found a pack and its contents sprawled out around it. It looked like it had been in the canyon for a long time, the clothing was quite deteriorated. I gathered everything I could find, shoved it inside the pack and tied the pack to a tree.
As we continued our pace slowed. We where both getting hungry (we weren’t having long breaks) and Martyn’s pack was giving him grief.
We came across a frog in the canyon, which I was happy to see as I believe they are quite susceptible to pollution – hence a sign of healthy waterways.
We also passed some cool fungi. The cave photography I had learnt certainly helped to get a better shot!
We soon reached the camp cave which surpassed my expectation. We gathered some fuel for a fire and eventually coerced it to life. Not knowing what conditions would be like I had a preprepared cold meal which I ate whilst Martyn added some heat to his.
We where soon ready for sleep, it was the earliest I had been to bed since the previous weekend I think! (It was about a 9.5hr day)
It was about 7 when I heard Martyn rise and followed his lead about 10mins later. I had an apple and slowly got ready. We where soon on our way up more fantastic canyon.
There was much more sustained canyon than I would have guessed and also many more cold swims. Soon the canyon opened up, and as I had been following our progress on the map I nailed the exit ridge and we where soon back on the track which led all the way back to our cars (It took less than 4hrs from the camp cave).