Saturday April 22nd
Christmas Pot - Grange Rigg Pot
Aileen, Gary, Jack, Laura, Matt, Toby
Sunday March 12th
Brown Hill Pot
Fleur, Pete, Rachel, Toby, Josh Young and Adam Walmsley (YUCPC), Avelina
Sunday March 12th
County Pot Upper Trident, Main Line Passage, Mancunian Way and Manchester Bypass
Ade, Chuck, Gary, John D, Matt, Mary Holder
Saturday March 11th
County Pot - Pool Sink
Ade, Fleur, Gary, Matt, Rachel, Toby, Josh Young (YUCPC)
A rather late start due to the prior CNCC meeting, but we assembled at Bull Pot Farm at 1:30pm intent on a very efficient exchange between Pool Sink and County Pot. It was Old Farts (Me, Gary, Ade, Fleur) going down County and the younger contingent (Rachel, Josh, Toby) down Pool Sink.
We had a merry trip down County Pot taking the usual Upper Trident route to avoid having to rig any pitches other than the one just below the entrance. This route has one challenging climb, but is otherwise tackle-free. An excellent description of the route to Stop Pot from County via Upper Trident (as well as via Poetic Justice and Manchester Bypass) can be found on the CNCC website, although I am biased as I wrote them!!!
The stream was up a little, but of no concern and within about 45 minutes of entering the cave we were at the bottom of the Stop Pot boulders.
It had been some considerable time since I have done Pool Sink, so navigation to it was a little uncertain, but Fleur had a better memory than me. In the end, it's dead easy; head upstream from the foot of Stop Pot for a few hundred metres, keeping left and gradually rising up onto boulders perched above the stream. After about 75m the stream is lost from immediately below the boulders but continue onwards regardless. Another 75m later (still continuing over boulders), the passage ahead narrows and there is a hole in the floor under the right wall leading back to the stream. This is Holbeck Junction.
Return to the stream here and turn right (downstream) in walking passage for 20m and into an obvious crawl on a shelf on the left. This leads into approximately 10 minutes of easy and varied caving (passing the very recognisable serrated limestone walls; the Bacon Slicer, characteristic of this part of the cave). We didn't know where we were going so we just followed the most obvious route which seemed to work fine. We reached to the bottom of the final pitch of Pool Sink just as the others had got to the bottom, so we traded banter and parted company again.
Pool Sink boasts an absolutely cracking selection of short, easy and enjoyable pitches, which we quickly ascended. The final section of the cave which leads to the surface is annoying; a narrow crawl with a few awkward bends, but it's extremely short and daylight soon beckoned ahead.
Returning down the valley to County Pot we met the others just coming out - Perfect timing! Total time underground only 2.5hr!!!
Plenty of time for tea at the NPC and then curry in Bentham. A great day out.
Saturday February 18th
Alum Pot - Long Churn
Gary, Matt, Rachel, Toby
The planned trip for today was Brown Hill Pot, but the weather forecast from 2pm was a little concerning and we didn't know how Brown Hill responded, so we stuck with a much safer option to do a quick Alum Pot to Long Churn exchange, aiming to be out before the rain started.
Myself and Rachel headed down Long Churn, skillfully traversing the Double Shuffle Pools (which I have never done before; I usually just fling myself in) and reaching Dolly Tubs. On this occasion I decided that I would do my once every five years rigging refresher and promptly set to work. A group of instructed cavers were doing ladders but we were able to bypass them via the right hand window route.
Down at Dolly Tubs ledge the view was splendid as always. I could just make out Gary and Toby above starting the descent of the North West Route of Alum (if you look at one of the photos taken by Gary it shows an excellent view from the top looking down at Toby going over the edge, with me starting rigging of the Greasy Slab part way down). The whole rigging thing came right back to me which was a relief!
For reference, from Dolly Tubs ledge, traverse along the left wall of the shaft to a Y-hang descent (steep slope) down the Greasy Slab with some unavoidable rope rub further down. Once on the large balcony below, there is a sandy shelf leading out along the opposite side of the shaft. Some rather far apart P-anchors support an easy traverse along this ledge to The Bridge. This is a sloping huge jammed block in the middle of the shaft which must be crossed (carefully), and then descended on the far side to another small balcony. Anchors then spiral down to underneath The Bridge where a tiny Y-hang can be achieved, followed by a deviation (in-situ tat) from the opposite wall for the final excellent pitch. What a great place!!!
We arrived down only a short time after the Alum team, and they had already rigged the final pitch.
We did some photography at the always dramatic and inspiring sump next to the thundering Diccan waterfall, and then in the stream passage just upstream of the sump. and we headed back out. to complete the exchange.
The ascent back up Alum north west route was quite sufficient exercise, and we returned to the surface around 2pm to find absolutely no sign of the rain that had been threatened; in fact it was a lovely day. Never mind... Brown Hill will be there for another day.
Sunday January 15th
Gary, John D, Laura, Matt
It wasn't just wet... it was REALLY wet... white water down Kingsdale Beck.
John turned up, snorting about how there was no way we were getting down Rowten today... but having descended Rowten several times in similar conditions I was rather more confident that the Eyehole/Flyover route would be passable.
Progress underground to the bottom of the normal (Eyehole) pitch was expedited by the cold and driving rain on the surface. Gully Route (our original plan) was hidden behind a raging waterfall and shrouded in spray. The noise was deafening!!!
Down at the traverse, I waited patiently as Gary descended first, disappearing into the spray. At this point I was 50/50 whether a descent would be possible, so I was half expecting Gary to turn around and come back up. But after some time, the Rope Free call bellowed up and off we went.
The bottom of the big pitch was horrendous; not the usual wet weather spray, but heavy rain from the torrenting waterfall lashing the balcony by the start of the Flyover route; but perhaps the most noticeable thing was the 40+ mph chilling wind howling at us. It was a painfully cold wait for five minutes, huddled over the pitch head, while Gary completed the Flyover route rigging.
I thought it would be sheltered once off the ledge, but abseiling down the first section of the Flyover route you are hung only 5-6m from the water and the wind, spray and noise was unbelievable. But once at the re-belay you go around a corner away from the waterfall and it was sheltered from the wind.
With our extremities numbed to the bone, it was a relief to get onto the traverse to the final pitch where it was dry and nicely sheltered and we could complete our trip to the bottom in greater comfort.
On the way back out, Gary and I offered to go last and de-rig. We sent the others off out on a 20-minute head start, to avoid us all bunching up at the bottom of the big pitch, not somewhere you would want to wait for more than a few minutes under these conditions. We arranged for the last person up to drop a Krab down the rope to indicate it was free.
After a cold 20 minute wait I set off with instruction from Gary not to stop until the traverse at the top of the big pitch. I was pleased to see a Krab hanging in the loop of rope at the bottom of the big pitch (there was no way I would have heard a rope free call nor could I see up through the spray to tell if anyone was on the rope) so without delay up I went... with the gales, the torrential rain and intimidating roar I didn't stop for my usual rest half way and I belted it up the rope to the relative shelter of the tiny traverse at the top.
From here it was fairly straightforward progress out, where the surface seemed so peaceful and mild by comparison.
A tremendous, dramatic, enjoyable but very cold day out.