Washfold Pot

Party:-     A. Hall, P. Llewellyn, H. St.Lawrence,  K..Lewis, M. Kirkbride, & J. Newton.

On a clear, freezing day, late in November I arrived early one Sunday morning at the farm having been picked up by Jim Newton in Hornby, where I had abandoned my car after it suffered a double rupture. After cadging breakfast from Pete & Keith, I soon forgot my hangover from the C.P.C, dinner as I looked in disbelief at my ice covered wet socks. After the usual stalling, we got off in four cars for Washfold Pot.

1st. Cockup. Things started to go wrong at the bottom of the farm lane, where Jim attempted to join the growing group of club members who have written cars off, but he failed miserably. The end result was some scratched bodywork & a rather surprised family carrying on up the hill.

2nd. Cockup. On arrival at Selside, the permit was produced by the Meets Secretary but no pen could be found to fill it in. A pencil was supplied by the farmer who was not very impressed as he was in the middle of his Sunday dinner. Quote “You bloody potholer’s are all the same”.

3rd. Cockup. We soon got changed and made a start for the entrance. It is worth noting at this point that Pete was seen to be carrying some tackle. Hugh was nowhere in sight. “I’ll wait for him”. Pete said, passing his tackle on to somebody else. We eventually made the entrance, minus Pete, Hugh & (more important) the belays. Hugh was having his usual light problem. We started off down the entrance passage with sounds of much struggling & cursing (mainly from Keith). The big pitch was eventually reached via an awkward bedding plane squeeze and a rope climb down. An impressive volume of water was zooming over the pitch. “Looks a bit aqueous” I said. Jim & Keith were soon organising the rigging of the pitch.                        .                                                                                     “Where’s the pulley?”, said Keith,                     .                                                                                              “What pu1ley?”  said Andy                                                                                              .
”It’s with the belays!” said Hugh, who had just arrived with the belays. It was soon realised that this was not the case & that the pulley had been lost on route, so Hugh set off back to look for it.

4th, Cockup. With myself, Keith & Jim jammed in the traverse above the pitch, the, ladder was fed along but obviously somebody was numerically dyslexic, not knowing the difference between 2 & 3,  50 foot ladders. The whole exorcise was supposed to prevent the ladders from jamming in the rift, but they jammed anyway.                                                                             .                                                     

5th. Cockup. The pitch having been rigged, Jim descended to see what it was like. He got about fifty feet down before cries of Up!, Up!. floated up the pitch, just audible above the noise of the water. On reaching the top, Jim explained that the pitch was mot impressive but rather too wet. Hugh had a go next but didn’t get far before his lamp went out. Pete also had a go while Hugh & I dammed the stream, not to make the pitch drier but to make it suddenly wetter when the dam was released. Pete was not amused.

The pitch 1as de-rigged & we started to make our way to the surface. In the bedding plane at the top of the climb, Pete spotted a passage leading off, so dumping our share of the tackle Pete, Hugh & I set off to explore it. We could hear Jim cursing after us but we ignored his rather obscene suggestions & followod a short, muddy, stooping passage down a 3 foot drop into a small chamber with a low bedding plane leading off in a downstream direction. Pete was inserted into this & after several minutes of swearing & thrutching he reversed, saying that a thinner person could easily get through. “I wonder who that will be” I said. I pushed though the low bedding which was occupied by a very muddy pool & was only 7 inch high at one point, into a small chamber, (well, a bigger bit of passage) with Hugh following behind. After some thought & verbal persuasion from my companion, I pushed on through a tight winding rift into another bedding plane similar to the first & just as tight. At this point, without backup my enthusiasm began to wane & I decided to return. This was not so easy as a squeeze I had passed easily on the way in proved so tight on the return that I had to take off my wet suit jacket.

We eventually exited from the crawl & made our way out. Walking down the hill we found Mike & Jim coming up to look for us.

P.S. It may be that the passage described is a bypass to the big pitch and will descend further along the pot, bat I don’t fancy trying to drag myself plus a load of tackle through this bit of passage.

A. Hall.

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