The Booth Eyre Crawl, Easegill    - 8th. January 1978

It was night, but out of the darkness & across the moor three blackened forms swayed drunkenly onwards. Their approach could be seen by the dim lights they carried in varying stages of brilliance. Every so often one would disappear and a curse could he heard as a shape dragged itself oat of a bog & stumbled on into the next one. (Now they are all writing like Hugh. Ed.)

Earlier in the day I had suggested to Andy we might have a look at the Booth-Eyre Crawl. Graham was persuaded to come with us to help carry tackle as he wanted to have a look at Top Sink, the plan being to abseil through and come out of County Pot. Keith Lewis, Jim Newton, Gordon Batty & Jim Eyres were going in County to continue their dig, (somewhere in Easegill) & would leave it laddered for us.
We had been drawn on by tales from Jim Newton that very few people went to this passage as they didn’t know about the 60 foot pitch until they got there, and by that time of course they had no tackle. Also tales of “it previously was only done in woolens, think what a thin man in a wet suit could do, etc.”

The C.R.G. Extension proved to he a particularly nasty place with a vadose fissure at the bottom of a mud & boulder filled floorless passage. This proved quite strenuous with a 150 foot rope, two ladders
& numerous belays. Eventually a rift in the floor was found with a small stream which could be seen & heard at the bottom. A convenient capstan was belayed, and after a tight top portion a free hanging pitch of a little less than 50 feet was descended. The C.R.G. transactions say 41 feet, Jim had said 60. (A good. average. Ed.)

The Booth-Eyre Crawl was described by Jim as a “walking-sized crawl”, but it began with a meandering flat to hands & knees crawl in water, and we found this to be the easier part. Later the passage became more fissured & it was necessary to force a way either upright or, & this was more usual, in a flat out crawl/traverse position in the roof. Very tiring and reminiscent of parts of Quaking Pot (except that is easier.). Eventually a five foot wide chamber? was reached, the furthest point of the previous exploration. It is of note this is dotted to be about 30 feet wide on the survey, also the 10 foot pitch entering the chamber is actually a six foot drop descended fairly easily with the aid of a sling. (Did. you re-survey it, Pete.)
The way on is a continuation of the previous passage, which Andy managed to force after an initial squeeze, for about 100 feet. He reported that further progress could be made with difficulty.
Graham had been left at the top of the 50, and the nature of the crawl can be assessed by the 1 hours it took from leaving him to returning. In fact it was found to be 5.30p.m. & to take a further two hours or so to get out and back to the Farm, exhausted, at about 8 o’clock. My only consolation is now I have at least been down Booth-Eyre Crawl which only a handful of people can say, and the fact I have no reason to go there again!

P. Llewellyn.

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