The day I didnít go to Dale Head

Party:-††††† J. Newton, G. Leach, C. Wilcox & H. Sefton.

What!, tea in bed, poor Andy must be sickening. After the usual insults that accompany my breakfast, (has not anybody ever seen a baked bean omelet before.) I decided that with the very inclement weather, Iíd rather go up to Jimsí dig than go to Dale Head. So I enlisted the help of Chris & Mark (Bruce).
Last to arrive at the farm is Jim, who canít resist the temptation of a nice, easy digging trip. There was some talk of phantoms coming along, but I didnít see any. Exit the rest who are off to Dale Head.

When we got to County entrance we found the gill running but took no notice. We moved quickly down to the first pitch to find it laddered the hard way, so we put ours down the easy way. When we reached Poetic Justice we found a party from Crewe who were, doing an exchange to Lancaster. Chris, Jim & I quickly overtook them & were just about to push on when we discover we have lost Mark. Chris decides to wait for him while Jim & I push on. Going upstream from Stop Pot we find there is a lot of water about, so we decided to go the dry way through Gypsum Cavern to the dig. This confused Chris, as there were no wet footprints on the climb up to Easter Grotto.

The dig was as unpleasant as ever and several hours later we decided to call it a day. (Odd name for a passage) On descending the climb from the dig, ďBruceĒ, puts his foot in a billabong, trips over his tucker bag & twisted his didgery-doo, also managing to lose his boot in the process. On the way back we found Thackerayís much wetter than when we came in, (Above the waist in places ) a lot of low wet ways being impassable. At Stop Pot water was coming out of Depot, which I am told is quite unusual. The water at Eureka Junction was thigh-deep & just beginning to run along the crawl to Pierces Passage. Pierces Passage was a raging torrent, & after a few yards of chest deep water, we find the Crewe crew that have come through from Lancaster. They are all on ledges above the stream & almost all of them in woolens. At the front of the party is the only person who seems to know what he is doing, trying to get a very tired young lady to traverse along the passage. Jim & I immediately decide who we are going to rescue! We had to traverse all the way to where Trident passage enters as it was impossible to walk in the stream, as I found out at the expense of nearly being swept away.

The going was easier once past Trident inlet & P.J. pitch was soon reached. This had quite a bit of water coming down it making the bottom six feet of ladder a little wet. I went up first & lifelined a couple of people up, while Jim made a harness for the girl. Jim free climbed the pitch (must have been wet) & we gave the girl a good pull up the ladder and quickly got her through the crawl & down the other side.
The spout in Spout Hall looked desperate so we bypassed it, but the Showerbath was quite unavoidable. We traversed round the climb out of Broadway as a sizeable waterfall was coming down it, almost hitting the opposite wall. Chris who was bringing another member of the party out, left him with us at the first pitch, and went back to show the others the various bypasses. County pitch was also wet but with a good. lifeline, the girl seemed to find it much easier than the P.J. pitch. We had, however, great difficulty getting her up the entrance climbs, the last one being bypassed, which was just as well, as there was a raging torrent coming down it. The two we were bringing out seemed very glad to see daylight again.
Walking back across the fell, the weather decided to blast our faces with hailstones driven by high winds, but all in all the trip was very enjoyable, too bad you other lads missed it.

 

G. Leach.

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