New Stuff ( Vesper, the new hole, and Spectacle Pot )
How kind, I thought when Gordon Batty invited Jim Eyres & myself down his recent find. But Jim soon put me wise. “He doesn’t want to be the oldest bloke on the trip”, he said. We met Gordon & some N.P.C. & B.I.C.C. members at Braida Garth and soon arranged the parties for an exchange between Vesper, the new hole & Spectacle Pot. The entrance was typical Batty, two dry stone walls led into a narrow rift just like entering an Egyptian tomb. I followed the party down the slit, feet-first & dragging my camera box behind me. I’d heard there were pretties & this time I didn’t intend to be found wanting.
I slid through into the
streamway as Gordon euphemistically put it. (Eat your heart out, Hugh.) About 2 feet high and a floor of brown gravelly gunge.
I began to wish I’d. brought my kneepads. However the
passage got bigger and formations appeared, culminating in a pool with curtains
on both sides. These, I’m afraid will not last long unless cavers take great
care, a fact which also applies to the next section of passage which is
bedecked with 3 foot straws. After this we came to the first pitch, 30 feet
with a narrow
take off & a belay of Angus hosepipe of unknown breaking strain. Then a narrow, serpentine rift, where, looking for formations in the roof I managed to avoid the contortions of those sweating below me & slid
down further on, to upset a cursing Eyres even more by asking him why he was crawling! The second pitch, again belayed by Angus, appeared to go through a small window, but one slid round a flake to get on the ladder to descend 30 feet to the top of a climbable rift. Once down this you are at the top of the 80 foot, third pitch. This lands on a large ledge and immediately drops l50 feet to the final rift in Spectacle.
The top of the 80 is a narrow cleft, which when Jim & I arrived at, looked decidedly uninviting with a cracked slab weighing about a ton hanging just about where you push off with your hand. Although the others had gone down, we smugly decided to stay where we were & warn off the exchange party. Imagine our chagrin when Gordon told us they’d spent the previous weak trying to hammer off the self-same slab & it wouldn’t move. However I managed to use up a film on the pretties, so all was not lost & we exited after 6 hours with no knees or elbows in my wetsuit.
J. H. Newton.