Pippikin Pot

Party:   H. St.Lawrence, P. Hall, P. Stevens, M. Doran, S. Muckalt, M. Woodhouse, F. Hardy &      . G. Leach.

The sun was beating, dawn strongly as we plodded over to Leck Fell, we must have sweated a couple of pints by the time we arrived at the entrance. Everybody lay gasping on the ground while Andy sorted the tackle out. I thought I would stay at the back with Frank seeing as we were the largest members of the party However after Andy had laddered the first pitch & gone down, nobody seemed keen to join him so I volunteered. Below Andy was in a low crawl, so I followed him in. ‘This isn’t the way” says Andy, so I backed out. When he found it was the only way out of the chamber he had another go, this time passing over Cellar Pot & along the tube. Feet first, I slowly slid through, not bad, I thought, if they are all like that it won’t be too bad.

Andy informs me that the first squeeze has yet to come. A short descent through a small window & then the first squeeze This was not so easy, but I made it. Then down a short pitch & straightway another squeeze. This time I had to really push myself through, no chance of slipping down into the narrow part as I only just fitted into the widest bit. While we sat at the top of the 50ft. pitch, I asked Andy if it gets any tighter. “Oh yes he says” the worst is yet to come. I 1ifelind Andy down as Mike & Bob arrive, no sign of the others yet. At the bottom Andy a rope on and dived into the next squeeze head first. When he reached the end he decided he didn’t want to go down the following pitch head first after all. So he started to back out, & a slow & painful business it was. In the end I had had to pull him out by his wellies. After a short rest he does the sensible thing & goes in feet first, this time he was successful.

After passing all the tackle we head down to Andy. I inserted myself in the tight rift & found it not as bad as it. first appeared. I was soon sitting on the acrow stemple looking for a route down the rift. On arrival at the bottom, Andy informs me we are one ladder short “Oh no,” all the hard bits over and a
ladder missing.

Eventually, Hugh arrives with the missing ladder. Apparently Sandra, Mark & Frank had gone out & Hugh had to go back through two squeezes to retrieve the ladder they were carrying. (Sandra & Mark giving widly differing stories on who helped who through the tight bits.)                .
On down the next to pitches then an awkward climb down into a pool. The next 150 feet was fairly easy traverse. Hugh says down the next pitch and we’ll be into some BIG passages. So we spend the next ten minutes walking sideways in this BIG passage, until we got to the junction with the high level route to Leck tell Lane.

From here we went to Cigalere, where Hugh, Bob & myself walked & crawled up this excellent passage until we were stopped by the 60ft. waterfall. Back down again and on the Hall of the Mountain King. (Welly deep mud.) & then on to the Hall of the Ten. I was rapidly losing my enthusiasm and we got halfway to Dusty Junction when Bob, Andy & myself decided to wait while Hugh and Mike looked at a grotty mud filled passage. We then returned to the Hall of the Ten & dropped down to the Pippikin streamway. Up this passage to the last pitch, next the 150 foot traverse which had been easy on the way in, but was quite difficult on the way out as I was covered in slimy mud. The awkward climb was easy thanks to a well positioned tape. Eventually the stemple squeeze was reached & Andy went through first, pulling on a rope kindly left tied on by Hugh.
After seeing Andy thrutching about I realised I wasn’t going to have fun at this squeeze. Once into the slot I couldn’t move, Two legs dangling in space out of reach of the stemple, one arm holding me up & one arm jammed above me. So Mike climbed on to the acrow & pushed on my feet, then with much wriggling of my stomach muscles I managed to insert my body further in to the slit. Ah!, I was past the tightest bit. (Shouldn’t that be Aaaagghh. Ed.) I lay there a few minutes to recover then carried on through, I knew that that was not the tightest bit but decided not to think about it any more. Mike followed me through barely touching the walls. Sickening isn’t it? At the top of the 50ft. pitch was the squeeze I had found the tightest. Mike went through & I sat & looked at it for awhile, I tried desperately to get through but I was soon stuck fast. However with Andy pushing & Mike pulling I eventually made it.

I dragged myself up the next pitch in time to see Mike whistle through the next squeeze. I knew this to be not so tight but I still had to have Mike pulling me through. By this time tackle was beginning to filter through to the front, so we took a load & moved out through the window & the constriction over
Cellar pot.

I felt extremely relieved to reach the bottom of the first pitch, where we soon ferried the tackle up to the surface. The sun was still shining and the fresh air smelt beautiful as we walked slowly back to the farm.
I’m glad I did it .

G. Leach. 

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