Bar Pot

Party:-    J. Newton, W .Holden, A. Hall, S. Muckalt, M. Sefton, Clive?, G. Leach, H. St. Lawrence, & others who I don’t know by name. Sorry chaps!

A late night/early morning drinking session on Saturday left me high & dry at the farm after the others had gone. Another late start and what’s this, no tackle? Oh dear. Bar was soon reached after a frosty walk up Clapdale Lane in brilliant sunshine. After cracking every bit of ice in sight, it became evident that a sprint to Fe1l Beck was needed for a fill of water. This done, I joined Mark at the entrance in- time to step in a fresh cowpat. Mark saw the significance & headed swiftly for the ladder. Blast.
We imagined ourselves well behind everyone else, but the turnout was good and Andy was still at the top of the 100 when we arrived, life lining away & muttering under his breath. I was soon alone with Manchester City (My carbide lamp brilliant but totally unpredictable.), but after rigging the pulley somewhat lopsidedly I was able to descend to the safety of Mark’s searchlight, and we zoomed off into S.E.  Passage.

The totally familiar crawl. Worn mud & rounded pebbles. Directions in all directions, in all languages & seldom un-signature. Protests, acclaims, “was here’s” & old flames. An emblazoned museum, slow petition of egos. At Portcullis you on almost see their faces.

We marveled at Main Chamber which never fails to impress, rather like Beethoven’s 9th The Choral movement streamed out of Old East Passage & we came down from a high side passage to meet them. Someone hailed me, “Hello, part timer” Well all I can say is wait till you meet her. The same fellow tried to con me into returning via Pool Chamber, but Andy gave the game away at the last minute and saved me a soaking, Thanks, Andy.

The troupe shambled back up South Passage. Clive, Mark and myself directed to Sand Caverns to give these fine chambers a visit, and let the ladder queue shrink a little. We were soon skirting round Mud Pot. & going up Stream Passage to the bottom of the last pitch; which was still thundering down despite the good weather. Bloody cold water too! Then it was on through the massive Stream Chamber to a series of smaller chambers beyond until I was finally stopped by deep mud which refused to release my wellies. Just at this point was a glorious volley of stalactites on the roof joint, white as snow. I cannot think of a word for the person who had hurled the clod of mud.

However a retreat was sounded as Mark’s glasses were steaming up and he-wanted to catch a pull on the big pitch. We timed it nicely and gave instructions to Bill, who was just starting up not to clear off & leave us with the tackle as none of us were going back to the farm. Like Hell. It worked though and I got a good pull that turned a little enthusiastic near the top so I was brought over the edge much like a shark is pulled into a boat. We gave the same treatment to Clive on his first big ladder climb & also to Mark on what might be his last judging by the panting. I thought you were going to abseil Main Shaft, Mark?,
The rest was easy as the first part of Bar always is. One might spare a thought to the proposition that all lies between the two pitches is one big boulder slope wending its way through a series of chambers, and may not b as stable as it appears. On the other hand, one might not spare a thought, and it doesn’t make a jot of difference a you’re not going to know anything when that slope comes unstuck.  

One might, however, spare a thought for the valiant trio who carried all the tackle back in Siberian temperatures, and also to the master brewers of Ulverston who produced a right good pint. of Hartley’s to round off a great day out.  

H. St.Lawrence.

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