Pool Sink

After continuous heavy rain during the night, May Day dawned bright & sunny. At breakfast everyone looked half-dead, with the only sign of life being the smoke haze above Mark & the occasional grunt from Keith. Alex & Steve had to postpone another dive in Witches Cave and the others were not bothered about doing anything, especially caving! Hugh arrived on the scene and after scrounging his breakfast, asked if anyone wanted a trip down Pool Sink. As I was the only other ‘hard man” there at the time, I agreed.

We set off across the fell carrying four ladders & two ropes between us. Ease Gill appeared over the last slope, cascading with water & the pool opposite the entrance was about four foot deep. We lifelined each other down the first pitch then carried on unroped till the wet fourth pitch, which was much damper than usual. Hugh went down first & amazingly his “faithful” carbide stayed lit. Reaching the bottom he shouted up, “Go back & get a lifeline.” After asking him to repeat it several times, I trudged back up the 2nd & 3rd pitches and arrived back within ten minutes with the tackle required.

Hugh lifelined me down in an easy fashion because the line was very tight and I had to tug it down with both hands while walking down the ladder. Carrying on downstream through walking size passages, we emerged at Holbeck Junction, and crossing the stream set off in the direction of Gypsum Cavern. I found the muddy climb down quite painful. I jammed a hand into the crack on one side, but found when I was half-way down that the jammed hand was well & truly. Then I slid further down which didn’t help at all. Gypsum Cavern was a most beautiful, peaceful place with long, fragile, white straws hanging from the roof like a nail brush. After a short rest we squeezed through a low bedding plane into Easter Grotto & were greeted by Queen Victoria.

After a careful climb down to the Main Stream we waded back to Holbeck & returned to the fourth pitch. The ascent was made as fast as possible, but you could feel your ears cooling to freezing point as the water thundered on your helmet. The spray blinded your eyes then ran down the neck cooling the body instantly.

From the top of the last pitch the going was easier and we made fast time to the 50. Hugh climbed first & after 20 feet was entombed in a layer of blackness. “Oh Christ,” he yelled down, “lights gone out, shine me up to the top.” This I did, glad that I was on electric. The entrance crawl seemed harder on the way out, but we were welcomed with bright warm sunshine on the surface. Dropping the tackle we dived, well sort of jumped, into the pool to clean off. The trip finished with glorious views of Morecambe Bay & the Lake District as we walked back across the fell.

M. Taylor

Back to Contents