Party:— Bob Stevens (Leader), C. Loughlin (Learner)
It was the day of the “Bonny
do” up at Alum, so Bob & I
decided to get up to Bullpot early & get a trip in. I arrived at the farm
to find Bob already there from Friday. So after± a hearty fry up we decided to
have a fertle down
This was my biggest pitch so far, so it was with some degree of trepidation that I listened to 110 feet of ladder rattling on its way down the holes It seemed to go on for ages. I had my line on as soon as it stopped as I wanted to get on with it. The bottom was soon reached, though I had a crafty rest on the ledges on the way down. I made a mental note to glue some pieces in the arms of my wet suit as I was finding them rather constricting. Bob soon appeared expertly self lining himself down the shaft.
After a look round Colonnade
Chamber, Bridge Hall and an interesting dugout crawl we decided to head for the
Once we’d arrived at Oxbow
Corner, Bob was so chuffed at getting us this far that we decided to carry on towards
County. Unfortunately things got a bit confusing now as we kept arriving back
at Oxbow, but eventually the way on was found over some mud banks to Oakes
Cavern. After the Minarets we thought we’d cracked it but managed to get lost
…… Just after that we discovered that P.J. was not laddered. Well, after one minutes silence to get over the initial shock, during which we gazed up the pitch in total disbelief, we decided it was our own fault for not confirming the ladder arrangements. After about 15 minutes of frantic cavorting to free climb the pitch — this included Charlie Carolli balancing act and me taking a running jump at it - we decided to throw in the towel & retrace our steps to Lancaster Hole, I mean, if we continued to jump up & down like two spastic flies, we might sap too much of our he man strength ( Actually we were a trifle quiffed).
The streamway was soon
regained and the froth marks of recent flooding were noted. This spurred us on
to Stop Pot & the high level route once again. At this point we removed our
wetsuit tops to save burning up. This proved good thinking later on at the
Minarets, as we flipped through like performing seals the projecting rocks caught
on our bare flesh & stopped us from nodding off.
After passing Oxbow Corner again, and again, and again, it was decided that we might make better progress in the streamway and so it proved. I don’t remember much about the rest of the trip back. Suffice it to say that when we wus up we wus up, and when we wus down we wus down. One minute we were in boulders and the next gazing at the “giddy prospect of the raging stream.”
Suddenly the iron ladder of Fall Pot appeared in the gloom, so we knew we’d be out before long. On reaching the entrance pitch we noticed there was a hell of a lot more water dripping in the shaft now, in fact I had to climb about 60 foot up the ladder before it dried off. I made another mental note to do the arms on my wetsuit as I had to hang like, a cold chip every few yards while the blood flowed back.
On regaining the surface, we found that we couldn’t see a hand in front of us because of the blinding rain. This was seen as a way of relieving our boredom, as we could now have the fun of finding our way back to the farm in the torrential downpour. This we eventually did by following the valley down to the wall, arriving back at Bullpot absolutely knackered. The whole path up to the farm was awash & even Hidden Pot looked like
Looking at the clock we found it was after eleven and too late for the do! We’d been down for eleven hours!! Still it had been an eventful day.