Car Pot      -    4:5:80

Sunday dawned bright and still no rain. Paul, Pete & myself met at Crummack, Paul only being slightly late. The pot had been partly rigged to the 3rd. pitch by two Craven lads the day before two others with them couldn’t get through the ”letterbox”.

The entrance shakehole was bathed in sunlight and a shaft of this actually shone down the first pitch, creating a beautiful rainbow. Pete said this was magic and we shouldn’t go down, Paul agreed with him, but as they were so lethargic I had to encourage them. This I did by abseiling down the first pitch. The second pitch needed slightly re-rigging as the ladder was 15 feet short (O.K. for some, not for me.). The top of this drop is quite tight and it’s not recommended to go through with a tackle bag over your shoulder. A small slot in the floor into a rift is the way on (the letterbox). I desperately wanted to watch Paul come through, but Pete said not to upset him as he thought he was still asleep. Baptistry Crawl next and it’s as bad as it’s made out; first person through has to garden all the way and gear is best pulled through on a rope. I again wanted to watch Paul, but the interesting noises made it unnecessary.

The head of the next pitch is best tackled by remembering school acrobatics and also by not trying to get on the ladder with yet another tackle bag. The 4th. pitch, a 60 foot rope, follows immediately, with a short traverse over the head of the pitch. At this point Paul woke up & stopped his persistent chant “I’ll be alright on my own, don’t wait for me.”  

Pete led, myself next and Paul eventually. The start of the next pitch is obvious and most pitches had previously been bolted. The first part is tight but opens out, then lands on a ledge where the rope is slightly re-rigged to a dubious bolt. It’s then broken by two more ledges and here we rigged the last part of the pitch, about 70 feet. We used a natural belay as well as a bolt and sent Sedbo down first to test it. From the bottom of the pitch the cave really changes and we looked up North Craven passage first; it’s a large tunnel in which the floor ascends to roof level. On the left we passed the visual connection with G.G. The formations are very beautiful & it took Pete & I all our time to stop Sedbo flinging mud at the big stal curtain. Eventually the passage constricts into a muddy tube and that’s that.

Next South Craven passage, a small up a knotted rope led us into a similar passage, again the floor climbs up to meet the ceiling. The Craven dig (perhaps this is supposed to be a secret) goes off to the left into a very tight crawl. Paul was relieved of carrying the tackle bag here. The crawl goes into the top of a large chamber with a hairy traverse around the left hand wall. Pete was the hero, but the continuation is a small muddy roof tube and the final dig.

We quickly reversed; well Pete & I did and we were soon up all the various ropes on the big pitch, all of us trying out a new piece of SRT gear, harnesses and the such. Which brings me back to Troll gear; ‘Troll gear is great’. Troll takes over where Playtex fear to tread! I could not have completed this arduous pothole without Troll. ”This is to counteract my recount of the Long Kin West trip, see previous newsletter.

Pete & Paul are good tackle haulers and I had to check the rigging etc. Eventually we all assembled at the bottom of the 3rd. pitch where Paul decided he’d go first and if he got stuck then everyone else was. Actually the de-rigging and exit from the cave went very smoothly except for the “Letterbox”. Paul went first, then I followed and here the trouble started with me having a decided lack of inches (in height). It became obvious I would have to thrutch which I did really well, Paul offered
some advice which at the time upset me, so I upset him and came out with a profanity which shocked me as well as him. He has since reminded me of this outburst at every opportunity, and I hereby apologise yet again.

By the time we reached the entrance it was looming cloudy & very cold; Pete & I carried a hell of a lot of rope back to the cars at a rapid rate of knots. The trip took about 8 hours, re-rigging, etc. took a good length of time and persuading Pete & Paul to go underground in the first place must have taken an hour. The trip was most enjoyable, Pete learned some new swear words and Paul realises his true size. I think myself Car Pot is slightly tighter than Pippikin Pot.

Pauline Barber.



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