Pool Sink – County Pot


This minor outing was designed to fulfill two wishes. Bob’s was to abseil through Pool Sink and mine was to do a solo trip. Hence I was to go down County and meet Bob at Holbeck. It was a fine day as we walked across the fell in total silence Bob steamed off to Pool Sink without even a “Good luck, Dave”. I walked with ever-decreasing steps, towards County Pot. Once down I made slow progress to the pitch. This delay was partly due to being hindered in the narrow canyon by two ladders plus ammo box and partly because I kept stopping to listen. I could not help having to stand still to experience the absolute silence of the cave. The only sound is the regular drip-dripping of water and the murmur of a far off trickle. It seems like the sound of my every move is being amplified so much that it must surely wake the guardian of the cave out of his subterranean slumber. From far below he will come storming forth to devour this destroyer of the tranquility. Such things one rarely feels when caving with others.

I was so hot & tired after the thrutch up P.J. that a long rest and lie down was needed. Having foreseen the difficulty the ladder & ammo box would pose in the chimney I pulled them up after me on several tapes looped together & brought for that purpose. The final ladder was dispensed with and Eureka was soon reached. As arranged I built a fine cairn of cobbles to indicate to Bob, if we failed to meet, that I had passed that point. A second cairn was to be erected if either he or I could not find the other and decided to go out. After Stop Pot I decided to try and follow the water, but found this a little too aqueous and had a bit of a loose climb up in an attempt to find the correct way. It was about this time that amongst the clangs of my ammo box, I heard the echo of a footstep.

 

My first idea was that it was the forlorn spirit of a long lost Easegill pioneer. Further thought told me ‘No, they don’t die and become ghosts: they just give up caving and become bird watchers.” I was not guessing for long as to what might be responsible for the noise, as the odour of stale beer, stale tobacco and stale wetsuit told me what was coming; “Hello, Bob”

Bob had had a swift and uneventful trip down Pool Sink being able to pull the double line down with ease after him on every pitch. He decided we should go. up to Easter Grotto. We whizzed through Gypsum and slithered through the crawl at the end to emerge at the must popular destination in Easegiil. This is the place frequented by those with size twenty two boots and appalling senses of balance, who insist on trampling all over one of natures most beautiful gardens. I was twenty years too late for my first visit to Easter Grotto. I waited for Bob as he made no hurry to descend the climb to Thackeray’s Passage. Continuing downstream and vaguely knowing of the bypass to the low section of streamway, we tried a passage to the right. It was obviously not the way but Bob insisted on passing me to disappear into a dry but mirky looking bedding. He ferreted his way back to within earshot after several minutes and out of politeness I asked if it went. “Interesting”, was the reply, which speaks fur itself.

In the main passage once more the correct way was found a short distance further down on the left and the streamway regained. From then on it was plain sailing all the way, well at least it was for Bob. He left me to de-tackle both pitches while, in the typical tone of the day, he raced off’ despite my pleas for assistance on the climb up from Broadway. This episode took me a good few minutes to accomplish, having used every four-letter ward in the English language to describe my considerate companion. On reaching the surface, I found Bob lying on his back in the Easegill twilight, watching bats.


D. J. Crellin.

 

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