Lancaster - Marecaibo - County Pot - Through Trip.

Party, in order of increasing weight:- , Sandra Muckalt, Boyd Harris, Mike Taylor, Ian (a friend), Peter Muckalt & Jim Newton (13 stone plus)

“9:30, an early start..” was quoted by our leader, who arrived at 9:40a,m. on a sunny Sabbath, but made a hasty start to rig Lancaster Hole and forgot the pulley. Peter made sure we had a short ladder to rig County on the way out- he doesn’t like climbing out of Lancaster, or free-climbing out of County for that matter. Mike laddered the entrance pitch and was sent dawn first to see if it reached the iron ladder. Those with short arms & legs found it a bit difficult i.e. the Tarzan with boobs!! We had an informative trip down to the Main Drain by Jim (He really was trying to, make up for being late). The streamway was very sporting, which had Jim’s camera out in a flash and the club’s pro-poser jumped to assist him.

At Oxbow Corner, Sandra had already lighted her trustworthy carbide as her electric had gone to sleep (Duff gear) Jim showed us the original entrance to Maracaibo and after convincing us that this was tight, he led the way (thrutching) through the easy dry crawl (for some) into Maracaibo.
Next came a fairly arduous traverse (for some ed.), the smaller member of the party had a string of complaints for the length of the rift. The following mile of passage was incredibly decorated with pure white stals, flowstone, straws, etc. A crystal pool a third of the way in was extremely delightful and shows that past cavers have been meticulously careful in preserving the formations. (So take note future cavers.) Just after halfway the passage narrows down with calcite to a flat out crawl, where our leader (who’s been through before) jammed around his few extra pounds & after a struggle we saw his feet thrashing back towards us, Sandra was volunteered to go through next and slipped through with ease - found the streamway on the other side silted up and returned. A hard caver was called for - so the poser went in, reached the streamway and dug out the gravel (with a little grunt or two). Sandra & Boyd followed up to where the pretties faded away and turned back taking photos n route - with a prettier poser of course. On returning through the crawl, we found Ian asleep (knacked) and the fatties had gone off to take some pictures. (Jim must be trying to keep the club trophy). All returned to Oxbow Corner and cleaned off in the streamway, then had eats and a drink of water with an extra flavour.          (Yes, your poser was having a pee up stream). Heading for County we bypassed the Minarets into Cornes Cavern, into Snail Cavern where we heard more complaints from the small one, this time about slippery mud banks. At Main Line. Terminus we had a breather whilst poser & Jim went to Carrot. Passage for photos.

Another delight was that County was laddered and we all made a speedy exit to the warm afternoon air. Jim was last out (weight or photographing is debatable!!) and found the entrance shaft had become another shower bath. Walking back, Boyd proclaimed it was the nicest smelling caving trip he’d been on (thanks to Sandra’s Estee Lauder). We arrived back at the farm at 4:30p.m. after a most enjoyable trip. Thanks,Jim.

STOP PRESS. Unfortunately we have just heard that all Jim’s photos have come out Daz white - is it the camera or photographer.

Sandra & Mike.                                                                                                                                                 (A compromise of 2 accounts of the same trip.)

This foul slur on the Editors frame & photographic ability will not go unnoticed. Be warned!!

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