Since Mr. Stevens renewed interest in schoolwork, his visits to the farm nave decreased causing a couple of my recent two-man trips having to be made with other people. The first of these unfortunates was Mick Doran on a trip down Pool Sink after the pub one Saturday night. It was not, in fact the result of too much beer, as you might think. The truth is I walked into the Heifer with the precise intention of collaring someone into going underground with me at this unsocial hour. The reason was work next day. On returning to the farm from Ingleton, Peter & Mike tried their best to put us out of the caving mood (as if we were ever in one!) by acting sleepy & building a roaring fire in the kitchen. In the end, in their kindness, they allowed us to get changed in front of it before we went. Out on the fell there was a nip in the air but the sky was ablaze with stars. Looking up I couldn’t help thinking that on some distant planet up there, must be a little green man putting on his wetsuit & lamp to explore his underworld. I bet as he looks towards us he is thinking of us too. We are both thinking “ God, why do we do these things” to ourselves. Answer, “when y’re ‘ard!”.
By the time we reached the entrance I was exhausted. Mick said I looked it & told me I must be suffering from anemia. This made me feel worse. The entrance crawl was freshly clean washed from the recent floods (too fresh). Pitches one, two, three & four followed in quick succession without a hitch. Mick’s trusty carbide survived all but the last, but I’m sure he can be excused this even though conditions were dry. Then quick trip down Green & Smelly to Holbeck Junction and not very impressed, we returned back up the last three pitches. This time the carbide whizz-kid kept his light in all he way. On a recommendation from Ron we now made a detour up to see Magpie Grotto. This was missed first time, and we headed off to thrutch blindly over the cobbles of the inlet which comes down to the right of Magpie. A termination of the crawl was never actually reached, but when it got to the stage of rolling cobbles aside to squeeze another few inches, then sense got the better of enthusiasm and we retreated. Happy at doing something little taxing on strength, I was content to call it a day, but Mick spotted the correct way up to the Grotto (Curses!). Despite the narrow nature of the passage to begin with Magpie itself was very impressive. Adorned with black & white formations, this must be one of the least visited beauty spots so near to a trade route in Easegill. Now ready for bed, Mick & I headed out. The night out side was just as we had left it four hours before. The moon was just rising and there was the hint of a morning frost as we strode back over the fell.
P. J. Crellin.