Magnetometer Pot.    July 7th.  1985

Numerous other members turned up on the Saturday night & we all adjourned to the Craven Heifer for several jars. Sunday morning dawned bright & sunny, but this didn’t last long and the sky took on a more threatening appearance. We hung around drinking tea, waiting for Jim Newton to arrive. Eventally we decided that he had probably gone straight to the hole, so we set off for Neals Ing, arriving to find that Jim & his team were already changed. Oh good, I won’t have to carry any tackle. Jim’s team set off and the rest of us get ready for the usual crack of noon start. After lots of wallying about, a cast of thousands set off towards the hole. As we walk up the dry valley, Jim’s head appears out of an obscure hole on the left bank. “I don’t think this is it.” says Jim. (I bet this bit gets edited out).  (Wrong, it just shows how desperate I am for articles.) Well so much for the meets leaders ability to find the entrance. Tom set off & found the entrance for Jim, who hasn’t been down this particular hole for twenty years but Tom had been down two weeks before - Cocky sod. The cast of thousands sets off & I end up at the back with Sedbo, Di, Stuart & Linda Johnson. None of us know the way so we soon get lost. We poked our noses down several ‘orrible ‘holes and eventually located other members in front, trouble was they were lost as well. The route on was eventually found down some free climbable pitches and into a long crawl through water. This seemed never ending on the way in, especially as I wasn’t expecting it. The passage height slowly increased until the River Styx was reached. This is a large phreatic tunnel with chest deep water. We turned off left along an impressive, steeply descending, sandy floored. tube down to an inevitable sump. I thought this to be one of the most spectacular passages in. the cave. 

Returning to the River Styx, we carried on through deep water then on through smaller passages with walking & traversing, to find Jim and others taking photographs. Thanks for showing us the way, Jim. (You’re lucky, Paddy & Roy Breakell went round. & round in circles and never found the River Styx.) From here it was not far to the 50 foot pitch into Caton Hall. I reached the top first & lined the others down. This was not because I was feeling noble but because I couldn’t be bothered to go down the pitch & I had realised that the rope was not long enough to double the pitch.  
From the bottom of the pitch came lots of shouting & eventually Charlie Spurr’s head appeared. He had come up, he said, to help me line up the others, but I suspect he wanted to get in front to avoid carrying any tackle.  John Tessyman came up next and as he got about twelve feet from the top, a rock over which the ladder was draped, dropped a few inches followed by John & the ladder. The line went tighter, followed closely by a panic stricken voice enquiring what had happened. Eventually a white faced John arrived at the top. Once he was off the pitch we belayed the ladder, shouted for the others to keep clear, and lined by Charlie I gave the offending boulder a couple of light kicks. It whistled off down the pitch and landed heavily, just where Paul Seddon had been sitting a few seconds before, A lucky escape for Paul & John. Which wally rigged the pitch is what 1 want to know? A smooth and uneventful return to the surface was made in time for tea at the chip shop in Settle.

A. Hall.

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